Urn problems, first BIAB attempt!

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darkthrone

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Hey guys new to the forum and also new to BIAB.

I purchased a 30L urn off eBay from a home brewing supplier.

First of all the urn had a reasonably sized dent in it when it arrived, which I wasn't super happy about. I contacted the seller and ended up getting a $30 refund which is fine.
So yesterday I started my first BIAB, had all my grain bill ready to go, hops weighed and sorted, everything set.

The mash in seemed to go fine, I got my strike water to 70degrees then dropped my grain into the bag, wrapped in towels and let sit for an hour. Checked it once and it had dropped to 65 degrees but wasn't too fussed at that stage (only 10 mins left in the mash and i had reached a gravity I was pretty happy with).

I then pulled the grain bag up and sat it on a rack above the urn and let it drain a little, gave it a bit of a squeeze and rinsed it with 70 degree water until my urn was at my desired boil level.

Everything seemed fine so I chucked the lid on and tried to get a boil going.

This is where the problem starts, I cannot get the urn to get my wort over 50-60 degrees. I waited 2 hours, wrapped the urn in towels, tried with lid on/off.

My assumption is that there is something wrong with the urn? It was sold as a boil urn for BIAB use so I don't see where the issue should be with at least being able to get wort to a boil?
My assumption is that it is faulty, or the element has been dislodged or damaged somewhere in freight possibly.

Sorry for the long post but I thought I'd put as much information in as possible!

Thanks for any help!
 

mstrelan

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Probably contact the seller and ask if that's normal for their BIAB urns.
 

darkthrone

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mstrelan said:
Probably contact the seller and ask if that's normal for their BIAB urns.
Yeah I've just sent them a message via Ebay to see what's up.

I left the wort in the urn and wrapped the whole top with glad wrap to seal it. Can I still use the wort? It's sat outside overnight sealed.
 

Old Bloke

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I don't suppose it is a concealed element one is it? If so, give the area over the element a good rub with a paddle or spoon to get rid of the wort crusted onto it. It happens with my crown urn, particularly with wheat in the mash.
Cheers.
 

darkthrone

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Old Bloke said:
I don't suppose it is a concealed element one is it? If so, give the area over the element a good rub with a paddle or spoon to get rid of the wort crusted onto it. It happens with my crown urn, particularly with wheat in the mash.
Cheers.
Yep concealed element.
I've racked all the wort to a cube now and theres a black crust all over the middle of the bottom of the urn.
Should I have sat the grain bag on a colander or something? I was told that with a concealed element you didn't need to.
Have I ruined my new urn? haha :(
 

indica86

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You can scrub the shit off the element cover. But if it has crusted up that easily you may have issues using it for BIAB.
 

darkthrone

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Ok so I've given the element cover a good scrub and its come clean. Ive put about 5 litres of water in there now and I've gotten that to boil.
Im thinking i might give it one more try in this urn but use something to seperate the grain bag from the element this time?
 

Old Bloke

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If I can suggest, when you pull your bag out, give the bottom a good scrub then. Just the area where the burnt on bits are. Carefull of the thermostat. Then up the temperature to boil.
Good Luck

Cheers
 

Old Bloke

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Sorry, missed the second part of your post. Use a trivet from a homemaker store on the bottom of your urn too keep the bad off the hot bit.
 

Bribie G

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What's the brand of the urn, and the Kw? You'd need over 2000w to get to a full sized boil. Crown and Birko urns are 2400w and boil no problems.
 

Alex.Tas

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I recommend using bulldog clips/pegs to clamp the bag at the rim. Clamp it high enough so that the bottom of the bag doesn't/cant reach the heating element.
I usually use an occy strap to hold on my urn lagging, and this usually does a fine job at holding the bag in place without the bulldog clips.
The benefit of this over a trivet?
  1. One less bit of equipment i need to buy/worry about corroding into my beer.
  2. dont need to fish it out at the end of the mash
  3. I can scrap the element mid mash if i'm doing step mashes. (yeah you can probably do this with a trivet too, but you need to move it out of the way).
 

darkthrone

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Quick update!

Everything went great this time! Mashed in and hit 67 on the nose!
Dropped to about 65 over the hour, I had a blanket and mat wrapped around it with an old cooler bag over the top of it. Might upgrade the lagging for next time, but I think 2 degrees over an hour isn't the end of the world.
Lifted and drained the bag, rinsed with 72 degree water to top up to my boil volume, and switched the urn back on. Ramped up to a boil within 20 minutes I reckon, so really stoked on that and quite relieved!

ONLY minor issue I had is at the end of the boil, after whirl pooling and letting the wort sit for 10 minutes, I started to rack into my cube via a length of sanitised hose. However I find that with the hose attached the tap slows down to a trickle and sometimes stops altogether.
I removed the hose and the tap worked fine, I'm just worried about aerating the wort too much going into the cube to chill. Valid worry?


Thanks again for all the replies and info, such an awesome knowledge base here!

Cheers :)
 

Drewski

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What was your initial recipe? Did it have Rye or Wheat? I once had the rye malt scorch on my concealed element and that will stop the boil, maybe something similar happened to you.
 

schtev

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darkthrone said:
ONLY minor issue I had is at the end of the boil, after whirl pooling and letting the wort sit for 10 minutes, I started to rack into my cube via a length of sanitised hose. However I find that with the hose attached the tap slows down to a trickle and sometimes stops altogether.
I removed the hose and the tap worked fine, I'm just worried about aerating the wort too much going into the cube to chill. Valid worry?
That's weird. What kind of tap is it? A picnic tap or something else? Even with a picnic tap I wouldn't expect the flow to stop completely.

A common modification done to Crown urns is to swap out the picnic tap that they come with for a ball valve. Perhaps this is an option you could investigate.
 

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