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Old 05-18-2008, 02:43 PM   #31
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Default Boil Screen Follow Up

So this was my third run with the Blichmanns and really my only complaint has been the boil screen . The mash tun false bottom is great, no stuck sparge, good clean filtering. I was just over 80% efficiency with the latest batch. I have a 20G boil kettle and 15G MT.

The first batch was all pellets, the second was a mix of pellets and whole leaf, and the third yesterday was all whole leaf.

The worst by far was the pellets. I do a recirculation/whirlpool with a pump and this just created a compacted pellet cake around the boil screen that not only left way too much beer behind but took nearly an hour to get clean and involved the use a toothbrush and toothpicks to get all the hop residue from all the tight folds of the mesh.

The pellet/whole leaf was better, but still posed the same problem.

korndog mentioned he had problems in the past also.

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Originally Posted by korndog View Post
I have the 15 gallon kettles. They are very nice but I have had trouble with the boil screen clogging. I never had any issues with my Bazooka screen and never used a hop bag. I have had two stuck brews now and will have to use bags in the future. I whirlpooled on knockout as suggested in the instructions, but to no avail. I think the product is simply not designed well for large hop additions directly to the kettle. I am a big fan of Blichmann products.
This sounds like pellets were the culprit of the clogging and I would second that. This blichmann boil screen is not suited for pellets/pump/recirc. Maybe if you used pellets, manually wirlpooled at knockout, and then siphon/gravity transfer you might be ok, but not with a pump.

Finally, whole hops....either I got lucky or this is the trick.

I brewed Ed's Haus Pale Ale yesterday with a few changes. Sorry Ed, all I had around was some British Ale yeast, so thats what I used.

I also added .5 oz of Cascade at flame out for a total of 4 oz of whole leafs hops for a 10G batch.

2oz - 60
1oz - 30
.5oz - 15
.5oz - 0

I had a totally different experience. Whole hops was the trick. I had no stuck brew/pumping/transfer. In fact even at as the very last bit was being pumped out there was no decrease in flow. I suspect I could probably double the hops and still not have a problem. I will use whole hops now as much as I can, but I also plan on making a hopbag for use with pellets as I know pellets are more available right now.

Here was the end of the boil transfer. The great thing was that the remaining beer was about 1.5 cups which was exactly what I had calibrated it at when I just ran water through it when I first got these new kettles.

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Last edited by MNBugeater; 05-18-2008 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:02 PM   #32
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I tried the screen again using hop bags and couldn't drain. This was only cold/hot break causing this.


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Old 07-25-2008, 04:13 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by korndog View Post
I tried the screen again using hop bags and couldn't drain. This was only cold/hot break causing this.


Thanks for the info. It looks like the boils screen is not going to be compatible with an immersion chiller.
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Old 07-25-2008, 07:32 PM   #34
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Thanks for the info. It looks like the boils screen is not going to be compatible with an immersion chiller.
That's been my experience Ed. Also in my experience, if you throw a considerable break, even the dip tube has issues. I am going to try a stainless scouring pad over the dip tube next time per John Blichmann's suggestion. If that doesn't work, I will cut the dip tube shorter so that it does not sit in the break.

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Old 08-18-2008, 05:07 PM   #35
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The screen has been an issue with my 15 gallon Blichmann brewpot as well. We've been getting a lot of trub that clogs the screen very quickly.

My friend emailed John Blichmann and received the following reply:

Quote:
The only trouble with an immersion chiller is getting a strong whirlpool which will settle most of the particulates into the center of the pot….the coil itself kind of impedes this. So, perhaps you can try removing the chiller after cooling and then whirlpool vigorously with a sanitized paddle (which will also help add needed oxygen) then allowing 20min or so for it all to settle. Then drain at a slower rate to prevent disturbing the sediment. Or if you don't want to go through that hassle, use a fine mesh nylon hop bag for your pellet hops. For boil and flavor hops, there is little reduction in utilization rates. Lastly, high protein beers that use significant amounts of wheat or oats are very prone to clogging about any filter, so you may need to skip using the screen for these beers.
I'm going to try the vigorous whirlpool AFTER using the immersion chiller. Is it the immersion chiller that is creating the trub?
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Old 08-18-2008, 06:18 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewmeone View Post
The screen has been an issue with my 15 gallon Blichmann brewpot as well. We've been getting a lot of trub that clogs the screen very quickly.

My friend emailed John Blichmann and received the following reply:
I'm going to try the vigorous whirlpool AFTER using the immersion chiller. Is it the immersion chiller that is creating the trub?
I have exchanged a few emails with John on this. I have tried several methods. Yesterday, I used the diverter plate with no screen. I recirculated through a plate chiller and then used a paint stirrer on a drill to whirlpool post-chill. I didn't have any drainage issues after 15 minute settling period, but my wort had lots of suspension. I think this technique is basically sound, but will need some tweaking. Cutting the dip tube above the trub line seems reasonable too. The .19 gallon waste with the stock setup is pretty low. I will try it again without hop bags to see if I can get away with that. I use lots of knockout hops and feel like my beer is suffering because I have to use bags. Other options are to just use a large auto-siphon and be done with it, or possibly a hop-back/filter setup.
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:38 PM   #37
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so those of you who have these pots would you buy them again or look for a different option

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Old 08-28-2008, 03:45 PM   #38
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These problems are endemic to all kettles/kegs. It's a process thing.....I'm sure the pots are awesome

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Old 08-28-2008, 04:57 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheels View Post
so those of you who have these pots would you buy them again or look for a different option
Good question. I have to admit that part of the reason I bought the kettles was the way they looked. Yes, the features are awesome too, especially the false bottom for the mash tun. As Scubasteve said, some of the problems are not particular to the Blichmann's. My wish list for them includes a lower thermometer mounting and better boil screen option. I am a big fan of Blichmann products, but I think I might go with the Sabco boil kettle if I had to do it again. They cost more than the Blichmann though.
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:15 PM   #40
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what about a few pieces of copper, and either bend or put on some fittings so you can hang them on the edge of the pot... put QDs on them. Use one as a pump draw, and one as a return angled against the wall, and pull from the kettle mid-depth. Whirlpool through this, instead of whirlpooling by drawing through the screen. When it's done, the screen should be relatively clear and your trub pile centered so you can slowly draw wort off through a cfc to fermenter. Alternatively you could cool it with an IC, and use the hang-on-the-side copper pieces to create a whirlpool while using IC, then just continue to whirlpool a few moments after removing IC, let settle, then drain off slowly or pump off slowly to fermenter.

I actually just ordered a 20g, but to use as a mash tun. I've gotten a keg converted for the boil vessel.

What size is the female thread from the ball valve? Will the SS QD from B3 (wow... nobody but beer folks could possibly know what that means) thread directly in? I assume their QDs connect fine on the QD side, regardless of wether they are barb or threaded on the hose/pipe end.

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