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Old 08-12-2013, 02:24 AM   #11
IvanBrew
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I'm pretty happy with this weekend's progress. I got a small storage shed set-up behind my garage to free up brew space in the garage.

Next up I cleaned my old mash tun which had an adhesive backed rubber heater on it. This kettle is becoming my new HLT and will be direct fired, so the heater had to come off. That involved a lot Krud Kutter, elbow grease, and swearing, but came out great.

I made some alterations to a heavy duty shelving unit I already had, built a base with casters for it, and reassembled the whole thing.

Finally, I got the new Blichmann burner and Tower of Power controller set-up.

Hopefully my new boil kettle will show up tomorrow and the fun will continue

20130811-0001.jpg   20130811-0002.jpg   20130811-0003.jpg   20130811-0004.jpg  
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Old 08-12-2013, 04:10 AM   #12
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Looking nice, that is one big stand!

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Old 08-19-2013, 02:38 AM   #13
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I think my wife's about a day short of killing me for ignoring her Honey Do list, but the brewery is up and running! lol

I ended up replacing the burner under the boil kettle. I couldn't find a replacement orifice that worked, and after placing a 20 gal kettle on it, I'd started worrying the old one wouldn't have the BTU's anyhow.

Amazingly, everything ran pretty well first time through. I wet the system down for the first time today and ran a mock brew-day with water. I also ran PBW through the pump.

I still have lots of little things to do, like paint, plywood skins over the wire shelves, a couple drips here and there, etc...

Here's the glamour shots:

dsc_3231.jpg   dsc_3232.jpg   dsc_3233.jpg   dsc_3234.jpg  
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:39 AM   #14
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Phew! It's official: I'm back in business. I put 10 gallons of Zombie Dust clone into fermentors today, and overall, I'm pretty happy with the day.

I had one major (relative) issue with my pump. It ran fine for recirc and lauter, but refused to prime when I started transferring to fermenters. It took almost 20 minutes of messing with it to get things moving, and frankly, I have no idea why.

I also undershot my target OG by about 5 points (1.060 vs. 1.065), but for my first batch in ten years, I'm ok with that.

I have some tweaking to do to the setup. I definitely need to figure out the issue with the pump, but I also want to adjust heights for my HLT and BK.

All-in-all, a great day! Can't wait to taste the results.


(forgive the sub-par photo. My phone was handy, and I really didn't feel like digging out the DSLR)

2013.0824-brewday.jpg  
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:17 AM   #15
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I'm guessing that there may have been air getting into the pump/hose system that was futzing with the pump in regards to priming. Either that or your input vessel wasn't in the correct position in regards to the pump. Just a shot in the dark though.

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Old 08-26-2013, 02:09 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donshizzles View Post
I'm guessing that there may have been air getting into the pump/hose system that was futzing with the pump in regards to priming. Either that or your input vessel wasn't in the correct position in regards to the pump. Just a shot in the dark though.
I'm really at a loss to explain the issue with the pump.

I recirculated wort (at a full boil) through the chiller without cooling water for 10 minutes to sanitize it. I had no issues. Then I shut down the burner, stirred to whirlpool for 5ish minutes, and let everything settle for another 5.

At that point, I fired the pump back up to fill the fermenters, and... nothing.

The boil kettle is to the right and above my pump by about 18-24 in. Since it worked fine for recirculation, though, I'm at a complete loss...
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:48 AM   #17
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What type of chiller? Plate? How are you filtering prior to running through the chiller?

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Old 08-30-2013, 02:36 PM   #18
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What type of chiller? Plate? How are you filtering prior to running through the chiller?
I'm using a plate chiller. I've got a HopBlocker in the boil kettle, but no other filtration.

I think the issue is/was my hose routing and lack of a bleed valve. I found another thread on pump issues with the OP having almost identical symptoms. In his case, as in mine, the hose configuration for this circuit puts my hoses on the ground and then coming back up to the pump.

I've ordered the stuff to reconfigure my pump. I'll be adding a bleeder to the outlet. I'll also be changing hose lengths to keep them off the ground.

You've got me curious with the filtration question, though. I've never given thought to a filter pre-chiller (or pre-fermenter, for that matter).
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Old 08-31-2013, 02:10 AM   #19
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I used my plate chiller for the first time on Wednesday and it got clogged. Didn't use a hop spider or other filter, but didn't think I'd need it given the low hop bill (2.5 ounces), and a good whirlpool. Got clogged pretty quickly.

I brewed today with a similar hop bill but used the hop spider (PVC / muslin bag) and had no issues at all.

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Old 09-01-2013, 05:31 AM   #20
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I strongly suspect my issue was with hose routing and the lack of a bleed point at the pump, but I'll let ya know on the next batch...

This was my first use of the HopBlocker, so I don't have enough faith in it just yet to dismiss a clog as an option, but since my problems started immediately on trying to pump to the fermenters, I lean away from that as my main issue.

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