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Old 10-03-2008, 11:21 PM   #1
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Default Flash boiler project #2

This project was inspired by Brewpastor and my craftsmanship by BM.

After reading BP's thread about the flash boiler idea I knew I had to do this. Most of my brew day is spent waiting for things to heat up. And I'm moving up to 30 gallon batches soon so this is only going to get worse.

So I quickly slapped together something that I thought may work. It was 20 feet of 3/8 copper tube rolled into a stainless charcoal starter tube and placed onto an extra burner a friend gave me. It worked for the most part but was not very efficient. With the tap water coming in at 67* I was able to hit a exiting temp of 192* at a flow rate of one gallon at 3 and a half minutes. And with a very small move of the valve it was down to 130*. This was with the burner kicking for all it had. and wide open water flow would get me to about 90*.

With a little more thought and looking around the house I found a Korny keg that I had that was shot. The gas in port threads were all screwed up. Perfect I thought, so I cut the bottom off, removed the rubber handles with a screwdriver and a map gas torch. Took the keg and burner to work where I welded 4 plates to the burner to hold the keg. Then I placed the keg on the burner and fired up the plasma cutter. Cut holes thru the plates and the keg at the same time then cut two slots up the sides to have a place for the tubing to go thru.
I then took 50 feet of 3/8 copper tubing and rolled it around a 4" PVC pipe. I rolled it up the length for the keg and then back down.
My thought was that if the water was going in and then up, then down and out it would give it two points it would be in contact with the flame and spend more time in the intense heat.

My test run tonight went well and I see room for improvement.

Tap water coming in was 63*
at full flow I was getting a flow rate of 3 gallons per minute.
With the burner at full bore and water at full flow I hit a max temp out of 113* (a 50* increase)
It took some playing with flame and water flow but I managed to hit my mash in temp that I need of 175* at a flow rate of .555 gallons per minute (one gallon took 1:52). Not as fast as I would like but I think I can get this better. I was not able to get a good flame (a lot of yellow fire) so I will add some air holes around the lower part of the keg near the burner.

The valve was still really touchy. There was a point where it was to fast or two slow so I think I'm going to add another valve either inline with the one I have or on the out port . My thought is that it would allow me more control and get me out of that touchy point in the valve.

But this may be perfect the way it is. I'm not looking to rid myself of my HLT just get the water into there either at temp or damn close to it. I brew using water from my hot water tap (water heater is 3 years old and always gives me clean water) so in this case my water would be going in at 120*, with a full flow rate of 3 gallons per minute with a temp increase of 50* that would put me within 5* of my mash in temp of most my beers.

This would mean that I could be mashing in (theatrically) in 1-2 minutes. As it is it takes about a minute to fill the HLT then about 30 minutes to heat it.
My next thought was that once I go to a pump system I'll be able to pump the wort from the MLT thru the boiler and into the kettle. Not getting it to boiling but I'm shooting for like 200 - 205* so then it would not take me long at all to get 40 gallons to a boil.

Here are my pics, now post your thoughts.




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Last edited by FSR402; 10-03-2008 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 10-04-2008, 12:42 AM   #2
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That's awesome! Do you have any more pics of the construction? Keep us posted!

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Old 10-04-2008, 12:49 AM   #3
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No I put it together at work and I did not have a camera there.

It's held together with two 3/8-16 rods and nuts on the outsides. The coil is sitting on the top rod holding it up about 4 inches above the burner.

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Old 10-04-2008, 12:56 AM   #4
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You need to spread the coils to eliminate the central opening so the hot gasses can pass through the coils instead of just one side. Here is a shot from the top of the old stainless flash boiler Picasa Web Albums - Kevin - Instant water... it is built fron 4 10 foot coils of 1/4" stainless steel tube wound around 2" pipe inside a 6" tube.

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Old 10-04-2008, 02:03 AM   #5
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So you have the tap water pumping through the copper over the flame? And by the time it comes out it is super heated?

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Old 10-04-2008, 02:27 AM   #6
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Yes from tap water to 300 deg F superheated steam in one step in stainless steel tubing, steam is mixed with circulating wort for step mashing. At .8 gpm this will give a 49 deg F. rise in temperature at max boiler fire on old system. This steam into wort method makes step from 125 to 152 deg F. possible in about 11 minutes with 13 lbs grain and 1.3qt/lb water ratio. Temperature control is by turning burner down as wort from mash increases in temperature, boiler water flow is held constant at 3 GPH. Dilution of the wort is not a problem as the water used is less than 2 qts during step cycle.

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Old 10-04-2008, 02:54 AM   #7
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As kladue said, you need to eliminate that heat chimney in the center of your apparatus there - I'd bet 50% of your heat is lost there, going straight up and out, path of least resistance. Get a steel tube with a plate on one end and stick it in there, you'll probably get much better than a 50 deg single pass rise.

I use a pressure cooker to steam mash, I do all my heating/boiling on the stove, I can get my mash (usually about 14lb) from protein rest to saccarification in 12-15mins. Heating with only steam, 9qt pressure cooker 1/3 full of water.

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Old 10-04-2008, 10:51 AM   #8
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Ok that make sence, did not even think of that. I'll see what I can get the coils to do, that stuff is hard to bend now, or if I can't bend them enough I'll try the plug down the center.

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Old 11-03-2008, 03:00 PM   #9
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Do you leave the corny lid in when you boil? Are the dip tube ports providing enough of a vent for exhaust? One Idea I had was to get a single chromed out header for a car and attach it to the side of the corny. That'd redirect the exhaust and be bitchin' all at the same time.

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Old 11-03-2008, 03:22 PM   #10
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I'd put a capped 2" pipe down the center and leave the lid off. If you don't provide an exhaust, a lot of the heat will be lost out the bottom. I'm surprised that you're not totally thrilled with 1/2 gallon per minute performance. It takes much longer to bulk heat. IOW, heating 5 gallons of strike water would normally take longer than 10 minutes.

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