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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Grant users?
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:31 AM   #1
Gabrew
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Default Grant users?

Hey all,

I've been questioning my current eHerms build. Because the herms system consists of continuously recirculating the wort through the mash using a pump, which will then be followed by the actual lautering...I beleive the use of a grant will supress the chance of a stuck filtration.

Should I be worrying about this?

Any grant users out there?

Thanks!

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Old 08-06-2010, 01:37 AM   #2
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Are you using kettles? If so a false bottom will greatly reduce your chances of a stuck sparge. If you are using wheat or rye in a mash I'd suggest using rice hulls to lessen your chances as they are more susceptible. I recently built a Brewtus system in which I constantly recirculate and haven't had a stuck sparge. Actually the grain bed sets up quite nicely so long as you gently put the wort back on top of the mash.

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Old 08-06-2010, 02:54 AM   #3
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I continuously circulate when mashing on my direct fired RIMS. I experimented with using a grant a long time ago and I never much cared for it. I did not like having to babysit it full time and I did not want to invest in a lot of level control automation. It was very difficult to maintain a pumping rate that matched the gravity flow from the MT, hence the constant hovering required. I like to pump at a high flow rate in order to turn over the entire liquid volume in the MT as quickly as possible. This greatly reduces the chance of overheating the wort and possible scorching. The fast flow rate also allow me to apply more heat for faster temperature ramp ups when step mashing or for a mash out. The problem is that a high flow rate increases the risk of a stuck mash. My solution, instead of using a grant, was to install a vacuum gauge on the suction side of the pump. I limit the pump suction with the standard flow control valve on the ouput side of the pump. I've learned through experience that anything much above what gravity flow alone would provide is too much. I keep the suction near zero at most 1 or 2 psi. The vacuum gauge provides an early warning of an impending stuck mash. I have two choices when I see the vacuum climbiing. I can stop pumping if I catch it early on and allow the grain bed to relax and loosen up, which it will usually do. I then resume pumping at a slightly slower rate. The other way is to stop pumping, shut off the burner and stir the grain bed, then resume pumping normally. A grant looks like a good idea at first glance, but IMO it's a hassle to use one.

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Old 08-06-2010, 04:23 AM   #4
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sounds like some great advice!!! I'll be using a false bottom...which I think will minimize the chances of a stuck lauter.

Any chance of posting some pics of your vacuum-pump set-up?

Thanks!

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Old 08-06-2010, 05:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabrew View Post
sounds like some great advice!!! I'll be using a false bottom...which I think will minimize the chances of a stuck lauter.

Any chance of posting some pics of your vacuum-pump set-up?

Thanks!
Sure. Here's a pic of my pump with a bleeder valve and the vacuum gage all mounted on a portable stand which also swivels on the base. The swivel feature is convenient for attaching hoses from just about any direction:



I have a full width false bottom in my MT. It does not completely eliminate the possibility of a stuck sparge, but it's sure better than a screen or manifold IMO. Keep in mind that I'm always pushing the limit with the fast circulation. There's a very fine line between fast and too fast in that regard. OTOH, it's not the end of the world if it does stick. A quick stir and I'm back in business. I could circulate very slowly and avoid the sticking issue completely if I choose, but I feel that the benefits of fast circulation are worth the inconvenience if it happens and I am fully prepared to deal with it if it does. I expect it to happen now and then and it does, but it is absolutely no big deal.

You may wonder what all the plumbing is for on the pump. The answer is that I directed the input and output back around the post in order to make it more compact. I did not like having the pipes extending way out from the base which would make it awkward to handle and more susceptible to damage. It's also partly due to the way the inlet and outlets are configured on the Little Giant pump head. I positioned the pump vertically with the pump head at the lowest level to facilitate priming. I have zero problems priming this pump. The handy dandy handle on top of the upright makes it easy to move around. AFAIK, I'm the only one in North America with a pump set up this way. I kind of like that!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the flow control valve is a gate valve, not a ball valve as is more commonly used. The gate valve gives me much, much more precise control of the flow, which is critical with my setup. The gate valve is 3-1/2 turns to fully open vs. 1/4 turn for a ball valve. The difference should be obvious. I also use a gate valve on my elevated HLT to precisely control the sparge water flow. Again, I'm in the extreme minority using gate valves, but once you give them a try, I guarantee that you will become a believer too.
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:11 AM   #6
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My plan (not yet implemented) is to use a vacuum gage like Cat22, but instead of constricting flow I will shunt it. I ordered a three-way bottom entry ball valve with a wide bore to use as a diverter.

The flow will be:

MT-->Gage---->TEE---->Pump----->H.E.--->Temp Probe ---->Diverter---->MT

The other port on the diverter will be connected to the third leg of the TEE.

This will have two positive effects: it will allow me to regulate flow without slowing down wort (therefore eliminating scorching risk), and it will cancel out the effects of pump surges (eliminating vacuum peaks at the MT). Admittedly that second benefit is a minor one...

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Old 08-06-2010, 04:23 PM   #7
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That configuration looks like it will work well for you. Pump surge can cause problems and your bypass should take care of that issue. Let us know how it performs once you are up and running.

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Old 01-10-2012, 05:17 PM   #8
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Not sure if this thread is too old but I'll ask any way. I'm interested in setting up a vacuum gauge on my rims set-up instead of a wort grant (just seems like an easier alternative). I haven't been monitoring this at all on my electric rims tube set-up and my efficiencies have been lower than I'd like. My question is about the vacuum gauge. Do I need a special gauge that can work with mash temperature liquid or does it really matter? Or can I just go to grainger and just grab any vacuum gauge?

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Old 01-10-2012, 05:23 PM   #9
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I use a grant as a plate chiller pre-filter. Filter media I use is rice hulls.

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Old 01-11-2012, 02:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GilaMinumBeer View Post
I use a grant as a plate chiller pre-filter. Filter media I use is rice hulls.
Seems like a good secondary use of a grant. Seems like it might slow you down while in chilling mode but it might be worth a try.

I am really interested in the vacuum gauge instead of a wort grant for the sparge process. But I'm having a little trouble seeing how this works exactly. Would you need a bleed off at the gauge to zero it after everything is hooked up? And what do the internals of the gauge look like? I checked out a few gauges online but they only have a rating to 150f. If I don't get this figured out soon I'm just going to make a wort grant.
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