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Old 11-27-2008, 07:13 PM   #1
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Default Should I do a Blichmann 15/15/20 or 20/20/20 setup?

I'm trying to decide what size Blichmann brew pots to get for 10 gal brewing sessions.

I'm torn between 15/15/20 gallon or a 20/20/20 gallon setup (HTL, MLT, BK).

My thoughts are to go 20/20/20 because:

- The HLT at 20 instead of 15 because I want to have a lot of hot water left over for cleaning. I understand that strike water heat time will take longer because of this but I'm all electric and may only have my BK or HLT plugged in at once so I can't heat more HLT water while I boil in the BK.

- The MLT at 20 instead of 15 to account for higher gravity brews that use a lot more grain ... "just in case".

- While I intend to brew 10 gal (post boil) batches in the 20 gal BK, I want to have the flexibility of doing some 15 gal batches too maybe (it may be close though most of the local guys I talk to say that a 20 gal BK is more than enough to do produce 15 gals of [final] wort).

- The price difference between the 15 and 20 pots isn't much.

- I just find that three pots of the same size on a single-tier brew brew sculpture look so much nicer.


So does this make sense? Are there any caveats I'm missing? The only one I can think of that with some very low gravity brews the thermometer in the MLT may be above the mash. Not really much of a big deal as I'll be using thermocouples/PIDs anyway so the Blichmann thermometers are just a backup.

Are there any other advantages that I've overlooked?

Kal




Last edited by kal; 11-28-2008 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:26 PM   #2
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You can not go wrong with 20 gallon pots. Go for it.



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Old 11-27-2008, 10:49 PM   #3
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Go for the 20-gallon pots. For one thing, I agree that it's aesthetically more pleasing. For another, you can opt for 15 as well as 10-gallon brew lengths.

Reclaiming hot water from the wort-chilling process is a good idea. Makes the whole operation more efficient.

I'm just jealous because you can drop this kind of coin!

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Old 11-28-2008, 12:51 AM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobNQ3X View Post
Reclaiming hot water from the wort-chilling process is a good idea. Makes the whole operation more efficient.
That *is* a good idea but it wasn't mine! Are you referring to taking the warm water output of a CFC or other chiller and dumping it into the HLT to then use to clean the whole system after? I never thought of that... but it's a good idea.

Some people like to fill their laundry tub with the warm water but this make more sense to me. Back in the HLT, add some Oxyclean, recirc it through everything with the pumps to clean things out, then flush with water.

Quote:
I'm just jealous because you can drop this kind of coin!
As my wife says: This will (ie: better) last me a very long time. So I want to do it right the first time.

I was even thinking of 20/20/30 but I think a 30 gal brew kettle may be overkill as I'll mostly do 10 gallon batches, and maybe 15 sometimes. The only time I think I may want to go larger is if I batch-brew with someone else and split the results. (Which may or may not happen).

Kal

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Old 11-28-2008, 11:37 AM   #5
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It's always wise to have a larger HLT than anything else, because you use far more hot liquor than anything else. Why fill and refill the HLT when you can put the entire brew length's worth of liquor in the HLT the night before and let it simmer? (By that I mean letting it get pretty hot, just like an electric hot water heater; your electric system will have that advantage over gas-fired brewers.)

Oh, and yeah, I was referring to using the stuff you get from the CFC to clean. Collect it and use it just as you say. Get it up to 180+F and use your cleaner of choice. I prefer PBW or caustic (which I can bum from the dairy farmer up the road), but YMMV.

Do the Blingmann pots come with lids that seal pretty well? If they do, see about getting them modified for spray balls. Makes cleanup a HELL of a lot easier. Pump cleaning solution into the vessel, connect the fluid-out to the in side of the pump, connect the out side of the pump to the spray-ball. Switch the pump on, go do something else for a half-hour.

Something to think about!

Bob

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Old 11-28-2008, 12:33 PM   #6
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Bob, I think your idea of the spray ball may be something I need look into further. I use the reclaimed hot water and PBW but I hate moving kettles around and the idea of CIP sounds better and better. A couple of additional quick connects and CIP may be a reality for my setup.

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Old 11-28-2008, 02:01 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback Bob.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobNQ3X View Post
Do the Blingmann pots come with lids that seal pretty well? If they do, see about getting them modified for spray balls. Makes cleanup a HELL of a lot easier. Pump cleaning solution into the vessel, connect the fluid-out to the in side of the pump, connect the out side of the pump to the spray-ball. Switch the pump on, go do something else for a half-hour.
That's a very interesting idea. Not sure if the lids are sealed at all. I'm guessing not. To be seen.

I do like the CIP (cleaning-in-place) idea.

You could put one of these in the lid and recirc the cleaner through it:



A 2-pump setup would have all you need to clean the BK and MLT. HLT wouldn't need any cleaning other than a litle soak I suppose.

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Old 11-29-2008, 02:37 AM   #8
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Are you going to put element directly in the pots? How are you going to do it? Just with a nut, or use a bushing?

I sorta clean in place, but I don't use a spray ball. I capture about 10 gallons of my chiller water in my HLT and use it to clean my BK. I use a cooler for my mash tun, so I just dump it outside and it just needs a quick rinse. I run about 2 gallons into my BK, add a little PBW, recirculate a bit through that plate chiller, and with some splashing and a little light scrubbing, all the gunk comes off. Pump that down the drain. Pump in another 2 or so gallons, recirculate to rinse out chiller. Pump that out. repeat the rinses until out of water. Takes about 15 minutes to clean everything.

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Old 11-29-2008, 02:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bakins View Post
Are you going to put element directly in the pots? How are you going to do it? Just with a nut, or use a bushing?
Elements will be right in the pots (is there any other way to do it?). How exactly I attach it I haven't figured out yet. I'll use whatever way is considered the best.

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Old 11-30-2008, 09:55 PM   #10
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You're going to need a stronger pump than a march. It'll barely create a drizzle in there. Morebeer sells these, and there's a special high pressure pump. Since you don't have to worry about it being food grade, just make sure it's high-temp and you can probably find one for relatively cheap online. Alternatively, I know some folks like dishwasher pumps. Maybe that'll be a cheaper option?



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