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Old 12-01-2012, 09:05 PM   #1
chipsah
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Default Tower of Power - Initial Thoughts

Received my Blichmann Tower of Power (1 module for MLT) and stand with pump yesterday. Assembly was a piece of cake. Kudos to Blichmann for including everything needed in the box. I'll go ahead and include a couple of thoughts regarding the first water test I did with it. I'll also preface this review with the fact that I am a big fan of Blichmann's products and own several (top tier stand with three burners, 3 Boilermakers, chiller, Hoprocket, and 2 conicals). I use the Blichmann Quickconnects and I love them.

1.) The pump primed beautifully by simply opening up the MLT valve all the way and the sample valve. The clear silicone between the pump and the flow meter made it very easy to tell visually that the pump was primed.

2.) The flow meter is probably the coolest part of the whole thing. It has an alarm built into it so that if flow drops below a set point it will go off. It also allowed me to gauge how fast I have been recirculating my mash. Also, it turns out that above 1.5 gpm the Blichmann Autosparge valve begins to leak.

3.) The temperature sensor reacts very quickly. I was working with straight water (only 4 gallons) so the temperature swings were very quick. It was also very accurate (compared with Blichmann thermometer in MLT and digital cooking thermometer attached to Autosparge outflow).

4.) The burner ignition feature is very nice. Others have complained about the alarm chiming every time it lights, but I think it is useful. I sometimes walk inside to take care of something while brewing and it is nice to hear that the burner is lighting so I can go out and make sure everything is good to go.

5.) The gas valve seemed to work well. I have some tuning to do with the flame to make sure I am not applying too much heat to the mash. I had a scary moment when the flame blew back through the burner and I had flame right behind the air damper. I don't know if this is an issue with too much gas or air. I'm trying to tune the burner to make sure this never happens again.

6.) I messed around with the software. Seems a little unrefined, but not too bad. I like the temp graphing feature. I can see myself using it to track mash temps.

7.) The three-way valve at the top of the structure is very cool. No more switching hoses around for the sparge. I wish I could find another one of these for a decent price for my chiller pump outflow.

Future changes planned:
1.) Cable management. I'm very nervous about all of the wires dangling everywhere.

2.) Possibly some sort of grant with filter before the Tower stand setup. I don't know if there will be a problem with grain getting into the flow meter, but I could foresee that as being one problem with the system.

3.) Figuring out why the flame shot out into the air damper. Pretty sure it was not related to the T.O.P. but pretty scary nonetheless.

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Old 12-01-2012, 11:45 PM   #2
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Good stuff, can't wait to get mine.

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Old 12-01-2012, 11:54 PM   #3
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I'm coming over to your pad next brew day....LOL

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Old 12-02-2012, 12:03 AM   #4
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I'm coming over to your pad next brew day....LOL

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Old 12-02-2012, 12:24 AM   #5
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I'm coming over to your pad next brew day....LOL

The invitation is open! I'm new to the area and would love to have some company. PM me if you are interested and I'll let you know when the next session is.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:04 PM   #6
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For the cables, I just got some plastic cable holders and it worked well. I got one big on for the initial run and some smaller ones for the temp sensors.



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Old 05-20-2013, 01:13 AM   #7
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I just ordered my TOP set up. I am looking forward to my first brew day with it. Since you have been using it, have noticed any other tricks or annoyances?

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Old 05-20-2013, 01:44 PM   #8
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I have a couple.

1. Don't overtorque the sensor probe on the wort return line. Just tighten it barely snug and test. The gasket leaks if you go the least bit tight.

2. After you dough in, let the mash rest for 10 minutes before you start the pump/turn on the controller. This will help avoid stuck mashes. I dough in a bit thinner than I did in the past. Usually over 2:1. No stuck mashes.

Good luck.

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