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Old 03-07-2011, 06:04 PM   #1
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Default Where do want to use sight glasses

Okay, so I'm trying to plan the big 15-20g system and I'm deciding on which kettles to get along with what add-ons they should have.

I'm pretty much settled on the 100q kettles from homebrewstuff.com...definitely the best value. I'm looking at what they have as a boil kettle, mash tun, and HLT and it got me thinking. Only the HLT has a sight glass...why not the MLT or the Boil Kettle. I would think they would be useful there as well. For instance, on the Boil Kettle wouldn't it let you know when you've reach your target batch size during the boil, or that you're boiling off to rapidly or too slowly? And for the Mash Tun it would show where you're water level is during sparge for instance - or is there a risk of it clogging with grain in that function. The HLT looks like the least necessary unless you're working with a raised system multi-tier system.

Can someone explain the reasoning to me?

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Old 03-07-2011, 06:36 PM   #2
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Okay, so I'm trying to plan the big 15-20g system and I'm deciding on which kettles to get along with what add-ons they should have.

I'm pretty much settled on the 100q kettles from homebrewstuff.com...definitely the best value. I'm looking at what they have as a boil kettle, mash tun, and HLT and it got me thinking. Only the HLT has a sight glass...why not the MLT or the Boil Kettle. I would think they would be useful there as well. For instance, on the Boil Kettle wouldn't it let you know when you've reach your target batch size during the boil, or that you're boiling off to rapidly or too slowly? And for the Mash Tun it would show where you're water level is during sparge for instance - or is there a risk of it clogging with grain in that function. The HLT looks like the least necessary unless you're working with a raised system multi-tier system.

Can someone explain the reasoning to me?
To me, HLT and BK have the most value add. HLT is important if you want to visually measure how much water you have drained to the MT for any water additions you make.

BK is useful to keep track of initial volume, boil-off, etc. Might be easily done with a stick or markings on your spoon or whatever, but a sightglass doesn't hurt any.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:40 PM   #3
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For instance, on the Boil Kettle wouldn't it let you know when you've reach your target batch size during the boil, or that you're boiling off to rapidly or too slowly?
Most people are looking to hit a target OG not necessarily a target volume. Hitting both is ideal and easy with practice. Since I don't add any water besides my intial strike and sparge volumes, I don't really care about volumes after that. I get what I get and hope I did the math correctly. If I do adjust with the boil, it's all around gravity not volume.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:44 PM   #4
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I rely on a sight glass for HLT so I have the correct quantity needed for strike water and subsequent sparging. I have carefully calibrated this sight glass so I can trust it's accuracy. If HLT volume is measured correctly, then I don't need it for my mash tun, besides the fact the grain will add volume so you are really measuring both components.

I have one in my boil kettle and I use it to see what my pre boil volume is but I haven't adjusted because of it. Again, if I measured correctly "upstream" then I just confirm I did it right which so far I have. I also look at it at the end of boil and after chilling to confirm I figured boil off rate and shrinkage due to cooling (~4% shrinkage). That was trial and error for a few brews but I have that dialed in now too, +/- a quart or so for more wind or less wind as I brew outside.

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