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Old 07-02-2011, 06:59 PM   #1
brewit2it
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Default Single Tier 1 pump

Having researched the Brutus sytems I liked the idea of using a pumps and only SS kettles as only vessels involved and using a single tier, but I don't have the patience, expertise or disposable income to build a setup like that. So what I did was build a 2 vessel single tier single pump setup for just a few hundred bucks and tried a test run yesterday and surprisingly it looks like it will work pretty well. It is completely non-automated with no electronic control so really nothing to do with the Brutus systems except in the recirculation during mash and sparge.

The materials I used are basically:

-1 little giant pump. $155.00
-2 9 gallon Economy SS Kettles with dual couplings $200.00 (Morebeer now has these for 90 each and free shipping, no tax outside CA so could be $180.00)
-Hardware from Bargian fittings including 3 SS ball valves, 2 thermometers, mash braid, etc etc $150.00.
-2 SS 1/2 inch T barbs Ebay 10.00 shipped
-20 feet 3/8 inch Silicone hose, Amazon 25.00 (this was a mistake, I will end up replacing with 1/2 inch because the wall thickness of the 3/8 inch stuff from amazon is too thin and the hose isn't going to last, i can already tell after using it only once)
-worm drive clamps Lowes $5.00

So I'm in for a little over $500.00 however if you already have some of the stuff or don't use all SS hardware and kettles you could do it for significantly less.

I went with a little giant pump since they are reportedly maybe a little more durable and robust). The basic setup I'm using is my built-in bar-b-que island as my stand using my DSC dual side burners as the heat source which actually worked well with this size kettle and had no problem bringing and holding 7 gallons to boil. You could easily to the same thing with more btu's using 2 propane burners.

The basic setup is to run two hoses, one from each kettle ball valve to the first SS T barb out of the T barb (a single hose) to the pump return. Then a single hose from the pump out to the second T barb which gives you 2 return hoses. Approximately 3.5 gallons in each kettle. Mash kettle 1 heated to strike temp, dough in then recirculate mash by keeping the ball valve on kettle 2 closed and both return hoses going tot he top of the mash kettle. When I started my simulated mash (I didn't actually brew, just wanted to test it out) there was no fire on the mash kettle but I started heating my sparge water and the heat from that held my mash temp exactly at 150 even with continuous recirculating which I typically wouldn't be doing for the 15 minute test.

For the sparge I just opened the ball valve on the sparge kettle and placed one return hose to each kettle and continue to sparge until there is equal density of the wort in both kettles. It took about 5 minutes for the temperature to equilibrate in both kettles. I will probably just run the sparge recirulate for about 30 minutes. Then you just close the ball valve on kettle 2 and put both returns to kettle 2 to move all the wort there. I will probable then add an extra gallon or so of 170 degree water heated seperately in a 3rd small pot to get a final rinse of the grist to hopefully increase efficiency and hit pre-boil volume.

Anyway just to summarize all I am doing is instead of making a large single loop like in a Brutus system going from sparge kettle to pump 1 to mash kettle to pump 2 back to sparge kettle what I am doing is making 2 smaller loops out from both sparge kettle and mash kettle into the pump then back to both sparge kettle and mash kettle. The final effect should be the same, that is equal SG wort in both kettles at the end of recirculation then all wort moved back to sprage/boil kettle. Then a small batch sparge to hit volume and get last bit of goodness fromt he grain.

I'll update when I run my first real session. A couple things I learned from my wet run was I bought the wrong tubing and shouldn't have cheaped out there. I should have gotten the QD rather than the worm clamps since it wouldn't have added much extra cost and the clamps are hard on the hose, especially the cheap stuff I got so I am going to need the QD anyway.

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Old 11-10-2011, 04:31 AM   #2
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pictures?

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Old 11-10-2011, 04:44 AM   #3
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Pictures or it never happened!

Cool idea and in line with what I someday hope to do.

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Old 11-10-2011, 07:39 AM   #4
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Curiously subscribed.

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Old 11-10-2011, 02:47 PM   #5
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Smart. I would have never thought of just Ting the lines to eliminate the 2nd pump. Only issue I see is when you have different resistance in the lines. For example, when cross circulating, one half of the pump inlet T is pulling from the MLT, the other from the BK. The MLT will have far more resistance to flow, due to the grainbed, so the flow from the BK side (with low resistance), will be a lot higher than that from the MLT. You could fix this by partially closing your BK valve to decrease flow from there and equalize it out.

If I understand right, you're basically doing a normal mash in your mash kettle, heating up "sparge" water in the BK, then cross circulating them to equalize SG, then pumping everything into the BK?

I stole this pic from here.



Looks like you're doing Step #3 with only 1 pump instead of two....and step 3 is the only one you really need 2 pumps for. Nice.

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Old 11-10-2011, 10:19 PM   #6
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Wow, it was over 4 months since I posted this until I got the first reply so I thought no one really gave a sh#t, LOL.

I can definitely post so pics next time I brew with this setup. I'm brewing this weekend but am going to do a partial mash Blue Moon Close so I don't use this setup for that recipe.

But anyway, this setup is actually working very well, I have to say. A couple of things I've accross with it is that I had to replace some of the 3/8 silicon tubing with 1/2 inch. Just the lines that go from the T to the pump, particularly on the in side because the wall thickness is not thick enough on the 3/8 so it partially collapses. If I was buying everything again I would proably go all 1/2 inch all around.

Also as shortyjacobs astutely pointed out, there is differeces in the resistances on both the lines in and lines out so you have to watch your tanks a bit or you will get uneven volumes in each tank, although it doesnt matter too much since the total volume is way less than the kettle capacity. I guess if it drew down the HLT completely you could draw air and lose prime but since you are returning to both kettles it is almost impossible for that to happen. I will have to try your idea of partially closing the valve on the HLT during recirc sparge though. I've just been partially clamping tubing but your idea is better.

One thing I really like about this setup is I can direct fire the mash even without stirring or use of a false bottom and have never gotten scorching because of the recirculation.

Overall it has been working very well and I will definitely throw some pics up next time I use it which will be in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for the interest.

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Primary: 2 Row IPA
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Keg 2: Empty
Keg 3: Empty

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Old 11-11-2011, 06:16 PM   #7
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I too am interested in Pictures.

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Old 11-11-2011, 07:03 PM   #8
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I just wanted to point out that there really isn't any sparging going on. This type of system is no sparge, but a custom variation that distributes the total mash liquor between two vessels. Nothing wrong with it but it has the same pros and cons as no sparge.

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