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Old 04-27-2012, 09:42 PM   #1
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Default Is 2 vessel system basically no-sparge?

So I'm looking on what changes I want to make as I re-build my BK as a better bottom drain pot (basically cutting the bottom out of a keg, using the existing sanke port and a tri-clover clamp to make a nice big bottom drain). My original plan was just to re-build my HLT and BK in this configuration to have a much easier clean in place setup for those two.

My current MLT is a 10 gallon cooler, I love how it holds temp, would like it to be bottom drain as well, but I don't want to have to deal with a keg as a MLT; due to temperature holding ability and the issues with emptying it. Currently I can easily carry the whole MLT out to the compost pile.

So I'm thinking of building something Brutus 20ish. One pump, perhaps having the system 2-tier, with the MLT higher than the BK so I can gravity drain from the MLT and pump from the BK up to the MLT for recirculation. Any thoughts on this type of setup?

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Old 04-27-2012, 09:48 PM   #2
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2 vessel doesn't mean no sparge. It could, if you didn't want to sparge. But your efficiency will suffer if you do that. Since it sounds like you're doing 5 gal batches, just collect the first runnings in a bottling bucket. After you add the sparge water to the MLT, then drain through some tubing from the bucket to the BK. Gravity drain the second runnings from the MLT strait to BK.

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Old 04-27-2012, 11:49 PM   #3
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I had a brutus 20. Continuous batch sparge. You put all of your sparge water in play at once and recirculate for about half an hour. You can get 70% efficiency this way. Sometimes more.

Bottom drain is the way to go! Your going to love the ease of a bottom drain. Primes easy. Easy to clean. I did the same thing and CIP is simple.

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Old 04-28-2012, 01:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Dgonza9 View Post
I had a brutus 20. Continuous batch sparge. You put all of your sparge water in play at once and recirculate for about half an hour. You can get 70% efficiency this way. Sometimes more.

Bottom drain is the way to go! Your going to love the ease of a bottom drain. Primes easy. Easy to clean. I did the same thing and CIP is simple.
Honestly at our volume, efficiency doesn't matter. Whats an extra 2# of grain? $4 tops? (with my bulk price its $1.42) I get about 80% with a 90minute sparge on my "traditional" system. I almost wish I went with a brutus 20 system because its quicker, and honestly it seems more predictable/consistent.

Go for it man. Honestly, I may switch eventually.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:24 AM   #5
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Honestly at our volume, efficiency doesn't matter. Whats an extra 2# of grain? $4 tops? (with my bulk price its $1.42) I get about 80% with a 90minute sparge on my "traditional" system. I almost wish I went with a brutus 20 system because its quicker, and honestly it seems more predictable/consistent.

Go for it man. Honestly, I may switch eventually.
I don't think Brutus 20 is really any faster. It's about the same as a normal batch sparge. The hard part is that you have to equalize the flow between your two vessels so you don't drain the mash tun too much or put too much water in play into your tun. I actually considered getting an autosparge at one point.

It's a great system, though.
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:40 AM   #6
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Thanks guys! I do 5 gallon batches, but sometimes I like to do 10 gallons, which is why I tend away from BIAB as it is hard to do a 10 gallon batch.

Am I right in saying that a brutus 20 setup makes step mashes in a cooler possible? Also should I start mashing out at 45 minutes or so?

I figure I can just make sure my pump up to the MLT is going slower than the drain, that way I always tend to have more in the BK during the sparge.

Since my cooler is currently a side drain with dip tube (and stainless mesh inside) would there be any good way to make it a bottom drain without complicating the system too much and get less dead space?

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Old 04-28-2012, 02:52 AM   #7
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I recirculate between both vessels for the entire mash, heating occasionally as needed. Flow matching is pretty easy. I set my mash valve and leave it, all adjustments are made with the pump valve. Just monitor you sight glass to keep it balanced. I used to use a cooler MLT also, but switched to a Blichmann because I like shiny things. Also this makes me more flexible for 5 an 10 gallons. For 5 gal I put all water in the mash tun and recirculate, firing the mash burner for temp adjustments. For 10 gal I split the water between both vessels and fire BK burner for temp adjustments. Small footprint, easy to use, I love my Brutus 20.

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Old 04-28-2012, 02:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conpewter View Post
Thanks guys! I do 5 gallon batches, but sometimes I like to do 10 gallons, which is why I tend away from BIAB as it is hard to do a 10 gallon batch.

Am I right in saying that a brutus 20 setup makes step mashes in a cooler possible? Also should I start mashing out at 45 minutes or so?

I figure I can just make sure my pump up to the MLT is going slower than the drain, that way I always tend to have more in the BK during the sparge.

Since my cooler is currently a side drain with dip tube (and stainless mesh inside) would there be any good way to make it a bottom drain without complicating the system too much and get less dead space?
You can do step mashes with brutus 20 as you can add heat through recirculation. I use a RIMS, so it's easy.

As for the bottom drain, I'm curious to hear what people say. I've not seen any designs for this, but it seems like more trouble than it's worth. I use a manifold with slits and then put it in a grain bag. No stuck sparges and dead space is pretty limited. I don't think it's worth it to try a bottom drain, but hey, to each his own.

Demon is right, you just watch the sight glass, but if you're recirculating 40 minutes as I used to, it's usually a bit off and I didn't like having to monitor mine, although it was pretty close most of the time. I wound up making a valve I used as a gauge for the pump and MT valve.

I kinda miss the brutus sometimes, although my new setup allows me to do Brutus if I want to.
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:11 AM   #9
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Cool photo, thanks for the explanation; that'll come in handy when I'm designing this new setup.

As far as putting a bottom drain on a cooler, I guess it would be more trouble than it's worth, especially since my cooler MLT works fine as is, I just hate the deadspace.

With a brutus 20 if you are doing a bigger beer, is it a good idea to put the first runnings in a separate bucket as stated above, then run your sparge water from your BK through the MLT then re-combine in the BK? This way you leave less sugars in the grain and less concentrated wort in the MLT deadspace.

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Old 04-28-2012, 01:17 PM   #10
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It's a good idea to get to know your system and what it can do. Brutus 20 is a great style of brewing for any beer. If you know what efficiencies you typically get, you can adjust the recipe accordingly.

Beersmith is a fantastic resource. I've really only started using it in the last 6 months or so, but the ease with which the software can scale a recipe to account for system lost, overall efficiency, batch size, etc., is really amazing.

Personally, I prefer to keep the brewing technique the same and adjust the recipe. But there's nothing at all wrong with collecting the runnings and doing a more typical sparge if you prefer that.

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