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Old 06-18-2013, 01:51 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by kzimmer0817
Any updates from those of you who have purchased this system. I'm still quite interested. I enjoy DIY, but I simply don't have the time.

Have you been able to iron out the difficulties? Is the system performing satisfactorily? How is the recirculation working? etc.

Thanks,
Keith
I've done I think 6 batches now and I love the system. A few bugs to iron out but it saves so much time off my old brew day before the system.

Recirc is no issue at all but you have to use the bag that comes with the system or a bag with a similar mesh size. The batch I did using my old tighter mesh bag caused me problems with starving the pump. I lost control of that mash and it got hot and I can definitely tell in the finished beer. It's not bad, but definitely sweeter than it should have been.

The only other thing that is a minor annoyance is the controller. When I set the mash temp to 154 it gets there and then will bounce between 154 and 156 for the mash time. I don't like that its always high. I'm sure this could be corrected in the controller response, but for now I've worked around it by setting my setpoint a degree lower. So now it fluctuates around the midpoint I want instead of always being above.

All in all I'm very pleased.
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Old 06-18-2013, 04:03 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kzimmer0817 View Post
Any updates from those of you who have purchased this system. I'm still quite interested. I enjoy DIY, but I simply don't have the time.

Have you been able to iron out the difficulties? Is the system performing satisfactorily? How is the recirculation working? etc.

Thanks,
Keith
i have 3 brew days on this system and overall, i am pleased. one issue that i had mentioned earlier in this thread appeared to have been resolved, but is now back. i'm working around it. sigh.
i'm brewing again in a week or so. the beers so far have been pretty good, not great, and i've been able to hit my numbers pretty well. i'm a new brewer so can't yet pinpoint what i can do to make the beers better. could be process, recipe, etc. i'm glad i started out with ebiab all grain. i think i can adapt, modify, repair (sigh) and use this system for quite a while.
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:20 PM   #53
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Recirc is no issue at all but you have to use the bag that comes with the system or a bag with a similar mesh size. The batch I did using my old tighter mesh bag caused me problems with starving the pump. I lost control of that mash and it got hot and I can definitely tell in the finished beer. It's not bad, but definitely sweeter than it should have been.
All in all I'm very pleased.
Thanks for the update. I had a feeling that the type of bag would matter. The Aussies and many other proponents of BIAB recommend the fine meshed Swiss Voile which is much finer than the paint strainer or laundry bags. I think folks - not limited to this particular system - tended to have recirc problems when they used the voile bag with the basket.

Another point mentioned in other threads is that it is important to have the valve placed AFTER the pump. You decrease the rate of recirculation by restricting AFTER the pump, not before it. This particular system appears to rely upon a sprayer inside the lid to provide the backflow resistance.

It might be helpful if someone would interpose an additional ball valve after the pump and post their results.

Regarding the temperature fluctuation, I wonder if the dwell in the PID can be adjusted such that it turns the element on with only a single degree drop from the set temp.

Thanks again,
Keith
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:25 PM   #54
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No problem. I had the laundry bag that I used before and it was great. I liked the drawstring and the fact it felt substantial. I'm concerned for how long the paint strainer type that came with the system will last. That said, I'm not sure of any other driver for going finer. The coarser mesh lets more junk into the pot, but since starting to use hop bags, I really have almost no debris. My beers have come out clear as can be.

On the batch I used the voile I was able to get a recirc going but I had to tinker with the bag and had it pulled pretty tight before it was stable. That may mean its just on the edge and if you throttle back the pump with a valve it may work OK. It's just not something I'm planning to do though when it works just fine with the coarser bag.

I'm sure the PID can be adjusted and I really should know how to do that being a chemical engineer, but controls class was a long time ago. I probably just need to read the manual. The way it's set up out of the box, or at least mine, is that it fires as soon as it falls back to the setpoint. That might be OK if it didn't overshoot 2 degrees after that. Not a huge deal overall though.

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Old 06-19-2013, 03:26 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kzimmer0817 View Post
Any updates from those of you who have purchased this system. I'm still quite interested. I enjoy DIY, but I simply don't have the time.

Have you been able to iron out the difficulties? Is the system performing satisfactorily? How is the recirculation working? etc.

Thanks,
Keith
While I actually started this thread because I thought this system would be perfect for me, I realized that being the only beer drinker in my house I was having a hard time putting away 5 gallons quick enough to fulfill my love of brewing. So instead I went ahead and spent $600-700 and built this 2.5 gallon system here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/110...atches-341219/

It is pretty much the same exact system just produces half the amount of beer in the end. It is a win/win for me because I get to brew more and also still brew inside which was my primary reason for wanting to go electric. I just wanted to mention this to anyone in case they thought a 2.5 gallon system would fit them as well and they could save a little bit of money in the end. It will take some time doing the wiring and drilling, but in the end I am happy as can be.

Cheers!
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:46 PM   #56
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While I actually started this thread because I thought this system would be perfect for me, I realized that being the only beer drinker in my house I was having a hard time putting away 5 gallons quick enough to fulfill my love of brewing. So instead I went ahead and spent $600-700 and built this 2.5 gallon system here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/110...atches-341219/

It is pretty much the same exact system just produces half the amount of beer in the end. It is a win/win for me because I get to brew more and also still brew inside which was my primary reason for wanting to go electric. I just wanted to mention this to anyone in case they thought a 2.5 gallon system would fit them as well and they could save a little bit of money in the end. It will take some time doing the wiring and drilling, but in the end I am happy as can be.

Cheers!
Thanks for bringing some closure. I think there was some benefit from your thread. I'm actually thinking that I should do the same thing. I don't drink a lot of beer - perhaps 1 a day. My son, with whom I had hoped to do most of my brewing, is no longer at home. Therefore, it might be more interesting for me to brew smaller batches of different beers more often. I could experiment with it.

I currently have the 7.5 gallon SS pot that I purchased with my beginner's kit. I could install an element into it and save on the purchase of a kettle. I would probably still go ahead and do 220V controller (possibly High Gravity's simpler device).

Thanks for starting this thread. Please start a new thread to show your current work.

Thanks,
Keith
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:23 PM   #57
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On the batch I used the voile I was able to get a recirc going but I had to tinker with the bag and had it pulled pretty tight before it was stable. That may mean its just on the edge and if you throttle back the pump with a valve it may work OK. It's just not something I'm planning to do though when it works just fine with the coarser bag.
When I first started researching BIAB appr 2 years ago, I began on the biabrewer.com forum. There was much talk about the bag material with particular emphasis on the fine-meshed voile over the coarser paint strainer or laundry bags. I forget the exact reasons. I think the finer bag allowed for a bit finer crush to be used thereby increasing efficiency. Also, the finer bag did not leave behind as much junk in the kettle.

When I discovered HBT, I stumbled upon, and was most encouraged by, builds by thughes, johnodon (no longer brewing, but his thread is still up), jsguitar, and voltin. I think they all used recirculation, the swiss voile bag, as well as the basket. Thughes abandoned recirculation as well as the basket, IIRC. Somewhere on HBT are is a thread that asks who's recirculating during mash (with BIAB) and another that asks who's still using the basket. It seems that many are abandoning one or the other or both.

One common problem with recirculation was that of starving the pump. Spacemanspiff, it sounds like this is what is happening when you use the voile bag. On the thread(s) where this is discussed, it was mentioned that there should be a valve at the pump outlet to control the flow and that the flow should be quite slow. IOW, you open your kettle valve completely but shut down your post-pump valve considerably. On Kal's website in his section "Brew Day Step by Step" he shows the pump valves barely open during the sparge.

Anyway, bottom line #1: if folks are having trouble with recirculation, it would be interesting to hear the results if you insert a 2nd valve at the pump outlet.

Bottome line #2: Something that negates much of what I repeated regarding the bag just occured to me. Many brewers perform a brief manual recirc after dough-in using a pitcher until the wort loses its cloudiness. Apparently, the grain bed acts as its own filter. This could provide justification for using the coarser bags for those who feel that recirculation is important for maintaining consistent mash temps.

Sorry about being so long-winded. While some people might abandon a project because they jump into it without thinking things thru, I, OTOH, often spend way too much time overthinking the project and performing many "dry runs" in my mind that I never embark on the project. I need to find the happy medium.

Thanks,
Keith
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Old 06-20-2013, 01:59 PM   #58
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FWIW, I use a very fine voile bag with a fine crush. Occasionally with a huge grain bill I will drain into buckets before lifting the bag, and it drains more than fast enough for recirculation.

+1 on having a valve on the pump output to regulate flow.

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Old 08-06-2013, 06:23 PM   #59
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Did you guys order the 3 prong or 4 prong outlet versions?

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Old 08-06-2013, 07:50 PM   #60
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I got the 4 prong and put a GFI breaker in my panel.

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