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Old 03-17-2011, 03:15 AM   #1
trigger
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Default Check your RIMS element!

I didn't and now I've got a batch of pale ale that has a distinct smokey flavor. I thought maybe it was carry over from a batch of rauchbier, and since all the other beers I've done recently have been fairly dark I didn't notice it in them. Today, on a whim, I decided to check the element in my RIMS and I found this:





I haven't fry fired it since the last time it was disassembled, and I clean it by recirculating hot oxyclean for 15-20 mins after every brewday. Apparently the oxyclean wasn't good enough to truly clean the element. The stuff that's caked on there isn't burnt on like when you spill on an electric stove, it's more like a super thick layer of the seasoning on a cast iron pan. It flaked right off the element, and I checked the tube and there isn't a spot on the inside. I think that proteins are probably adhering to the porous heating element, and then slowly cooking into that thick black cake on the element.

Since I'm brewing tonight, I installed my spare element in the RIMS. I will be cleaning the old one with steel wool and keeping it as my spare.

After seeing this I'm going to get one of the tri-clover RIMS tubes from brewer's hardware. While my current setup is running great, cracking the box and undoing the electric connections after every brewday isn't something I'm going to do.



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Old 03-17-2011, 05:36 AM   #2
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Mine looks like that if I don't Oxyclean it after brewing. After a long Oxy recirculation I'm usually left with just a fine white coating which I can wipe off. I have a Tri Clover element so I take it out after each brew day for inspection.

Not sure if it is a good idea to take steel wool to the element, I'd think it would shorten the life - but I have no real evidence of that.



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Old 03-17-2011, 06:14 PM   #3
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Wow, that is nasty!
I wonder if PBW will touch that gunk when OxiClean won't.

This will definitely make me mount the RIMS heater in a way so I can easily disassemble it. If I didn't already have my brand new 1.5" ss plumbing I'd consider a tri clamp now. I think as long as the hex part of the heater is exposed I will not have to undo the wires at the heater, just unplug the cable from the control panel.

Thanks for sharing.

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Old 03-17-2011, 08:25 PM   #4
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I just experienced the same thing and posted here.

As you can see in my thread, we will probably need to take it out and clean it with a green scrubby and some PBW, OXI or BKF after each and every use. Bummer.

That gets me to thinking. I would assume they have to clean that Braumeister the same way. Also, what about the element's that are in the boil kettles? I would think after a good hour long boil there would be a need to clean those off as well.

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Old 03-18-2011, 01:08 AM   #5
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Yambor, I brewed 16.5 gal yesterday (two batches) with the new element. I pulled it out after a 45 min recirculation in 160 F PBW and found exactly what you had in the later post. It's the beginning of that "crud" layer forming. It came off with a light touch using a green scrubby. I think that the answer is to just pull the element and hit it with a scrubby after each brew before that gunk has a chance to get cooked on.

I haven't seen this on my kettle's element. On the other hand, I scrub the whole kettle, element included, with a green scrubby right after each batch and before the PBW or oxyclean goes in there. It makes the cleaner work a lot faster if you break up any gunk first. I'm thinking that the kettle would probably look similar if I didn't scrub it.

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Old 03-18-2011, 02:19 AM   #6
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I have seen this in my rims but the Bk is bright and shiny. Something is going on inside that tube that really accentuates this affect.

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Old 03-18-2011, 05:51 AM   #7
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Here's what I'm thinking: that crud is made of starches. The proteins, cellulose, and lipids are all going to be present in the boil kettle too, and really the only thing I can think of that is present in the wort passing through the RIMS but not in the boil is going to be starches. They must be sticking to the element then carmelizing onto it. It certainly isn't wort scorching, I have a 5500 W ULD element and it was on 120V the entire time it had wort on it yesterday, whereas the kettle has the same element and it was on 220V full power all the way until the hot break subsided. I think that the best solution is to just clean the thing. Problem is that requires disassembly, and if you've got a pipe-bomb RIMS like me it's a pain in the keister.

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The power to tax, once conceded, has no limits; it contains until it destroys. I was not joking when I told them to dig into their own pouches. It may not be possible to do away with government — sometimes I think that government is an inescapable disease of human beings. But it may be possible to keep it small and starved and inoffensive — and can you think of a better way than by requiring the governors themselves to pay the costs of their antisocial hobby?

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Old 03-18-2011, 09:13 PM   #8
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I'm with your Trigger. I think the grain matter that filters through (especially the start of the recirculation, say the first 10 minutes or so) is getting stuck to the element.

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Old 03-19-2011, 05:18 PM   #9
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Has anyone noticed the same build up with the stainless elements?

Brew on

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Old 03-19-2011, 07:54 PM   #10
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I get some small amount of gunk on my BK element after a few brew sessions, but some warm water and a green scrubby makes short work of that. I also soak in hot PBW after every brew session, which reduces the need to hand scrub down to every 3 or 4 batches. Sometimes I can just spray the element with high pressure water and the stuff comes right off too.

TB



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