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Old 11-05-2011, 04:21 PM   #1
Zeppman
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Default how do you clean your electric rig?

Hey everyone,

Not sure if this is the right place for this, but I'm trying to learn how to CIP my new electric rig. I brewed on it for the first time last and felt like I struggled with the cleaning part of the evening.

I based my rig off of theelectricbrewery.com design. Single tier, 3 20-gal kettles, 2 march 809s, and a morebeer CF chiller. I also use a blichmann false bottom and hopstopper.

For the most part, the brew went great. It was a lot of fun. I wasn't sure if I sanitized the chiller in the best way, but that was the only "am I doing this right" moment of the brew. When I got to the cleaning, I scooped as much of the grain out of the MLT as possible with a plastic colander. To get all of it out though, I had to take the MLT off the table. The boil kettle was even more difficult. I started by sucking the 4 oz of spent hops out with my shop vac. It quickly filled and kind of clogged (its only a 2.5gal capacity...I guess I'll be getting a new one). I had to empty it several times. After removing the hopstopper and rinsing that off, I then tried to rinse the kettle, drain and repeat.. and still I was leaving hop material and crud in the kettle. I felt like I was wasting a lot of water... or is this normal?

Please share your methods of cleaning. I was hoping that it would be quicker, and easy enough to where I wouldn't have to remove the kettles from the table. I realize it was my first run on the new rig but I didn't think it would be this difficult.

Also, a white film has built up on my element in the BK. Is this normal?

Thanks. (and if this is the wrong forum, sorry)

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Old 11-05-2011, 05:12 PM   #2
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I use PBW at the recommended concentration to clean. I buy it in a 4# can. 8# is available as well.

Once the mash is complete I scoop out all of the spent grains. I make the PBW rinse (about 5 gallons) and heat it to about 150 in the HLT, and run it throught the HLT and MT and associated pump, heat exchanger and tubing for about 1/2 hour. I empty into a 6.5 gal carboy. I refill the HLT with fresh water and recirc about 10 minutes and discard the water.

Once the Boil is complete, I use the (now slightly used) PBW solution to clean the BK and associated pump, wort chiller and tubing, and then the PBW is discarded and the BK side flushed with fresh water.

This leaves everythiong looking clean and new including the heating elements. PBW removes any and all sediment that usually is present after the boil.

All that remains is to wipe things dry.

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Old 11-05-2011, 07:13 PM   #3
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dtfeld, thanks for the response. You don't do anything extra to remove the crud and hop debris from your bk? (No scooping, vacuuming, etc?) Simply pouring in pbw rinse removes all of that?

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Old 11-05-2011, 08:46 PM   #4
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You really have to get most of the crap out then clean with pbw or oxy then rinse and dry. Every system is a little different and you must find the most efficient way to clean yours. It is always a pain in the ass to clean any system but a good vacuum with plenty of capacity and a good routine will make it less sh!itty and time consuming. Spray it down , suck it out , add pbw , scrub , recirculate , suck it out , rinse , suck it out , dry .

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Old 11-05-2011, 09:29 PM   #5
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After a batch is done, I take both my Mash tun and boil kettle to a sink and hose them out to get most of the trub and spent grain material out first. Then, I fill my boil kettle up with water and PBW and run some of it through the pump and hoses into the chiller. I let it sit for at least a few hours, often overnight. Then, I pump out the PBW/Water and rinse with clean water a couple of times. That's it. If the chiller or hop stopper need additional cleaning I'll detach those and clean them in the sink seperately, but usually a soak in PBW as described is enough. As for sanitizing the chiller, I usually just spray starsan down into the cold side of the chiller right before I chill.

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Old 11-06-2011, 01:26 PM   #6
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I also take the mash tun and boil kettle off to clean out the major debris. I hose out the mash tun during the boil, so that time doesn't add to my day.

Since I have a BCS-460 controlled system I have a program set up for cleaning. I run it first with water to flush the pumps and CFC, then with oxyclean, then twice with water for a final rinse. First flush runs 10 minutes, oxyclean cycle runs 30 minutes and water flushes run 10 minutes each at the end.

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Old 11-06-2011, 01:38 PM   #7
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I do much the same. I pull the MLT and dump grain. Rince upside down with a hose (that step might be adjusted for indoor winter brewing). Run a "wash cycle" of pbw on heat and recirc through all parts. Then rinse. My bk is a bottom drain sanke so that's a piece of cake.

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Old 11-06-2011, 01:46 PM   #8
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If you want to clean in place, here are a few ideas:

Bottom drain keggles. You can hose these out effectively without relying on a pump and a dip tube. If you flip a keg over and use a tri-clamp for the drain, it's pretty effective. If you keep the dump pipe 2" I've heard it's like flushing a toilet.

The second thing you can try is using a hop spider to easily remove hop debris prior to cleaning. I know how much people like free floating hops. Although I've had great results with hop spider and bags, I too weirdly yearn for free floating hops. But for CIP, bagging hops is a miracle.

Here's mine. Still under construction, but this is the idea I'm going with. Drains well and great for rinsing out with hose.

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Old 11-07-2011, 01:27 AM   #9
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I plan on having a utility sink right next to the brewstand. I also plan on installing a receptacle on the junction box that's installed on the BK. I would then be able to pick up the BK (as I do the MLT) and walk a few steps over to the utility sink, where I would have one of those overhead pressure sprayers.

Everything that needs to be cleaned (CFC, pump heads, etc) is also easily movable to the nearby sink, so it shouldn't take much effort. Using this technique, I don't actually pump cleaning solution (PBW, oxyclean, whatever) through the system, so that's a good thing, I think.

I do wish I could CIP like Dgonza9, but I think this technique won't be much hassle.

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Old 11-07-2011, 01:20 PM   #10
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Thank you all for your responses.

It seems that unless I have a bottom drain in my kettle, the consensus is to take the kettles (or keggle) off the table and to the sink, and then pump cleaning solution and a rinse through the system. I'll be brewing my second batch on my new system soon here, and I'll keep all your advice in mind. Thanks.

Is it common to have white film on the BK element after a brew?

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