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Old 02-18-2013, 02:55 PM   #1
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Default Inagural eBIAB brew day = failure, but why?

Before I get too fr into this, thank you to all on here who have contributed in the past. Whether it was a wiring diagram, a panel layout, element size, etc. I have borrowed many ideas from this forum and am grateful.

I built a 20amp, 2000w system (pic attached). I tested with water, ran auto tune, everything worked as expected and as planned.

So along comes the brewday. I was planning to make a 2.5 gallon batch of "Balast Point - Sculpin IPA". All started off fine, water heated from 64* to 152* in 24 min. Did learn that my Amazon purchased kettles

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

are not in fact 20 quarts which should by my math be 5 gallons. Instead the largest is only 4 gallons. Nonetheless I was able to get 6.8 pounds of grain along with 3.5 gallons of water (2.0 qts/lb water ratio) into the pot. Started up the pump to recirculate, turned on the element and away we go. This is where things took a turn. Started to hear a sound that I have not heard to this point in all of my testing or even heating of water. Turn off element = no sound?! Turn on element on more time, this time I start to smell something new...turn off element. Reluctantly pull the grain bag only to have grain start to fall out of the bottom. You will see in the second picture that the element burned a hole in the grain bag.

Element is a CAMCO 2000w heating element model number 02202
Grain bag was made from voile material purchased at walmart

I have read numerous times that individual set their grain bag on the element with no issues. Obviously not my experience.

My question to you...what went wrong?

dsc_0056.jpg   dsc_0057.jpg  
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:06 PM   #2
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Maybe the bag got wrapped around the element in such a way that prevented the liquid from flowing around it?

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Old 02-18-2013, 03:13 PM   #3
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That's a high watt density element i.e. +150watt/sq inch. Got my info here: http://www.kj-supply.com/Catalogs/4/.../page1490.html

I'd suggest using a lower watt density element. ULWD is < 75 watts/sq inch.

I don't BIAB so I can't say what would work the best.

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Old 02-18-2013, 03:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by stlbeer View Post
That's a high watt density element i.e. +150watt/sq inch. Got my info here: http://www.kj-supply.com/Catalogs/4/.../page1490.html

I'd suggest using a lower watt density element. ULWD is < 75 watts/sq inch.

I don't BIAB so I can't say what would work the best.
That would be my suggestion as well - I'm using Rheem SP10868GL LWD elements in my build. Also, you may want to throttle your pump output a bit when recirculating to make sure you don't empty the space around your element.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:01 PM   #5
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All good suggestions, thanks. I thought about the LWD element being an issue. At this point the 4 gallon pot is too small to effectively do anything with, so I am thinking I will get a larger pot. What I didn't post originally is that I moved everything over to my 16 gallon pot and completed the boil on the propane system.

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Old 02-20-2013, 03:19 PM   #6
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I bet Russki hit the nail on the head. I was experiencing cavitation (air bubbles) in my eBIAB brews. Thankfully, due to the ULWD element, I was able to kill the heat before I burned my bag. I could hear the air being sucked into the pump, and figured out that it was from the pump pulling too much liquid from the bottom, and the wort not filtering thro the grainbed fast enough.

I throttled down the pump, and then restarted the element. Having no problems now!


Also, I'd get a UWLD or LWD element... I've heard nothing good about HWD ones.

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Old 02-20-2013, 05:21 PM   #7
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I am still perfecting the recirculation on my eBIAB setup and have had similar issue with bag and grain blocking pump flow, small hole burnt into grain bag, etc. This is with a ULWD 4500 element set to about 70% power during recirculation.

I solved the burnt bag issue by putting a silicon sheet between the element in the bag.
Still the refining the pump recircuilation but placing a dip tube close to the heating element should draw water away from the element and prevent the bag and grains from stopping the pump flow.

The other option is to insulate the kettle so no recirculation and heat are required during the mash.

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Old 02-20-2013, 05:31 PM   #8
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I was also thinking of trying something like this:

http://www.sears.com/winco-str-18-st...1&blockType=G1

I have a 19" kettle, but this should allow for me to keep 3" of clearence from the bag to the bottom (and pump intake / heating element).



Maybe something like this would help with the HWD element?

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Old 02-20-2013, 06:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sicklesr View Post
I was also thinking of trying something like this:

http://www.sears.com/winco-str-18-st...1&blockType=G1

I have a 19" kettle, but this should allow for me to keep 3" of clearence from the bag to the bottom (and pump intake / heating element).



Maybe something like this would help with the HWD element?
I use a similar rack, albeit with propane, and it works well for me.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:12 PM   #10
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I'm looking at something like this for my build.
http://shopsite.ipower.com/ss11.2/sc...3b5f72108602ca

Its a little short but maybe they'll make one thats taller. Notch it for the element, this eay the basket isnt sitting right on it.

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