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Old 07-05-2012, 01:07 AM   #1
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Default major scorching on 2000w HWD elements

Tragic brew day today, at the end of the boil I was smelling "that smell". like when tomato sauce burns black to the bottom of a pot, and sure enough my elements were caked badly w/ black carbon. This has never happened before, I have brewed for years w/ HWD elements, I have heard of scorching and always thought I was immune.

I think I have diagnosed the problem, after the wort came to a boil I had to leave the house for about 15 minutes, so I figured I'd power down and resume upon my return. Once home I simply repowered the kettle...2 elements at 2000w each boiling about 17 gallons. My theory is that the hot break setttled to the bottom of the kettle, and once repowered the elements were in thick trub ( as in BIAB heavy ass trub) trying to regain boil...I think stirring may have solved the problem???

The key I believe I learned today that it is not the sugar that burns, it is the protein! Thick egg drop soup and elements burn like hell!!!

Anyone have any experience w/ scorched wort, at this point the scorched flavor of the unfermented wort is slightly noticeable...I guess I will pitch and pray that the co2 will scrub the ***tty ass burnt flavor from my precious pale ale.

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Old 07-05-2012, 01:09 AM   #2
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Just called it a smoked porter/stout/IPA

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Old 07-05-2012, 01:22 AM   #3
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The only time I have had scorching was when I failed to clean every bit of crud off the element between batches. One time I simply missed a spot and the other time I was doing back to back batches and just sprayed the elements off. I do agree with you, it appears that it is the proteinaceous spooge that adheres to the element that is the culprit.

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Old 07-05-2012, 07:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehaun View Post
The only time I have had scorching was when I failed to clean every bit of crud off the element between batches. One time I simply missed a spot and the other time I was doing back to back batches and just sprayed the elements off. I do agree with you, it appears that it is the proteinaceous spooge that adheres to the element that is the culprit.
Cleaning them appears to be the key. I, too have had this issue recently in my RIMS tube. I'm moving to a system where I can more easily remove the element and scrub it. Recirculating oxy just doesn't get it done.

The main danger with RIMS seems to be when I ramp the mash for a mash out. In just holding temp I didn't have any scorching. I recently changed my brewing process, though.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Cleaning them appears to be the key.
Agreed, I always clean the elements well after every batch. I believe firing the elements in a kettle that the trub was allowed to settle caused this unanticipated burning of the trub.

In the past, I had always scratched my head when others reported scorching, in that I have never seen it. I think the key is to keep the trub suspended while the wort is not boiling. Also, w/ this larger batch, the ramp from sparge to boil is longer.

So moving forward, my recommendation is to either not pause a boil, or stir the kettle occassionally preboil to keep the trub dispersed in the wort.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:50 PM   #6
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Curious. Did you go forward and pitch your yeast or consider it a lost cause and dump?


Edit: I should learn to read better before posting

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Old 07-05-2012, 01:21 PM   #7
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Curious. Did you go forward and pitch your yeast or consider it a lost cause and dump?

I am going to pitch this afternoon once the wort is fully down to temp....I'm pitching a recycled slurry, so may as well. I'm hoping that the yeast and Co2 cleanse the toast flavor.

The smell was quite apparrent in the steam leaving the kettle, the wort not nearly as much, I'm curious how prevalent the off flavor will be? This is a problem I never anticipated when I doubled my batch size to 1/2 keg, 15 gal. ouch
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
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it appears that it is the proteinaceous spooge that adheres to the element that is the culprit.
wow... just wow
that quote should be on your sig
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:15 AM   #9
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I had it happen with a 5500w ULWD element - i had my PWM turned up a bit high and since then haven't had a problem.

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Old 07-07-2012, 11:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilserbrewer View Post
The key I believe I learned today that it is not the sugar that burns, it is the protein! Thick egg drop soup and elements burn like hell!!!
Ended up dumping 8 gallon of American Wheat because of this. It was a sad day. I had done a dozen or so batches that were mostly 2-row with no issues, but a grain bill consisting of mostly wheat and rye showed my system's weakness.

I put a ULWD element in a couple of weeks ago, but haven't had the chance to try it. Tomorrow I want to give it a test run using some older stuff I have (just in case.) It'll be a summer-lawn mower beer with half malted wheat and half flaked maize.

What I haven't been able to find is if the flaked corn has a high protein content like wheat. Corn is not a popular adjunct, but does anyone know how the protein content compares to wheat or had scorching issues using it?

I'm looking for a, "if this doesn't scorch, nothing will scorch," brewday.
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