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Old 02-11-2014, 07:14 PM   #1
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Default my first . . . not so great brew day

I knew the day would come, and perhaps things will turn out okay, but - I had a bad brew day

I put my journal entry under e-brewing, because IF this is a bad batch, it will be due to electrical.

Brewing on a single tier, two pump, 3 kettle herms all-electric rig. Mashed in beautifully with 26 lbs pilsner malt (simple 10 gal citra SMaSH), but the mash got stuck during recirculation - over and over. Even added rice hulls - no dice. Found out later that my falsebottom wasn't properly seated and grain must have been leaking around the edges. So, this all started as user error. .doesn't it always

No problem right? Just keep resetting the mash, start vorlauf, and it'll be okay? Not quite, Mash temps were fine 151 and pretty steady, but I couldn't vorlauf worth a darn. Actually, I couldn't vorlauf at all. The result was the most cloudy 11.5 gallons of proteinaceous/cluttered/unfiltered wort I've every put in my boil kettle. Usually aftering recirculating for 75 min, the wort is so clear that there's very little hot break, and almost nothing but clean yeast at the completion of fermentation. I seriously can't way to see how much trub this bad boy brew leaves behind. Oh wait - yes I can

Now the problem (electrical right?). An odd burning smell in kettle. Not entirely unpleasant, but more like the smell of home malt roasting at 350 in the oven for 40'. Slightly sweat, but also slightly burnt. So, after chilling with my CC into two fermenters (porter yeast cakes), I check out my heating element. Wish I had pictures (sorry). Nice black color with flaky chunks of burnt black stuff trapped between the coils. Mind you, I typically do get a little crud on the element, but nothing like this. The rest of kettle and fittings were fine, just the element. I'm left to conclude that some of the extra crud floating around in the BK actually burned-on to the element, despite the vigorous boil.

So, we'll see. Fermenting along just fine this morning, but I can still detect the slightly burnt smell. Probably fine, right? Don't worry have a homebrew and all that. This is just the first time that having electric may have CONTRIBUTED to the flavor profile of my beer.

Lesson learned (probably not. . ) My system pretty much requires a decent vorlauf, or I risk burning the goods. Time will tell.

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Old 02-11-2014, 07:38 PM   #2
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I'm glad I'm not the only one...

Going to try again with an IPA this weekend. The Hef that I brewed two weeks ago still looks like milk and is nearly as thick at 1.015 after ten days on WLP300

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Old 02-12-2014, 07:45 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear about your woes. If that happens in the future maybe you should try to recirculate longer after you fix the false bottom.

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Old 02-12-2014, 03:16 PM   #4
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Should have fixed the falsely, but didn't know it was the culprit until after the fact. Pretty much user error


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Old 02-12-2014, 07:02 PM   #5
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I experienced the same problem with grain leaking in around my false bottom. After dealing with it for 3 brews I figured out that what I needed was a food safe gasket.

This is for a keggle mash tune.

I took a length of high temp, food safe 3/4" OD silicon tubing, filled it with water and used a 1" piece of 1/2" copper pipe to connect it together. Make it as long as needed to fit the circumference of kettle - then add about 1/4". Fill the tubing up under water so there are no air bubbles - it will not float this way. Place it on top of your false bottom making sure to seat it against the sides of your mash tun. And grain won't leak in either.

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Old 02-12-2014, 07:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlbeer View Post
I experienced the same problem with grain leaking in around my false bottom. After dealing with it for 3 brews I figured out that what I needed was a food safe gasket.

So I took a length of high temp, food safe 3/4" OD silicon tubing, filled it with water and used a 1" piece of 1/2" copper pipe to connect it together. Make it as long as needed to fit the circumference of kettle - then add about 1/4". Fill the tubing up under water so there are no air bubbles - it will not float this way. And grain won't leak in either.
Little more complicated than it needs to be, though. Here's what I did. I took a piece of silicon hosing as well, and sort of filleted it open. Then simply put that around the edge of the FB.

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Old 02-12-2014, 07:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iijakii View Post
Little more complicated than it needs to be, though. Here's what I did. I took a piece of silicon hosing as well, and sort of filleted it open. Then simply put that around the edge of the FB.

Oh, I dunno. Sounds tougher than it is. I didn't risk cutting myself filleting the tube and both solutions look like they're easy to clean. I also had some places where my false bottom touched the sides of my keggle (it's got a couple of dents).
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:18 AM   #8
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It's a thought, but I've really only had this problem happen once. My exit tube comes from beneath the false bottom and I have a hose clamp around the tube to keep the false bottom seated. I also have a 4 inch diameter 1" tall perforated collar beneath the false bottom that holds up the center (for weight) and provides and additional level of filtration. I think the collar was not centered and this caused a corner of the falsey to lift up. User error. . . I should know better at this point.

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