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Old 10-19-2011, 05:55 PM   #21
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Any pics of the inside during your test run? How much did you have invested in this? I've got a 44qt kettle and 2000watt element headed my way for an e-kettle and you now have me considering a full BIAB setup.
No pics of the inside during test run (it was just water boiling...boring!).

Adding everything up: pot, fittings and hoses, stand, pump, electronics, spa panel and wiring, etc, I've got @ $700.00 invested. I've been collecting parts for over a year so it wasn't a one-time hit to the wallet. I could have probably saved at least $200 or more if I spent another 6 months bargain hunting but with the colder weather coming I just wanted to get this project finished so I can brew inside.
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:56 AM   #22
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First run last weekend:

grinding the grain:


14 lbs of grain ready to go:


basket hanging from skyhook:


right after I pushed the "go" button, on our way to strike temp from 66 F:


30 minutes later we hit 152 F and dumped in the grain. On our way to barley tea:


mash complete, boil done, into the cube, and cooling:

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Old 10-30-2011, 02:57 AM   #23
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Observations/lessons learned:

Electric is waaay faster than my propane setup. Took 30 minutes to get from 66 to 152, 10 minutes to get from 152 to 168, and 15 minutes to get from 168 to boil.

Once boiling, I can maintain a good rolling boil with the power output set to 60% (in manual mode).

Although the basket looks like Swiss cheese, it does not drain well enough. If I recirculate too fast, the liquid can not drain through the holes in the basket fast enough and the level in the pot begins to rise. I compensated for this today by closing up the valve on the recirculation hose to a tiny trickle. I think I will take a saw to the basket and hack the hell out of it. (Stay tuned for pictures)

I also need to tweak the PID controller a bit more but despite my best efforts to the contrary, I was able to maintain a perfect 152 F for the duration of the mash. I did have some trouble getting the PID to raise the temp to mashout (I know that hurt my efficiency).

At the end of the day, I managed to get 69% efficiency and 6.25 gallons of 1.055 wort into the cube.
I think crushing a bit finer, opening up the holes in the basket, and stirring a bit more will get my numbers back up to where they were with my old system (82-84%).

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Old 10-30-2011, 02:58 AM   #24
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I reckon this basket should flow a bit better now.


before:





after:


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Old 10-30-2011, 03:00 AM   #25
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Second test session tonight brewing a stout. The Swiss cheese modification to the basket seems to have improved the process. I can now crank up the recirculation and the temperature is staying rock-solid. No signs of draining restriction, liquid level is remaining stable now that the basket can flow better. The final test will be how well it drains when I hoist it out.

Stout in progress:


PID seems to behave much better after I let it auto-tune itself:


I was concentrating so hard on adjusting/testing flow and verifying temps that I forgot to start the timer for my mash.

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Old 10-30-2011, 03:01 AM   #26
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Worked great for the mash but the bottom line is that there is no substitute for "squeezing your sack".

I lifted the basket and let it drain for 10 minutes, pre-boil volume went from 6.5 to 7 gallons.

I then put a pot lid on top of the bag and added a 5lb weight. After draining for another 10 minutes I picked up another .10 gallon in the brew pot.

My pre-boil volume target was 8 gallons. So I pulled the bag out of the basket, hung it over the pot, put my gloves on, and squeezed the **** out of it. Ended up with 8.1 gallons pre-boil for an efficiency of 76%.

I can live with that.

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Old 10-30-2011, 08:16 PM   #27
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Same issue draining with the SS basket, what size holes did you drill? How long did that take? Basket is pretty flimsy so I can't imagine it will be too tough to drill.

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Old 10-30-2011, 08:55 PM   #28
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I used my 1 1/4" chassis punch to open up the basket.

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Old 10-31-2011, 01:38 AM   #29
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Good job. Looks great.

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Old 11-04-2011, 05:03 PM   #30
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Excellent.. This is exactly the direction I want to go.. Single vessel BIAB electric system with recirculating pump.. So 'subscribed'...

I'm wondering if I should go with my existing keggle (15.5G), or if it will be too small.. I brew 10-11.5 G batches... 'Usually' not more than 28lbs grain... I guess if I want to make anything bigger I can always go with a 5G brew... any input on this would be appreciated...

My Bayou classic strainer/steamer pot that came with my turkey fryer (what I used when I started brewing) is just a 'hair' too big to fit in the opening of my keggle... So I'm curious about the BIAB bag that someone linked to at 'mashmaster.com'.. but it doesn't give nay specs on the dimensions or capacity of that bag... Would appreciate that info too if anyone has it...

If I end up having to buy a new kettle, I'll probably go a bit bigger with an 82 qt version...

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