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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > Countertop Brutus 20
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:45 AM   #21
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Hey Lonnie! I definitely owe you a beer sometime for your design.
I have family in CO! Maybe one day! Keep the pics and ideas coming!

You know you made a pretty profound statement at the start of this thread that is very dear to me...

"I had found from my brewing experience over the years that my beers got a LOT better when I quit playing the efficiency game."

Good going my friend...

Brew on!
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:10 AM   #22
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What is the insulation around the E-Kettle?
Doh! Another thing I forgot on the BOM. It's self-stick duct insulation from Home Depot. Think I paid maybe $17 for a roll long enough to do 3 kegs.
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Old 08-10-2009, 04:37 PM   #23
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This is a great compact system... and not too poorly priced... I may have some questions after thinking about it later...

One thing about efficiency for you (and/or Lonnie)--> How do you figure you produce repeatable beer when not monitoring efficiency? I understand that you can use the same amounts of grain, same times, temps, AAUs, fermentation temps to contribute as well... but if your % extraction is different then the amount of fermentables you have will be different effecting IBUs....and so on.

Either way, I love the system!

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Old 08-10-2009, 04:51 PM   #24
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One thing about efficiency for you (and/or Lonnie)--> How do you figure you produce repeatable beer when not monitoring efficiency? I understand that you can use the same amounts of grain, same times, temps, AAUs, fermentation temps to contribute as well... but if your % extraction is different then the amount of fermentables you have will be different effecting IBUs....and so on.
I do monitor efficiency, taking OG and FG readings like everyone else. Just like any brewing system, you get to know its performance characteristics with use. I know that mine, along with my "normal" brewing process, produces wort in the 70-75% efficiency range so I build my recipes with that number in mind.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:46 PM   #25
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JK-

Ok, so I am a bolt on kind of guy, when it gets to wiring, I usually seek out an expert. I think I have most of this figured out except for the controller. What level of skill is required to put this together? Can you provide a quick how to, or point me in the right direction for wiring this up? Thanks.

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Old 08-11-2009, 05:05 PM   #26
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Ok, so I am a bolt on kind of guy, when it gets to wiring, I usually seek out an expert. I think I have most of this figured out except for the controller. What level of skill is required to put this together? Can you provide a quick how to, or point me in the right direction for wiring this up? Thanks.
Wiring the PID, thermocouple, and SSR are really pretty simple - just follow the included directions. Switches are going to vary depending on what you buy at the hardware store, but they'll also include directions. I found these combo outlet and switch (with indicators) at Lowe's. Setting them up to have the switch drive the outlet was as simple as breaking off a little tab on the outlet, per directions, and wiring a jumper so the switch feeds the outlet. On the kettle switch I wired the SSR inline as this jumper. This way, the physical switch has the ultimate say on when power goes to the kettle. If the switch is on, then the SSR opens/closes the jumper, ultimately delivering power to the kettle outlet under PID control. The appliance cord was WAY long so I cut it to a manageable size and used the excess for the inside wiring.

I'll pop open the box and take a pic of the inside. It's really not tough. Having a simple multimeter to test continuity during the build can help to make sense of things as you go along too.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:30 PM   #27
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Do you constantly recirculate during the mash, or do you mash, then recirculate everything (including sparge water)? I like the idea of just throwing the sparge water into the recirculation, seems like it would work well.

How many gallons do you brew with this setup (I see you said < 5)? Is the underpowered element the only limitation on going to 5gal?

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Old 08-11-2009, 08:32 PM   #28
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Do you constantly recirculate during the mash, or do you mash, then recirculate everything (including sparge water)? I like the idea of just throwing the sparge water into the recirculation, seems like it would work well.

How many gallons do you brew with this setup (I see you said < 5)? Is the underpowered element the only limitation on going to 5gal?
Unless I'm doing a step (ramp) mash, I don't normally recirculate until the mash is complete. I normally do 3.5 gallon batches. Yes, the 2KW element is the biggest limiting factor on going to 5 gal, but the 5 gal MLT would also limit mash size a bit.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:03 PM   #29
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Thanks JK, you da man.

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Old 08-11-2009, 09:19 PM   #30
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Thanks for the quick response, I might be building something similar to this soon, I only have 120, so that's a limiting factor for me, but I would love to do bigger batches than the 2.5 gal I have been brewing lately.

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