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Old 08-14-2012, 08:02 PM   #1
Tbonemth
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Default AG Build : Need Advice

Hey everyone. I am working through a build list that I will need when expanding my brewing operations.

Currently thinking of going to a single tier AG setup with two pumps. One for wort movement and one for strike/recirculate cold water w/ a plate chiller from the HLT after a boil is finished.

Extract setup as of now:
7 gal pot
Turkey Fryer + Stand
50' copper coil IC
2 6.5 gal glass carboys
1 5 gal glass carboy
Currently bottling everything

I have done measurements an made a plan for a stand. I am having a local steel place do all the cuts for the pieces for my stand, and a buddy of mine will be doing the welding for me.

I am going to try and simplify enough with out overly complicating things.
Adding pumps to assist in beer movement and cooling, but sticking with manually monitored and fired burners and vessels and planning on re-using the existing burner for heating the one keggle (HLT) and the carboys for fermentation.

I think I am ditching the IC and moving to a plate chiller. Mainly to cut down water use (ice bath recirculation from HLT after boil) and time.


My next setup I am looking to do the following:

Dual fired (HLT & Boil kettle) propane Single Tier, Batch Sparging, 5 gal batches.

HLT : 50l Guinness Keggle
MLT : 10 gal igloo Cooler
Boil Kettle: 50l Guinness Keggle

Two pumps: March High Temp self Priming (one moving wort/beer, one moving strike water and then recirculating the cooling water to/from the plate chiller)

Hoses (7 x 4' Silicone) with quick disconnects
Valves: Total of 5: 2 HLT (return, lower drain), 1 MLT (lower drain), 2 HLT (whirlpool/return, lower drain)

Have the following questions:

1. I am assuming I can pump directly from HLT to MLT and just throw the hose into the top of the MLT and fill it with what ever volume of water I need for mash. I am looking to batch sparge. Will this work?

2. Thinking of going screen instead of false bottom on the MLT for nothing more than savings and ease of cleaning. Is one or the other better for mash effency or is there no difference?

3. pumping from MLT to Boil Kettle, can the inlet be the bottom valve where I will drain the boil kettle to cool and move to fermentation? Or do I need to use a second valve higher up the keggle and then also use that for whirl pooling?

4. If I am looking to whirlpool with a valve during cooling, and to fill from the MLT, should it be higher up the keggle or lower?

5. When cooling using a plate chiller, do I need a mesh screen/false bottom in the boil kettle to avoid getting trub/hops clogged in the plate chiller? Suggestions?



I have acquired the following for the AG setup so far:

2 x 50l Guinness Euro Kegs
igloo 10 gal cooler
2 Sixtels
Kegerator
various fittings/valves
plans for single tier stand
angle grinder and cut off wheels to cut keggles

I Need the following:
burner
2 x March Pump
Hose
Quick Discos for keggles/mlt, pumps, hoses
MLT screen/false bottom
boil kettle screen/false bottom
plate chiller
various fittings/valves
gas line/pipe to plum two burner setup back to 1 tank

Add to the list if you think I would need it.

Sorry for all the questions, but I figured I would ask first and save some headaches/money later.

Thanks in advance for any answers/suggestions/changes.

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Old 08-15-2012, 04:31 AM   #2
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1: Everything I've read says Yes. Even when you batch sparge you can just lay a tube on top of the grain bed.

2: Depends on the cost of the false bottom IMHO. You save maybe $20. I've not used the screen/bazooka method but i love my morebeer false bottom. In either case i recommend bargainfittings for cheap weldless valves.

3: Probably depends on the pump. I am not qualified to answer.

4: er, i don't understand. If you have a successful whirlpool. the sediment will be bottom center of the kettle, right? So you want low, so you can draw off all of the wort. But you wanted low anyway. please explain if this answer is confusing.

5: Filtering is probably a paramount concern, but, not qualified to answer.

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Old 08-15-2012, 01:17 PM   #3
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I am going with bargainfittings for most if not all my hardware.

4. Sorry, I re-read that and I guess it was a little confusing. I am wondering if I should have the whirlpool/return up high or down low on the boil kettle. I have seen both, and don't know if there is a benefit or not to where it is placed.

Thanks for the thoughts and answers. I will see what everyone else has to say also... Anyone else have any suggestions or thoughts?

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Old 08-15-2012, 05:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbonemth View Post
I am going with bargainfittings for most if not all my hardware.

4. Sorry, I re-read that and I guess it was a little confusing. I am wondering if I should have the whirlpool/return up high or down low on the boil kettle. I have seen both, and don't know if there is a benefit or not to where it is placed.

Thanks for the thoughts and answers. I will see what everyone else has to say also... Anyone else have any suggestions or thoughts?
I have essentially the same setup that you are building. I use my IC as a HERMS coil in my old turkey fryer pot (which is my HLT). I use 2 pumps also and use Kent quick disconnects, they are great and relatively inexpensive.

I heat strike water in the kettle while I heat the HLT, then pump from the kettle into the MLT, get my HERMS circulation going (pump priming issues sometimes!), then dough in once I know the HERMS is online.

For my sparge and whirlpool arms I use LocLine, it's flexible and easy to work with.

With my 10 gallon cooler and turkey fryer HLT I can increase temperature at about 2 degrees per minute which allows for temp. infusion mashing...you do have to build a bypass setup so you can divert around the HERMS when your temps are where you want them (I use a simple "H" pattern of copper with 2 ball valves and a thermometer).
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Old 08-15-2012, 06:58 PM   #5
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1. Yup, been doing it for almost a decade...gravity feed instead of pump though.

2. Have you considered a copper manifold? I tried a screen once and didn't like it at all and false bottoms are expensive. If you were doing something like a direct fire mash tun than I'd say false bottom, otherwise, no. I have used a copper manifold for years in both a 5 gallon igloo and a 10 gallon rectangular cooler

3. I'm too visual and can't picture what you are talking about...I'd diagram out your configuration on paper, I bet you redo it a dozen times before you really get it down.

4. mid level should be fine, whirlpooling is gentle, you don't want a literal whirlpool, rather a very gentle rotation of the wort.

5. I would

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Old 08-15-2012, 07:02 PM   #6
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I wonder how well recirculating will work with a screen...I'm skeptical. Also the manifold. I was under the impression the majority of HERMS guys used FB's??

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Old 08-15-2012, 07:04 PM   #7
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Yes, you need some serious hop / trub filtration if you're going to be using a plate chiller.

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Old 08-17-2012, 06:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbonemth View Post
I have done measurements an made a plan for a stand. I am having a local steel place do all the cuts for the pieces for my stand, and a buddy of mine will be doing the welding for me.
Look around for some of the designs where they have fins that raise the kettle above the frame for proper burner operation. It should look like a restaurant burner, for a reason. The BRUTUS has a serious design flaw regarding this. There is a rancher on here, from Durant, OK I think, that built a stand cheaper and better than most designs I have seen. Country folk are much more practical than us city slickers. If you can't find it with a search, I can probably track the thread down.

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I think I am ditching the IC and moving to a plate chiller. Mainly to cut down water use (ice bath recirculation from HLT after boil) and time.
There is nothing wrong with an IC, and they are easier to clean. Most plate chillers are used where they want to go straight to the fermenter like a CFC, not recirc back into the kettle. How you want to deal with aroma additions and/or hop backing should be the deciding factor of what type of chiller you use. Water/ice use will not be that different with a plate chiller. The hot water can be used for cleanup, or to water the yard. Use the money for the plate chiller to buy some kegging gear.

Using all ice is cost prohibitive, and unnecessary. Chill with tap water until the return is ~30F higher than tap temp, then switch to an open ice bath recirc. Refilling the bath with tap temp water until the return is lower temp than tap temp will save even more ice.

When using an IC, agitate the wort during chiling using a pump or mechanical means to increase heat transfer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbonemth View Post
Two pumps: March High Temp self Priming (one moving wort/beer, one moving strike water and then recirculating the cooling water to/from the plate chiller)
Get the center inlet model of the pump size commonly used, either March, Little Giant, or Chugger (SS for plastic price). Self priming centrifugal mag pumps have a reservoir that will add to losses and make cleanup more difficult. The inline models flow less and are harder to prime than the center inlet models. The pumps are exactly the same except for the mold for the cover.

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2. Thinking of going screen instead of false bottom on the MLT for nothing more than savings and ease of cleaning. Is one or the other better for mash effency or is there no difference?
If you are going to recirc for long periods (RIMS, HERMS), a false bottom is better.

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4. If I am looking to whirlpool with a valve during cooling, and to fill from the MLT, should it be higher up the keggle or lower?
For the WP return, you can use a tube with a bent elbow (like a racking cane) held against the wall of the kettle (no hole in the kettle, just inserted from the top). Jamil has one that is attached to his IC, but its purpose is more for agitation during chilling than a true WP, though it does create a trub cone.

Whirlpooling requires a smooth outer wall and bottom to work properly, so the tube should be removed for spin down. That is why commercial WPs have tangential inlets with no protrusions. They are usually ~1/3 of the way up to prevent disturbing the pile of heavy stuff during active pumping. The fine stuff settles during spin down.

For homebrew scale using keggles, spinning the wort with a spoon for ~15 sec works as good or better than pumping. This is post chill recirc or IC chiller removal.

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5. When cooling using a plate chiller, do I need a mesh screen/false bottom in the boil kettle to avoid getting trub/hops clogged in the plate chiller? Suggestions?
If you want to WP/recirc chill with large amounts of leaf hops during cooling, you will need to suck from well above the bottom. Sucking from the top, and injecting toward the bottom seems like the most straight forward. I have seen a design that uses two tubes with bent elbows inserted from the top of the kettle.

A false bottom will prevent proper WPing, but can serve as a decent filter bed if using leaf hops (no WP'ing required).
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:01 PM   #9
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Get a good false bottom if you do dont go cheap on it, i've read stories of peoples false bottoms collapsing under the weight of large grain bills. I can only imagine what a nightmare that must be. Most of those are probably homemade ones for rectangular coolers, but sounds horrible regardless

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