My AG Rig - 1550 "Lite"
I wanted to post my 5G AG rig. I call it the 1550 "lite", because it is based on the B3 1550 and uses the same staggered 3 tier set-up, as well as the 1 pump + gravity fly sparge technique. It is about 4' wide, 2' deep, and as you can see, only as tall as 2 5 gallon collers stacked on top of one another. I would say the top of the mash tun is about 4-1/2' high, and I can easily see into it and stir with no ladder/step required.
The "Lite" moniker is used, because unlike a real 1550 sculpture, which is built from steel, mine is made out of wood. Additionally, I only required 1 burner, and I was able to integrate my SQ 14 right into the rig. Using 1 burner requires one extra pump transfer (sparge water is brought up to temp in the kettle while the mash is resting and transfered via pump to the blue HLT), but eliminates a huge fire hazard.
The first set of pics show parts of the rig that I feel are a bit unique, and the second set shows connections for three key brew day processes.
Pic 1 - the rig
You will notice the kettle and burner on the left, and the orange MLT and blue HLT on the right. The pump, the water filter, and the GFCI are also visable.
Pic 2 - EZ Prime Pump
I have not seen another pump plumbed like this. We all know how difficult it is to get these things primed. By adding a SS tee to the inlet, I was able to add a third (and 4th) valve. Before I run the pump, I open all the required valves for the transfer. That third valve (on the left of the tee) is opened slowly before the pump is turned on, and I allow the 5' of vinyl tube to fill with liquid. Once filled, I elevate the vinyl tube, driving liquid back through the system, forcing out all of the air. The pump and silicone tubing are now completely void of air, and it runs great, every time. Hence - EZ Prime.
Pic 3/4 - Mash Tun
I tapped the top of my tun with an extra valve. I have seen this on kettles, but never before on a round cooler. This is where liquid always enters the tun. The extra valve allows me to regulate strike water at dough in (so hitting mash temps is controlled, rather than an "Infuse and Pray" method). Additionally, the valve is used to control the fluid dynamics of the mash during the 10 minute mash out recirculation. Wort can only leave the tun as fast as I allow it to re-enter, so I avoid compressing the grain bed during recirc by controlling the fluid at the point of re-entry. Also, the tubing at the top of the tun promotes a gentle whirlpool during the recirc and the sparge - no need to "rain" water down on the mash. All bulkheads and taps are made using the Blichmann Style "O-ring inside washer" method. It is completely leak free, and I never have to worry about torquing against an o-ring or over tightening/compressing. It is completely different from the sealing concept used on any of the other bulkheads on the market. See Kal's electric brewery or my thread about "Blichmann Style Bulkheads Made Easy" for a better description. Finally, I just upgraded to a SS false bottom I purchases from Ed at BMW. I had some reservations because people mentioned difficulty clearing the wort, but those reservations dissapeared yesterday. I brewed with it for the first time and worked better than advertised. I can see how it would be easy to compress the grainbed using a false bottom, but I am sure that with a little experience, anyone can have great success with it. And from a filter standpoint - the false bottom/braid is only there to seperate the liquid from the grain; it is not the filter. The bed filters itself. With a good crush, and a 10 minute recirc, I had crystal clear wort. So please, stop blaming the false bottoms.
And here are the pics that illustrate the above descriptions.