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Old 03-17-2008, 02:07 PM   #1
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Default Need help with new HLT setup (sorry Long)

Here are the details;
I did an all grain Hefe recipe which I had brewed previously with no issues. I used my new HLT which is a converted keg using Northern Brewer’s weld less valve, with a copper pickup tube I built, and a Northern Brewer’s weld less sight tub/thermo well.
I mounted the sight tube as low as possible in the keg, but of course the bottom dips down well below the sight tube mount. I filled the keg to the point where I could just see water in the tube, then started adding a quart at a time so I could mark the tube in quart increments. I thought about just adding a gallon and then measuring that on the tube and dividing by 4 and marking my quarts, but the keg is dented up enough that I felt it would not be accurate.
1st problem, as I heated the water (about 130-170 degrees) air bubbles started going up the sight tube and pushing water out the top. It only did a couple ounces, but still I don’t like the idea of hot water coming out the top of the sight tube.
2nd problem, once I stopped heating the water, the level in the sight tube sat higher than it was when I filled the HLT, which I’m sure threw off my water measurements.
3rd problem, how to account for the water in the hoses and pump? Example; I need a gallon, so I run the pump and watch as the mark on my sight tube goes down by 1 gallon and stop pumping. But, how much of that 1 gallon is still in the lines?
4th problem, at the end of mashing/sparging, I ended up with 1.5 gallons more wort than I should have (based on recipe done in BeerSmith, which is one I did before with no issues). I believe this caused me to miss my target OG (1.047), I hit only 1.032.
Any help on the above issues would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-17-2008, 09:27 PM   #2
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Anyone???????

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Old 03-17-2008, 10:34 PM   #3
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Lets see if I can give you any insight.
You say you have a weldless valve and pickup tube. Does this tube go to the bottom of the keg? I'm thinking yes. Then you filled the water up until it showed on the tub and then started counting. But with a pickup tube you will pull almost all the water out. This is what gave you more water.

The next problem of the water showing high on the tube after heating is normal. Hot water takes up more space. As it cools it shrinks.


As for how much water in the hoses, that is all depended on the size and lenght of hose.

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Old 03-17-2008, 11:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
I mounted the sight tube as low as possible in the keg, but of course the bottom dips down well below the sight tube mount. I filled the keg to the point where I could just see water in the tube, then started adding a quart at a time so I could mark the tube in quart increments.
Two ways to look at this. If you start calibrating at the start of the sight glass, you'll have to disregard the residual water (probably 3 gallons) and never drain past that mark. On the other hand, you can add a gallon at a time until the mark is visible, and tick that with the ACTUAL volume. That way you'll know what a full draining will yield from wherever you are "now". You can see how this is different and more accurate. Just because you can't see the level, you still have water in there.

Quote:
I thought about just adding a gallon and then measuring that on the tube and dividing by 4 and marking my quarts, but the keg is dented up enough that I felt it would not be accurate.
You'd be ballpark enough as long as the gallon ticks were exact. What's half a quart up or down anyway.


Quote:
1st problem, as I heated the water (about 130-170 degrees) air bubbles started going up the sight tube and pushing water out the top. It only did a couple ounces, but still I don’t like the idea of hot water coming out the top of the sight tube.
I fixed this problem on mine by putting a very short nipple on the inside of the keg. It discourages rising bubbles from making the detour into the sight.


Quote:
2nd problem, once I stopped heating the water, the level in the sight tube sat higher than it was when I filled the HLT, which I’m sure threw off my water measurements.
Heat expansion. Nothing you can do but "know" about it.


Quote:
3rd problem, how to account for the water in the hoses and pump? Example; I need a gallon, so I run the pump and watch as the mark on my sight tube goes down by 1 gallon and stop pumping. But, how much of that 1 gallon is still in the lines?
Start with more water in the HLT than you'll ultimately need. Let the liquid drain into the pump and fill most of the output hose. It will actually level itself to the level in the HLT like water always wants to do. Now, note the level on the sight and kick the pump on until the level drops the volume you intend to move. When you hit the mark and kill the pump, the water that was in the plumbing when you started will still be in there. If you intend to switch the pump and hoses over to recirculate the mash, you need to know how much volume that actually is because it does contribute to your mash thickness.


Quote:
4th problem, at the end of mashing/sparging, I ended up with 1.5 gallons more wort than I should have (based on recipe done in BeerSmith, which is one I did before with no issues).
I have no idea on this one.
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Old 03-17-2008, 11:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JnJ
1st problem, as I heated the water (about 130-170 degrees) air bubbles started going up the sight tube and pushing water out the top. It only did a couple ounces, but still I don’t like the idea of hot water coming out the top of the sight tube.
.
I solved this by putting a heat shield under the site tube exit, the heat was coming up around the keg and heating the actual weldless fitting causing boiling in the tube. Installed small heat shield....no more problem
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:36 AM   #6
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By overshooting your wort you can just boil it out to make it more concentrated.

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Old 03-18-2008, 01:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
Two ways to look at this. If you start calibrating at the start of the sight glass, you'll have to disregard the residual water (probably 3 gallons) and never drain past that mark.
This is exactly what I planned to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
On the other hand, you can add a gallon at a time until the mark is visible, and tick that with the ACTUAL volume. That way you'll know what a full draining will yield from wherever you are "now". You can see how this is different and more accurate. Just because you can't see the level, you still have water in there.
The problem I see with this is, if you know you have "3 gallons" below the level, and at that point you need a quart, you have no way of measuring that correctly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
You'd be ballpark enough as long as the gallon ticks were exact. What's half a quart up or down anyway.
I may go back and do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
I fixed this problem on mine by putting a very short nipple on the inside of the keg. It discourages rising bubbles from making the detour into the sight.
Thanks, I'll try this.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
Heat expansion. Nothing you can do but "know" about it.
Ok. This may be where my excess wort came from, because I still drained down to my mark, before the level raised.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
Start with more water in the HLT than you'll ultimately need. Let the liquid drain into the pump and fill most of the output hose. It will actually level itself to the level in the HLT like water always wants to do. Now, note the level on the sight and kick the pump on until the level drops the volume you intend to move. When you hit the mark and kill the pump, the water that was in the plumbing when you started will still be in there. If you intend to switch the pump and hoses over to recirculate the mash, you need to know how much volume that actually is because it does contribute to your mash thickness.
Excellent idea, thanks!!
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellybuster
I solved this by putting a heat shield under the site tube exit, the heat was coming up around the keg and heating the actual weldless fitting causing boiling in the tube. Installed small heat shield....no more problem
I'll try this if bobby's suggestion doesn't work, thanks.
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slimer
By overshooting your wort you can just boil it out to make it more concentrated.
Yup, hind sight being 20/20, I'll remember that next time. I really should have taken a gravity reading before putting the wort in the carboy and adding the yeast.

Thanks.
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FSR402
The next problem of the water showing high on the tube after heating is normal. Hot water takes up more space. As it cools it shrinks.
Now I know, thanks!
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