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Old 06-12-2012, 06:41 PM   #21
goofiefoot
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Well, lo and behold! I took advantage of a lazy Saturday afternoon and got permission from the wifey to brew a batch while she looked after the baby. I had a large amount of Chinook in the freezer that needed using, so I put together a 10-gallon Arrogant Bastard clone. I didn't take much of an opportunity for a photo shoot, but I did take some quick pics as I went along.

I found a deal on an existing rig on craigslist (Juan, if you see this, thanks again!) that has a PID-controlled mini-HERMS coil. With the dimensions, I could have fit all 3 kegs, but found it easier to start off as a 2-tier system.



My mash tun with a CPVC recirculation arm. I think this will work great once I dial everything in. I ran a 45-minute mash through the HERMS, but got impatient with the heating element, and bumped up the temperature, which suddenly increased my mash temp over my target about halfway through. Not sure how much a difference that will make, but in the future I will trust the PID to do its job.





HLT works great. However, I greatly underestimated my mash out temp and ended up well below 168° for mash out. Even then, I still ended up with 75% mash efficiency. I think that will boost up once I dial it all in.



The keggle boil kettle is SO MUCH more efficient than my 15-gallon Mega Pot. When I have some time I want to officially compare the time to get 12 gallons to boil, and I think the keggle will win by a long shot. Not sure why.



I put together a CPVC whirlpool arm that needs some tweaking. Once the hose was attached, it weighed it down and wouldn't stay straight. I used my copper coil as an immersion chiller and once it was in the kettle, it did wedge in and worked pretty well. Until I messed with it...



I had it in mind that I would leave it unglued so I can take it apart and clean it well. While I was cooling down (luckily right around 80°) I decided to adjust it and it completely came apart, blowing wort all over. I was able to grab the spewing hose and aim it back in the kettle. In the future, I'll make sure it's all solid before I start brewing. I plan to wrap the connecting pieces with teflon tape to make the connections tighter as well.

All in all, I'm glad I was able to brew on the new setup. I have a lot to tweak, but I think this will be so much more efficient than my previous setup in the long run. Stay tuned!

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Old 06-14-2012, 05:49 PM   #22
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I've thought of a few issues/questions over the week.

It's only June and my tap water is already over 80°. I have a pre-chiller on my immersion coil, but even dumping 3 bags of ice over it starting at 110°, I was struggling to get my wort down below 80° - especially since the air temp in my garage was around 100°. If I went with a counterflow or plate chiller, I know I would still need a pre-chiller, but I'm still concerned how long it would take to cool wort down with that warm of tap water. In this case, would I want to look at recirculating my wort through the chiller back into the kettle until I reached proper temp, as opposed to draining through to a fermenter?

Plate chillers seem to be most efficient, but I know there's the worry of clogging with hops and protein. Assuming I can get my whirlpooling to work well, is that all I need, or would I also need some sort of strainer over my pickup as a precaution?

How do y'all keep your hoses clean? I swept my garage before I brewed, but since they make contact with the ground, they felt really gritty every time I picked them up to switch them. I kept a damp washrag on hand to wipe them down, and I'm not terribly concerned with anything getting into the beer, but it seems the silicone was a magnet for grit.

A buddy of mine just offered me his over-engineered 8'x2'x3' wooden workbench on casters that would be perfect for a single-tier base. The rack I have now places the kegs a bit too high for my comfort, and I'd love to have everything on one level, as originally intended. I scanned through the "Show Me Your Wood Rig" thread, but still am not sure the best way to use propane burners and avoid a major fire risk. The bench has a solid MDF top, but I'm thinking about cutting openings for the burners and supporting the kegs with 1" bar tube inserted into the cross supports. I'm open to suggestions.

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Old 06-14-2012, 08:14 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goofiefoot View Post
I've thought of a few issues/questions over the week.

It's only June and my tap water is already over 80°. I have a pre-chiller on my immersion coil, but even dumping 3 bags of ice over it starting at 110°, I was struggling to get my wort down below 80° - especially since the air temp in my garage was around 100°. If I went with a counterflow or plate chiller, I know I would still need a pre-chiller, but I'm still concerned how long it would take to cool wort down with that warm of tap water. In this case, would I want to look at recirculating my wort through the chiller back into the kettle until I reached proper temp, as opposed to draining through to a fermenter?

Plate chillers seem to be most efficient, but I know there's the worry of clogging with hops and protein. Assuming I can get my whirlpooling to work well, is that all I need, or would I also need some sort of strainer over my pickup as a precaution?

How do y'all keep your hoses clean? I swept my garage before I brewed, but since they make contact with the ground, they felt really gritty every time I picked them up to switch them. I kept a damp washrag on hand to wipe them down, and I'm not terribly concerned with anything getting into the beer, but it seems the silicone was a magnet for grit.

A buddy of mine just offered me his over-engineered 8'x2'x3' wooden workbench on casters that would be perfect for a single-tier base. The rack I have now places the kegs a bit too high for my comfort, and I'd love to have everything on one level, as originally intended. I scanned through the "Show Me Your Wood Rig" thread, but still am not sure the best way to use propane burners and avoid a major fire risk. The bench has a solid MDF top, but I'm thinking about cutting openings for the burners and supporting the kegs with 1" bar tube inserted into the cross supports. I'm open to suggestions.
Im going through the same issues as you as far as chilling goes, I use an IC too and it seems like that last 10-15 degrees just wants to take forever! One way I get around it is once I am out of ice (or just sick of waiting), I transfer to the fermentor, and let the wort chill the rest of the way naturally over a couple hours (or overnight) in the ferm chamber. Pitch yeast in the morning.

Even though it works fine, I still feel like that’s not ideal, and have been thinking about picking up a plate chiller instead. I would probably rig it up so that I can recirculate if I wanted, but a lot of people have said they can get their wort down to within a few degrees of the chill water. You should be fine with a pre chiller or pond pump in a bucket of ice water. I don’t think you could get away with just a whirlpool though, you will need something else to filter out the hops material. I built a hop spider, $20 with equipment from Lowes.
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Old 06-18-2012, 06:53 PM   #24
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I use mostly pellet hops. Do the paint strainer bags filter enough for a hop spider to be effective with pellets?

My buddy came through on the wooden workbench. I'll post photos and plans for suggestion later this week.

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Old 08-10-2012, 06:32 PM   #25
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Sorry for the delay in update. The wooden 8'x2' workbench has proved to be a good solution, albeit with more than a few tweaks before I got it up and running.



I had the chance to brew a batch of my Bevo Balzac (say it out loud - it's funny, especially for us UT fans) last night and really try it out. I bought a counterflow chiller from AHS when I picked up my ingredients. My only big problem was chilling, as our tap water is up to about 90° and the air temp was hovering around 100°. I went through about 40 lbs of ice, which worked great while it lasted, however, once it melted away, my end wort temperature began climbing a bit, ending at about 83°. I went ahead and put the fermenter in the chest freezer to cool it down more before I aerated and pitched the yeast. I believe I can tweak the flow rate and ice distribution and fix the issue for summer brewing.

Not including cleanup, my 10-gallon brew took right at 4 hours. I'm very pleased!



I ended up with a bit of scorching on my countertop around the boil kettle. I believe if I can cut away a bit more material, and strategically place some flashing to divert heat wash, it won't be an issue.



HLT works flawlessly through the brew, and came in handy for cleanup, as I added Oxy Clean and heated some water once I started the chill.



My only complaint with the workbench is that it puts the mash tun a bit too high to comfortably stir. I'm 6'3" and can stir it flat-footed, but I found standing on a 6" step I built for my old mash tun made dough-in easier.



All in all, I'm pleased. I look forward to brewing more (and cooler weather).

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Old 08-10-2012, 07:17 PM   #26
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Looking really great. Congrats on your success.

Next step? Go all electric. It's somewhat easy to accomplish.
Just take a look over on the Electric Brewing forum.

If you need a custom diagram, I'll try to help.

P-J

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Old 08-12-2012, 07:07 PM   #27
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Looking really great. Congrats on your success.

Next step? Go all electric. It's somewhat easy to accomplish.
Just take a look over on the Electric Brewing forum.

If you need a custom diagram, I'll try to help.

P-J
I have been thinking about electric since I have a unused 240V connection from my kitchen remodel. The thought of having to drill into my kegs again gives me nightmares, so I'll probably use this system a bit longer before I rethink it.
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:05 PM   #28
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I have been thinking about electric since I have a unused 240V connection from my kitchen remodel. The thought of having to drill into my kegs again gives me nightmares, so I'll probably use this system a bit longer before I rethink it.
Spend the money on a Greenlee punch, your nightmares will go away the first time you use it. I literally just finished punching 8 holes in three kegs, soldering couplers, and cutting the lids off. Took me about 2 hours for all three.
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Old 08-12-2012, 09:07 PM   #29
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By the way, I'd advise against doing all of this when it's 108 degrees outside. I've got sweat in places I'd rather not imagine right now!

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Old 05-30-2013, 02:06 AM   #30
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Fantastic diagrams and explanations - will use this to modify my system to a 2-tier, single-pump HERMS with 2 keggles, 2 burners, and a cooler mash-tun

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