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Old 03-30-2012, 01:14 AM   #1
Budzu
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Mar 2009
Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 747
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I loved JKarp's countertop brewery so much I had to make my own! Now my friends want one too.
This is all based on the familiar design of pump and CFC in a bucket. I recirculate the full mash volume throughout the mash, usually step mashing by using the kettle as a heat source. The temp of the wort is kept even in the kettle by use of a stir plate on a low 5v power supply. The stir plate was built very thin, between two bamboo cutting boards and some 1x2" pine. The single pump transfers wort from the bottom of the kettle up to the top of the mash, turned on and off by a small SS adjustable float switch arm in the kettle.
This gives me incredible step mashing times and a very effective mashout. All resulting in 75% efficiency on the first and only try so far (1.069 gravity).

I can put 4 gallons into my 1/6 bbl sankeys after knockout. The 25' cfc did a wonderful job of closed-circuit cooling and left AWESOME hop aroma in my IPA test batch, made with Zythos hops.

So here's the pics, and cheers and thank you to JKarp for his awesome idea!
cheers buddies









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Old 03-30-2012, 01:23 PM   #2
stubbornman
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Mar 2010
Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 545
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Freakin' Sweet. It's the jkarp bucket on steroids!!!1

Ok, let's build mine.




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Old 03-30-2012, 01:51 PM   #3
iijakii
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Jun 2010
Portland-ish, OR
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Kinda surprised you feel you need the stirbar when you're recirculating the entire mash. I wouldn't have expected that. BUT, I think it's freakin' genius to do something that simple.

I'm building a 240v Brutus20 right now. Can't wait til it's ready.

 
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:59 PM   #4
Budzu
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Mar 2009
Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 747
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stubbornman View Post
Freakin' Sweet. It's the jkarp bucket on steroids!!!1

Ok, let's build mine.


Can't wait buddy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by iijakii View Post
Kinda surprised you feel you need the stirbar when you're recirculating the entire mash. I wouldn't have expected that. BUT, I think it's freakin' genius to do something that simple.

I'm building a 240v Brutus20 right now. Can't wait til it's ready.
Thanks bro, it wasn't that I felt it would need it. I test ran the system without the stirrer. I was hoping that the return tube angle would provide enough motion to even things out. But it turned out that the return flow was much too slow (at an appropriate rate to not compact the mash) to keep the kettle temps even. The top of the liquid in the kettle was reading 5 or more degrees above the lower liquid. That is unnacceptable. The PID becomes pointless with readings like that. I really really did not want to overcomplicate the build by putting in some motor and stir paddle. Then it hit me, why not a stir plate?

I've never seen it before in a kettle but it works just wonderfully. It will work fine on larger kettles too, I use a stir plate on 1/2 bbl sankey kegs as well. I have one going now for a 2 bbl batch at work.

You guys building herms systems should try this out if you don't want to use two pumps.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:18 AM   #5
davidpl
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May 2011
Santiago, Chile
Posts: 12

Hi Budzu,

Awesome desing, congratulations.

Please, Could you explain more details about the solution to avoid a slowly return flow to the HLT, maybe with a couple of pictures?. I couldn't understand the stir plate application, sorry I'm a beginner.

I've recently built the JKarp's desing, but I have problems with a very slowly recirculation flow, despite increase the degrees between the HLT and MLT liquid level, and a more thin mash.

Thanks a lot.

 
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:19 PM   #6
Budzu
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Mar 2009
Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 747
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Hi David,

If I understand, you are having a problem with keeping enough flow out of the mash?

My float switch will turn my pump off when the level of liquid in the kettle gets too low. It will turn back on when the kettle is filled up enough from the mashtun. This allows me to walk away from the system, as long as the pump is flowing slightly faster than the flow from the mashtun.

I will get a picture of the inside of the electrical if that would help you, or describe the relay setup.

I hope this helps, let me know if I'm explaining the wrong thing.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:22 PM   #7
Budzu
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Mar 2009
Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 747
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Hmmm is your problem a stuck mash? Flow going too slow out the false bottom even with the valve opened fully?

If that's the case you should definitely run it slower, and possibly use a more coarse grain crush.
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Old 05-24-2012, 03:26 AM   #8
davidpl
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May 2011
Santiago, Chile
Posts: 12

You're right Budzu, I've had only stuck mashes. I built the Jkarp's desing but with a rectangular manifold, like Palmer recommend. Also, I've used a grain ratio of 1,5 qts/lb and I've increased many times the angle between the MLT outflow and HLT inflow.

Like you recommend me, the next time I want to try with a thinner mash and more coarse grain crush. But I still believe that something is wrong with my build.

Has had anyone a similar problem/solution with the countertop Brutus?

Thanks a lot.

 
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:35 PM   #9
Budzu
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Mar 2009
Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 747
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The manifold shape and mashtun shape might make a big difference as well. Since we are recirculating for so long, a round false bottom that covers the entire bottom of the round mashtun would work better. The flow is more consistent all throughout the mash.
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Old 05-26-2012, 04:05 AM   #10
davidpl
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May 2011
Santiago, Chile
Posts: 12

Dear Budzu,

Unfortunately, in my country the home brewing hobby is recently starting, so I haven't found any stainless false bottom that fit well to my MLT 5 gallon cooler.

another questions:

Your MLT is a 5 gallons coler. Isn't it?
How many pound of grain and what grain ratio do you usually use?
Aren't you using any termocuple nor PID controller?

Thanks a lot.



 
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