So after a couple months of planning and building, last night I finally got to brew a batch of my Jolly Good ESB on my new system. The brewnight went smoothly, I'm very happy with my new rig. I have taken pictures every step of the process, which I will describe in detail.
After I got the kettle set up and everything plugged in, I filled it with 8.5 gallons of water (calculated using Online BIAB Calculator
I set the PID for my target strike temperature of 158F:
Turned the pump on and let the water recirculate while heating to the target temp. Once at 158F, I set the PID to my mash temp of 152F:
The basket lined with a voile bag went in along with the grain, and it's all mashed in:
After mashing in, the lid went back on, and I started recirculating the mash with the PID still set at 152F:
I'm using BrewHardware's mash recirculation tube for my return - it's an ingenious piece of hardware, highly recommended! Bobby_M modified mine by putting the elbow on the end, which works perfectly. Here it is in action:
It can be positioned whichever way, and folded out of the way after the mash is done as well:
The PID kept mash temps at precisely 152F for an hour, and the pump kept the temperature uniform throughout the mash, exactly as planned. After an hour it's time to remove the grain - I used a grill grate trick:
I decided not to do a mash-out this time just to see what kind of efficiency I get with straight-up BIAB. Since I started with a full volume of water, I did not squeeze the bag either, just let it drain while wort was coming to a boil. The pump is also turned off after the mash. For boiling, I use PID's manual mode, where you set the percentage of output. Initially, it's set at 100% for full power:
Once it comes to a boil (which didn't take long), it can be dialed down. Here's the boil at 75%. One nice thing about a 15 gallon pot - no boilover worries:
After a bit, I actually adjusted the power to 90% to get my boil-off rate up. I may start with a touch less water next time. While the wort was boiling, I set up and connected my whirlpool attachment and the plate chiller, and about 10 minutes before the power-down, I turned the pump back on to circulate boiling wort through all the hoses and fittings to sanitize everything:
After the boil was done, I added my flameout hops, cut power to the elements, and started my chilling pump while continuing to recirculate wort through the whirlpool fitting to promote even cooling:
While the wort is chilling, I can see the temperature readout on the PID. After it was down to 120F, I dumped a bunch of ice into the sink and started recirculating ice water through the chiller. It took about 10 min to get the wort down to 68F from boiling. I got pretty good efficiency - OG was 1.050 with 1.054 projected; about 70%. I'm sure it'll improve with a finer crush and a mash-out:
After the brew was transferred to the fermenter, I dumped leftovers from the kettle, backflushed the plate chiller with hot tap water, and then filled the kettle with a hot Oxyclean solution and circulated it through the entire system (including the plate chiller) for 10 min, followed by another hot water flush. A quick wipe, and everything was clean and shiny again!
Beginning to end, including setting up, cleaning and putting everything away, it took me about 5 hours. I'm definitely looking forward to brewing with this rig!