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Old 09-10-2013, 01:37 AM   #1
schwartzr33
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Default Bad Kitty Brewery eBIAB

I hope people find this documentation useful. First, I'd like to thank P-J for his designs, Kal for the vast amount of information, shuckit and DaSwede for their parts list, and jeffmeh for his explanations. This is a 240V/30A system, with a 20 gallon pot. We've done 4 batches on it and learn something new each time. I'll try to touch on things that have gone well and the things that still need work.

We had central air installed this year and I had an extra 240V/30A GFI outlet dropped in the basement for the electrical. While the electrician was there I also had him place a 120/15 GFI on the wall (under the light) and another one up in rafters for the ventilation.

The house is from 1927 and the brew pot is sitting on a concrete block, that I assume is a platform for an ancient washing machine.

The panel is pretty straightforward, Electric Brewing forum fare. With no kids in the house, the only modification I made to P-J's eBIAB drawing was to use a Auberins push button switch, instead of a key switch.

The inside of the pot is a work in progress. Perhaps the fourth time is the charm? On the first run, the bag got sucked into the pickup tube. 2nd try was a large tea ball, which worked well, until it got massively gunked up and stopped flowing. Third try was a stainless cooling rack--it's sharp edges shredded the bag (that was popular with it's creator, SWMBO) Try number four is pictured: pickup tube running through a small stainless strainer. This worked very well on the first attempt and will be repeated this weekend.

The main problem we are still having is temperature stratification. The bag really seems to block the wort circulation. When heating the mash, the temperature races up 6-8 degrees higher than our target, but some heavy stirring and sloshing of the bag brings things back down to where we want it to be. That is with full-throttle recirculation. The RTD is in the welded fitting (thank you Spike Brewing). I've done some more reading and have moved the RTD to the valve, we'll see if that helps to stabilize the temperature readings.

More to follow...


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Old 09-10-2013, 09:58 PM   #2
AlphaWolf-Brewery
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I use the Blichmann Hopblocker to keep the bag from blocking the tube and it has worked fine.


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Old 09-10-2013, 10:26 PM   #3
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would having just some sort of false bottom work in this thing?
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:35 AM   #4
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Default Bad Kitty Brewery Part II

The first photo shows the ventilation system and bar from which we suspend the bag for drainage. I'm pleased with the vortex fan, 6", 540 CFM. It seems to do a good job venting the steam, the tubing runs about 20' to the dryer vent. Still need to find a Y-connector so the dryer and ventilation tube can be hooked up simultaneously. The hood is a $5 plastic storage container from Menards. A little bit of condensation does drip back into the pot, so we put the lid on the kettle for the last few minutes of the boil.

The bar is black pipe and is suspended using plastic pipe strapping.

The Chugger pump is mounted inside another $5 container to protect the motor from splashes. That has worked really well.

Next is an action shot of sloshing the bag to circulate the wort. This works really well for mixing up the grains, but I wish it wasn't necessary for smoothing out the temperature stratification. We use a siphon clip to hold recirculation hose in place.

Then you can see my brew partner squeezing the snot out of the bag. It is also a good shot of the bag hanging on the carabiner.

Finally, that handsome devil is Harold, the eponymous bad kitty.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:41 AM   #5
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Even with recirculating you have to slosh the bag to equal out temps?
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:52 AM   #6
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Yes, we're still getting stratification even with recirc. It may be because the RTD is mounted at 1" from the bottom, so in close proximity to the element, and the bag/grain keeps the wort from distributing. However, this weekend we are going to try it with the RTD mounted in the valve. If that doesn't work, it maybe time for Plan E, which could be HERMS.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlphaWolf-Brewery View Post
I use the Blichmann Hopblocker to keep the bag from blocking the tube and it has worked fine.
Cool, thanks for the tip. I'd have to change the dip tube, but that is a good solution for keeping the bag from blocking the tube.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat_Maul View Post
would having just some sort of false bottom work in this thing?
It is a 20" pot and I've had a hard time finding a wide, reasonably priced, stainless solution. I'd welcome suggestions. The 14" cheapo cooling rack I tried had sharp edges and shredded the first bag.
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:27 AM   #9
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Check out Arbor Fabricating, they build custom stainless mesh baskets. They are reasonably priced and people seem to be happy with the product.

Here is a thread about the fabricator http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/new-...p-gunk-352293/.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:23 PM   #10
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ChecCheck out Jaybird on here. Hand made, custom false bottoms. Great quality!


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