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John Crilly

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Between Brews – DIY Keggle Mash Tun / Lauter Tun Build

Pleased with the HLT/heat exchanger project shown in a previous article, my friend Rick asked me to help him with his MLT build. We used the same techniques and many of the same components for this phase of his three vessel brewing system. This was the simplest kettle of the project, requiring only two 13/16” holes, so it was completed very quickly. He already had a domed false bottom with 3/8” dip tube so we used those. He had a nice clamping sparge arm on hand, so we didn't have to install anything for the input feed. Because of the domed false bottom we did not install a sight glass, as there would be no grain-free region from which to feed it. If he decides later to switch to a full false bottom, we will at the same time change to a 1/2” compression bulkhead and dip tube and will add a sight glass. [/hide]

Between Brews: Mounting and Motorizing Your Grain Mill

I really, really like my Monster Mill 3+. It is a little heavy to carry around, though, and it feels unstable when sitting on a bucket with a heavy drill motor hanging off the side. I knew that I wanted to make a permanent mounting with a fixed drive for it. That meant that I had to select a suitable motor and platform. Here is how to go about motorizing your grain mill. The Right Motor For Motorizing Your Grain Mill The motor must have sufficient torque to keep the mill rollers operating smoothly under load. When motorizing your mill, you need to have it either operate at a relatively low rpm (200 rpm is about right) or have a reduction system added to achieve the correct rate. DC motors can be speed controlled but this adds complexity and reduces available torque. The effective speed of an AC motor can be reduced by sheaves and a belt, or by a gear reduction unit. I didn't want to get involved with fabricating a belt guard so I decided to go with a gear reduction unit. The...

Between Brews: DIY HLT and Heat Exchanger

I have been using a combo HLT/heat exchanger since I added HERMS (Heat Exchanger Recirculating Mash System) to my original gravity feed brew rig. A friend had an old keg and wanted something just like mine so I offered to do the conversion for him, essentially duplicating my original build. I don't weld so it would have to use weld-less fittings like those I used for mine; if you have the technology you could swap in welded fittings for those described in this article. [/hide]

Between Brews: Controlling Gas Fired Burners Pt 2

In the first segment I described the necessary plumbing and valves to make low pressure gas (either LP or natural gas) burners electrically controllable. To achieve control, we need to be able to apply 24VAC when we want flame, and to remove the voltage source when we don’t want flame. In this segment I will show various means by which such a system can be controlled and the differences between them. [/hide]

Between Brews: Controlling Gas Fired Burners

manifold Each gas valve is mounted directly to a tee connector via a short pipe nipple. Don't forget the dope. Mount the burners wherever and however you choose. Connect a short flexible gas line from each valve to its respective burner. Make sure each valve has the proper regulator spring installed for the fuel you are using. Mount the pilot assembly as directed in the instructions and connect the gas and thermocouple lines (make sure you installed the correct orifice; it comes with both). For propane, rig a low pressure regulator to feed the manifold; for natural gas, just connect a gas line to the manifold. CHECK FOR LEAKS! At this point you can supply gas and light the pilots. If all goes well there, it is time to get the burners going. To do that, we will need the pilots to be lit and 24VAC applied to the solenoid valve. I used a Honeywell AT140A1000 transformer to source the 24VAC; it easily supplies all three valves at once. You will hear a significant “click” as the...
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