Boil kettle condenser - no overhead ventilation needed

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Franktalk

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Remember, on your first brews when you are dialing in you can always dilute, but it isn't so easy to increase gravity, except adding extract. So, figure that your boil off is going to be less than you're used to. My boil off is only 5% for a one hour boil. You may not be that low, but plan that you will be much lower than you were previously getting.
 

Bobby_M

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I have the TC x-dry in stock. If you go TC, I would put the TC EZclean valve on the output port. The hoses would all connect with 1.5" TC x 5/8" barb adapters on the ends of 1/2" ID silicone tubing.

Bobby
 

GuldTuborg

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I may have missed the obvious, so forgive me if this is covered elsewhere.

Assuming a standard 15 gallon kettle, how much usable volume can I expect to lose if I add a 1.5" TC port at the top for one of these condenser units? I'm considering going this route, but just want to consider any changes it might make to my system.
 

Franktalk

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I may have missed the obvious, so forgive me if this is covered elsewhere.

Assuming a standard 15 gallon kettle, how much usable volume can I expect to lose if I add a 1.5" TC port at the top for one of these condenser units? I'm considering going this route, but just want to consider any changes it might make to my system.
It depends on how vigorous your boil is. I'm of the mind that a low boil makes a better beer and that a too vigorous boil stresses the wort at the expense of malt flavor and heading compounds. So I boil so that there is only slow roll on the surface and good movement of the wort within the boil. My electrical controller is set at around 35%, and my boil-off is between 5-6%. Starting with 6.25 gals and ending up with just over 5.75. So if you are starting with 11 gallons you might end up with 10-10.25. It is totally up to your boiling level.

If you are not already convinced about the advantage of a low boil check out this seminar given by Martin Brungard:
...
 

fragged

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I may have missed the obvious, so forgive me if this is covered elsewhere.

Assuming a standard 15 gallon kettle, how much usable volume can I expect to lose if I add a 1.5" TC port at the top for one of these condenser units? I'm considering going this route, but just want to consider any changes it might make to my system.
Depends on your kettle dimensions. I put my port on the lid so that I didn't lose any. My kettle is about an inch per gallon, so if I would have put it on the side my new max would be 2-3 gallons less. 1.5 inch for the port, .5 inch to space it from the rim plus a little more room so that boiling doesn't cause liquid flow into the port.

I'd note that putting it in the lid creates a different set of problems, mainly sealing and stability. I now have a couple pounds of stuff hanging off the side of a thin 17.5 inch lid, so I have to clamp the lid down with spring clamps.
 
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Bobby_M

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Figure at least a 1/2" gap between the top and the top edge of the TC port and then another 1.5" so you'll lose roughly 2" of headroom in the kettle. However, also keep in mind you'll have half the boil off rate that you're used to so figure out what you need preboil with that reduced loss and see if you can spare the 2".
 

Zenmeister

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Here's a picture of mine. I have a 20-gallon Spike kettle, and You can see the volume markings in the background. I will usually get 18.5 gallons MAX, but have never really tried to push it beyond that. This was the closest to the top Spike would make it, but it is alright by me.
Boil Kettle.jpg
 

GuldTuborg

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Thanks guys.

I know there are some tradeoffs. Condenser means less boil off, therefore less overall volume of wort necessary to put in the kettle to begin with for the same quantity into the fermentor. I just wanted a rough estimate, and knowing the height difference should enable me to make some rough calculations.

I'm still a little bit torn about lid versus side of the kettle placement, but I suppose I'll figure it out. Concerns include ease of hop additions, ease of immersion chiller use, cost of additional ports and/or connectors, and the like. I'm suffering from a bit of paralysis by analysis, partially because this is all new to me.

Edit: for those who have a condenser in the lid or side of pot: any reason, after doing it, you'd want to switch? Any factors in the decision I'm overlooking?
 
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DuncB

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fragged

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Thanks guys.

I know there are some tradeoffs. Condenser means less boil off, therefore less overall volume of wort necessary to put in the kettle to begin with for the same quantity into the fermentor. I just wanted a rough estimate, and knowing the height difference should enable me to make some rough calculations.

I'm still a little bit torn about lid versus side of the kettle placement, but I suppose I'll figure it out. Concerns include ease of hop additions, ease of immersion chiller use, cost of additional ports and/or connectors, and the like. I'm suffering from a bit of paralysis by analysis, partially because this is all new to me.

Edit: for those who have a condenser in the lid or side of pot: any reason, after doing it, you'd want to switch? Any factors in the decision I'm overlooking?

Lid here, as mentioned earlier. I wouldn't move mine, but with a caveat*. I use 2 spring clamps to hold the lid. My port is near the edge of the lid, so it is heavy on one side, the whole condenser assembly is a few pounds. The clamps go on the other side. To add hops, I take the clamps off while holding the condenser(with a rag, it's hot 🔥). Lift up, put the hops in and put it back on, replace clamps - easy peasy.

*I like that I have full use of my kettle size(17 gallons). If I BIAB 10 gallons, it's needed. That said, if my kettle were bigger or I only needed ~14 gallons capacity I would mount it on the side. No dicken around with the clamps that way.

I switched from IC to counterclockwise when going to the condenser. If I hadn't, I don't think the last <15 minutes with the lid off would be too big of a deal to sanitize it.
 

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When looking into what size nozzle to use, should you also put inconsideration of water temp? I’m asking because my last 2 brews I have had issues with boil overs. First one was a nightmare, second one, I only lost about .10 gallons,before i shut the system off, swapped over to a 9gpm nozzle and finished my boil (15 min left) with no further issues.
Or could it be from a dirty nozzle? If the nozzle is dirty, any suggestions on what to use to clean it? I typically used the 6gpm nozzle from brew hardware.

thanks
 

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I'd imagine water temp plays a role, the cooler it is the better it should help condensing.

I have an electric brewer (Anvil Foundry) and adjust the % power to ensure that the water coming out isn't hot. It's a subjective thing of course but if that water and the bottom of the pipe it comes out of aren't uncomfortably hot to the touch then I'm happy.

I think it's a thing more with how hard you are boiling. I run the Anvil at 70% (240V) and it's got a good boil inside, it's bouncing some, but nothing insane (also subjective). I also use some Fermcap just in case, and I have 2.5 - 3 gallons of space above the liquid level as well to help.

I ran 85% once, and did have beer coming out the condenser. Just had to back off the power and I was good to go. It reduces how much you boil off of course, but I compensated for that since I cared more about not having a boilover or some other worse accident.
 

Redpappy

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My set up - 10g spike kettle, 240V system running a 550 element. Once boil is achieved I run at 20% power. I brew in my basement, ambient temp is roughly 68F. Not sure what my water temp is, head space is usually 3 gallons ( I usually start my boil at around the 7 gal mark. ). I use a Auber Cube controller ( a hair over a year old)
 

oakbarn

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since I wasted too much time the last couple days and didn't pull the trigger on one of the last two slayers @Bobby_M had in stock , it looks like I'm gonna DIY this for my Anvil.
I know the typical set-up for the Anvil has been to hang over the side, but has anyone configured it to be higher to get the clearance vs longer to get it over the side?
Not sure if it matters much, but paralysis by analysis has been kinda my thing lately.....hence missing out on one of the last slayers lol
I got mine (2) from Bobby months ago. I had Ports added to my Brew Kettles and can't wait to try them. Just getting it all set up again with my Electricity finally in the barn!
 

WESBREW

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Yeah I think it’s the power.. could be the nozzle is too high or too low. I use the 9gph and it works perfect. Using a 5500w element in 15g kettle, I’m using 22% power in 5.5 gallon batches, 34% on 10-11g batches
 

Brewbuzzard

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First, I think it is your power cycle. After the boil starts I drop to 50% to 55%. I have 27 gal pots with 240v 5500 watts.
To clean the nozzle (spray tip) which I believe is metal, use a utility knife and push the point into the face of the slot while rinsing with water. Same way you unclog an airless sprayer spray tip.
 

tracer bullet

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I meant to add cleaning - I dip mine in IPA (isopropyl alcohol) then blow it off. Seems to be working, no corrosion or spray pattern change. IPA mixes with water and also it dries away not leaving anything behind.
 

Redpappy

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I meant to add cleaning - I dip mine in IPA (isopropyl alcohol) then blow it off. Seems to be working, no corrosion or spray pattern change. IPA mixes with water and also it dries away not leaving anything behind.
All you use is ISO? I deal with ISO a lot, so I understand the drying properties, however not sure about the cleaning properties for minerials.
Do you blow it off with a compressor?
 

Redpappy

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First, I think it is your power cycle. After the boil starts I drop to 50% to 55%. I have 27 gal pots with 240v 5500 watts.
To clean the nozzle (spray tip) which I believe is metal, use a utility knife and push the point into the face of the slot while rinsing with water. Same way you unclog an airless sprayer spray tip.
You are doing 27 gal, which in theory should require more power to boil. So I’m thinking the power I’m using is correct, but adjustments can be made, in which I may need to do for the seasons…,

I did grab a zip tie (stripped the papper off) and play with my tip….. I did run water through the sprayer, and it seemed to be unstructured.
 

tracer bullet

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All you use is ISO? I deal with ISO a lot, so I understand the drying properties, however not sure about the cleaning properties for minerials.
Do you blow it off with a compressor?
I'm not really trying to remove minerals. I'm going on the idea that if I remove the water before it dries, I won't collect any minerals. Blowing it off with a little can of keyboard duster I happened to have.

Seems to be working so far... after about 10 brews, doing this every time shortly afterwards, I haven't seen a change in the spray pattern (I actually checked it the last time I brewed, earlier this week).
 
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Not sure how a nozzle will affect boil-overs. Obviously this wasn’t designed for those but a size port can add the advantage of a pathway for a small boil-over to escape with less chaos. A larger nozzle can either flush more or cause more back-up. Dunno.

All nozzles will eventually oxidize or scale with minerals. I think a proper attention there is a good idea, like a little soak in acid to remove mineral build-up. If there is oxidation (rust) a brush can remove it but at some point the spray pattern will become less effective and it will need replacing.
 

Brewbuzzard

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Not sure how a nozzle will affect boil-overs. Obviously this wasn’t designed for those but a size port can add the advantage of a pathway for a small boil-over to escape with less chaos. A larger nozzle can either flush more or cause more back-up. Dunno.

All nozzles will eventually oxidize or scale with minerals. I think a proper attention there is a good idea, like a little soak in acid to remove mineral build-up. If there is oxidation (rust) a brush can remove it but at some point the spray pattern will become less effective and it will need replacing.
If you're not sure how a nozzle will affect a boil- over and you use the steam slayer or other brand shut off the water to the nozzle and find out. 🤔
 

Deric

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Recently put together a new "small batch" BIAB rig. Brewed 2 batches and numbers were dialed in.

Added a Steam Slayer. Ran a test to measure "boil off" but was fiddling with power % and water flow the hole time so might not be accurate.

Brewed twice with Steam Slayer. Both times my pre-boil gravity was dead on but post boil was WAY low so I assume I'm not getting the boil off I thought. Was learning new equipment first time and didn't keep good notes. Second time got all but "pre-boil volume". Post-boil volume was higher than expected.

So... I need to run more tests but I noticed my boil temp was Higher than normal. 215 vs 212. I'm pretty much at sea level.

Is it logical to think: Since boil temp was higher than normal I have "pressure" vs a "vacuum" ?

Run off from the Steam Slayer is warm to hot. I have the 6 GPH sprayer installed but also have the 9 GPH if needed.

To increase boil off: More power/heat? More power/heat and water flow? Just more water flow?

Don't know my water pressure but the local Lowe's says they have a gauge in stock so will pick one up tomorrow.

IMG_8618.jpg
 
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Brewbuzzard

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It looks like you have an eZboil in the control panel. You might want to check the settings, there is a value you can set that compensates for overshoot (manual). That could account for the higher temperature. Before I installed the steam slayer I had 15% evaporation now I have about 5%. I had to adjust my grain bills to retain the correct specs in the beers.
I would think the 6gal/min nozzle is enough for your kettle size. Do a water only test and see what it comes out to.
 

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I have an Anvil Foundry and filled it up with water to a normal-ish level, got it to temp (just below boiling) to get more accurate pre / post measurements (so I wouldn't have to account for volume change with temperature), and then ran 60 minute tests at varying power levels. In the end I found a boil-off rate that I could use and it's been really accurate. Just had to do the up-front work.

My lid has a small hole for their recirculation pipe to go into. I leave it open just in case, it feels like a safety thing. It might be hurting my actual boil-off but I'm OK with that, I have no concerns now about something imploding or exploding.

(240V Anvil 6.5 at 70% power = .5 gallons / hour)
 

Deric

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Thanks for the input. I realize I can just start with less water - I have already adjusted my boil off rate in BeerSmith but likely need to lower it more. Was at 1.1 gal/hr pre-condenser and lowered to .62 gal/hr. Likely need to go a little lower.

This last batch my pre-boil gravity was 1.051 and post boil was 1.052 so obviously not boiling off much. Seems like it should be getting a few points more with a 60 min boil??

Not sure if the high temp reading during boil means anything or not.. I do not recall it being that high when I was doing water tests but I may have just missed it. Obviously time for more testing...
 

tracer bullet

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This last batch my pre-boil gravity was 1.051 and post boil was 1.052 so obviously not boiling off much. Seems like it should be getting a few points more with a 60 min boil??
That doesn't sound right... When you take a gravity reading, be sure 1) It's thoroughly mixed wort and 2) scoop a little into something and have it sit for a minute to let some solids drop out of it and cool a bit. Don't wait forever but I find I get more consistent and sensible readings to let it sit a bit.

For boil off rates I'd just use water and set some time aside for the experiment. And suggest always measuring levels changes at the same temperature as each other so you don't have to deal with expansion.
 

Deric

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I do let samples cool and settle and confirmed pre and post poil gravities on both hydrometer and refractometer. I forgot to measure pre-boil volume but if I assume it was correct(ish) and my post boil volume was high then I can assume my boil off rate was very low.

Will hopefully run a water test this week.
 

KBW PilotHouse

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I have an Anvil Foundry and filled it up with water to a normal-ish level, got it to temp (just below boiling) to get more accurate pre / post measurements (so I wouldn't have to account for volume change with temperature), and then ran 60 minute tests at varying power levels. In the end I found a boil-off rate that I could use and it's been really accurate. Just had to do the up-front work.

My lid has a small hole for their recirculation pipe to go into. I leave it open just in case, it feels like a safety thing. It might be hurting my actual boil-off but I'm OK with that, I have no concerns now about something imploding or exploding.

(240V Anvil 6.5 at 70% power = .5 gallons / hour)
Tracer how you exhausting the steam in your foundry? Through the malt pipe hole in lid, or do you have a mod to condense steam? Just curious cause I have a Foundry for test runs.

Cheers🍻

KBW.
 

tracer bullet

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Look up "Steam Slayer" at Brew Hardware to get the gist of it. Attaches to the lid at the top. A nozzle sprays inside and condenses the steam to run down my sink drain.
 

KBW PilotHouse

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Understood; I built the same one as BrunDog a few years back...then Spike released theirs for sale and I have that as well. Question is specific to Foundry because the lid is kinda flimsy, so I haven‘t installed TC fitting on lid to use that set-up.
 

Newsman

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Closed loop would use a copper coil with recirculating water inside, and that water would be cooled via an air-water radiator. Closed loop would not waste any water, but the the heat would need to be rejected somehow.
Why not use a water bath to shed heat? Essentially, an ice water bath with a coil chiller, similar to what we use to chill wort?
 
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