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BroomVikin

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Alright I finally got around to using this thing for the first time today (political season keeps you on the road a lot at CNN!) and I have a few observations/ questions. 1) I way over shot my mash temps. Not sure how it happened since I used Beer Smith and it's always been dead on before. After a few ice packs from the freezer and vigorous stirring not that big of a deal after all. 2) I definitely ran into the "pump drains the kettle faster than the grain bed allows wort to pass back through" problem. I have already ordered a mini ball valve to slow the output of the pump next go 'round and hopefully solve the problem. 3) Lots of foam but I'm attributing this to the fast flow out, slow flow in issue. Strange thing was it was really light fluffy foam and not the dense stuff that seems to have been discussed here. 4) This could certainly be user error but when I set the timer to 9000 on the PID it counts down 100 seconds per minute. This obviously isn't correct. Do I need to calculate how many seconds in a 90 mash/ boil and input that number or is there a setting somewhere to make it jump to 60 seconds after it reaches 00?
All in all I think I'm really going to like it once I get the bugs worked out but it certainly isn't plug and play right out of the box. There's a learning curve for sure.
 
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TexasWine

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Alright I finally got around to using this thing for the first time today (political season keeps you on the road a lot at CNN!) and I have a few observations/ questions. 1) I way over shot my mash temps. Not sure how it happened since I used Beer Smith and it's always been dead on before. After a few ice packs from the freezer and vigorous stirring not that big of a deal after all. 2) I definitely ran into the "pump drains the kettle faster than the grain bed allows wort to pass back through" problem. I have already ordered a mini ball valve to slow the output of the pump next go 'round and hopefully solve the problem. 3) Lots of foam but I'm attributing this to the fast flow out, slow flow in issue. Strange thing was it was really light fluffy foam and not the dense stuff that seems to have been discussed here. 4) This could certainly be user error but when I set the timer to 9000 on the PID it counts down 100 seconds per minute. This obviously isn't correct. Do I need to calculate how many seconds in a 90 mash/ boil and input that number or is there a setting somewhere to make it jump to 60 seconds after it reaches 00?
All in all I think I'm really going to like it once I get the bugs worked out but it certainly isn't plug and play right out of the box. There's a learning curve for sure.
1. Interesting. Never been a problem for me. I have on occasion forgotten to turn off the element before doughing in, which causes the temp to overshoot because you kill the flow to the temp probe when you shut off the pump to do so.
2. Let us know if the valve doesn't fix it. I've started conditioning my malt and that helped a lot.
3. Try putting your return below the surface of the wort. I've never had a foam issue, but it's because I do exactly what I recommended.
4. Not sure on that one as I never use the timer. Brewers Friend has built in timers for the various steps that I use.
 

whovous

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I've not used the timer for quite a while, as it is easier for me to just set a kitchen timer instead. Still, when I used it, I am pretty sure a ten minute setting was ten minutes long.

BroomVikin,
Deciding when you want to turn off the element, and of course remembering to do so, is one of the most important things to work into your procedure. When you turn off the pump, the temp sensor thinks the temp is dropping and it will crank up the juice if you let it.

Is it possible you are grinding your grain too fine for this kind of set up? I know I've been bouncing between too fine, which can slow or stop flow of wort through the grain, and too coarse, which does not give me the efficiency I want. I also use a hose clamp, but a ball valve is a much more elegant solution, I am sure.
 

kanno

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Hey, finally got around to recording some of my brewday with the brau supply. I got some footage of the ever menacing 'foaming mash overflow' as well. Here ya go!

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjtZmKXZwbQ[/ame]
 

sketchykg

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I bought a SV240 controller a couple months back, and it worked out great for me for my first time brew session about a week ago. Looks like only the SV240 Pro is available now, and I would have passed on that one. No interest in a mash timer in the device since I have an iPad with beersmith as my timer, which is by far better than one in the controller. If the pro was the only option I would have went with High Gravity or revisited building my own.

Only other comment, is once I got the controller after inspection, I had to "re-wire" the 4 prong plug. It looks like during shipping the plug pulled away from clamping on the outside insulation of the cable. Simple 5 minute task.

I built my own 15 gallon BIAB system, since I had a chugger and hoses already for my 3 vessel system, and I just needed the bayou classic pot, and element hardware. I just had to build a Spa Panel and wire up the pot.

The first brew day the controller was super smooth. I did an multi step mash, and didn't over shoot my temps. I took a little while for the temps to catch up and stabilize in the pot, but I would rather that, than a some of issues I've had with an mypin pid that would always overshoot.

The boil worked well. First time with 240V, and the boil off was a lot more than I expected, but putting the pid in manual mode at 70% power gave a nice steady boil.

Overall, really happy with the controller, only disappointed that it appears to be discontinued.
 

mwm5461

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Just placed my order for the 120V 5 gallon system. I've looked through the thread but just wanted to follow-up regarding the pump cavitation issues. Have most of the system owners found a second ball valve to control the discharge flow to be the solution to this problem?

Thanks!
 
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TexasWine

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Just placed my order for the 120V 5 gallon system. I've looked through the thread but just wanted to follow-up regarding the pump cavitation issues. Have most of the system owners found a second ball valve to control the discharge flow to be the solution to this problem?

Thanks!
Personally I never had a major issue with pump cavitation. I just felt a lot better about having a valve on the discharge of my pump to control the flow. That configuration is standard in my line of work. I can't think of a situation where I would throttle the suction of a pump.
 

mwm5461

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Personally I never had a major issue with pump cavitation. I just felt a lot better about having a valve on the discharge of my pump to control the flow. That configuration is standard in my line of work. I can't think of a situation where I would throttle the suction of a pump.

So then when you use the pump do you leave both ball valves completely open?
 

sketchykg

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So then when you use the pump do you leave both ball valves completely open?
Probably depends on the pump. I would think with the 24 volt one you can leave it full open always. With a 120v chugger, it's likely unnecessary to leave the valve full open, tho with biab recirculation and that stainless basket, you're not going to run into compaction/vacuum issues.

I've had more cavitation issues when messing with a 3 vessel system rather than with a biab system. But the value after the pump is super convenient if you need to stop the flow quickly.

Here is how I set up my pump for cavitation issues, and to insert a temperature probe if I so choose. The highest "mini" value can be opened to let air escape or insert a thermometer probe with a special fitting.

IMG_0544.JPG
 
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mwm5461

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Probably depends on the pump. I would think with the 24 volt one you can leave it full open always. With a 120v chugger, it's likely unnecessary to leave the valve full open, tho with biab recirculation and that stainless basket, you're not going to run into compaction/vacuum issues.

I've had more cavitation issues when messing with a 3 vessel system rather than with a biab system. But the value after the pump is super convenient if you need to stop the flow quickly.

Here is how I set up my pump for cavitation issues, and to insert a temperature probe if I so choose. The highest "mini" value can be opened to let air escape or insert a thermometer probe with a special fitting.

Thanks for the reply sketchykg. I will be using the 24 volt Brau Supply pump and I decided to ditch the basket for a BIAB false bottom from brewhardware.com so it sounds like based on your response I can just leave both ball valves fully open.
 
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TexasWine

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Probably depends on the pump. I would think with the 24 volt one you can leave it full open always. With a 120v chugger, it's likely unnecessary to leave the valve full open, tho with biab recirculation and that stainless basket, you're not going to run into compaction/vacuum issues.


Actually, I've had my fair share of compaction issues. There's an entire thread on here discussing at length how to avoid this with recirculating BIAB. The 24 volt pump can compact the grain bed just like a chugger.



Thanks for the reply sketchykg. I will be using the 24 volt Brau Supply pump and I decided to ditch the basket for a BIAB false bottom from brewhardware.com so it sounds like based on your response I can just leave both ball valves fully open.
Please, don't leave the discharge valve fully open. You might dodge a bullet and not have any issues one time, but every time I did it I regretted it because it compacted the grain bed. Took me a while to figure out what was happening. It was really a confluence of issues.

I would recommend reading through the thread on stuck circulation issues. I'll see if I can find the link in a bit. In it there's some good advice. My personal list I came up with is....

1. Condition the grain before milling.
2. Mill gap no smaller than 0.035 mil.
3. Let the mash rest for about 10 minutes before turning on the pump. This allows the grain particles to swell freely.
4. Start with the pump flow pinched way back. Gradually open the valve over the course of several minutes until the desired flow rate is reached.
5. Install a sight glass so you can watch what the level is doing under the bag. If it drops too low it means you're pumping out faster than the bag is allowing flow through it and to the pump suction. Pumping the area below the bag dry can cause scorching and a ruined element.

When I upgraded my kettle I went with the brewhardware BIAB false bottom as well. I think you'll like it.


Edit: found the link. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=543873
 

sketchykg

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Yeah, if you're not using the basket I'd take back the lack of compaction concerns. The basket allows flow "around" the grain as well. A false bottom forces it all through the grain and could cause a vacuum/compaction which could damage your equipment.
 
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TexasWine

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Yeah, if you're not using the basket I'd take back the lack of compaction concerns. The basket allows flow "around" the grain as well. A false bottom forces it all through the grain and could cause a vacuum/compaction which could damage your equipment.
Actually, my compaction issues were much worse with the steamer basket because there was not enough flow area. I used a knock out punch to enlarge the holes. But even doing that didn't solve all my stuck recirculation woes.
 

sketchykg

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Wow, I've had zero issues, even with double milling, relatively high flow with the chugger, wheat in mash, etc. I have had an issue with false bottoms - bent the leg of a polarware false bottom and completely bent up an aluminum pot false bottom so I couldn't get it out of the cheap pot I was prototyping with.

I think bottom line, I take it all back. Valve on the pump discharge is necessary to control in some situations, which you won't know you need until it happens. Sight glass is a good idea too.

Here is my rig.
View attachment ImageUploadedByHome Brew1469474169.501608.jpg
 

mwm5461

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Actually, I've had my fair share of compaction issues. There's an entire thread on here discussing at length how to avoid this with recirculating BIAB. The 24 volt pump can compact the grain bed just like a chugger.





Please, don't leave the discharge valve fully open. You might dodge a bullet and not have any issues one time, but every time I did it I regretted it because it compacted the grain bed. Took me a while to figure out what was happening. It was really a confluence of issues.

I would recommend reading through the thread on stuck circulation issues. I'll see if I can find the link in a bit. In it there's some good advice. My personal list I came up with is....

1. Condition the grain before milling.
2. Mill gap no smaller than 0.035 mil.
3. Let the mash rest for about 10 minutes before turning on the pump. This allows the grain particles to swell freely.
4. Start with the pump flow pinched way back. Gradually open the valve over the course of several minutes until the desired flow rate is reached.
5. Install a sight glass so you can watch what the level is doing under the bag. If it drops too low it means you're pumping out faster than the bag is allowing flow through it and to the pump suction. Pumping the area below the bag dry can cause scorching and a ruined element.

When I upgraded my kettle I went with the brewhardware BIAB false bottom as well. I think you'll like it.


Edit: found the link. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=543873

Read through the thread and appreciate the helpful information. Looks like I'll try a 0.045 crush at first and let the mash rest for 10 before I get the pump running.

When you say to gradually open the valve are you referring to the ball valve from the kettle, the ball valve at discharge or both? What is a flow rate you recommend with the Brau Supply system and their 24V pump?

Another question is when you say to rest for 10 minutes before starting the pump do you include this time to your overall mash time? For instance with this resting method do you turn your 60 min mash into a 70 min mash or does the 10 min mash just play into the 60 min mash schedule?

Greatly appreciate the help!
 
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TexasWine

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Read through the thread and appreciate the helpful information. Looks like I'll try a 0.045 crush at first and let the mash rest for 10 before I get the pump running.

When you say to gradually open the valve are you referring to the ball valve from the kettle, the ball valve at discharge or both? What is a flow rate you recommend with the Brau Supply system and their 24V pump?

Another question is when you say to rest for 10 minutes before starting the pump do you include this time to your overall mash time? For instance with this resting method do you turn your 60 min mash into a 70 min mash or does the 10 min mash just play into the 60 min mash schedule?

Greatly appreciate the help!
Discharge valve. Flow rate depends entirely on the grain bed and the speed with which the wort flows through it.

I simply include the ten minute rest period in my mash time.
 

mwm5461

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Okay thanks. Did you just install your discharge ball valve right after the pump or before the lid bulkhead?
 

mwm5461

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Thanks! I look forward to setting up the system and my first brew.
 

BroomVikin

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Wow, I've had zero issues, even with double milling, relatively high flow with the chugger, wheat in mash, etc. I have had an issue with false bottoms - bent the leg of a polarware false bottom and completely bent up an aluminum pot false bottom so I couldn't get it out of the cheap pot I was prototyping with.

I think bottom line, I take it all back. Valve on the pump discharge is necessary to control in some situations, which you won't know you need until it happens. Sight glass is a good idea too.

Here is my rig.
View attachment 363497
I think I've decided to install a sight glass on my setup too. Is that one of Bobby's in your picture? The eye bolt at the top doesn't interfere with insertion/ removal of the basket?
 

sketchykg

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I think I've decided to install a sight glass on my setup too. Is that one of Bobby's in your picture? The eye bolt at the top doesn't interfere with insertion/ removal of the basket?
Yep, that is where I got it. Not really an issue hanging up, as I did cut and file the bolt down flush to the nut. That is not a bad idea regardless as it's probably not a good idea to have an inch of so of bolt sticking into a pot when you are stirring, etc. I do have to finesse the basket lip in a very small bit, but not a real hassle.

IMG_0589Resize.jpg
 
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BroomVikin

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Yep, that is where I got it. Not really an issue hanging up, as I did cut and file the bolt down flush to the nut. That is not a bad idea regardless as it's probably not a good idea to have an inch of so of bolt sticking into a pot when you are stirring, etc. I do have to finesse the basket lip in a very small bit, but not a real hassle.
Good to know. Thanks for the pic too.
 

mwm5461

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Looks like according to the tracking number I will be receiving my brew system next Tuesday! I ended up getting the 11 gallon kettle 120V 20a system with 1500W elements. Does anyone happen to have a beersmith profile for this system that they could share?
 

whovous

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Actually, I've had my fair share of compaction issues. There's an entire thread on here discussing at length how to avoid this with recirculating BIAB. The 24 volt pump can compact the grain bed just like a chugger.





Please, don't leave the discharge valve fully open. You might dodge a bullet and not have any issues one time, but every time I did it I regretted it because it compacted the grain bed. Took me a while to figure out what was happening. It was really a confluence of issues.

I would recommend reading through the thread on stuck circulation issues. I'll see if I can find the link in a bit. In it there's some good advice. My personal list I came up with is....

1. Condition the grain before milling.
2. Mill gap no smaller than 0.035 mil.
3. Let the mash rest for about 10 minutes before turning on the pump. This allows the grain particles to swell freely.
4. Start with the pump flow pinched way back. Gradually open the valve over the course of several minutes until the desired flow rate is reached.
5. Install a sight glass so you can watch what the level is doing under the bag. If it drops too low it means you're pumping out faster than the bag is allowing flow through it and to the pump suction. Pumping the area below the bag dry can cause scorching and a ruined element.

When I upgraded my kettle I went with the brewhardware BIAB false bottom as well. I think you'll like it.


Edit: found the link. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=543873
When you first wrote on this subject I was sure you had to be doing something wrong just because I had seen no compaction and cavitation in my then few brews on my system. As I've gained more experience, I've learned you are completely right. I need to take the details of your suggestions to heart. BrauSupply makes a really good system, so long as you use it properly.
 
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TexasWine

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When you first wrote on this subject I was sure you had to be doing something wrong just because I had seen no compaction and cavitation in my then few brews on my system. As I've gained more experience, I've learned you are completely right. I need to take the details of your suggestions to heart. BrauSupply makes a really good system, so long as you use it properly.
Glad to hear some of the drivel I wrote was helpful! I'd be interested to hear what was going on in your system.
 

whovous

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I think my big issue is my settings on my Barley Crusher. I have the impression they are not staying put and I am winding up with different grinds in the same batch. I need to find a lot more time to brew if I am ever going to have consistent results, but I am unsure how that is going to happen when we spend every weekend at our cabin unless I haul everything out there and back.
 
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TexasWine

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I think my big issue is my settings on my Barley Crusher. I have the impression they are not staying put and I am winding up with different grinds in the same batch. I need to find a lot more time to brew if I am ever going to have consistent results, but I am unsure how that is going to happen when we spend every weekend at our cabin unless I haul everything out there and back.
Do you have a feeler gauge?

ABN 26 Piece Blade Master Feeler Gauge Measuring Tool https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T85ANNW/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

If not, get one. Then you can grind a little grain, check, grind a little more, check again. Confirm that suspicion!

And yeah, brewing frequently helps. But taking really good notes during the brew day is a good substitute! Maybe you're already doing that?

Last thing. One of the beautiful things about these systems is their portability. Take it with you to the cabin! If you didn't want to lug everything around, you could build out another kettle and buy a few other supplies to leave at the cabin. Then all you need to do is transport the controller.
 
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whovous

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Yes, I have a feeler gauge, but I am getting different measurements before and after. The knobs do not feel loose, so I am not sure what is going on.

I lost a lot of notes when I had to do a clean reinstall of Windows 10. My BeerSmith files got corrupted and several recipes went lost.

A complicating factor is that I drive a MINI. Add a wife and a dog, and the usual detritus that gets packed each weekend, and it is not clear just how it is all going to fit. I may just wind up moving most of my gear there and just fermenting and bottling here.
 

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I wanted to post my experience with the cavitation, as it may help someone else with similar issues. My issue was extremely simple - it was 100% related to the bag. If I pull the bag over the kettle edges as far as it will go, I have no issues. If I just go over the edges a couple of inches, I always get the cavitation problem. My assumption is the bag is bundling/overlapping itself at the bottom, preventing proper flow. If I have the bag tight, preventing it from collecting within itself, it works perfectly. I have actually tested this multiple times, and it was always my issue.
 
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TexasWine

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I wanted to post my experience with the cavitation, as it may help someone else with similar issues. My issue was extremely simple - it was 100% related to the bag. If I pull the bag over the kettle edges as far as it will go, I have no issues. If I just go over the edges a couple of inches, I always get the cavitation problem. My assumption is the bag is bundling/overlapping itself at the bottom, preventing proper flow. If I have the bag tight, preventing it from collecting within itself, it works perfectly. I have actually tested this multiple times, and it was always my issue.
Good stuff! Never would have thought about the bag being bunched up.

Thinking about it, the way I dough in should prevent this altogether. I simply lower the bag full of grains into the kettle all at once. The bag is taught and shouldn't bunch up when doing this.
 

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I simply lower the bag full of grains into the kettle all at once. The bag is taught and shouldn't bunch up when doing this.
Yeah, that is the same process I do as well. Worth a shot, let us know if it happens to fix your issue. I think I've tried it 4 times now, as soon as I had the issue, I pulled the bag out further, and it completely stopped.
 

wilserbrewer

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I think I've tried it 4 times now, as soon as I had the issue, I pulled the bag out further, and it completely stopped.
You may be raising the bag enough that the edges at the kettle wall are no longer sitting on the FB, allowing easier filtration just through the bag, and not the bag FB combo. Having the bag in full contact with the FB would decrease the flow, tightening the bag up top may bring some of the bag off the FB, I imagine it wouldn't take much to make a noticeable difference.
 
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TexasWine

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Yeah, that is the same process I do as well. Worth a shot, let us know if it happens to fix your issue. I think I've tried it 4 times now, as soon as I had the issue, I pulled the bag out further, and it completely stopped.
When I've had the issue I would lift the bag as you describe. It would always provide some temporary relief to the problem. However, it would just reappear as soon as I put the bag back in and started the pump back up, even with all the excess bag pulled out and cinched down over the outside of the kettle.

Very happy you identified a very simple solution that solved the problem, but for me I know that wasn't the culprit.
 

whovous

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Looking for advice on making some changes to my 24L Mini system.

1) I brew way too infrequently, and still I have managed to destroy one of the two pumps I use for the system (the second for feeding icewater to my plate chiller in summertime). I have pretty much decided to splurge on the Chugger with SS fittings. Two questions:
A. Any suggestions for where and how to put a ball valve on the output side of the pump? What valve should I use?
B. Should I move the temp probe to the same spot? It seems it would make handling the lid easier if it did not have the probe wire running to it.

2) I've clogged the bazooka tube too many times. I see some folks have simply removed it, but what have you used in its stead? I sometimes throw an awful lot of hops in there, and I worry about clogging the pump and or the plate chiller. I do have a hop rocket which can double as a filter, but that seems pretty cumbersome. Also, I know it is not a filter, but are some of you using dip tubes as well?

3) No one seems to make a false bottom for my 24L pot, and I am not interested in making my own. Any other suggestions for replacing the basket?
 

BroomVikin

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Looking for advice on making some changes to my 24L Mini system.

1) I brew way too infrequently, and still I have managed to destroy one of the two pumps I use for the system (the second for feeding icewater to my plate chiller in summertime). I have pretty much decided to splurge on the Chugger with SS fittings. Two questions:
A. Any suggestions for where and how to put a ball valve on the output side of the pump? What valve should I use?
B. Should I move the temp probe to the same spot? It seems it would make handling the lid easier if it did not have the probe wire running to it.

2) I've clogged the bazooka tube too many times. I see some folks have simply removed it, but what have you used in its stead? I sometimes throw an awful lot of hops in there, and I worry about clogging the pump and or the plate chiller. I do have a hop rocket which can double as a filter, but that seems pretty cumbersome. Also, I know it is not a filter, but are some of you using dip tubes as well?

3) No one seems to make a false bottom for my 24L pot, and I am not interested in making my own. Any other suggestions for replacing the basket?
I can't speak to #1 or #3 but #2 I can. I use a ½" dip tube in mine (purchased from JayBird over at NorCal) and it works great. Last time I measured it left about a pint in the bottom of the pot. As for hops and filtering I just use a hop sock clipped to the side of the kettle. The small one that my system came with seems to work fine for up to a couple of ounces. Anymore than that and I'd likely upsize to something bigger like a paint strainer bag. I've used a hop spider once or twice but generally I'm a K.I.S.S. kind of guy.
 
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TexasWine

TexasWine

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Looking for advice on making some changes to my 24L Mini system.

1) I brew way too infrequently, and still I have managed to destroy one of the two pumps I use for the system (the second for feeding icewater to my plate chiller in summertime). I have pretty much decided to splurge on the Chugger with SS fittings. Two questions:
A. Any suggestions for where and how to put a ball valve on the output side of the pump? What valve should I use?
B. Should I move the temp probe to the same spot? It seems it would make handling the lid easier if it did not have the probe wire running to it.

2) I've clogged the bazooka tube too many times. I see some folks have simply removed it, but what have you used in its stead? I sometimes throw an awful lot of hops in there, and I worry about clogging the pump and or the plate chiller. I do have a hop rocket which can double as a filter, but that seems pretty cumbersome. Also, I know it is not a filter, but are some of you using dip tubes as well?

3) No one seems to make a false bottom for my 24L pot, and I am not interested in making my own. Any other suggestions for replacing the basket?
@BroomVikin is spot on with the bazooka screen. I took mine off pretty early on as I don't trust it with my plate chiller, and I use a wilser bag clipped to the side to hold my hops.

I mounted a 1/4 turn ball valve directly to my pump. Works great there. As far as the temp probe goes, you could put it close to the pump too, or even mount it low in the kettle. Nowadays I simply use a shop clamp to hold my tee + probe to the handle of my kettle. Keeps it out of the way.

Have you checked with @Bobby_M to see if he has a BIAB false bottom that would work for your kettle?
 

singybrue

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@BroomVikin

Have you checked with @Bobby_M to see if he has a BIAB false bottom that would work for your kettle?
No he doesn't. He has to order at least 100 per size and he thinks that a 12" will take years to sell. Maybe if we bombard him with requests he'll see the light. This size would also fit an 8g NB tallboy pot, probably others.
I used to recirculate in my 15g pot using the strainer basket setup and it needed constant supervision for flow problems. Since I switched to his BIAB false bottom, smooth sailing!
 
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