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kc.rkitek

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Cross posting this in the Facebook group too...hoping for expedited help! Tomorrow will be my first brew day with the Brew-Boss and I am second guessing my calcs for a 5 gallon batch of doppelbock.

My system is comprised of a 15 gallon kettle with COFI tube/basket and a steam condenser. My eqpt & boil-off volumes are calc'ed and in my Brewer's Friend profile. The malt bill is just a fuzz over 18# and I plan to mill at between .040-.045" gap to maximize recirc flow. The post boil gravity/volume should be 1.086/5.5g at 70% efficiency. Since I have a steam condenser, I'm only expecting around 0.9 gallons of boil off over 90 minutes (0.6 gal/hr).

Problem is, even if I mash with the full water volume with no pour-over sparge before squeezing, that would only be about 8.4 gallons. According a chart I found, that's not even going to cover the grains. Am I in for a bad time? Do I need more water and a longer boil? I'd really like to avoid adding DME/LME. How do you guys do big(ish) beers in this thing? Do we just ignore that the grist will not be completely submerged and trust the COFI tube to recirc and convert correctly?
 
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kc.rkitek

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I actually have some of those. what did you do? find some sheet metal screws and nuts to attach?
Yes, all stainless machine screws, washers, and nuts. My calipers say .185 across the threads, looks like that's #10, right?
PXL_20220115_192047593.jpg
 

ehall

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hard to tell from the pick but that my friend, is a fantastic idea! I'm rolling with that after these all fail. thank you sir!
 

Jtvann

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Cross posting this in the Facebook group too...hoping for expedited help! Tomorrow will be my first brew day with the Brew-Boss and I am second guessing my calcs for a 5 gallon batch of doppelbock.

My system is comprised of a 15 gallon kettle with COFI tube/basket and a steam condenser. My eqpt & boil-off volumes are calc'ed and in my Brewer's Friend profile. The malt bill is just a fuzz over 18# and I plan to mill at between .040-.045" gap to maximize recirc flow. The post boil gravity/volume should be 1.086/5.5g at 70% efficiency. Since I have a steam condenser, I'm only expecting around 0.9 gallons of boil off over 90 minutes (0.6 gal/hr).

Problem is, even if I mash with the full water volume with no pour-over sparge before squeezing, that would only be about 8.4 gallons. According a chart I found, that's not even going to cover the grains. Am I in for a bad time? Do I need more water and a longer boil? I'd really like to avoid adding DME/LME. How do you guys do big(ish) beers in this thing? Do we just ignore that the grist will not be completely submerged and trust the COFI tube to recirc and convert correctly?

Your efficiency is going to suck. This was the biggest weakness of the brew boss system. You can add LME/DME, make a smaller batch, or boil longer.

you can ditch the cofi basket and go with a bag. You can get a false bottom to hold the bag off the element if you’re worried about scorching the bag. I ran it both ways with a wilser bag and didn’t scorch it.

The cofi basket gives up too much volume, leading to grain that isn’t submerged.
 

kc.rkitek

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Your efficiency is going to suck. This was the biggest weakness of the brew boss system. You can add LME/DME, make a smaller batch, or boil longer.

you can ditch the cofi basket and go with a bag. You can get a false bottom to hold the bag off the element if you’re worried about scorching the bag. I ran it both ways with a wilser bag and didn’t scorch it.

The cofi basket gives up too much volume, leading to grain that isn’t submerged.
. I mashed with full volume. Squeezed the cofi (maybe to much since i wasn't sparging) and ended up with a little more pre-boil volume than expected. So, I boiled an extra hour with the power up a little higher (31%) in an effort to increase boil off. When i got it down to my target post boil volume and got it chilled, gravity was 1.075. Not great, but not disastrous either. I'll just do my calcs next time with the lower efficiency for the bigger beers, do longer boils, and/or supplement with extract. I've got some dialing in to do. All in all, if say it was a pretty good brew day!

Yup, efficiency wasn't great... Maybe around 60% brewhouse. I mashed with the full volume so grains would be as covered as possible. They were, but the mash was very thick. I squeezed the cofi since i wasn't sparging (maybe too much) and ended up with a little more pre-boil volume than expected. So, I boiled an extra hour with the power up a little higher (31%) in an effort to increase boil off, almost 3 hrs. When i got it down to my target post boil volume and got it chilled, gravity was 1.075. Not great, but not disastrous either. I'll just do my calcs next time with the lower efficiency for the bigger beers, do longer boils, and/or supplement with extract. I've got some dialing in to do. All in all, if say it was a pretty good brew day!
 

Mike Howard

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From Darin as of 1/15;

" We are hoping to reopen but the timing is uncertain. If you need parts, I can still provide most replacement parts, but it became impossible to sustain operations with lack of labor availability for assembly and shipping as well as difficulties sourcing materials."
 

Mike Howard

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I typically get 75% - 80% efficiency with my 20 gallon Brew-Boss at an OG of <1.060 and doing complete 15 gallon batches. As the OG goes up (due to grain amount), the efficiency drops. I did an Imperial Stout with 1.085 OG and my efficiency was 60% using ~40lbs of grain, the COFI was full to the top. Belgian beers always give me >80% efficiency due to the candy sugar content and decrease in grain volume. Now I try to keep my COFI no more than 3/4 full of grain and using about 15 gallons of Mash water, topping up after the mash to hit OG. YMMV.
 

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so I was brewing yesterday, one of those stupid little feet broke... again! and another just popped off. I still have a few extra so put them back on but the bumper feet are en route... can't wait to get past this annoying little feature of the brew boss.
 

segallis

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Your efficiency is going to suck. This was the biggest weakness of the brew boss system. You can add LME/DME, make a smaller batch, or boil longer.

you can ditch the cofi basket and go with a bag. You can get a false bottom to hold the bag off the element if you’re worried about scorching the bag. I ran it both ways with a wilser bag and didn’t scorch it.

The cofi basket gives up too much volume, leading to grain that isn’t submerged.

I just did my first batch with th 20 gal Brew-Boss kettle and COFI. I was at max capacity for this system, both in filter capacity for grain as well as total mash volume. I used 39 lbs of grist, and 16.5 gal of water (which was a favorable 1.7X water to grist ratio). The water level covered the top of the filter by 1/2" to an 1", so all grain was submerged. The total wort level was right about 20.5 gal.

Conversion efficiency was 85%.

I had 13.5 gals runnings after the lift/squeeze, which was about perfect for my 2 kegs and 6 pints (for aging) target. Seems like any grain bill less than that will scale perfectly, and I expect to have no issues with submerging the grain and having the desired amount of strike water for a full volume mash, and no need to boil longer than 60 to 90 mins (and certainly no need to add DME).

Maybe the 20 Gal Kettle & COFI filter have a better aspect ratio???

-G
 

segallis

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so I was brewing yesterday, one of those stupid little feet broke... again! and another just popped off. I still have a few extra so put them back on but the bumper feet are en route... can't wait to get past this annoying little feature of the brew boss.

I needed about 3/4" more height on the COFI filter to clear the heater. My goal was to use sturdy 3/8" SS carriage bolts (maybe even taps threads in the feet), but after decimating 3 drill bits trying to drill the hole on the foot by maybe another 1/16", I gave up and used 1/4" SS carriage bolts. o_O

I like the rounded head on the carriage bolt and I couldn't find high-temp rubber feet.

-G
 

Mike Howard

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I've never had to add DME/LME to any of my brews on the BB. If using mostly fermentable malts you will get a very good conversion and decent efficiency of 80% or better. I've found that the darker lovibond malts decrease the efficiency a bit as observed in my brew logs for Browns, Porters and Stouts and also anything using Wheat or flaked grains.

After having brewed on the BB for a while now and having brewed all of my recipes multiple times, my Beersmith recipes are dead on and I never have to worry about the BB missing target. The system is very repeatable and consistent once its dialed in and I perform a multiple step mash with no needed intervention. It just works.
 

ehall

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Mike Howard

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The ones I was looking at are Made in the USA, RoHS/REACH/Prop65 compliant and are listed as Food Safe. Says they are "Thermal Plastic Rubber" but doesn't list exactly what material. I see a lot of the reviews are about adding them to cutting boards. I'm assuming they are like the ones in the Ebay link which are just listed as "silicone rubber".

I've got some questions out to the manufacturer about material, being Food Safe and the temperature rating, so we will see.
 

kc.rkitek

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The ones I was looking at are Made in the USA, RoHS/REACH/Prop65 compliant and are listed as Food Safe. Says they are "Thermal Plastic Rubber" but doesn't list exactly what material. I see a lot of the reviews are about adding them to cutting boards. I'm assuming they are like the ones in the Ebay link which are just listed as "silicone rubber".

I've got some questions out to the manufacturer about material, being Food Safe and the temperature rating, so we will see.
I'd also be concerned if the imbedded washer is stainless or not. The one's I linked on Ebay state they are stainless. The set linked on Amazon are called out as "metal inserts". That's a little disconcerting to me.
 

kc.rkitek

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Found this: RubberFeet.us - Quality Rubber Feet & Bumpers - Made in the USA | RubberFeet.us - Quality Rubber Feet & Bumpers

Not sure a "Trivalent Chromate plated steel Support Bushing" is actually Stainless Steel though.
I think that's just chrome plating. More info about the silicone feet I got on eBay can be found here: https://cuttingboardfeet.com/

I didn't get any feet or infusion tube when I bought my COFI...had to come up with my own solution. Just out of curiosity, are the feet that came with the COFI from Darin the press-in silicone 'stem' bumpers, something like these?
1643140035664.png
 
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Mike Howard

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I think that's just chrome plating. More info about the silicone feet I got on eBay can be found here: https://cuttingboardfeet.com/

I didn't get any feet or infusion tube when I bought my COFI...had to come up with my own solution. Just out of curiosity, are the feet that came with the COFI from Darin the press-in silicone 'stem' bumpers, something like these?
View attachment 756905

Yes, very similar to those in the Pic. They only last a couple of months and then they tear in half where they are inserted in the COFI. I bought 12 after my first set separated and I've got about 6 left.

Looking forward to getting a more permanent solution and hoping the new feet will last a bit longer.

Darin has indicated that parts are still available so if anyone has parts they need, just email him.
 

ehall

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yea, almost identical to the pic above except mine are red. I just got my new feet the other day, need to run to ACE to get the rest of the HW, then no more of this cheap crap!
 

kc.rkitek

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Hope you all don't mind a long story...it may be helpful to any other new-to-Brew Boss users and I just felt like sharing after my less-than-stellar first attempt. If you want to stop after this first paragraph, here's the cliff notes: I can happily announce a way more successful 2nd brew day with my 15g Brew-Boss system w/ COFI as I start to dial in more accurate anticipated efficiencies and timing and with this system. Interested parties can read on...

This time I made a porter, something like a Black Butte clone, only with a slightly higher ABV. I should also note that I brewed this with REALLY old malt. It's all been sitting in sealed bags, in a black storage bin, in my dark/cool basement since my youngest son was born 3 years ago! The 10# of 2-row was unmilled, but specialty grains were already milled. It all looked/smelled/tasted good to me, so I thought why not try it, especially since this session was really an exercise in dialing in numbers. I got new hops/yeast of course, but I thought it would also make an interesting experiment to see if the age of the malt was detectable.

In the interest of increasing my efficiency over last time (but at the risk of negatively affecting recirculation), I started by tightening up my Cereal Killer mill gap to around .030" with feeler gauges. I conditioned the 10# of base malt, waited 10-15 minutes, then milled about as slow as my Harbor Freight D-handle drill would go under load. I mixed in the rest of the grains, except for 12 oz of my roasted grain as a late addition. My plan was to stir this in halfway through the 60 minute mash to experiment with perceived roastiness and astringency. Some folks attest to smoother roast flavor with either cold steeping beforehand and adding to the mashed wort pre-boil or just doing a late mash addition. To counter potential flow issues with the finer milling and the 1# of flaked barley in the bill, I also added a handful of rice hulls to the grist...I usually do anyway regardless of the bill when recirculating the mash.

Next, I treated/heated 7.5 gallons of filtered tap water with 3g calcium chloride and 2g chalk. When it reached around 120F, I removed and reserved 1 gallon for a pour-over sparge. I continued to heat the remaining 6.5 gal to 154F strike temp (152F target). I lowered the COFI basket with grains into the kettle, removed the cover, stirred the thick mash well, and nailed the single infusion mash temp of 152F. My PH measured 5.5, which also was my exact target. 30 minutes in, I stirred in the 500L chocolate malt. After that, I stirred once more at 15 min left and noticed I had to slow down the recirc a little toward the end of the mash. The level in my sight glass was progressively going down with the valve opened most of the way (MP-15 pump). I slowed it down some and got it equalized at around 3.5 gallons in the sight glass with around 10 minutes left. Fortunately, I didn't cavitate or scorch the wort.

After a 10 minute mash-out step at 168F, I heated up the reserved sparge water with an electric tea kettle, put the COFI cover back on with the lift ring, hoisted the basket out, squeezed, sparged a 1/2 gal at a time, squeezed, and finally collected a sample after I got all I could out of the COFI. My target pre-boil volume was 6.4 gallons but ended up with 6.5...might need to reduce my .32 qt/# grain absorption rate slightly or squeeze less. Also, I was targeting a preboil OG of 1.055 at 70% eff (according to Brewer's Friend) and I measured closer to 1.060 at 75F. I was really just happy that I didn't need to add any makeup DME. The wort tasted good and the color looked great! Maybe the finer milling helped with conversion and the old grains will have no effect on the final outcome...crossing my fingers.

Next, I prepared my steam condenser while the wort heated up to a boil, and I dropped in my 4"X10" hop filter. When I built this kettle, I added a couple stainless u-bolts through the kettle wall up high, so I can hang it to the side just under my lid and above the element. I also added a weldless TC port to my lid so I can drop in hops & other additions without taking it off during the boil.

Previously, when doing my first wet run tests, I found that around 30% power was enough to maintain a gentle boil. While this is true, the boil-off rate I previously calculated was somehow off...I'll have to revisit this later and decide if I want to increase power level, or decrease anticipated boil-off rate. Considering how thick my mash was, I think I'll probably go with the former to keep more water in the kettle when mashing 5 gal batches with the COFI. After about 30 minutes, I could see that I was not trending toward my anticipated post-boil volume. The sight glass showed around 6.35 gal...only .15 gal boiled off after 30 minutes?!? I originally figured 0.6 gal/hr, and was looking at around half that so far...that wasn't going to cut it.

So, I manually adjusted the power level and steam condenser spray water a little at a time, every 6-8 minutes. I was up to 40% power at the end of 60 minutes with effluent coming out at around 120F and the sight glass showed just a fuzz over my target post-boil volume of 5.8 gal...it was more like 5.9 gal. I figured that was close enough since my preboil OG was a little high.

So I collected a sample, added the flame out hops from my recipe, dropped in my CuS.S. "Short and Stocky" chiller, and connected the swirl boss. I chilled/measured my sample and post-boil gravity was around 1.066 at 75F...looks like I can bump up BH efficiency in Brewer's Friend to around 72-73% for beers around this size...works for me.

I next started the recirc through the swirl-boss and chiller water. It got down to 62 pretty darn quick (didn't time this, but maybe 15 min?) and I collected around 18 gallons of cleanup/laundry water in that time. After it was down to my pitch temp, I killed the water/pump and did a 30 min rest step to get any break material to collect.

Finally, I transferred the chilled wort to my ferm bucket and I was a little short of my volume there. Expected 5.5 and got closer to 5.25. There must have been more break that I anticipated or something. I'll just bump up my volume loss number by a quart. Better to end up with too much I suppose.

Next, I tried to hit it with some bottled O2, but of course it ran out literally a few seconds after turning the valve. I swear, there is ALWAYS at least one hiccup no matter how prepared I think I am! However, some O2 was still leaking very slowly out of the stone, so I just kept in in there for a couple minutes.

After that, I pitched 2 satchels of S-04 rehydrated in 75F preboiled/filtered water, closed her up, and shook it for a minute for good measure. Man, I don't really miss shaking up the bucket, but I guess I can always use a little extra exercise. Then I moved into into my 62F ferm chamber with a blow-off tube.

That's when I realized that I also forgot to drill a thermowell into the lid of this newer second fermenter. Oops...I'll just tape the probe to the side this time! Anyway, 18 hours later it is already bubbling away and 5 points down according to my Tilt! Cheers!!
 

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ehall

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yea, that was alot of typing! I found my efficiency went up when I closed the gap on my mill to about .030. you do have to crush finer with BIAB.
 

ehall

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so when I was brewing almost 2 weeks ago when I first turned on my controller I got what you see in the pic. Never happened before. I turned it off and back on and no more issues. anyone else ever see that? gotta admit, it freaked me out for a min, especially since Darin has been somewhat closed down.
 

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kc.rkitek

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so when I was brewing almost 2 weeks ago when I first turned on my controller I got what you see in the pic. Never happened before. I turned it off and back on and no more issues. anyone else ever see that? gotta admit, it freaked me out for a min, especially since Darin has been somewhat closed down.
That is a little scary. I've seen similar display issues on other controllers too. It could be a user serviceable issue, like a loose cable. Or a user replaceable part, like a relay. Or, it could be worse, like a failing solder joint. I'd email Darin and ask for his help...seems like he's been responding lately.
 
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cnash

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I get great efficiency. Most beers are 78-82% efficiency. Some higher alcohol or roasty beers drop down to 72-76%.
Also… about the feet on the COFI… I have just under 40 batches on my brew-boss system and I’m still using the original red silicone feet… 🤞🏼
This past weekend I did have to wait to start brewing for some reason the controller took about 5 minutes to connect to my wifi. Let’s hope it was a one time thing.
 

ehall

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I've had issues in the past connecting, it comes and goes. hasn't happened in a long time.
 

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I've been running my Brew-Boss for a number of years now and I tend to get low 70's on efficiency. Bigger beers tend to be lower.
I recently had one of my original silicon red feet on the COFI tear off. Am I better email Darin or is there a better supplier out there?
 

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I think folks are switching to these feet here; Silicone Feet

I recently purchased these and they perform well. I ordered the 7/8 x 9/16 set, in Orange and they are really good quality with a Stainless Steel insert. You'll need to order some Stainless Steel bolts and lock nuts to mount them, as they only come with screws. I just grabbed a variety pack of Stainless Steel Phillips Pan Head Screws and Nylon Insert Lock Nuts off of Amazon.

However, Darin has indicated that he still has some available, if you want to stick to the originals. I switched because I have had poor luck with the original feet tearing apart.
 

kc.rkitek

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I think folks are switching to these feet here; Silicone Feet

I recently purchased these and they perform well. I ordered the 7/8 x 9/16 set, in Orange and they are really good quality with a Stainless Steel insert. You'll need to order some Stainless Steel bolts and lock nuts to mount them, as they only come with screws. I just grabbed a variety pack of Stainless Steel Phillips Pan Head Screws and Nylon Insert Lock Nuts off of Amazon.

However, Darin has indicated that he still has some available, if you want to stick to the originals. I switched because I have had poor luck with the original feet tearing apart.
I bet orange looks nice! If my black ones ever fail, I may switch it up to either orange or blue. Glad these are working out for the converts!
 

kc.rkitek

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What false bottom have you put in your 20 gallon brew boss? Has it worked well? What is my best way to go? TIA
Maybe brewhardware is a good option? I got one of these for my 15g amcyl kettle in the 15.5"dia size. I believe my kettle is dimensionally the same as the Spike or SSBrewtech 15g kettles...probably made in the same factory. Haven't used it yet, though...I got it as an 'accessory' and will try it out when I want to do a 10 gal big beer. There's just a lot of dead space around the COFI. I like the open mesh design over perforated ss sheet metal; seems that it would flow a lot better if you recirc. Also, you can adjust the height to your liking with different ss screw lengths. I got the 3-1/4" hex cap screw option from and it clears my element just fine. However, I built my own kettle, so YMMV.
 
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