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Brewhardware's Steam Slayer First Impressions

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jamorgan3777

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First Impression: WOW

I am getting back into brewing after about a year hiatus and what drew me back was the idea that I could address the vapor management issues I had been having with my new setup. Before my hiatus, I had moved operations into a nice, remodeled basement location and everything clicked except for steam ventilation. After 3 batches, with the last one constantly dripping from the vent I was frustrated.

I decided to pull the trigger on the Steam Slayer after reading several posts about pros, cons, usage, boil-off rates etc. I had read about condensers before, but they required sourcing several parts and I was just too lazy/frustrated for that. Sometimes you have to put something down for a while and pick it up "new" later.

Installation was easy. I purchased the 1.5" carbide drill bit and made the hole (using a drill press) in my kettle about 3/4" down from the brim. (Ill try to update this with pictures when I get home). The 1.5" tri-clamp bulkhead installed easy. I am not sure its a full liquid tight seal, but for this application that matters less.

I installed the 9gpm nozzle (I bought the unit with both 9gpm and 6gpm nozzles) and connected the pieces together. I am fortunate that my eBIAB pot is right next to my sink and I can just use the faucet to run the condenser. I hooked up the source and drain lines and was off to the races. Initially I was concerned that the drain line was going to have to curve to make it over to the sink, but its a very gradual curve and there appears to be no chance of clogging or back up of the drain water.

Last night I did my first test. Filled the kettle with 5 gallons of water and set it to boil. Was a hard rolling boil with the lid on and steam shooting all around the edge of the lid. Turned on the source line and it was like magic. Not a hint of steam. I almost thought I had lost boil, but opened the lid and it was stronger than without the slayer running. I had read about his being the case but didnt quite appreciate the difference. I also was concerned about creating enough vacuum for the slayer to work properly. I have an open return port on my lid for recirculation. It it was a problem, I planned to cap it during the boil. It did not appear to harm the function at all and I am wondering if it doesnt help. Seems like the vacuum the slayer produces is best pulled against outside air, but I have to think more about that before I'm convinced it makes sense.

I ran it for an hour to measure the boil off and to see if it lost function after things heated up. To my happy surprise, it never lost function and the boil off was about 0.5 gallons which is about half what it is with the kettle open. I also found the same power reduction that others had talked about. Most times I have to run my induction burner (Avantco 3500W) wide open, for this boil it was at about 75%. I could have lowered it even more, but things were working so well I just left it. I will of course have to account for the reduced boil off in my BeerSmith equipment profile. But that should not be an issue.

I can't wait to try a full brew with it this weekend. The one other thing that I will have to check is if volumes will force me to remove the slayer and cap the port during mash. The installation cost me about 1.5 gallons of capacity (about 2" from the brim of the kettle). This could also be addressed with a lid installation which I think would be a good alternative. I am planning to go to smaller batches anyway as I want to start fermenting in corny kegs so I am thinking that will help, but really big beers might require either further lowering the batch size or capping the port during mash, or both.

Summary so far:

Pros:
Very effective vapor management
Easy installation
Cost effective (all in about the cost of a decent blower and ducting, much cheaper than a large/custom hood)
Reduced power consumption (sometimes by a LOT)

Neutrals:
Need to adjust boil-off rates

Cons:
Reduced kettle/batch volumes (YMMV)
Increased water usage
Need for constant and local source and drain (easy in my setup, but again YMMV)

Final Verdict:
If you have vapor management issues with your brewing or just want an easy and convenient way run without a hood, this is definitely a good way to go if your setup allows.
 
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jamorgan3777

jamorgan3777

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Update on the steam slayer after my first use:

Worked great! I did notice that the steam was not fully condensing after the system ran for a while. It did drastically cut down on the amount of humidity in the room. I have a small brew room and the RH meter didnt budge throughout the entire boil. The room didnt heat up either (which others have listed as a concern). I did get the "beer smell" throughout the basement, but nothing objectionable.
 
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jamorgan3777

jamorgan3777

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The Steam Slayer has worked well.

I also just bought a RIMS system from you as well. Have already tested with water and it worked great. Plan to use it on a brew Friday and some Sous Vide saturday!
 
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jamorgan3777

jamorgan3777

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Sure. When the wort first got to a boil and I started the condenser, I got 100% steam capture. I also noticed that the drain water was still fairly cool. As the condenser ran for a while and things started to heat up, I felt and the water had warmed considerably, and there was a small amount of steam coming out of the tube. No steam at all coming from the kettle with the lid on. Just a small amount of steam exiting the drain tube. I have not played around much with flow rates and was running off just cold tap water which I want to say is around 63F (dont quote me on that). I am running the 9gpm nozzle as well. Have not tried the 6 yet but my do that on an upcoming batch to compare. I would say the amount of steam I was getting is similar to a simmering tea kettle or ~10% of what I would get from a full boil without the lid.
 

Beer:30

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I ordered one of these last night. The lid install seemed like the best option for me. And thankfully the BK will be right next to the sink, so plumbing couldn’t be easier. So glad to hear all the great feedback. Can’t wait! Another great piece of BH equipment, and what innovation from Wesbrew! Thanks!
 
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jamorgan3777

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Also took my BH RIMS system for a couple of test drives last night. Was thrilled with the performance.

First stop was to brew. I did a simple brew of a nut brouwn ale (Moose Drool clone). Performed really well and totally as expected. I did run into a snag about half way through the mash though. I have a thermometer on my BK and I was mashing along at a rock solid 152F and look at my kettle and it says 158F!?! Then i realized I never calibrated the thermometer that comes with the unit. I got out a trusted pen thermometer and measured the exit of the recirculation and found it was about 6F high. After that, things settled in at an actual 152F.

Once done with the brew I washed things up and then did a couple of steaks sous vide. The RIMS system plus BK make a great (if not arguably way overkill) sous vide system. Was a fun thing to try anyway.

Again, really happy with the performance of the Inkbird controller and having fun learning how to use it well.

Also trying fermentation in a keg for the first time, wish me luck.
 

rwalkerphl

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I just set up my steam slayer, and will be using it tomorrow and will be doing2 brews back to back. I am hoping to negate the water usage, as I plan to use the output from the SS as the water for the second brew. It will at least cut the usage in half.
 

Bobby_M

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I just set up my steam slayer, and will be using it tomorrow and will be doing2 brews back to back. I am hoping to negate the water usage, as I plan to use the output from the SS as the water for the second brew. It will at least cut the usage in half.
You REALLY REALLY REALLY do not want to do that. That waste water is full of all the bad crap that you're intentionally trying to boil off. Most notably DMS. If you didn't read this before it was too late, my expectation is that you'll learn the error of this thinking the moment you smell that water.
 

Redpappy

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I just got almost got what I needed to do Ebiab in my basement,(still wanting to get a false bottom from Brew Hardware when they come in) which is including the Steam Slayer Wide (to include a heating element and controller) . And have done a water run on the system to try to dial everything in. Water consumption due to the steam slayer is about 5-6 gallons. Noise, well very little noise at all. I have a SB 10 gallon Kettle, and I use a 5 gallon paint strainer bag for my hops. So during my test I had the bag wrapped around a handle not the kettle. Put the lid on. I did not see any steam leaving the kettle except from the drain hose. I am using the 6 GPH spray nosel, not sure if the 9 would reduce it more or not. The humidity did raise up about 2%, but that was after the boil and I took the lid off. Things that I have noticed, before I turned on the steam slayer supply line, I was getting some water coming out of the drain line, lid on.

I think once I get everything adjusted and in line, I will enjoy the Steam Slayer very much.

So I also purchased a heating element form Brew hardware - https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/element5500_ripple_tc.htm and I am running a Auber Cube. During my initial test, I ended dropping the power down to about 20%, and I was still having a nice boil. When I dropped it to 5% my temp lost 1 degree in 5 min.

I am still working and dropping my temp to see what my boil off rate is, so I do not have that info as of yet. Edit: Temp at 80 F was about .5 gal boil off versus 1 gal boil off during propane.

Over all performance of the steam slayer. I think will be enjoying this. Now its time to test it out on a brew day.
 
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