Brewzilla 35L tap got clogged on first brew

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Hey everyone

I did my first brew on the weekend using a Brewzilla 35L. Everything was going great until the time came for me to put the wort into the Fermenter. About two litres into the exchange, the tap got clogged. I tried to move around the false floor with a large spoon but nothing would come out. In the end, i called the brew store who said i had to stick my arm in and unclog the tap (after cleaning my arm obviously). It worked but wow, a lot of mushy hops ended up in the fermenter. I'm not expecting the beer to taste any good now as it took a while to sort out.

I used just over 60 grams of hops all up and didn't have a hop spider, if i had a hop spider, would this have fixed the issue?

I thought the false floor which sits above the tap would stop all the sludge going into the tap???

Thanks for any advice, i want to do another brew by this weekend.

Cheers and beers.
 

KepowOb

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The hops ending up in your beer isn't a big deal, and as long as it doesn't get infected, it should be fine. It'll turn out great, and you'll never be able to repeat it again 😂. Does sound like a real pain having to stick you arm into it to unclog it though 😕

I don't use a false bottom, so I might be off base here, but hop matter is really fine, so I think it would pass through one very easily.

Hop spiders are pretty fine mesh and keep them contained, so yeah, it should help going forward.
 

Sammy86

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I have a 65L and use a muslin bag to contain my hops. My pump got clogged once and I'll never do it again. The false bottom doesn't prevent anything from getting down there so I would invest in a hop spider or muslin bags.
 
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Thank you very much both of you. I will definitely invest in one of those before my next brew. To make things worse, the beer isn't fermenting at all in the pressure fermenter. No pressure has built up at all and the yeast doesn't seem to be doing anything.
 

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KepowOb

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Thank you very much both of you. I will definitely invest in one of those before my next brew. To make things worse, the beer isn't fermenting at all in the pressure fermenter. No pressure has built up at all and the yeast doesn't seem to be doing anything.
Looks like a krausen ring around there? What temperature is it at? I would assume it'd still be going of you brewed on the weekend, and I don't see anything floating on it? But if it's warm enough maybe it blasted through it?

What yeast did you pitch?
 
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Looks like a krausen ring around there? What temperature is it at? I would assume it'd still be going of you brewed on the weekend, and I don't see anything floating on it? But if it's warm enough maybe it blasted through it?

What yeast did you pitch?
The temperature is around 27 degrees as i used the Kveik ale yeast.
 

Dr_Jeff

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Your beer is likely done as that is a krausen ring, the fact that the pressure didn't build up simply means the seal wasn't complete and it leaked out.

The "sweat" on the inside also confirms it, as that is normal and to be expected.

What was the temperature in the area of the fermenter? 70 degrees plus?
 

DuncB

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@JarradsHopMachine
Do you mean blocked tap ? or blocked pump?

I think you are saying tap, personally never used the tap on robobrew or guten 70 for a transfer. I do use the tap in reverse as part of my whirlpool on the guten.
Just use the pump to transfer. That can get blocked my tips are , don't run it during the boil. Do a good whirlpool and that will accumulate a good load on top of that plate the brewzilla has. Don't start the pump with the valve partly open ( you can throttle it later ) and transfer initially back into the brewzilla so that any hops goes in there. There is a whirlpool arm you can get to fit on this tube.
When it blocks turn off the pump, lift the tube up high and the column of liquid might back wash the pump and then restart. If not I use a large syringe ( food baster ) and pump back up the tube and that has cleared it in the past. Then restart again.
Regarding no ferment, what yeast, what temp, that looks like something happened when you weren't looking as there's a ring suggesting krausen has risen and fallen. What pressure you say no pressure at all. Check you haven't got a leak by putting some co2 in and seeing if the pressure falls or you hear a leak. Sort that as necessary, the ring on the top can get out of line when you tighten up and so leak. Also check that the posts are tight and the PRV is screwed in tight.
Get a gravity reading easy to do this after you have put the co2 in as a party tap will allow a sample to be taken without opening.

Afraid all questions lead to questions.
 

DuncB

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I see someone new you used kveik ?
They posted whilst I typed.
It can do the bulk of ferment when you aren't watching. No pressure suggests a leak or your spunding valve was set way too low.
I find kveik continues to go real slow for a day or three after the main action.
Need to find the leak so that when you put CO2 in prior to cold crash you don't get oxygen sucked in thru your leak.
 
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@JarradsHopMachine
Do you mean blocked tap ? or blocked pump?

I think you are saying tap, personally never used the tap on robobrew or guten 70 for a transfer. I do use the tap in reverse as part of my whirlpool on the guten.
Just use the pump to transfer. That can get blocked my tips are , don't run it during the boil. Do a good whirlpool and that will accumulate a good load on top of that plate the brewzilla has. Don't start the pump with the valve partly open ( you can throttle it later ) and transfer initially back into the brewzilla so that any hops goes in there. There is a whirlpool arm you can get to fit on this tube.
When it blocks turn off the pump, lift the tube up high and the column of liquid might back wash the pump and then restart. If not I use a large syringe ( food baster ) and pump back up the tube and that has cleared it in the past. Then restart again.
Regarding no ferment, what yeast, what temp, that looks like something happened when you weren't looking as there's a ring suggesting krausen has risen and fallen. What pressure you say no pressure at all. Check you haven't got a leak by putting some co2 in and seeing if the pressure falls or you hear a leak. Sort that as necessary, the ring on the top can get out of line when you tighten up and so leak. Also check that the posts are tight and the PRV is screwed in tight.
Get a gravity reading easy to do this after you have put the co2 in as a party tap will allow a sample to be taken without opening.

Afraid all questions lead to questions.
Yeah, it is a blocked tap, i never thought of using the pump to transfer, i wish i did now haha...Was too annoyed at the time to think properly. I was using kveik yeast and has been at about 27 degrees since Saturday afternoonish, (2.30pm here Tuesday atm). Yeah, no pressure whatsoever when i have looked at the fermenter, it is a snub nose fermentasaurus fyi. Thanks heaps for your info, will def take on board for my next brew.... Fingers crossed.
 

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@JarradsHopMachine
Thanks for the info, I always sample with sanitised picnic tap on the fermentasaurus and dry hop with bags and magnets.
I do check for a leak when I seal up just after pitching. No good finding out halfway thru.
Do you have a spunding valve or a ferment bomb?
Possible reason for no pressure if seal failure during the rapid ferment if you get them tight they will ferment at 35 psi ( trust me ).
I've never fermented kveik so cool by the way, even lagers over 30 celsius under pressure.

It's a mind game getting over that it's baking in my ferment fridge.
 

Gurt204

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Not to hijack this thread but I also get clogs frequently with my brewzilla 35L. The pump seems to get clogged with bits of grains rather than hops. Any ideas why this is ?

It’s gotten to point where I put a teabag mesh screen over it to prevent a clog but even then all the smallish lose grains got sucked up onto the mesh screen and prevented good water flow making the pump almost useless.
 
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@JarradsHopMachine
Thanks for the info, I always sample with sanitised picnic tap on the fermentasaurus and dry hop with bags and magnets.
I do check for a leak when I seal up just after pitching. No good finding out halfway thru.
Do you have a spunding valve or a ferment bomb?
Possible reason for no pressure if seal failure during the rapid ferment if you get them tight they will ferment at 35 psi ( trust me ).
I've never fermented kveik so cool by the way, even lagers over 30 celsius under pressure.

It's a mind game getting over that it's baking in my ferment fridge.
Thanks mate. I use a spunding valve on the fermentasaurus snub nose fermenter. How do u check for leaks once you have pitched?
 

DuncB

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@Gurt204
You aren't running during the boil ?
Chap on homebrew network uses the tea strainer after the sparge before the boil and catches grains and bits and bobs. I never really had a problem with this issue, robobrew did have two screens in the bottom of malt pipe, but the guten doesn't.
 

DuncB

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@JarradsHopMachine
I just connect the gas from cylinder onto the gas post and pressure to about 15 psi, you will hear the leak or see the gauge drop once the gas is off.
Also quite a good way to dial in the spunding valve.

Hope you have the red spunding valve, the all metal is a nightmare.
 

Gurt204

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@Gurt204
You aren't running during the boil ?
Chap on homebrew network uses the tea strainer after the sparge before the boil and catches grains and bits and bobs. I never really had a problem with this issue, robobrew did have two screens in the bottom of malt pipe, but the guten doesn't.
I run the pump while heating up to the boil. Once boiling I turn it off, then when it comes time to chill it either is clogged or now that I use the tea strainer has little to no flow.
 

DuncB

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Have to admit i don't run it anymore coming up to the boil but as stated others do.
I'm wondering if you have a chronic partial blockage that easily gets fully blocked during your brewday. I can have totally clear liquid coming out of my pipe during the cleaning phase and no new debris going in ( as the water is clean ) yet when I turn the pump off debris floats back out.
There is a way to look at the pipes I believe underneath, the guten came with some spare bits that were for the pump ( typically no instructions as to where they were for or how / when to use them).
I think a big syringe back flush before turning the pump on and see if that helps. Tea strainer i expect is covered in hops and difficult for liquid to get thru. Really a floating drain pick up would be best, the wort is clearer at the top and the debris is at the bottom.
 

Gurt204

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Ok I’ll take a look again. I did take it apart to an extent as it did get clogged to the point where nothing would come through. Looked like a clog at the silicone tubes that connect from the drain to the pump so I cleaned that up and the pump was functional again. After that is when I started using the tea strainer to prevent that. I never took the whole pump apart to look inside it so you could be right.

What is a floating drain? Any links for more details on that?
 

DuncB

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The floating drain hasn't been invented yet. But I keep trying to think of something similar to the floating dip tube, so the float and a tube coming off the drain hole ( need novel fixation). You'd want the tube at the bottom for the mash or use the whole thing like a braumeister which fills from the bottom up a bit like a coffee percolator I believe.
Would be damm handy though as my wort is super clear on the top so early after settling and I think it would stop blockages.
I'm not quite ready to hack into the bottom of the Guten yet.
 
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@JarradsHopMachine
I just connect the gas from cylinder onto the gas post and pressure to about 15 psi, you will hear the leak or see the gauge drop once the gas is off.
Also quite a good way to dial in the spunding valve.

Hope you have the red spunding valve, the all metal is a nightmare.
Ahhhhhh, yeah i got the metal one as i thought that would have been better than plastic.
 

DuncB

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Ahhhhhh, yeah i got the metal one as i thought that would have been better than plastic.
Not to worry , I've got one of those as well.
Some are better than others.
Mine requires the skills of a safe cracker to set it and it tends to wander when not in use as far as settings occur.
If it's the spundit metal valve thingy they look really good but expensive.
So dialling it in once the vessel has been checked for leaks put it on done up tight and then back it off until the gas starts to come out see what it falls too and if that's what you want leave it. If not adjust a bit more back and forwards until you get it right or near. I find on mine that just wiggling the end bit is enough to change the gas outlet dramatically even without rotating it.
 
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Not to worry , I've got one of those as well.
Some are better than others.
Mine requires the skills of a safe cracker to set it and it tends to wander when not in use as far as settings occur.
If it's the spundit metal valve thingy they look really good but expensive.
So dialling it in once the vessel has been checked for leaks put it on done up tight and then back it off until the gas starts to come out see what it falls too and if that's what you want leave it. If not adjust a bit more back and forwards until you get it right or near. I find on mine that just wiggling the end bit is enough to change the gas outlet dramatically even without rotating it.
Awesome mate, great advice. Thank you for that.
 
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