Brewzilla Gen4 Discussion/Tips Talk

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stealthfixr

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Just pre-ordered a Gen4 65L from my LBS and excited to upgrade from my 3.1.1 65L Brewzilla. Many of the tips and tricks from (what I will call) the Gen3 HBT discussion thread were very helpful when I had just transitioned to the Brewzilla process. So, I thought a dedicated Gen4 thread for those new 35L & 65L owners should help shorten the learning curve for all of us, and not dilute the Gen3 thread.

Who of us will get their Gen4 first? Please post your experiences and "wish I had known that sooner" learning points here.
 

jtrainer

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Looking forward to migrating from my current 3V propane-based system after 22 years...
 

ryanj

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I recently sold my 3 vessel electric HERMS and pre-ordered a Gen 4 Brewzilla. I haven't brewed in over a year because I lost interest dealing with all of the equipment and long brew day. I'm excited to get back into brewing.

I feel somewhat prepared to brew on this much simpler all in one, but I am also interested in hearing some tips. For example:
  1. How are most folks sparging? It seems batch sparging is common, are people just dumping hot water into the elevated malt pipe or is there a more refined way of doing this?
  2. With the domed bottom and center drain, is it even worth whirlpooling anymore?!
 
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stealthfixr

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I recently sold my 3 vessel electric HERMS and pre-ordered a Gen 4 Brewzilla. I haven't brewed in over a year because I lost interest dealing with all of the equipment and long brew day. I'm excited to get back into brewing.

I feel somewhat prepared to brew on this much simpler all in one, but I am also interested in hearing some tips. For example:
  1. How are most folks sparging? It seems batch sparging is common, are people just dumping hot water into the elevated malt pipe or is there a more refined way of doing this?
  2. With the domed bottom and center drain, is it even worth whirlpooling anymore?!
I also moved from a three-vessel system, to self made eBIAB RIMS, to the Brewzilla 65L 3.1.1. By far, the one that is easiest to setup, use and clean is the Brewzilla. Been using it for about 2 batches a month for about the last 18 months. Really like my 3.1.1 Brewzilla, and the Gen 4 addresses ALL of my suggested improvements for Gen 3. I can get a full brew day into <5 hours, with cleanup (single infusion).

For me, the easiest way to sparge is to simply pour 170F water over the grains after pulling the malt pipe. I have a tea maker where I can specify the 'Green Tea" setting and get 170F heated water in about 4 minutes. The tea maker carafe holds about 1.5L, and I do that twice for a total of 3L (0.79gal). Been getting 80+ efficiency this way.

I do not plan to whirlpool with the Gen4, at all. However, I prefer to use cheap, muslin bags for hops, which takes out a lot of the gunk.
 

bjhbrew

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I’ve been looking closely at the gen 4 brewzilla as a replacement for my large self built ebiab. I’m curious if folks in North American are mostly getting the 220v or 110v option? If it’s not ridiculously under powered I think I’d lean towards the 110v option just for the flexibility of using it indoors or out. I did go to the effort of installing 220v gfci in my house and have come to realize that I don’t actually enjoy brewing inside nearly as much.
 

Teufelhunde

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I’ve been looking closely at the gen 4 brewzilla as a replacement for my large self built ebiab. I’m curious if folks in North American are mostly getting the 220v or 110v option? If it’s not ridiculously under powered I think I’d lean towards the 110v option just for the flexibility of using it indoors or out. I did go to the effort of installing 220v gfci in my house and have come to realize that I don’t actually enjoy brewing inside nearly as much.
I brew on the 3.1.1 (110) and don't really see any downside to it. I set it up the night before to heat my strike water and have it ready when I am ready to start. The only waiting is for it to come up to a boil (never really timed it, but I sense 20-25 minutes), and I need that time for the sparge/drain anyway, so I don't think it is wasted time.

YMMV

Lon
 

GoodTruble

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I use a 3.1.1 110v, and I think the flexibility to brew in different spots is worth the tradeoff in heating times. -It takes about 45 minutes to get from room temp to 150's and probably the same to go from 150's to boil.
 
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bjhbrew

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I brew on the 3.1.1 (110) and don't really see any downside to it. I set it up the night before to heat my strike water and have it ready when I am ready to start. The only waiting is for it to come up to a boil (never really timed it, but I sense 20-25 minutes), and I need that time for the sparge/drain anyway, so I don't think it is wasted time.

YMMV

Lon

I use a 3.1.1 110v, and I think the flexibility to brew in different spots is with the tradeoff in heating times. -It takes about 45 minutes to get from room temp to 150's and probably the same to go from 150's to boil.

Good to know that the 110v unit is a workable solution. I was a little skeptical because I put together my first ebiab kettle using a ~2000 watt heater on 110v (20amp) and it wouldn’t even boil a 5G batch without some extra help from a hot plate. I guess the tall narrow geometry really helps. Thanks!
 

Teufelhunde

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. I guess the tall narrow geometry really helps. Thanks!
Likely. The design of the coils probably has something to do with it. The low wattage-density thing is above my pay grade, but I think the coils have a lot more surface area than normal to avoid scorching, which might also help with heating with the larger surface area.

Something that certainly does help is the neoprene jacket(it really does a good job of holding the heat in, keeps your mash temp more stable as well, not as much roller coaster temperatures). Make sure and budget for one. Take it off when you start to chill, or it will take FOREVER.....

YMMV

Lon
 

ctfoust

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I also moved from a three-vessel system, to self made eBIAB RIMS, to the Brewzilla 65L 3.1.1. By far, the one that is easiest to setup, use and clean is the Brewzilla. Been using it for about 2 batches a month for about the last 18 months. Really like my 3.1.1 Brewzilla, and the Gen 4 addresses ALL of my suggested improvements for Gen 3. I can get a full brew day into <5 hours, with cleanup (single infusion).

For me, the easiest way to sparge is to simply pour 170F water over the grains after pulling the malt pipe. I have a tea maker where I can specify the 'Green Tea" setting and get 170F heated water in about 4 minutes. The tea maker carafe holds about 1.5L, and I do that twice for a total of 3L (0.79gal). Been getting 80+ efficiency this way.

I do not plan to whirlpool with the Gen4, at all. However, I prefer to use cheap, muslin bags for hops, which takes out a lot of the gunk.
Just pre-ordered a Gen4 65L from my LBS and excited to upgrade from my 3.1.1 65L Brewzilla. Many of the tips and tricks from (what I will call) the Gen3 HBT discussion thread were very helpful when I had just transitioned to the Brewzilla process. So, I thought a dedicated Gen4 thread for those new 35L & 65L owners should help shorten the learning curve for all of us, and not dilute the Gen3 thread.

Who of us will get their Gen4 first? Please post your experiences and "wish I had known that sooner" learning points here.
Could anyone tell me what the style of 220 plug comes on the USA version of the Brewzilla v4 65L system?
 

agentbud

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I have a tea maker where I can specify the 'Green Tea" setting and get 170F heated water in about 4 minutes. The tea maker carafe holds about 1.5L, and I do that twice for a total of 3L (0.79gal). Been getting 80+ efficiency this way.
This was one of my main concerns. Currently I brew 5 gal batches doing full volume BIAB in a 15gal pot so there is plenty of room for big beers. If I understand what I have read on the gen 4, it will hold over 20 lbs of grain but that would be only if you sparged after mash to bring up to volume. Does anyone know the max amount of grains you could add if doing a full volume mash with no sparge (in the 35L version w/ no pipe extension)? Assuming there is not enough room for really big beers, I have been looking at best alternatives for heating sparge water without spending alot of $$. What brand tea maker do you use. Anyone else have good suggestions on cheap/quick sparge water heating methods?
 
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stealthfixr

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This was one of my main concerns. Currently I brew 5 gal batches doing full volume BIAB in a 15gal pot so there is plenty of room for big beers. If I understand what I have read on the gen 4, it will hold over 20 lbs of grain but that would be only if you sparged after mash to bring up to volume. Does anyone know the max amount of grains you could add if doing a full volume mash with no sparge (in the 35L version w/ no pipe extension)? Assuming there is not enough room for really big beers, I have been looking at best alternatives for heating sparge water without spending alot of $$. What brand tea maker do you use. Anyone else have good suggestions on cheap/quick sparge water heating methods?
My tea maker is used mainly for tea and not cheap. However, this kettle with temp adjustment would work just as well and only $59.
 

Bottoms_Up

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I recently sold my 3 vessel electric HERMS and pre-ordered a Gen 4 Brewzilla. I haven't brewed in over a year because I lost interest dealing with all of the equipment and long brew day. I'm excited to get back into brewing.

I feel somewhat prepared to brew on this much simpler all in one, but I am also interested in hearing some tips. For example:
  1. How are most folks sparging? It seems batch sparging is common, are people just dumping hot water into the elevated malt pipe or is there a more refined way of doing this?
  2. With the domed bottom and center drain, is it even worth whirlpooling anymore?!
I just received my Brewzilla Gen 4 last week (110 Volt system).

1. There are two ways to sparge. The first way is to mash, mash out, then lift the pipe to drain completely. Then start adding sparge water to the grain, using say a 2-liter measuring container, pouring gently over the grains. The second way is to mash, mash out, lift the pipe to drain completely, then remove what has been collected and leave it temporarily in a separate pot. Then drop the pipe with the grain, add your sparge water, stir, let it settle, then lift the pipe up to drain again. Repeat this if you want to add more sparge water. Once you are finished sparging, add the wort that was kept aside and you can begin your boil. You will likely get better efficiency using this latter method, but it wil take a little longer.

2. As far as I know, there is no need to do a whirlpool, especially since there are already two filters in place. I intend to use the bottom faucet to drain off a pint or so after chilling and before transferring the wort to the fermenter. That pint is used to remove any trub that might have accumulated in the "dome". The rest should be fairly clear.
 
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Bottoms_Up

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This was one of my main concerns. Currently I brew 5 gal batches doing full volume BIAB in a 15gal pot so there is plenty of room for big beers. If I understand what I have read on the gen 4, it will hold over 20 lbs of grain but that would be only if you sparged after mash to bring up to volume. Does anyone know the max amount of grains you could add if doing a full volume mash with no sparge (in the 35L version w/ no pipe extension)? Assuming there is not enough room for really big beers, I have been looking at best alternatives for heating sparge water without spending alot of $$. What brand tea maker do you use. Anyone else have good suggestions on cheap/quick sparge water heating methods?
One of the quickest, easiest, cheapest way of heating sparge water is using a 1500 watt immersion heater coil. Just hang it into a container with water and use a temperature controller with it. Stirring it once in a while will help keep the temperature consistent. If 1500 watts is too much for your circuit (you might already have other devices on that circuit), you can use a 1000 watt coil, although it will take a little longer. I opted for the 1000 watt coil as a safer opton so I wouldn't blow out my circuit (I didn't have a dedicated circuit with no other devices on it).

If you already have a Sous-vide, you can use that to heat water in a container. It also comes with a small propeller, which will ciculate the water while heating. They are quite accurate in terms of adjustable temperature, but costs a lot more than the inexpensive heating coils. I have used this approach several times.

Of course, the easiest and least expensive way of all is to just heat the sparging water in a pot on your stove. This is the approach I use most often.
 
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403Brewer

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One of the quickest, easiest, cheapest way of heating sparge water is using a 1500 watt immersion heater coil. Just hang it into a container with water and use a temperature controller with it. Stirring it once in a while will help keep the temperature consistent. If 1500 watts is too much for your circuit (you might already have other devices on that circuit), you can use a 1000 watt coil, although it will take a little longer. I opted for the 1000 watt coil as a safer opton so I wouldn't blow out my circuit (I didn't have a dedicated circuit with no other devices on it).

If you already have a Sous-vide, you can use that to heat water in a container. It also comes with a small propeller, which will ciculate the water while heating. They are quite accurate in terms of adjustable temperature, but costs a lot more than the inexpensive heating coils. I have used this approach several times.

Of course, the easiest and least expensive way of all is to just heat the sparging water in a pot on your stove. This is the approach I use most often.
Would you be able to comment on mash temp times and boil times with the 110V on the Gen4? Debating the 222 vs 110, would much rather the 110 for flexibility but having a hard time finding any info out there on ramp up times for the 110v. Thanks a lot
 

Bottoms_Up

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Would you be able to comment on mash temp times and boil times with the 110V on the Gen4? Debating the 222 vs 110, would much rather the 110 for flexibility but having a hard time finding any info out there on ramp up times for the 110v. Thanks a lot
Soon I will provide my own observations, but I understand that it takes about 45 minutes to get to mash temperature using the 110V system, and another about 45 minutes to get to boil temperature (to save time, it is best to start raising the temperature at full wattage as soon as you start the sparge). The time, of course depends on the ambient temperature, whether the circuit is dedicated, whether or not you are using a brewjacket, whether indoors or outdoors (wind), etc. The brewjackets for the Gen 4 are not yet available, but are expected to be available by this Fall. Based on the Gen 3 versions, the brewjackets make a noticeable difference.

I debated about whether to get the 110V or 220V system and decided on the 110V. I have to boil outdoors (usually in the garage) and do not have access to a 220V circuit outside. Boiling should be no real issue outside during the late Spring, summer and early Fall. During winter I plan to use the Brewzilla indoors just to mash (I don't have a vent hood, but mashing does not create very much steam). I will then transfer the wort to my old boil vessel and boil it outdoors with my propane heater. I will also try using the Brewzilla outdoors during the colder winter by adding an additional 1000 watt heating coil to the boil (hanging from above). This will be plugged into a separate 110V circuit. A friend has used this approach successfully with his Gen 3 Brewzilla.
 
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jtrainer

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Would you be able to comment on mash temp times and boil times with the 110V on the Gen4? Debating the 222 vs 110, would much rather the 110 for flexibility but having a hard time finding any info out there on ramp up times for the 110v. Thanks a lot
I think you will find what you seek and many other answers in the 2 part series from David Heath. Here is a link to part two.

Mashin temp of ~4 Gal took him 17:53 with what I believe was his 240v. I'd add another 15-20 min for 110v

 

easttex

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For my part, I am giving serious thought to selling my kettle RIMs system and buying a 65L Brewzilla 4. I have a 240v outlet outside and the idea of being about to make up my water the night before and mash in first thing is tantalizing. As is the ease of cleaning relative to the Frankenstein set up I brew on now.

The older and busier I get, the more precious time at home is to me. Anything I can do to minimize downtime while brewing is important to me and well worth the investment.
 

Teufelhunde

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Soon I will provide my own observations, but I understand that it takes about 45 minutes to get to mash temperature using the 110V system, and another about 45 minutes to get to boil temperature (to save time, it is best to start raising the temperature at full wattage as soon as you start the sparge). The time, of course depends on the ambient temperature, whether the circuit is dedicated, whether or not you are using a brewjacket, whether indoors or outdoors (wind), etc. The brewjackets for the Gen 4 are not yet available, but are expected to be available by this Fall. Based on the Gen 3 versions, the brewjackets make a noticeable difference.

I debated about whether to get the 110V or 220V system and decided on the 110V. I have to boil outdoors (usually in the garage) and do not have access to a 220V circuit outside. Boiling should be no real issue outside during the late Spring, summer and early Fall. During winter I plan to use the Brewzilla indoors just to mash (I don't have a vent hood, but mashing does not create very much steam). I will then transfer the wort to my old boil vessel and boil it outdoors with my propane heater. I will also try using the Brewzilla outdoors during the colder winter by adding an additional 1000 watt heating coil to the boil (hanging from above). This will be plugged into a separate 110V circuit. A friend has used this approach successfully with his Gen 3 Brewzilla.
I brew indoors on my 3.1.1 by setting the unit up right in front of my stove and using the exhaust fan on the stove. It doesn't get all the steam, but gets enough to where it's not an issue.

YMMV

Lon
 

Bottoms_Up

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I brew indoors on my 3.1.1 by setting the unit up right in front of my stove and using the exhaust fan on the stove. It doesn't get all the steam, but gets enough to where it's not an issue.

YMMV

Lon
Unfortunately, the exhaust fan on our stove does not connect to an outside vent. It only blows the steam back out into the kitchen.
 

warx

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I have an Anvil 10.5 240V (and 110V) and started looking at something bigger. Now the Brewzilla v4 65L is under consideration as well as the Anvil 18. I am curious about how well that false bottom type filter works compared to a real trub mesh filter. Lately, I've been less concerned about getting a bit or trub in my FV (plastic bucket) but I have been using a hop spider. I would keep my Anvil - it has a pot still attachment for its lid that works great.
 

ryanj

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What kind of mash thickness is everyone using on their BZ? I hear folks sparging 1-1.5 gallons, and for a 5 gallon batch, that sounds like a really wet initial mash. 1.9-2qt/lb.

I always batch sparged around 1.75qt/lb on my HERMS and got decent results.
 

Sammy86

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What kind of mash thickness is everyone using on their BZ? I hear folks sparging 1-1.5 gallons, and for a 5 galling batch, that sounds like a really wet initial mash. 1.9-2qt/lb.

I always batch sparged around 1.75qt/lb.
I mash thin, 2.0 qts/pound. Even before using the brew bag I found better efficiency with the thinner mash.
 

ryanj

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I mash thin, 2.0 qts/pound. Even before using the brew bag I found better efficiency with the thinner mash.
Well that answers it. More water up front, better efficiency, and I can probably get away heating my sparge water with a 2 qt tea kettle.
 

Bottoms_Up

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What kind of mash thickness is everyone using on their BZ? I hear folks sparging 1-1.5 gallons, and for a 5 gallon batch, that sounds like a really wet initial mash. 1.9-2qt/lb.

I always batch sparged around 1.75qt/lb on my HERMS and got decent results.
I've always used 1.5 quarts per pound of grain for a long time, and now that I have a Brewzilla, I plan to keep it the same unless someone gives me a complelling reason to change.
 

ryanj

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I've always used 1.5 quarts per pound of grain for a long time, and now that I have a Brewzilla, I plan to keep it the same unless someone gives me a complelling reason to change.
1.5qt/lb is like the default recommendation. I was advised a long time ago when I started brewing to increase that to 1.75qt/lb and it seems to have worked fine for me on my previous rig. The only reason I ask is because it seems like a lot of BZ owners are sparging with a very small volume of water (4-6qts) and it got me curious.

I doubt it matters that much, but the main thing I'm trying to do is not have to buy another kettle for sparge water. If I can increase my mash thickness to 1.9-2qt/lb, I can easily get away with a 2L electric tea kettle.
 

Bottoms_Up

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1.5qt/lb is like the default recommendation. I was advised a long time ago when I started brewing to increase that to 1.75qt/lb and it seems to have worked fine for me on my previous rig. The only reason I ask is because it seems like a lot of BZ owners are sparging with a very small volume of water (4-6qts) and it got me curious.

I doubt it matters that much, but the main thing I'm trying to do is not have to buy another kettle for sparge water. If I can increase my mash thickness to 1.9-2qt/lb, I can easily get away with a 2L electric tea kettle.
I could never understand why it is necessary to purchase a tea kettle or an expensive sparge water heater. It is so incredibly easy and inexpensive to just heat sparge water in a pot on the stove. Why is that no longer an option?
 

ryanj

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I could never understand why it is necessary to purchase a tea kettle or an expensive sparge water heater. It is so incredibly easy and inexpensive to just heat sparge water in a pot on the stove. Why is that no longer an option?
Oh it’s an option. The only reason I was considering a tea kettle is because of the ease and speed of heating.

I have an electric range and it kind of sucks, but it would work just fine.
 

Bottoms_Up

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Oh it’s an option. The only reason I was considering a tea kettle is because of the ease and speed of heating.

I have an electric range and it kind of sucks, but it would work just fine.
But I don't understand this need for "speed"? If you start heating the sparge water on the stove near the beginning of the mash - ot even later - there's no need for speed. It's all totally heated and ready to go by the time you need it, even on a slow stove. Oh, I get it. You're addicted to new "gadgets", right? LOL
 

ryanj

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But I don't understand this need for "speed"? If you start heating the mash water on the stove near the beginning of the mash, there's no need for speed. it's all heated and ready to go by the time you need it. Oh, I get it. You are addicted toi new "gadgets"? LOL
Fair point. Didn’t have to be like that, tho. :(
 
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I’m waiting on the availability locally of the 65L 220/240 system. My LHBS can get it for me and I’d prefer to give them the business.
I’ll be replacing a 3 vessel system, custom brew stand, plus a Blichmann floor burner. My kettles are all 15g G1 Blichmann as well. Not to mention the sundry accessories I’ll be eliminating.
I can brew inside year round but now without opening doors. I’ll add a steam condensation system and will use the water collected for cleaning and in the gardens.
Overall, I hope to reduce the footprint and complexity of my current system while hopefully reducing my brewday times.
As for sparging I’m getting the basic Digiboil 65L. This gives me a lot of flexibility for additional water needs.
I have to CFC systems and plenty of pumps so that shouldn’t be an issue.
 

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I'm curious about the pickup pipe being at the very bottom instead of a rotating racking arm like my Anvil. Do you have to transfer all the cold break/trub to the FV? Do you dump it until you get clear wort (or decide when you are OK with the amount of trub entering the FV?

With my Anvil if I don't use a hop spider and with a heavy grain bill I still get so much trub my pointing up racking arm is still well under the trub level anyways.
 

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I'm curious about the pickup pipe being at the very bottom instead of a rotating racking arm like my Anvil. Do you have to transfer all the cold break/trub to the FV? Do you dump it until you get clear wort (or decide when you are OK with the amount of trub entering the FV?

With my Anvil if I don't use a hop spider and with a heavy grain bill I still get so much trub my pointing up racking arm is still well under the trub level anyways.
Just today, I purchased a rotating sparge arm for my Brewzilla. The existing configuration using only a crude hose for circulation made little sense. With this rotaing sparge arm, most of the trub and cold break should hopefully remain at the top part of the grain bed. In addition, the wort should circulate through the entire grain bed much more efficiently. I'll use the sparge arm during my mash as well.
 

Teufelhunde

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Just today, I purchased a rotating sparge arm for my Brewzilla. The existing configuration using only a crude hose for circulation made little sense. With this rotaing sparge arm, most of the trub and cold break should hopefully remain at the top part of the grain bed. In addition, the wort should circulate through the entire grain bed much more efficiently. I'll use the sparge arm during my mash as well.
Do you have a link to the one you bought?
 

Bottoms_Up

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Do you have a link to the one you bought?
Yes, you can order it from here:

Sprinkler Head Sparge Arm with 26

The arm actually just fits inside the Brewzilla but is a little tight, so I'm planning to cut about 1/2" from each end of the arm. This is easily doable with a hacksaw. The rubber ends easily come off and on.

The only additional item you will need is an O-ring or some kind of clamp to keep the device at the proper height (I'm not sure why something like that wasn't included). I ended up getting one of those self-adjusting butterfly clamps, which makes it easier to make fine adjustments on the fly.

Easy-Turn (Butterfly) Hose Clamp for 7/16
 
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Teufelhunde

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Yes, you can order it from here:

Sprinkler Head Sparge Arm with 26

The arm actually just fits inside the Brewzilla but is a little tight, so I'm planning to cut about 1/2" from each end of the arm. This is easily doable with a hacksaw. The rubber ends easily come off and on.

The only additional item you will need is an O-ring or some kind of clamp to keep the device at the proper height (I'm not sure why somehting like that wasn't included). I ended up getting one of those self-adjusting butterfly clamps, which makes it easier to make fine adjustments on the fly.

Easy-Turn (Butterfly) Hose Clamp for 7/16
TY
 

jtrainer

BeerCzar I am
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I was poking about B3s site and noticed the 110v model is fully listed as available. Both of the 220v models are still tagged pre-order and not in stock yet. Patiently waiting.
 
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