eBIAB Basket Design Help

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specialkayme

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I'm designing an eBIAB basket from Utah Biodiesel, and considering the price I wanted a second opinion before I pulled the trigger.

I have a 15 gallon Spike Kettle (dimensions attached). I got a few custom ports put on it (see attached pre-order dimensions). The bottom three ports are for the heating element, exit port, and temp probe. The top port is for a recirculating pump. The highest of the bottom three ports is the temp probe, and with the temp probe in it, the top of the probe is 3.75" above the bottom of the kettle. 16" from the bottom of the kettle is the bottom lip of the top port.

I figured (and Utah confirmed) that I need a 14" diameter basket, with 4" feet, that is 12" tall. That should fit well in the kettle (actually provide about 1.8" of extra space, which I'll need for the U-support below), and be 16" in overall height, which will fit below the top port.

Utah recommended the 400 micron size. Sounds reasonable, and I've read plenty of threads that seem to use it. I'm not sure why my Brew-in-a-bag uses a 210 micron size that works great but the metal basket should be 400 microns, but I'm not going to question the collective wisdom here.

Utah suggested I get a U-support & 2 side drain hooks to support the basket up when draining, and suggested putting them 3-4" up from the bottom of the basket. They said the U support was more popular than their J hook support, or the side hook supports they've done in the past. I have no experience with any of their support systems, so I'm assuming the U-support 4" up from the bottom of the basket would be fine.

So ultimate design:
- 14" diameter basket.
- 4" feet
- 12" tall
- 400 micron size
- U-support 4" up from the bottom of the basket
- press plate

Anyone with experience in this area care to tell me if they think I'm on the right track or off somewhere?
 

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BeardedBrews

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I went with 400 micron and it works well. I didn't use the U-support, just a handle.
 
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specialkayme

specialkayme

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I didn't use the U-support, just a handle.
How do you let it drain?

I've used a brew bag for a few years, and I set up an A frame ladder over the kettle, lift the bag up, and use a clip to support it while it drains. I was hoping to avoid the need to use a ladder in my kitchen moving forward.
 

Hwk-I-St8

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Wow. 4" feet will leave a lot of wort volume below your grains. I'd either skip the temp probe or find one that would be more or less flush with the edge of the kettle so that it didn't push the bottom of the basket up so high. I'd have the bottom of my basket about 1/4" above the top of the actual burner (which would probably be right on top of the tri-clamp port).

Also, I currently MIAB and I use a ratcheting hoist. That works really well, so I'd have zero interest in some additional parts to hold the basket. Just a handle would suffice for me.

As I plan my system, I'm also considering a solid side will with mesh only at the bottom or a really thin SS sheet I can line the basket with to try a solid wall.
 

Andrew Hodgson

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My basket gets pulled up by hand then I have 3 stainless "L's" that fit over the edges of the lid and under the bottom of the basket. I let it sit on those and drain while I crank the heat, once the flow slows I pull the basket out completely, and save the rest in a bucket to add as it accumulates.
 

BeardedBrews

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How do you let it drain?

I've used a brew bag for a few years, and I set up an A frame ladder over the kettle, lift the bag up, and use a clip to support it while it drains. I was hoping to avoid the need to use a ladder in my kitchen moving forward.
I have an overhead pulley to lift the basket so I just tie that off.

Regarding the dead space below the basket, you do want to minimize that. I'm not convinced on the 'not enough of the wort is touching the grain' but it is very true that you might not have enough water to cover the grain if the basket is very high.
 
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specialkayme

specialkayme

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Wow. 4" feet will leave a lot of wort volume below your grains. I'd either skip the temp probe or find one that would be more or less flush with the edge of the kettle so that it didn't push the bottom of the basket up so high. I'd have the bottom of my basket about 1/4" above the top of the actual burner (which would probably be right on top of the tri-clamp port).
My burner is 3" off the bottom. Finding some workaround with the probe would only reduce the basket by 1/2" or 3/4".

Also, I currently MIAB and I use a ratcheting hoist. That works really well, so I'd have zero interest in some additional parts to hold the basket. Just a handle would suffice for me.
But assuming you didn't already have the ratcheting hoist, and assuming you were brewing in your kitchen where you couldn't drill a hook into the ceiling, what option would you choose then?

As I plan my system, I'm also considering a solid side will with mesh only at the bottom or a really thin SS sheet I can line the basket with to try a solid wall.
I looked around with interest in some of those designs. Either sold sides, or half solid sides, or different mesh size on the sides, but in the end I couldn't find much of a "tried and true" design like that that was worth the trouble of taking a gamble on something that could clog up with a recirculating pump. I think it's neat though.
 
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specialkayme

specialkayme

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My basket gets pulled up by hand then I have 3 stainless "L's" that fit over the edges of the lid and under the bottom of the basket.
It looks like you're using the "j hook" type design that Utah has. Mind if I ask why you went with that option as opposed to something else?

They said their U-support design was significantly more popular than the j hook design. I don't know why though.
 
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specialkayme

specialkayme

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it is very true that you might not have enough water to cover the grain if the basket is very high.
4" up on the kettle hits the 3 gallon mark. The marks are a little off though, so it's probably closer to 2.75 gallons. I usually do full volume mashes (so for a 5 gallon, 90 min boil, I put in around 7.75 gallons of water to mash in, depending on the amount of grains I'm using). That should put normal batches at around 10-15 lbs of grain sitting in about 5 gallons of water, with 2.75 gallons of water sitting below.

Obviously, no space on the bottom would be ideal. But I'm not going to get ideal.

Considering my info above, do you still think a 4" gap on bottom will be a problem?
 

BeardedBrews

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4" up on the kettle hits the 3 gallon mark. The marks are a little off though, so it's probably closer to 2.75 gallons. I usually do full volume mashes (so for a 5 gallon, 90 min boil, I put in around 7.75 gallons of water to mash in, depending on the amount of grains I'm using). That should put normal batches at around 10-15 lbs of grain sitting in about 5 gallons of water, with 2.75 gallons of water sitting below.

Obviously, no space on the bottom would be ideal. But I'm not going to get ideal.

Considering my info above, do you still think a 4" gap on bottom will be a problem?
Sounds like about 1qt/lb mash thickness based on your estimates which should work just fine for making beer.
 

Andrew Hodgson

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It looks like you're using the "j hook" type design that Utah has. Mind if I ask why you went with that option as opposed to something else?
My setup came altogether and that was what it shipped with. It works for me doing 5 gallon batches in a 10 gallon kettle. It is helpful to have someone around to drop the hooks in while you lift the basket but I've done it solo before with "normal" grain bills (10-12lbs of grain bills).

Seems to me it is just preference for what you want to do.
 
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specialkayme

specialkayme

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Thanks everyone. It seems like there are a wide array of options I could go down, but the design I outlayed isn't necessarily "wrong" in any aspect. I appreciate the help!
 
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specialkayme

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The basket arived today. When they say 4-6 weeks, they mean it.

I haven't brewed with it yet, and may not be able to in the next few weeks. So performance may be different than my initial impressions.

Overall, the basket needs a very good cleaning before I can use it. Running my hands over a few areas, I'm picking up some metal shavings (an insert in the packaging tells me to clean it, but just mentioning this doesn't appear to be "precautionary").

I'm not sure I enjoy the U support. It doesn't appear very secure. It wobbles back and forth hen in the U support. Seems like there would be better alternatives. Plus, with the U support hooks in place on the basket, I think it takes up alot of space in the kettle that could have been better used.

I also think I could have brought the bottom down a little bit more.

To be clear, Utah Biodisel gave me EXACTLY what I asked for, and as far as I can tell created a great product. I probably could have designed it a little bit better, but it should be a significant upgrade over the bag I did have.
 

BeardedBrews

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Not that you're worried, but I think some of the things you might have done differently will be forgotten in the fun of the first few batches. The U-support will probably sit better once there is weight on it, and the size probably won't be that critical.

My advice for the first few batches is to be prepared to stir a little during the first part of the mash. I found that as the conversion gets going the filter like to clog a bit until all the protein settled down. After that it ran and drained just fine.
 
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