Kettle Help for eBIAB build

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butterblum

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I need some non-electrical help:
I am looking for some help on putting together a kettle for my eBIAB build. I had initially planned on using my thin-walled aluminum kettle which already has a ball valve in it, but I have read that aluminum and stainless have some unwanted interactions when electricity is involved.
So I will probably start from scratch and buy a stainless kettle. I won't use the basket that comes with it, I will just use the grain bag.
What I want is this:
1) A recirculating mash
1a. I feel like it would be better to have the return location at the top of the kettle, but mounted onto the side of the kettle, not the lid. Has anyone else done this?​
2) Use my counterflow chiller that I already have
2a. Can I just have two valves at the output of the pump? One line goes to the recirculation return at the top of the kettle, and the other goes to my chiller?​
3) Use my chiller return to create a whirlpool
3a. Any good examples of what type of pickup tubes/locations are needed for a whirlpool?
3b. What about a false bottom? Do I need one to cover the element?
3c. If I do need a false bottom, where do I put the ports to/from the pump?
Thanks guys
 

staticfritz

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lots of questions, many have been addressed in several different ways depending on whose build thread you read
these are just my takes:
1) i like to peek at what's happening, so i put my recirc port on the side. this makes fitting a basket down the road more difficult if you choose to do brew in a basket, but certainly not impossible. Brau supply is one example of a commercial setup that did this
2) this is what I'm doing as well, the only thing to keep in mind is that it's good to recirculate a little boiling wort through the CFC before starting to fill your fermenter in order to sterilize it. if you push through a chiller, you may not have enough pump power to drive a whirlpool, so you'll need to alternate. if you have a quick disconnect or push connect type of fitting (shove an o-ring inside a compression fitting instead of the ferrule to create a push-connect for tubing, you can have a tube for recirc and a bent tube to whirlpool, and then be using the same port on your kettle
3a) whirpool exit should be below the wort surface, angled down a touch to minimize splashing
3b) you don't need one per-se, but if you plan on running the element with the bag in, it might not hurt to provide peace of mind that you don't burn/melt the bag. I made a simple one that I can pull out for the boil to minimize interference with the whirlpool
3c) you can use the same out port/drain from your kettle for everything

my build
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/spike-240v-ebiab-build-on-an-oldschool-av-cart.641157/
 
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butterblum

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Thanks for the reply.
I am currently entertaining the idea of getting a custom Spike 10 gallon kettle. Tri-clamp fitting for the element, NPT ports for (1) liquid out, (2) temp probe, (3) mash recirculation, (4) whirlpool/chiller return.
 

staticfritz

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Everyone I've heard pretty throughly encouraged me to get a 15gal instead of 10. Not sure i'll ever do many 10 gal batches, but my usual batch is 6 gal (5 in the keg, plus a handful of bombers), so that makes a pretty full 10 gal pot if doing BIAB
 
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butterblum

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Everyone I've heard pretty throughly encouraged me to get a 15gal instead of 10. Not sure i'll ever do many 10 gal batches, but my usual batch is 6 gal (5 in the keg, plus a handful of bombers), so that makes a pretty full 10 gal pot if doing BIAB
I am actually looking to restrict myself to 2.5 gallon batches and do a max of 5 gallons. I can always use extract for bigger 5 gallon brews.
I don't drink enough to consistently make 5 gallon batches; especially if I'm not satisfied with the taste.
 

staticfritz

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fair enough, then 10 gal sounds good.
Spike is not the cheapest by any stretch, but is certainly nice stuff.
the weldless bulkhead options from brewhardware including triclamp fittings make modifying other pots pretty easy
 
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