My Mesh False Bottom

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aubiecat

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I have been wanting try a mesh false bottom or something of the sort for a while. The bag can sit on top of it and when I get ready to chill it will keep the chiller off the heating element.
I happened to acquire some heavy 1/2" stainless mesh from work and I was considering making a mesh basket. After thinking it over I decided to make a mesh false bottom.


Knowing the mesh alone wouldn't be strong enough by itself I had a 1/2" wide flange cut from 1/16" thick stainless steel. The flange covers the ends of the mesh so the bag won't get snagged. The two flat areas on the flange are due to the steamer basket lip on the Bayou Classic pot.


I took a section of the mesh and laid it over the flange to mark my cutting points and began cutting the shape I wanted with my snips. A Marks a Lot works well here.


Mesh cut to shape.


A little bit of clean up trim to make sure there aren't any over hanging wires to snag the bag.


Used an old snare drum rim to give me a working fab frame and hold the hot metal off my wooden work bench. Vise grips to clamp the mesh to the flange. I used a die grinder with a scotch brite pad to smooth and prep the surface of the flange for soldering.


I used Stay Brite flux and Oatey lead-free solder to attach the mesh to the flange.


After rinsing the flux off with water here is the finished soldering job.


What it looks like from the top after hitting it with the scotch brite again.


I used 5/16" x 3" stainless carriage bolts as my standoffs. I used two 3/8" stainless washers to keep the 5/16" nut off the square on the carriage bolt head.


Four standoffs out near the flange to transfer strength. Two in the center opposite the heating element will keep the center from sagging if there is any.


Bottom side.


The flats on the flange slip right past the steamer basket lip. Fits and sits perfectly in the kettle. By tipping the false bottom to one side I can easily grab and remove it.


I think this will work fine with the bag. I will find out for sure because I am brewing tomorrow.
 
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aubiecat

aubiecat

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Thanks Martin30R, I will be brewing one that will take my system to the limit of capacity today, Scotch Ale.
 
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aubiecat

aubiecat

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I tried it out today but there was no noticeable improvement in circulation. I still had to use the valve to choke off the flow during recirculation.
Good news is I can still use the steamer basket and I don't have to build another basket. I am still going to use the false bottom because it worked great to rest the wort chiller on.
 

jcaudill

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The holes in that mesh are far too big which is why you had no improvement. Notice that the holes on my false bottoms you can purchase for homebrewing are pretty small and numerous. They are only big enough to let liquid flow and hopefully keep grain out. In your bottom your grain bed will just go right through.
 

bmunos

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ahhh after reading twice I understand. Great Idea!!!
 

bloodonblood

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I think a lot of people are missing that this isn't a traditional false bottom in that it is not intended to come in to contact with the grain. It is in fact intended to be used in conjunction with a mesh bag that will be filtering the grain.

Now back on topic. I would guess that problems in flow are coming from your basket because i know that many people have posted before that modifying there baskets have helped salve this problem. Can you post some picture of the basket so that we have more info?
 

wyzazz

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I tried it out today but there was no noticeable improvement in circulation. I still had to use the valve to choke off the flow during recirculation.
Good news is I can still use the steamer basket and I don't have to build another basket. I am still going to use the false bottom because it worked great to rest the wort chiller on.
Love the project, you did a very nice job! I use a SS Grill topper that I cut apart to keep my BIAB Bag off of my element and recirc my mash. When you recirc your mash you can't go full-throttle, it's got to be a nice slow recirc or you'll end up running your element dry.
 

DustBow

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How fast are you trying to recirculate? Everything I've ever read about it says it should be very slow, you wouldn't want your valve even close to wide open
 
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aubiecat

aubiecat

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jcaudill, This mesh false bottom is for BIAB use only.

bloodonblood Here . I have opened more holes since this was done.

wyzazz and DustBow, what you guys say makes sense to me. I never really to get a full free flow during mashing but thought a bit more would be better. I guess it isn't critical though.

Bobby I used sheer Voile. Is there something else that is as strong but with better flow capabilities?
BTW, I just replaced my skinny site glass with one of your thicker sight glasses. I like it much better that the old one.

In the end I can live with the slow flow. I haven't had any bad beer or off flavors since I started using this rig. The mesh bottom is still a great addition to the kettle. In days past, to keep my chiller off the element, I added an aluminum clip to the infeed and outfeed tubes of my chiller and hung on the side of the kettle. It was functional but I didn't like it much. Now I can just drop the chiller in and freely move it around if necessary.
 

wyzazz

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I use Swiss Voile and it works fine for me, just have to go slow. I've never seen anyone recirculate at WOT during a mash, you just end up sticking your mash. Granted this might happen faster with BIAB because of the finer filtration but that's a moot point I think.
 
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aubiecat

aubiecat

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Just for fun I thought I would add the strengthening modification to my BIAB bag.

I purchased some 3/4" nylon webbing from a cool website called Strapworks.com. They everything you can think of to do with webbing, metal and plastic hardware.

30' roll of 3/4" white nylon webbing and my homemade bag.


When I cut the webbing I used a lighter with a straight flame to seal the end and keep them from fraying.


Positioning the webbing below the draw string and right at the edge of the relief.


Now running it through the sewing machine.


I stitched on both side of the webbing and then back over that with a narrow zigzag stitch for extra strength.


To get the position for the lifting points I just pulled the bag flat and guesstimated the spots. I used a pencil to mark on all four positions. Optimally you want the lifting points on the quarter points of the bag radius. Like points on a compass.


I cut four pieces about 8" long and sealed the ends with the lighter. Positioning the loops and getting ready to sew.


Sewing the loops on. It's easier to get ready to stitch the loops if you get it positioned correctly and hand roll the needle down through the material. That locks it in place to you can get yourself ready to sew.


A simple stitch in the shape of a square will do nicely.


The sewing is done.


Still works perfectly with the draw string on the kettle.
 
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aubiecat

aubiecat

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Glad you liked the Strapworks site. I am crazy about it myself. The wheels were really turning in my head when I first saw that place.

Note: The sewing machine that you see in the photos was my mother's old Singer. I remember when she got it in 1968. That is a testament to a true quality American made product.
 

Bobby_M

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One of the reasons it's hard to recirculate at high flow is that when the mesh bag lays flat against the sides of the pot, they are effectively eliminated from the filtering. I would bet if you took a piece of stainless mesh and loosely lined the inside of the pot it would flow a lot better. Of course, that allows some of the recirculated wort to run down the sides and avoid the grain so it's not a perfect solution either.
 

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