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rjhoff

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A clean thread for Robobrew and Brewzilla owners to compare experiences and share problems.

I own a version 3.0 35L Robobrew With the upgraded 3.1.1 Brewzilla circuit boards. No regrets for me! I‘m sometimes frustrated by its limited capacity, but I’m learning workarounds to enable brewIng of big beers.
 
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Kegland is offering a polycarbonate sight glass retrofit. Currently out of stock there, so could be a while before we see it in the states.

 

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Kegland is offering a polycarbonate sight glass retrofit. Currently out of stock there, so could be a while before we see it in the states.

That would be a nice upgrade. One of my struggles has been that it's hard to see how much liquid is in the vessel because the basket is in the way.
 

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Kegland is offering a polycarbonate sight glass retrofit. Currently out of stock there, so could be a while before we see it in the states.

I saw this. It looks like it only connects on one end. So it might be flimsy.
 
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I saw this. It looks like it only connects on one end. So it might be flimsy.
I double checked on the posted photo and it shows the polycarbonate Tube replaces the stainless pump tube, so it’s mounted top and bottom.
 

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I double checked on the posted photo and it shows the polycarbonate Tube replaces the stainless pump tube, so it’s mounted top and bottom.
The link I posted the sight tube attaches to the spigot and it doesn't appear to attach to anything else.
 

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What kind of BH efficiency have you all been getting? I'm averaging around 66%, and have gone from 61% to 74%.

I also noticed my boil was weaker today, resulting in less boil off and a lower OG. Do any of you use a jacket (OEM or DIY) and has it made a difference in the strength of your boil?
 
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What kind of BH efficiency have you all been getting? I'm averaging around 66%, and have gone from 61% to 74%.

I also noticed my boil was weaker today, resulting in less boil off and a lower OG. Do any of you use a jacket (OEM or DIY) and has it made a difference in the strength of your boil?
I’m getting in the 70s for my lower gravity grain bills (11-15 lbs) and 60s for the big beers (16 lbs+). Mill gap and stirring the mash were my best improvements. I think the Robobrew presents unique challenges to getting consistent mash performance. My last brew was gapped at .037 and I’m thinking about lowering it. I havent noticed any issues with boil, always seems pretty robust.
 

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What kind of BH efficiency have you all been getting? I'm averaging around 66%, and have gone from 61% to 74%.

I also noticed my boil was weaker today, resulting in less boil off and a lower OG. Do any of you use a jacket (OEM or DIY) and has it made a difference in the strength of your boil?
I have the neoprene jacket and my boil off was just under a gallon. My efficiency has also been crap...I got 58 on the first go around but I attribute some of that to the crush from my LHBS...it was TERRIBLE.

Buying a mill this upcoming Black Friday to get some better consistency.

Also, I noticed Kegland offers a mash screen for the malt pipe without the hole for the overflow...I emailed MB to see if they'll be selling them...I despise the overflow!
 
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Yeah I’m also using the neoprene jacket, which really helps on holding mash temp and I suppose could help on the boil. My boil off rate is 1 gal per hour
 

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I have the neoprene jacket, and have always achieved rigorous boils. I have noticed some people saying they don’t get a strong boil with these units, and it has seemed curious to me. Like what do they expect? Maybe it’s using the jacket, I don’t know. I haven’t tried it without.
 

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Sometimes I get rigorous boils, sometimes I don't. Using the 120v version I make sure there are no big draws on the same circuit while I'm brewing. Next upgrade will definitely be the jacket though!

I've also noticed the false bottom doesn't seal completely around the edge of the kettle, resulting in lots of hop matter finding it's way to the pump. I bought a small SS strainer from the dollar store, cut off the handle and placed it over the strainer. This has helped quite a bit with the pump, but doesn't solve the false bottom gap issue. I'm planning to cut a slit down a length of silicone tubing and wrap it along the edge of the false bottom. Hopefully this creates a better seal...
 

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I use a hop spider for all my hops
I've heard people having issues with hop utilization with hop spiders and their Robobrew. I'm assuming you haven't experienced this? Also, does it get in the way of the chiller?
 
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I've heard people having issues with hop utilization with hop spiders and their Robobrew. I'm assuming you haven't experienced this? Also, does it get in the way of the chiller?
Good question. I’ve developed all my current recipes on the Robobrew with a hop spider and it’s possible I’ve added more hops to offset lower utilization but I have no way of knowing for sure. I‘m hop heavy with all my recipes. I stir the hops fairly frequently during the boil and I extend my whirlpool 20 mins minimum and recently 30-40 mins and remove the hops /spider as I’m putting my chiller in. Some people like to boil the chiller in the wort, I have a 5 gallon Star-san solution every brew day so I use that on the chiller.
 

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A clean thread for Robobrew and Brewzilla owners to compare experiences and share problems.

I own a version 3.0 35L Robobrew With the upgraded 3.1.1 Brewzilla circuit boards. No regrets for me! I‘m sometimes frustrated by its limited capacity, but I’m learning workarounds to enable brewIng of big beers.
I just upgraded my Robobrew 35L version 3.0 with the 3.1.1 board and LCD because the original board burned out, but now all I get is an error code E3. I've checked the wiring several times. I've checked the high temp shut off switch for resistance. I've seen a few others with the same problem, but I can't find a solution. I'm guessing by your post that you didn't suffer the same issue.
 

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Mine burnt out recently also. I received the upgrade circuits and wired it up, but haven’t tried to turn it on yet.
 
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rjhoff

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I just upgraded my Robobrew 35L version 3.0 with the 3.1.1 board and LCD because the original board burned out, but now all I get is an error code E3. I've checked the wiring several times. I've checked the high temp shut off switch for resistance. I've seen a few others with the same problem, but I can't find a solution. I'm guessing by your post that you didn't suffer the same issue.
I’ve not seen that error myself. The manual calls E3 “boil dry protection” which comes down to the element being too hot. This looks like a software threshold on the temp sensor where it triggers if the reading is some value above boiling. My guess is if you're getting this error right away with unheated water and you’ve verified the wiring then then the temp sensor could be damaged. I believe the sensor is a thermistor, so a shorted sensor would read as high temperature.

EDIT - my engineer brain kicking in, assuming the sensor is a thermistor (Williams Brewing indicates it is) and the resistance decreases as temperature increases then it would have to be a short circuit condition to cause E03 before any water is heated. I believe most of the time thermistors fail open, so it may not be a bad sensor. That said they only cost $4.50...

Re-check your wiring, it all gets scrambled with the new boards, and make sure nothing is shorting out traces on the circuit boards.
 
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RePete

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I've heard people having issues with hop utilization with hop spiders and their Robobrew. I'm assuming you haven't experienced this? Also, does it get in the way of the chiller?
The hop spider does get in the way of using the immersion chiller at the end of a boil. And the hops clog the screen of the hop basket, so you have to be attentive to that. I’ve tried throwing in hops loose, only at flame out, but still clogged the pump. So now if I use hops at flame out I put them in a muslin bag. I remove the hop spider, and put in the chiller and bag at the same time. I spray the chiller down with Star-San solution.
 

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Question for the group, what amount of water are you using for mashing if you're not doing full volume mashes? I'm usually a 1.5qt/pound guy but after doing some research I've found people doing 3 Qt/pound.

I also saw on the Robobrew forum they say 3 liters per kilogram of grain which doesn't exactly add up here in the states.

Any thoughts?
 
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I’m using 1.7 grist ratio (quart/lb), actually set by BeerSmith, up to ~15 lb and as low as 1.6 for >15 lb.
 

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For a long time I was making my mash thicker than that...starting with 4 gallons of water for a 5 gallon batch. Typical 12 lb or so grain bill. So that’s about 1.3 qt/lb. I do add if it seems too thick. Then I sparge until I get about 7gallons. It worked for me, and I hit targets.

I’ve been starting with 5 gallons lately and sparging less, because I figured out that I can use a Sous Vide to heat sparge water, and the cooler I’m heating water in is smaller.

I got my new circuit boards wired, and tried it out last night with a batch of water. Seems to work. I need to recalibrate the the temperature reading. It was set at 145F, and held consistently, but my thermometer read 141F. I had to recalibrate the last one too. It was off by a couple degrees.
 
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For a long time I was making my mash thicker than that...starting with 4 gallons of water for a 5 gallon batch. Typical 12 lb or so grain bill. So that’s about 1.3 qt/lb. I do add if it seems too thick. Then I sparge until I get about 7gallons. It worked for me, and I hit targets.

I’ve been starting with 5 gallons lately and sparging less, because I figured out that I can use a Sous Vide to heat sparge water, and the cooler I’m heating water in is smaller.

I got my new circuit boards wired, and tried it out last night with a batch of water. Seems to work. I need to recalibrate the the temperature reading. It was set at 145F, and held consistently, but my thermometer read 141F. I had to recalibrate the last one too. It was off by a couple degrees.
Glad you’re up and running again!
 
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Hey Robobrew people, I‘m done with the center pipe, it totally messed up my brew day today and I realized that I never use the overflow. Does anyone know of a stainless threaded bolt or some other solution that can be used to plug the hole in the mash pipe bottom?
 

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Apparently you can just plug it with a stainless steel bolt...Kegland offers a malt pipe false bottom without a hole...hasn't hit the US yet though
 
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Apparently you can just plug it with a stainless steel bolt...Kegland offers a malt pipe false bottom without a hole...hasn't hit the US yet though
I just need to know diameter and thread, then find appropriate stainless bolt to fit. I’ll let y’all know if I figure it out...
 

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According to this gentleman it's a 1/in


edit: 1/4 in not 1/2
 

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Hey Robobrew people, I‘m done with the center pipe, it totally messed up my brew day today and I realized that I never use the overflow. Does anyone know of a stainless threaded bolt or some other solution that can be used to plug the hole in the mash pipe bottom?
I never use the overflow intentionally. AFAIK it’s just there as a safety feature, in case the pump is on and the sparge is stuck. If you are attentive while mashing, you should be ok without it. I tend to get things going and walk away for a while, so I like that it is there.
 

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Hey Robobrew people, I‘m done with the center pipe, it totally messed up my brew day today and I realized that I never use the overflow. Does anyone know of a stainless threaded bolt or some other solution that can be used to plug the hole in the mash pipe bottom?
I've heard of people plugging the overflow pipe with a stainless bolt before. Is there any advantage or benefit to doing this? If the top screen is on during the mash then there shouldn't be any grains ending up in the kettle if it overflows. I don't understand why everyone dislikes the overflow pipe so much.
 
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Let me know if you try it out...interested to see if it makes a difference
Im not sure if it’ll make a difference in my brewing numbers as much as eliminating a function I never use and is sometimes is an annoyance. Yesterday I had just mashed in And the top section of the pipe separated and let a lot of grain into the boil kettle. I had to lift the malt pipe and pull back the grain to reinsert. Twice. The tongs on the extension tend to relax and sometimes you need to bend them back in. PITA
 
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I've heard of people plugging the overflow pipe with a stainless bolt before. Is there any advantage or benefit to doing this? If the top screen is on during the mash then there shouldn't be any grains ending up in the kettle if it overflows. I don't understand why everyone dislikes the overflow pipe so much.
I brew a lot of large grain bills (14-17 lb) and have permanently inserted a 4” silicon tube over the overflow pipe. Typically it’s extended high enough that overflow will go over the top edge of the mash pipe. I rarely use the top screen because I also typically stir the mash every 15 minutes or so. I don’t dislike the function, at least not until the top pipe separated during a mash.
 

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I brew a lot of large grain bills (14-17 lb) and have permanently inserted a 4” silicon tube over the overflow pipe. Typically it’s extended high enough that overflow will go over the top edge of the mash pipe. I rarely use the top screen because I also typically stir the mash every 15 minutes or so. I don’t dislike the function, at least not until the top pipe separated during a mash.
That top pipe separation would be a PITA, and it makes sense to get it out of the way with larger grain bills.

Have you found that stirring your mash has increased your efficiency? My BH has varied from the low 60's to low 80's. I'm planning to stir the mash a few times and see if that makes a difference. I also just bought the jacket, so hoping to make my boil more vigorous.
 
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I never use the overflow intentionally. AFAIK it’s just there as a safety feature, in case the pump is on and the sparge is stuck. If you are attentive while mashing, you should be ok without it. I tend to get things going and walk away for a while, so I like that it is there.
Agree, I always recirculate during mash and can tell right away if there’s poor flow and If so I stay close, restrict pump flow and cycle the pump if necessary.
 
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That top pipe separation would be a PITA, and it makes sense to get it out of the way with larger grain bills.

Have you found that stirring your mash has increased your efficiency? My BH has varied from the low 60's to low 80's. I'm planning to stir the mash a few times and see if that makes a difference. I also just bought the jacket, so hoping to make my boil more vigorous.
Yes, and I can always put it back in.

My standard IPAs, other ales with 14lb or less are 70-80%, bigger beers in the 60s. It wasn’t always that good, and I did see an improvement when I started stirring the mash but also when I tighten up my mill gap. I’m still trying working on the ideal gap setting. The jacket will Help to hold your mash temp stable.
 

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Yes, and I can always put it back in.

My standard IPAs, other ales with 14lb or less are 70-80%, bigger beers in the 60s. It wasn’t always that good, and I did see an improvement when I started stirring the mash but also when I tighten up my mill gap. I’m still trying working on the ideal gap setting. The jacket will Help to hold your mash temp stable.
From all your posts, it sounds like you really need one of the 65L units. I'm normally doing 12lb or so grain bills, and the 35L unit handles it fine. I did do the Russian Imperial Stout recently, and that was 20lbs. Won't do that often.
 
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