Robobrew/Brewzilla Discussion

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Panderson1

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Just to be clear. I put the top screen on during the entire mash. Then put the lid on top, so it is all closed up, and recirculate through the hole in the lid. So there is water/wort on top of the grain bed the entire time. The overflow runs down the center pipe. When mash is done, I lift the malt pipe, and add the sparge water to the pool on top. For me, it has always drained slowly.

OK i tried it last night but didn't have enough liquid to reach the top of the pipe. I know it's adjustable but it was too late to adjust it. What happens if you can't reach the top of the pipe? (see pic)

Lol i can't get this right
 

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Silver_Is_Money

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The intent is that water only spills down through the center pipe if you are experiencing a partially to fully stuck mash. It is a safety valve which prevents the region below the malt pipe from running dry and causing the heat element to scorch or outright burn out.
 

RePete

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OK i tried it last night but didn't have enough liquid to reach the top of the pipe. I know it's adjustable but it was too late to adjust it. What happens if you can't reach the top of the pipe? (see pic)

Lol i can't get this right
How much water did you start with? If the mash is coarse enough, maybe the water never built up enough to the overflow. Not sure that's a problem, as long as you are hitting your target numbers. I guess I have my mill set tight enough that I always have overflow down the center pipe.
 

Panderson1

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How much water did you start with? If the mash is coarse enough, maybe the water never built up enough to the overflow. Not sure that's a problem, as long as you are hitting your target numbers. I guess I have my mill set tight enough that I always have overflow down the center pipe.
47.5 qts

See attached.
We came short gravity 15pts. Was supposed to be 1.061 but ended up 1.046. My buddy weighed the grains and added the water. He says he's confident he weighed everything perfectly. I should have tasted the spent grains for sugar. Anyways. So I don't know what happened. But the mash went perfect as far as temp 152f. See next post about the sparging.
 

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Panderson1

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Another question I have is about sparging. (Brewzilla 65) We installed a pully. When we lift up to drain, it drains really fast. By the time we get it set on the "feet" to hold in place (maybe 30/45 seconds), it's drained a significant amount. by the time I start adding sparge water it's drained too much to keep a constant few inches abovethe grain bed/ screen. Does this sound normal?
 

Panderson1

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The intent is that water only spills down through the center pipe if you are experiencing a partially to fully stuck mash. It is a safety valve which prevents the region below the malt pipe from running dry and causing the heat element to scorch or outright burn out.
Can you please see the post I quoted on the top of this page ^ (very 1st post)? It has 2 video links in the quote. Are they not using the pipe correctly? Wort is constantly flowing heavily down the pipe during the mash and recirculating.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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By what magic might Wort overflowing down the center pipe improve anything? You want the Wort to flow through the grist whereby to extract the sugars released via saccharification, as this is the entire reason why we mash in the first place.
 

Sammy86

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Another question I have is about sparging. (Brewzilla 65) We installed a pully. When we lift up to drain, it drains really fast. By the time we get it set on the "feet" to hold in place (maybe 30/45 seconds), it's drained a significant amount. by the time I start adding sparge water it's drained too much to keep a constant few inches abovethe grain bed/ screen. Does this sound normal?
Yup. It's supposed to be a fly sparge so while you have no control over the drain you can control how fast you sparge. I don't believe there is any science to back up the claim you meed water in the tun while you sparge.

As i mentioned in an earlier post I got impatient and just dumped two gallons on top of the draining malt pipe and exceeded my efficiency by almost 10 points, with cold water.
 

RePete

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Another question I have is about sparging. (Brewzilla 65) We installed a pully. When we lift up to drain, it drains really fast. By the time we get it set on the "feet" to hold in place (maybe 30/45 seconds), it's drained a significant amount. by the time I start adding sparge water it's drained too much to keep a constant few inches abovethe grain bed/ screen. Does this sound normal?
My mash never drains that fast. I have the smaller 35L unit, so maybe that makes a difference? My guess is that you could improve efficiency by milling the grain finer. I have my mill dialed in to where the mash drains very slowly, but I’m not getting stuck sparges.
 

Panderson1

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^ thanks. I mill pretty fine. Definitely on the more aggressive side. If that makes sense.
 

Panderson1

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By what magic might Wort overflowing down the center pipe improve anything? You want the Wort to flow through the grist whereby to extract the sugars released via saccharification, as this is the entire reason why we mash in the first place.
Yeah. Coming from a cooler mashtun I see your point. I never used to stir the mash at all in the cooler after the initial mash in and I got great extract.

It will be fine. I just had a bad brew day yesterday.
 

Cloud Surfer

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Another question I have is about sparging. (Brewzilla 65) We installed a pully. When we lift up to drain, it drains really fast. By the time we get it set on the "feet" to hold in place (maybe 30/45 seconds), it's drained a significant amount. by the time I start adding sparge water it's drained too much to keep a constant few inches abovethe grain bed/ screen. Does this sound normal?
Same thing happens to me with my 65L BrewZilla. As soon as I lift the malt pipe it gushes out the bottom and the grain bed dries out. No matter how fast I sparge I can't keep the sparge water above the grain bed.

As mentioned, you don't want wort running down the centre tube, that defeats the entire purpose of what you are trying to achieve. It's there as a safety backup only.
 

RePete

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As mentioned, you don't want wort running down the centre tube, that defeats the entire purpose of what you are trying to achieve. It's there as a safety backup only.
That is what I thought at first. Now I open up the valve enough that there is constant flow down the center. This helps maintain temperature by keeping heated wort on top. It's just a matter of how much you open the recirculation valve. I use to keep it so there was just a trickle, to avoid overflow. Now I open it up more and let it flow. But it really works either way.
 

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At what point did the pump clog? I noticed when I used the whirlpoolarm after the boil. It creates a nice mound of hops in the middle leaving the pump hole clear. Knocking on wood. I'm 3 hoppy brews in and no clogs. I have a hop spider but still haven't used it
 

Sammy86

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At what point did the pump clog? I noticed when I used the whirlpoolarm after the boil. It creates a nice mound of hops in the middle leaving the pump hole clear. Knocking on wood. I'm 3 hoppy brews in and no clogs. I have a hop spider but still haven't used it
It must have clogged during the whirlpool. I couldn't really see what was going on in there because of the steam but the clog was BAD.
 
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jimdeasy

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What’s a good mill size for brewzilla?
I’ve been milling at 0.75mm on a Evil Twin mill. That is wrong. Super stuck mash. Tons of goopy flour mess under the screen...fully clogged pump and screen for the entire brewday. Never ending lauter and sparge was over an hour. Gave up on cool down with immersion chiller after 2 hrs in an ice bath. Only got to 73. My longest brewday ever.
 

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Cloud Surfer

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What’s a good mill size for brewzilla?
I’ve been milling at 0.75mm on a Evil Twin mill. That is wrong. Super stuck mash. Tons of goopy flour mess under the screen...fully clogged pump and screen for the entire brewday. Never ending lauter and sparge was over an hour. Gave up on cool down with immersion chiller after 2 hrs in an ice bath. Only got to 73. My longest brewday ever.
I would be curious to hear what others are using also. I just got myself a mill. It’s a MillMaster with fluted rollers. Even at 1.1mm gap it’s splitting almost every husk in half when milled at about 120rpm. So I can’t believe some of the smaller gaps I’ve read people are using.

I did discover malt conditioning, and when I tried that I get about 90% intact husks at 1.1mm gap. First brew using the mill is a Barley Wine in a couple of days, so I’ll stick with that setting used with malt conditioning.
 

RePete

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I have a Malt Muncher? It is a 2 roller Kegland product the I purchased from Morebeer. The setting is around .0375”? Whether that is accurate or not I don’t know. I set it halfway between the .025 and .050 settings. I have found that is as tight as I can get it without getting stuck sparges.
 

Panderson1

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I crush with barley crusher. No idea what setting lol. I eyeball it each time and check the 1st few seconds of the crush. I like the husk cracked open and somewhat still intact. If it all starts looking like crumbs it's too aggressive imo.
 

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I use around 40 thousandths and the last 45 batches have had no issues with a variety of malts.
I now no longer use the fine screen at the bottom, I’ve found there’s no need. Also, when I’m ready to Sparge I lift the basket onto the top and recirc for 10 mins on the way to the boil. I find I get a little better clarity
 
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rjhoff

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Welp, I'm never throwing in loose hops EVER again! Clogged the pump and pipe from the pump...going to use the paint strainer bag from now on. Lesson learned!
Its a PITA taking that pump apart to clean it. Happened to me once and I was using a hop spider.
 
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rjhoff

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I would be curious to hear what others are using also. I just got myself a mill. It’s a MillMaster with fluted rollers. Even at 1.1mm gap it’s splitting almost every husk in half when milled at about 120rpm. So I can’t believe some of the smaller gaps I’ve read people are using.

I did discover malt conditioning, and when I tried that I get about 90% intact husks at 1.1mm gap. First brew using the mill is a Barley Wine in a couple of days, so I’ll stick with that setting used with malt conditioning.
I’m milling at 0.032” (0.81mm), works great for me on a 35L. Only issue I have is with a few recipes where I use a local malt house - their grain seems to be smaller than typical, last brew was 0.29”
 

Cloud Surfer

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I’m milling at 0.032” (0.81mm), works great for me on a 35L. Only issue I have is with a few recipes where I use a local malt house - their grain seems to be smaller than typical, last brew was 0.29”
With that gap, are you pulverising the malt into small pieces? So do you have it set that tight to get better efficiency?

I’m wondering if the main downside to a fine crush is a slow sparge.

Also, I only use European malt. Is that perhaps slightly bigger than US malt, hence our different mill gaps.
 
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rjhoff

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With that gap, are you pulverising the malt into small pieces? So do you have it set that tight to get better efficiency?

I’m wondering if the main downside to a fine crush is a slow sparge.

Also, I only use European malt. Is that perhaps slightly bigger than US malt, hence our different mill gaps.
I was having a terrible time achieving efficiencies. I have a barley crusher which was factory set to 0.039” and I dialed it down over a few brew sessions to 0.032”. The crush looks pretty normal to me and my sparge time averages maybe 30 mins. At this gap I’m getting 75% and into the 80s efficiency, even with large grain bills.

For the local grain they spec kernel size and recommend gap settings - this kernel is smaller than is typical.
 

RePete

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I could never set mine that tight. The one time I did I had a stuck sparge. So I put it back.
 

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I find that my run off on lifting the grain basket on the Guten 70 litre also brisk. I'm going to try milling half of the next grain bill even finer to see if that helps. Possibly its the way that the Maltzilla is flattening the husks instead of chopping the grain. Efficiency has been 76% but the grain still sweet when tested and the liquid last brew was above 1.030 that ran out after I put the grain basket in a large container for the last drainings whilst boil was on.
Perhaps I need less liquid in the mash and more sparge as well.
For 5.5 kilo grain I mashed with 21 litres and sparged with 17 aiming for 29 litres in fermenter.
I find that the recirculation is at full speed after about 15 minutes of mashing and I can't get liquid pooling on the top of the mash bed it just soaks straight in.
I don't use rice hulls or oat hulls.
I use European and NZ malt haven't noticed much of a size difference but do go tighter for malted wheat.
 
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rjhoff

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I could never set mine that tight. The one time I did I had a stuck sparge. So I put it back.
I had a very slow sparge last session, Rye IPA. This had local malt which I milled at .029 and standard malt milled at .032 including rye malt and flaked rye. The rye itself can cause a slow sparge, the mash was pretty gummy. Sparge took well over an hour. I hit my pre-boil SG but still managed to miss OG by a lot (@6.9% ABV vs. 7.7 target). This one has me puzzled.
 

RePete

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Its a PITA taking that pump apart to clean it. Happened to me once and I was using a hop spider.
Yeah it was an absolutely horrific experience that I intend to never do again...im thankful it was only a 6.5 gallon batch....
Something to try, if this happens again, is to use an air compressor to blow the hops out. If you have one, it can save a lot of time. I’ve only had a clogged pump once, but after letting it dry blasted air down the recirculation tube. The hops flew right out. Problem solved.
 

DuncB

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I used a very large syringe with liquid in or if it occurs mid use, turn off pump and force the liquid beyond the pump back up the tube with the air or liquid in the syringe. Not your CO2 line.
Be careful it's hot.
I have had to do this with hop pellets only as whole hops rare here.
But will bear in mind the risks if I get some.
 

Cloud Surfer

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What’s the most grain anyone has managed to force into their 65L? I was told by KegLand you could get up to 18kg in there.

I did a Barley Wine today with 15.5kg. I started off with all the water in the BrewZilla ready to go, which was 51L. It didn’t look to me that all that water and grain would fit, so I dropped it to 45L and started mashing in. I got 13kg in by the time it was about to overflow. The mash was really thick by that stage, so there’s no way I could have used less water in order to get more grain in. I don’t see how you can get anywhere near 18kg in there.

I decided to just throw the last 2.5kg in the 6L I had heated up and did a basic mash in that pot. When I lifted the malt pipe I just poured the second pot into the malt pipe. Obviously I had no water left for sparging, so the efficiency was really poor. But I still managed to get to 1.116. Not quite as high as I hoped though. Anyway, it was another good learning experience.
 
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rjhoff

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What’s the most grain anyone has managed to force into their 65L? I was told by KegLand you could get up to 18kg in there.

I did a Barley Wine today with 15.5kg. I started off with all the water in the BrewZilla ready to go, which was 51L. It didn’t look to me that all that water and grain would fit, so I dropped it to 45L and started mashing in. I got 13kg in by the time it was about to overflow. The mash was really thick by that stage, so there’s no way I could have used less water in order to get more grain in. I don’t see how you can get anywhere near 18kg in there.

I decided to just throw the last 2.5kg in the 6L I had heated up and did a basic mash in that pot. When I lifted the malt pipe I just poured the second pot into the malt pipe. Obviously I had no water left for sparging, so the efficiency was really poor. But I still managed to get to 1.116. Not quite as high as I hoped though. Anyway, it was another good learning experience.
In both cases (planned and actual), your grist ratio was similar to what I use on my 35L for large grain bills (1.6 qt/L). I’m guessing the mash was pretty soupy once you got recirculation going. Next time you could try to reduce mash water further to fit all the grain in and add it to the sparge, shift some base grain to DME, or a little of both (I do both with my Barleywine recipe).

Question, did you achieve your target volume?
 

DuncB

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Next time Good opportunity to do a parti gyle on that grain and see what you get. If not just sparge some after save the liquid in freezer and it's ready to boil up for a yeast starter next time. Surprising how much sugar is left in second runnings or third if you sparged in the first place.
I expect brewers friend calculator might suggest how much you could get from the parti gyle.
I've only parti gyled on my brewzilla 35 after a barleywine but only made a half batch as capacity as you found for 65 litre was maxed out.
Still haven't got round to a full batch in my Guten 70 L just refining process for 30 litre batches, considering a big grain bill imperial or belgian quad for that.
 

Cloud Surfer

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In both cases (planned and actual), your grist ratio was similar to what I use on my 35L for large grain bills (1.6 qt/L). I’m guessing the mash was pretty soupy once you got recirculation going. Next time you could try to reduce mash water further to fit all the grain in and add it to the sparge, shift some base grain to DME, or a little of both (I do both with my Barleywine recipe).

Question, did you achieve your target volume?
The problem with the 65L is the 10L of water below the malt pipe that you can’t use to mash the grain in to. So I was mashing at 2.6L/kg which is thicker than you do, but I’ve not had trouble with that ratio on smaller grain bills. But by the time the BrewZilla was full the malt was quite thick and dry at the top. Taking more water out and mashing even thicker than that wouldn’t work.

When I found my pre boil SG was low I added 1kg of DME. Ended up with 22L in the fermenter which is what I planned for. The volume was more important to me that the gravity, so I can fill a keg to overflowing at the end of fermentation and put it away for 6 months before bottling.
 

DuncB

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Does the 65L have a sight glass ?
I do recirculate slowly as I dough in using the sight glass on the Guten to check that I'm not empty, that way I get more available liquid at the right temp into the mash as quickly as possible. This would mean a less thick mash as your using that unavailable water.
As things settle, grain hydrates then add more water.
I normally aim for 3 litres per kg and find that the grain tends to hold about 1 litre per kg ( but does have volume of course ), I really should measure the volume of dry grain in malt pipe and then see what volume it takes up after mash is complete.
A useful figure to know especially if you check the weight of grain after mashing.
Will get that info next time.
 

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Has anyone either used the hole in the center of the glass lid for a LOC LINE mash return, or (carefully) drilled a hole in the glass lid to accommodate? By LOC LINE, I mean this: Mash Recirculation Return and/or Sparge Kit (locline) (brewhardware.com). I am just not in love with the stock hardware.

I used this hardware on a homebuilt eRIMS and it works very, very well. The adjustability is unmatched. The lid placement is not optimal, but I don't think there is any room on the Brewzilla 65L body for this.
 
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rjhoff

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The problem with the 65L is the 10L of water below the malt pipe that you can’t use to mash the grain in to. So I was mashing at 2.6L/kg which is thicker than you do, but I’ve not had trouble with that ratio on smaller grain bills. But by the time the BrewZilla was full the malt was quite thick and dry at the top. Taking more water out and mashing even thicker than that wouldn’t work.

When I found my pre boil SG was low I added 1kg of DME. Ended up with 22L in the fermenter which is what I planned for. The volume was more important to me that the gravity, so I can fill a keg to overflowing at the end of fermentation and put it away for 6 months before bottling.
The two systems are different animals, but high level, if you’re recirculating then technically you’re using the dead space for the mash. On large grain bills it seems to me the mash is absorbing all the water until the grain settles and recirculation takes over. I view the dead space as sort of a hot liquor tank at times, pushing that wort close to the element up on top to filter down.
 
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