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Elric

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Sorry, don't know what I was thinking assuming I would have time to post on Halloween!

results of the sous vide experiment were 100% success. Texture and juiciness were both excellent. Not a single tough bite to be found while everything still held together and wasn't falling apart like boiled ribs or ribs that have been left on the smoker too long. I finished them on the grill and had a chunk of hickory in with the charcoal so there was still some natural smoke flavors to the ribs though obviously nowhere near the level of actual smoked ribs. We had the leftovers for dinner tonight and they were simply reheated in the microwave which normally will dry out or otherwise lessen bbq meat in my experience, but here again I found no real degradation in texture or loss of juiciness. Will definitely be doing this again. Had been wanting a sous vide for a while now, and now I have one without having to worry about where to store it in the kitchen! Think I'm going to do some thick cut steaks soon :)

out of sous vide, before grilling. Top one had a standard paprika/sugar based rub on it, bottom one was salt, pepper, garlic.

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On the grill. About 10 minutes, then bbq sauce glaze, another 6-8 minutes, flip and glaze again, glaze the other side, 6-8 flip again, final little baste on top side, leave 5 more to set up a bit and take off. Way less tending to than a regular 4-6 hour rib smoke.
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DuncB

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Ahh I see when you say grill that' BBQ, to me grill is the top heat bit of the oven. Looks good.
Dishwasher works well for salmon.

 

Elric

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Ahh I see when you say grill that' BBQ, to me grill is the top heat bit of the oven. Looks good.
Dishwasher works well for salmon.

the many joys and oddities of the english language! Here BBQ refers to low and slow with indirect heat. Grilling is cooking directly over the flames. I saw the surreal gourmet do the dishwasher salmon and iron/ironing board grilled cheese sandwich during my formative years as a twenty something and have always been open to odd ways to prepare food ever since!
 

DuncB

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yep, never had a big enough engine or been organised enough to slow cook a big joint in the engine compartment, but it's on the list for a long road trip.
 

cactusgarrett

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Finally got my 65L. Installed the sight glass and did some volume testing with hot water in order to mark the sight glass. Has anyone else noticed the stamped volume markers inside are significantly off? Mine expressed about 0.75 gal more than was actually measured.
 

Sammy86

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Finally got my 65L. Installed the sight glass and did some volume testing with hot water in order to mark the sight glass. Has anyone else noticed the stamped volume markers inside are significantly off? Mine expressed about 0.75 gal more than was actually measured.
Not on mine, it is spot on.
 

IanJ

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I'm kind of frustrated with my new Brewzilla 3.1.1, purchased a couple months ago on sale in anticipation of setting up my first basement brewery. Anyhow, to make a long story short I just set it up and have already run into a couple of issues. Some I know are likely easy user fixes or user error, but overall, they seem like sloppy QC which is annoying to say the least.

  1. Boil happens at 203-204 F. Seems like a wild difference that I could calibrate for?
  2. The bottom pump valve is crooked, does it rotate? I don't want to break the inner parts to straighten it for the sight glass that I finally found in stock.
  3. Camlock for the arms keeps popping open on its own when the pump is running. Is this normal behavior for it? It won't "lock" at all.
  4. Ball valve attached to it is completely broken right side up, the ball is loose inside and only works when I turn it upside down.
  5. Rubber footing is uneven so the unit wobbles a bit. Not a huge thing but potential safety issue?
  6. A bunch of cosmetic dents/dings and scratches, inside and out. Scratched stainless isn't the end of the world, I guess?
What would you all do about these things, am I being overly fussy or are these legitimate issues to bring up with KegLand or MoreBeer (who I bought it through)?
 

Sammy86

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  1. Boil happens at 203-204 F. Seems like a wild difference that I could calibrate for? This depends on your elevation to sea level…I’m right at sea level so mine boils at like 210-212. Doesn’t really matter what temp it is as long as its boiling right?
  2. The bottom pump valve is crooked, does it rotate? I don't want to break the inner parts to straighten it for the sight glass that I finally found in stock. Are you talking about the nut or the valve on the outside? If it’s the valve on the outside you can rotate that to make it straight if you need to.
  3. Camlock for the arms keeps popping open on its own when the pump is running. Is this normal behavior for it? It won't "lock" at all. I wouldn’t say this normal at all, however I would ask are you sure you’re pushing in the recirc arm all the way down before clamping down?
  4. Ball valve attached to it is completely broken right side up, the ball is loose inside and only works when I turn it upside down. Mine is broken as well, I have to use a wrench to turn it but I keep mine wide open most of the time so it’s not a big issue for me. I’m going to replace it eventually but for now it’s doing the job.
  5. Rubber footing is uneven so the unit wobbles a bit. Not a huge thing but potential safety issue? This is strange and something I would consider contacting Morebeer or Kegland depending on where you are in the world.
  6. A bunch of cosmetic dents/dings and scratches, inside and out. Scratched stainless isn't the end of the world, I guess? Personally, I don’t care about that kinda stuff unless it is major and causes problems. However, you did spend good money and I would expect it to come in nicely. When I unpacked mine the first time it was pristine so it might not be a bad idea to give them a call and see what they can do. Just remember, they are having major issues with materials now so it could be some time before you could get a replacement.
 

IanJ

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  1. Boil happens at 203-204 F. Seems like a wild difference that I could calibrate for? This depends on your elevation to sea level…I’m right at sea level so mine boils at like 210-212. Doesn’t really matter what temp it is as long as its boiling right?
  2. The bottom pump valve is crooked, does it rotate? I don't want to break the inner parts to straighten it for the sight glass that I finally found in stock. Are you talking about the nut or the valve on the outside? If it’s the valve on the outside you can rotate that to make it straight if you need to.
  3. Camlock for the arms keeps popping open on its own when the pump is running. Is this normal behavior for it? It won't "lock" at all. I wouldn’t say this normal at all, however I would ask are you sure you’re pushing in the recirc arm all the way down before clamping down?
  4. Ball valve attached to it is completely broken right side up, the ball is loose inside and only works when I turn it upside down. Mine is broken as well, I have to use a wrench to turn it but I keep mine wide open most of the time so it’s not a big issue for me. I’m going to replace it eventually but for now it’s doing the job.
  5. Rubber footing is uneven so the unit wobbles a bit. Not a huge thing but potential safety issue? This is strange and something I would consider contacting Morebeer or Kegland depending on where you are in the world.
  6. A bunch of cosmetic dents/dings and scratches, inside and out. Scratched stainless isn't the end of the world, I guess? Personally, I don’t care about that kinda stuff unless it is major and causes problems. However, you did spend good money and I would expect it to come in nicely. When I unpacked mine the first time it was pristine so it might not be a bad idea to give them a call and see what they can do. Just remember, they are having major issues with materials now so it could be some time before you could get a replacement.
Thanks for the feedback! I'll probably just forget about contacting them and find replacement parts on my own since those things are available on brewhardware/amazon and only ~$30 total, it's just not a great experience for "brand new" equipment.

Also at sea level. It's not the fact that boil is wrong numerically, but rather the temp probe being incorrect, so I'll have to keep testing with other thermometers because mashing will be a failure if I'm off by ~10 or more degrees and don't calibrate beforehand. I think you can only tweak by 10F in either direction IIRC?

I was able to rotate the upward facing elbow every so slightly, which straightened it enough, but wasn't sure if it would break a welded bit inside the base, as there's no indication it's meant to rotate and was stiff. Unlike the spigot which has a black gasket. Anyhow, so far it seems to be ok.

As far as the camlock assembly goes, yeah, I've pushed in all the way. Both the whirlpool and sparge arm have the same problem. Took out the gasket to see if maybe the rubber was too thick and of course it's too loose without, so I'll have to look for a replacement to at least experiment with -- if it's supposed to lock, as the name implies. First time using one surprisingly.

Oh well, hopefully I'll be able to get in my first brew in a few weeks once I can fix all these things, it looks like a great system otherwise and I'm excited to finally try it out :)
 

Henbrew

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Thanks for the feedback! I'll probably just forget about contacting them and find replacement parts on my own since those things are available on brewhardware/amazon and only ~$30 total, it's just not a great experience for "brand new" equipment.

Also at sea level. It's not the fact that boil is wrong numerically, but rather the temp probe being incorrect, so I'll have to keep testing with other thermometers because mashing will be a failure if I'm off by ~10 or more degrees and don't calibrate beforehand. I think you can only tweak by 10F in either direction IIRC?

I was able to rotate the upward facing elbow every so slightly, which straightened it enough, but wasn't sure if it would break a welded bit inside the base, as there's no indication it's meant to rotate and was stiff. Unlike the spigot which has a black gasket. Anyhow, so far it seems to be ok.

As far as the camlock assembly goes, yeah, I've pushed in all the way. Both the whirlpool and sparge arm have the same problem. Took out the gasket to see if maybe the rubber was too thick and of course it's too loose without, so I'll have to look for a replacement to at least experiment with -- if it's supposed to lock, as the name implies. First time using one surprisingly.

Oh well, hopefully I'll be able to get in my first brew in a few weeks once I can fix all these things, it looks like a great system otherwise and I'm excited to finally try it out :)
I calibrate mine around 150F since mash temps matter most and then put in any offset. My kettle boils around 208F after my calibration (~400ft elevation). I don't care for the temperature probe location on these units. I actually wired in a temperature probe for the controller that's attached to the side of the kettle which I'll be testing out next brew day.
 

DuncB

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@IanJ
I think that you should raise the issues of camlock and QC with morebeer and kegland. I'd mention it in this thread and you should get a response,

although I do get good responses direct from Kee at Kegland via email. Usually of the oh that's never happened before when having problems with Maltzilla psu ( which blew up when first turned on) and a hopmissile that was razor sharp and had to be filed down rather than exchanged ( indicating to me a batch or system wide problem).
I started with a robobrew 3.0 and now a Guten 70 and they have a way to reset/ calibrate the temp readout.

On robobrew from the manual
1 turn on the robobrew
2 Press and hold the time button until the calibration number is displayed
3 Adjust the calibration number between -10 and + 10. A positive figure will increase the displayed temp and a neg figure decrease it. ie if reading 20 Celsius but should read 25 then use calibration figure of + 5.
4 Press the time button again to return to home screen.

It has a note that the calibration figure must be set in celsius but it will effect the displayed temp in both celsius and fahrenheit.. So a bit of maths for you !

For the Guten
On the idle ( home screen when not actively doing anything) screen.
Hold down the + and - buttons for 5 seconds and you'll be brought to the calibration settings for temp in degrees celsius ( C1) or fahrenheit ( F1).
Use the + and - buttons to toggle temp deviation +- 10C or +- 50F.

See how you go with recalibrating.

I'm interested to hear how the different position temp probe works for @Henbrew as I might consider that when my smartpid arrives.
 

Henbrew

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I'm interested to hear how the different position temp probe works for @Henbrew as I might consider that when my smartpid arrives.
I'm interested too, I did a step mash in my last brew and the temperature overshot by quite a bit. I did a protein rest at 122F and then it ramped up to my mash temp of 154, however I was reading temperatures 165+ before it stabilized. I don't have any major issue doing a single temperature mash but I wanted to try moving the probe away from the heat source to see if it helps.
 

DuncB

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I'm interested too, I did a step mash in my last brew and the temperature overshot by quite a bit. I did a protein rest at 122F and then it ramped up to my mash temp of 154, however I was reading temperatures 165+ before it stabilized. I don't have any major issue doing a single temperature mash but I wanted to try moving the probe away from the heat source to see if it helps.
I think the issue is that there isn't enough movement of the wort over the element and hence the probe in it's present position, a cross flow arrangement might be better. I see a big difference in temperature during the boil phase if there are a lot of hops and the trubtrapper holds those over the element and the probe is outside of this. The probe can read 10 celsius less than the temperature, which I can clearly see is boiling. This settles if I recirculate using the whirlpool ( at the end of boil ) really quickly. So position is important.
 

cactusgarrett

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Finally got my 65L. Installed the sight glass and did some volume testing with hot water in order to mark the sight glass. Has anyone else noticed the stamped volume markers inside are significantly off? Mine expressed about 0.75 gal more than was actually measured.
I guess this is moot, since this sight glass didn't even survive the calibration process with water before experiencing multiple cracks at the bracket. I've got MoreBeer sending a replacement, and I'm going to do some custom fitting to pad that interface. Going to baby the hell out of this one.
 

GoodTruble

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I guess this is moot, since this sight glass didn't even survive the calibration process with water before experiencing multiple cracks at the bracket. I've got MoreBeer sending a replacement, and I'm going to do some custom fitting to pad that interface. Going to baby the hell out of this one.
Yeah, my suggestion is to leave the bracket around the top of the sightglass a little loose, add some kind of thin (temp appropriate padding) between the bracket and sightglass, and I also grip the swivel lock with one hand when turning the sparge arm with the other just to limit the torque on the lower pipe/sightglass.
 

GoodTruble

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Even though I'm in the US, I was browsing Keg Land's website and saw they sell a Boiler Extension that clamps down to the top of the Brewzilla to add a few more gallons of capacity/space during the boil. -Hope they distribute that in the US soon. That would be super helpful for my setup.

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DuncB

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I was trying to work out that solution when I used my robobrew 3 and then upsized to the guten 70. But it's a neat idea not sure if has hooks on the inside for the malt pipe for a half raise, it won't increase grain capacity for the mash I suppose.
 

GoodTruble

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Yeah, I'm not sure if it's intended for the mash (notably called Boiler Extension), and I'm not sure I would trust it even if it were. -Too much weight shifting around, and really top heavy if you set the malt pipe on top of the extension.

I think you add it after you remove the malt pipe. Allowing you to then top off with more liquid (or just mash with more liquid to start, knowing this will provide you extra top space during the boil).
 

DuncB

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Surely you can increase your sparge volume with this, so it would have to allow the malt pipe to rest on the top. Agree it would be tall and quite top heavy.
 

cactusgarrett

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Even though I'm in the US, I was browsing Keg Land's website and saw they sell a Boiler Extension that clamps down to the top of the Brewzilla to add a few more gallons of capacity/space during the boil.
I'm curious to see how they make that "boiling-liquid tight".
 

IanJ

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I'm curious to see how they make that "boiling-liquid tight".
I get terrible anxiety about boiling water above that clamped on seam... not to mention how top heavy and unstable it could be.

@IanJ
I think that you should raise the issues of camlock and QC with morebeer and kegland. I'd mention it in this thread and you should get a response,

although I do get good responses direct from Kee at Kegland via email. Usually of the oh that's never happened before when having problems with Maltzilla psu ( which blew up when first turned on) and a hopmissile that was razor sharp and had to be filed down rather than exchanged ( indicating to me a batch or system wide problem).
I started with a robobrew 3.0 and now a Guten 70 and they have a way to reset/ calibrate the temp readout.
Thanks! I'll have to try and calibrate it in a few weeks when my basement is fixed from some structural work, I'll report back with anything I find. And you're right, it's probably worth bringing up to them. Probably a supplier/mfr issue with shipping the cheapest parts they can find to maximize profit, which unfortunately could be hit or miss for quality. At least these fittings/parts are easy to modify or change out and not welded in place. BTW I love the inline pump pipe mod someone posted earlier in the thread.

I calibrate mine around 150F since mash temps matter most and then put in any offset. My kettle boils around 208F after my calibration (~400ft elevation). I don't care for the temperature probe location on these units. I actually wired in a temperature probe for the controller that's attached to the side of the kettle which I'll be testing out next brew day.
This is a great idea, definitely the route I'll take if I can find the right offset with external probes. Doesn't matter what boiling is necessarily, as long as it's visibly boiling. But mash temps are far more important I think, at least that's what I was worried about. Really want to get into step mashes for Belgian styles after 10 years of single infusion cooler stuff.
 
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DuncB

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The guten 70 is very stable at about 3 foot high, but higher once basket fully raised. It has a wider base and is stable. I dread to think about the brewzilla on a bench with this extension being used, standing on a ladder or the bench. Then either pouring or running sparge water from a higher vessel again.
Tower of danger maybe.
I've done a few step mashes now, but timing and powering the steps so that the grains go from a to b to c is a bit of guesswork. I don't check the grain temp during this just hope that the ramp up times and rests do the job.
But I think that a more dynamic active grain bed during the mash ( more liquid to grain) and mixing does help.
 

JohnSand

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I used mine yesterday for the first time. Efficiency was low, I think because the top mash screen wasn't level and maybe because it was a half batch using only five gallons of water to start. I don't love the loooong time getting to strike temps, even using the jacket. It is a handy and convenient tool.
 

GoodTruble

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I used mine yesterday for the first time. Efficiency was low, I think because the top mash screen wasn't level and maybe because it was a half batch using only five gallons of water to start. I don't love the loooong time getting to strike temps, even using the jacket. It is a handy and convenient tool.
Some people use the auto-steps to start the heating well in advance and have it at initial strike temp before you start (you can even set it the night before by just setting first stage below room temp for a duration to end 1-2 hours before you plan to start brewing).
 
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JohnSand

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Thanks, I have seen that. But I don't have a dedicated brewing space. I don't want to leave it in the driveway overnight, and my wife won't want it on the counter overnight! :)
 

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Thanks, I have seen that. But I don't have a dedicated brewing space. I don't want to leave it in the driveway overnight, and my wife won't want it on the counter overnight! :)
When you your brewing space invades your wrenching space...
First snow of the year. Brewing an Arrogant Bastard clone today.
 

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DuncB

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@RePete

Stubby little tube on the tap, do you use that for transfer? As it's getting cold there I have fitted some pipe insulation onto the recirc tubing before the valve and also a piece round to the point it goes into the kettle, held on with some cable ties. Just keeps it that bit warmer and also made a " tea cosy " for the lid.
Sounds like a good recipe to lay down though, we're heading into summer so I'm planning a hefeweizen.
 

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@RePete

Stubby little tube on the tap, do you use that for transfer? As it's getting cold there I have fitted some pipe insulation onto the recirc tubing before the valve and also a piece round to the point it goes into the kettle, held on with some cable ties. Just keeps it that bit warmer and also made a " tea cosy " for the lid.
Sounds like a good recipe to lay down though, we're heading into summer so I'm planning a hefeweizen.
Yeah. It's just enough to reach over to the mouth of my fermenter. But not so long as to drag on the ground when sitting on the floor.

I've done a series of lagers recently. Wanted to brew something with more body and bite for the holidays.
 

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@RePete
I've always used the recirc pump for transfer, never used the tap except in reverse for my whirlpool, I've removed the tap now and have a 1/2 inch ball lock in place for the whirlpool.
IMG_20210909_005235.jpg
 

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For those of you 35L brewers who appreciate regularly brewing higher gravity 8%+ ABV/~18lb 5gal batches, what's your process like? Reiterated mash or using a couple lbs of DME in place of base grain?

If reiterated, is it as simple as pulling the malt pipe, keeping the brewzilla at mash temp, emptying the pipe and filling with another batch of grain, recirculating for another hour and then sparging to reach target volume? Or would sparging the first mash be ideal so mash 2 is full volume more or less?
 

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I've done a few big beers (over 10%) in the 35L. The methods I used were reiterated mash (just remove the center pipe, put in a stainless bolt, and biab inside the malt pipe. Then pull first grains to dunk in another pot/kettle with some other strike water, and add second grains in a second bag).

I also did a couple by just pulling grains, dunking them in a separate pot/kettle with strike water, and then mixing 5+ Lbs of DME in the second kettle and then combining that back into the main wort.

Both approaches worked great with efficiency well above 75%.
 
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DuncB

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When I did a high gravity beer in my Robobrew 35 I mashed as much as I could first off. It was nearly brimming, then I sparged to the gravity I wanted, then lifted malt pipe out and rested it over a plastic brew bucket and sparged to get the mash volume for the remaining grain into the bucket. Then dumped that grain and added in the remainder and repeated the mash and mashed out that one.
If you have separate boilers you can decant from robobrew into the boiler boil the first lot whilst sparging and mashing the second lot. That way I managed to get 20 + litres of high gravity wort.
Soon after I upgraded to a Guten 70 and that's easier but I still end up partigyling the grain after a full volume mash no sparge for high gravity ales.
 

Elric

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The methods I used were reiterated mash (just remove the center pipe, put in a stainless bolt, and biab inside the malt pipe. Then pull first grains to dunk in another pot/kettle with some other strike water, and add second grains in a second bag).
Question for you as I have seen several people mention the stainless bolt in place of the center pipe… why??? You are using a bag which is already much finer than the screen at the bottom of malt pipe, so what is covering this hole doing? Are you afraid of part of the bag sucking down and tearing in the threadings? Is there something else I'm missing?
 

DuncB

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@Elric I'm wondering if brew in the bag meaning no sparge and using the malt pipe as the " biab ". Hence you would need to block that hole up as it's no bag but BIAB.
Or am I over analysing?
 

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