Robobrew/Brewzilla Discussion

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cactusgarrett

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My guess - I'm doing step mashing from 115 to high 150's, and the slow heating times with the 35L just results in all the grains' sugars extracting at lower temps before I even get to my last, highest mash step.
Why the 115F rest? Do you do a mashout step? How long does it take you to go from the end of your last sacc step to boiling?
 

GoodTruble

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115 is protein rest (sometimes I go higher).

I usually pull the grains at 160, and then dunk them in a separate kettle at 170 (to either add that second wort back in to main brew or partigyle a second beer).

Getting to boil can take a long time. It gets to 180 pretty quickly (10-15 minutes), but then getting above 200 can take another 30-45 minutes).
 

cactusgarrett

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I usually pull the grains at 160, and then dunk them in a separate kettle at 170
I get that it's a protein rest, but are you sure you need it? Getting the grains to 170 is inconsequential. Get the wort to 170+; that's where all the enzymes are still working. If it takes you a long time to get your wort to a boil that could be a source for the over-attenuation. But if it's getting to 180F in 15 min then it shouldn't be too over-attenuated.
 

GoodTruble

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I get that it's a protein rest, but are you sure you need it? Getting the grains to 170 is inconsequential. Get the wort to 170+; that's where all the enzymes are still working. If it takes you a long time to get your wort to a boil that could be a source for the over-attenuation. But if it's getting to 180F in 15 min then it shouldn't be too over-attenuated.
The protein rest probably isn't necessary, but I figured why not if I wasn't in a hurry. But now I suspect the prolonged slow climb from 110's to 150's is the issue. It doesn't take long to get to 170 from 150's. So I may try just mashing in at a higher temp, like 140's.
 

Maalea

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So I've been lurking here for quite a while, I Brewed for about 10 years, made the usual progression from extract, then added steeping grains, and stepped up to all grain. Work and family took priority, brewing took a back seat, about 10 to 15 extract batches over the next 10 years.

Started back into it during the lockdown. I got the 35L Brewzilla about 6 months ago. I have an idea or two about the sight tubes.

The existing saddle is too small, as @Cloud Surfer stated. So, will have to come up with something else. Obviously will need one that doesn't squeeze it too tight.
Rather than getting a bigger saddle, I would use 2 thin washers underneath the saddle, this will give you some breathing room for the sight tube.
I didn't buy a sight tube yet. I was thinking of an alternative option. My plan is to take the stainless tube off and cut it about an inch from the 2 fittings. Then replace that piece with some high temp silicone tubing using hose clamps.

Before I take a saw to the stainless, I thought I would post it here and see if I am missing something. If there is a fatal flaw, Please point it out.

Thanks
 

DuncB

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Another option is to get a sight glass kit and fit that thru a separate new hole, or if you don't use the tap try fitting sight glass thru that hole.
 

RePete

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So I've been lurking here for quite a while, I Brewed for about 10 years, made the usual progression from extract, then added steeping grains, and stepped up to all grain. Work and family took priority, brewing took a back seat, about 10 to 15 extract batches over the next 10 years.

Started back into it during the lockdown. I got the 35L Brewzilla about 6 months ago. I have an idea or two about the sight tubes.



Rather than getting a bigger saddle, I would use 2 thin washers underneath the saddle, this will give you some breathing room for the sight tube.
I didn't buy a sight tube yet. I was thinking of an alternative option. My plan is to take the stainless tube off and cut it about an inch from the 2 fittings. Then replace that piece with some high temp silicone tubing using hose clamps.

Before I take a saw to the stainless, I thought I would post it here and see if I am missing something. If there is a fatal flaw, Please point it out.

Thanks
Welcome. I kinda had the same journey. I started brewing extract batch’s in the 80’s, and brewed many batches over maybe 10 years or so. I then took a long break, and have started back up in recent years do to having more time. I’m loving it.

As far as the site glass goes, anything to make the saddle clamp down less, and not break the site glass. Your idea might work. I went with the sight glass, and haven’t regretted it. If there is a problem, I can always just put the stainless steel tube back on.

Enjoy your brewing.
 

RePete

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The protein rest probably isn't necessary, but I figured why not if I wasn't in a hurry. But now I suspect the prolonged slow climb from 110's to 150's is the issue. It doesn't take long to get to 170 from 150's. So I may try just mashing in at a higher temp, like 140's.
I was playing around with step mashing for a while, but have gone to a more simple process. As the article @DuncB posted states, step mashing is really a process for unmodified grains. Now that most of the grains we use are modified, it is really unnecessary. So, I’ve gone with keeping it simple.

I now am routinely mashing at *152. After an hour, raise the temp to *170. Once it gets up to temp, leave it sit for 5 mins or so. Then raise the basket and let it drain. As soon as I lift the basket, I set the temp up to *219. I then sparge with water heated to *170. Usually, by the time I am done sparging, the wort is getting close to boiling. If you wait to set the temp to boiling temperature until after you sparge, it’s going to feel like a long excruciating wait.
 

DuncB

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Any cleaning tips for the sight glass? mine is a separate one on my unit but getting muckier and muckier. I haven't got a tiny bottle brush and wondered if any other method works?
As it isn't on the recirc loop I can't cycle PBW thru it which I'm sure would work.
IMG_20210909_005244.jpg
 

GoodTruble

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@RePete - Yeah, I may start just doughing in at a higher temp. Or skip the step mash inputs and just let the grains soak in a straight climb to 150's.

@DuncB - Any chance you could remove site glass and just attach to the end of the recirc tube? Even if the fit isn't great, just need some circulation through to clean it.
 

DuncB

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@GoodTruble
No the tube is in the housing very solidly or I'd have to remove the whole bulkhead fitting, that would be a bit leaky. I'll look into finding some narrow tube that could jam in the top or perhaps a john guest fitting might give me an option. I'll update later.
 

Maalea

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[QUOTE="RePete, post: 9198489, member: 240497"
If there is a problem, I can always just put the stainless steel tube back on.
[/QUOTE]

That is the only reason that I am hesitating to to cut the tube. If I do buy the polycarbonate and it breaks, I could go to the silicon tubing in the place of the polycarbonate.
 

RePete

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That is the only reason that I am hesitating to to cut the tube. If I do buy the polycarbonate and it breaks, I could go to the silicon tubing in the place of the polycarbonate.
Or, you could try your idea. And if it doesn't work, order a polycarbonate sight glass? There are always options. You just may be out of action for a while.
 

RePete

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Any cleaning tips for the sight glass? mine is a separate one on my unit but getting muckier and muckier. I haven't got a tiny bottle brush and wondered if any other method works?
As it isn't on the recirc loop I can't cycle PBW thru it which I'm sure would work.
View attachment 750516
Mine is looking nasty too. My unit, in general, is due for a deep cleaning. Maybe I'll just do as you suggest, and cycle PBW through it.
 

Maalea

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Any cleaning tips for the sight glass? mine is a separate one on my unit but getting muckier and muckier. I haven't got a tiny bottle brush and wondered if any other method works?
As it isn't on the recirc loop I can't cycle PBW thru it which I'm sure would work.
View attachment 750516
Could you gravity feed a gallon or 2 of PBW through the top of the sight glass?
 

DuncB

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Just done some measurements, the outside of sight glass is 16mm and internal is 9mm.

I found some vinyl tubing that was 8.7mm external that fits into the top of the tube well. I should be able to fit this inside the silicone recirc tube ( if I didn't have half inch bsp hose connector on it for the option of connecting the hop missile as a wort filter). Or I can fit a liquid ball lock connector onto the tube and then attach to my garden spray line cleaning system ( pictured ).
IMG_20211130_101535.jpgIMG_20211130_101655.jpg
We might be looking clean again afore the next brewday.
 

DuncB

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Just got confirmation that my Smartpid conversion kit has shipped. Not sure whether Santa can get it to me before Xmas, all in the lap of UPS and customs.

Could be the last mod, except I'm still looking for a nice sparge and recirc sprayer head. Jetting the grains not so sure it's the best.
 

blizz81

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Was looking at the DigiBoil 65L today - assume it's the same basic hardware as the BrewZilla. I'd be keeping my home-built RIMS and would be using the DigiBoil for heating strike/sparge water and potentially my boil.

I've been looking around to see if I can get pics or vids of what the bottom compartment is like with the elements. So are the elements dry-firing in the space below the kettle floor (and it appears the temp sensor is above the elements directly on the bottom of the kettle floor not exposed to the liquid)? I assume I'd be ok using my 50' 1/2" immersion chiller since there's a chiller w/the BrewZilla but just verifying.

Have there been any reliability issues since maybe the earlier production runs that I was reading about on the first page or two?
 

RodeoDave

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So I've been lurking here for quite a while, I Brewed for about 10 years, made the usual progression from extract, then added steeping grains, and stepped up to all grain. Work and family took priority, brewing took a back seat, about 10 to 15 extract batches over the next 10 years.

Started back into it during the lockdown. I got the 35L Brewzilla about 6 months ago. I have an idea or two about the sight tubes.

Rather than getting a bigger saddle, I would use 2 thin washers underneath the saddle, this will give you some breathing room for the sight tube.
I didn't buy a sight tube yet. I was thinking of an alternative option.
I have a similar story about brewing years ago and getting back into it. The new equipment available today is a game changer. I am just getting started but am very anxious to get going.

I was also thinking about the sight tube, until I watched a video from Short Circuited Brewers. He was going through his Brewzilla process when he blew me away with something incredibly simple. He called it an “Egyptian sight glass.” He simply attached a piece of silicon tubing to the spigot and pulled the other end up to the top of the kettle, left it open secured it. Open the valve and the tube will show you the water level in the tank. The main reason I can think the sight glass is useful is during the sparge, when it is difficult to see the level in the tank. When you are done with the sparge, remove the tubing and use it for something else. No dirty sight glass to clean.
 

DuncB

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Not a great option though if your all in one comes with a sight glass as standard.
Don't be too anxious about starting again.
Every brewday is a learning experience for me. Pick a simple recipe, get the crush right from the off and aim for 19 litres in your fermenter, nothing needing dry hops in the first go. Ideally a dark beer then clarity less of an issue.
Have a checklist.
 

Sonofastu

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Howdy folks! I’m getting closer every week! I’m preparing to brew my first brew. I read as much as I can but have zero exbeerience! I have the 65L. I have a Fermzilla, and a stand-up freezer that it will fit in. Bought an inkbird controller. Downloaded brewfather. I realize that I’ll need to adjust my equipment profile based on my performance. I bought the Cali Mountain stout all grain clone kit for my first attempt. Thought it wise to try 5Gal batch to start. In the comments for the kit it was mentioned that the target is 5.5Gal of wort. I picked an existing equipment profile in Brewfather, and added all of the ingredients from the kit, plus the yeast I bought. I’m wondering if someone can confirm I’m on the right path. Like I said, I haven’t brewed anything, but the sparge water volume makes me suspicious about my profile or inputs. Here is what I have so far. Any one mind providing some gentle guidance? Much appreciation! I’d like to brew tomorrow if I can get this all figured out!
 

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Wayne1

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@Sonofastu,

The recipe looks pretty good. I would not bother sparging. Just put all the water in and then add the ground grains.
With the 65L, you can brew 5 gallons with no sparge.
Your efficiency might be a bit lower.
With the grind I use, I tend to average 70% mash efficiency with no sparge in my 65L.
The only way to get the exact number for your system is to brew it and take notes.

Prepare to brew the same recipe a few times and change your grind. Note what works best for you and your system.
I found that .028 and a 75 minute mash gave me results that I could constantly reproduce.

Good luck!
 

Sammy86

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Howdy folks! I’m getting closer every week! I’m preparing to brew my first brew. I read as much as I can but have zero exbeerience! I have the 65L. I have a Fermzilla, and a stand-up freezer that it will fit in. Bought an inkbird controller. Downloaded brewfather. I realize that I’ll need to adjust my equipment profile based on my performance. I bought the Cali Mountain stout all grain clone kit for my first attempt. Thought it wise to try 5Gal batch to start. In the comments for the kit it was mentioned that the target is 5.5Gal of wort. I picked an existing equipment profile in Brewfather, and added all of the ingredients from the kit, plus the yeast I bought. I’m wondering if someone can confirm I’m on the right path. Like I said, I haven’t brewed anything, but the sparge water volume makes me suspicious about my profile or inputs. Here is what I have so far. Any one mind providing some gentle guidance? Much appreciation! I’d like to brew tomorrow if I can get this all figured out!
Numbers look ok, Personally I would expect a little lower efficiency probably 73-75%.

You can go no sparge but expect your efficiency in the 60's. If it were me i'd mash with 2.0 qts/pound of grain and asmaller sparge and see what happens.

Best of luck! You'll love the 65L!
 

trarmer007

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Howdy folks! I’m getting closer every week! I’m preparing to brew my first brew. I read as much as I can but have zero exbeerience! I have the 65L. I have a Fermzilla, and a stand-up freezer that it will fit in. Bought an inkbird controller. Downloaded brewfather. I realize that I’ll need to adjust my equipment profile based on my performance. I bought the Cali Mountain stout all grain clone kit for my first attempt. Thought it wise to try 5Gal batch to start. In the comments for the kit it was mentioned that the target is 5.5Gal of wort. I picked an existing equipment profile in Brewfather, and added all of the ingredients from the kit, plus the yeast I bought. I’m wondering if someone can confirm I’m on the right path. Like I said, I haven’t brewed anything, but the sparge water volume makes me suspicious about my profile or inputs. Here is what I have so far. Any one mind providing some gentle guidance? Much appreciation! I’d like to brew tomorrow if I can get this all figured out!
I've gotten 5 batches through my 65L (25+ years prior I was 12 gallon cooler/keg brewer). Aim for 1.3 quarts per pound to mash; then sparge with as much water as you can. In my last 2 batches, I've sparged/rinsed with an extra gallon and let it boil back out before dropping the hops. I'm getting around 70% efficiency. This is a sea-change for me as I am used to 80% up to 90%. My plan going forward is to add 1lb of DME for each 5.5 gallons - ala, adding in 1.008 gravity points to get back to where I once belonged. My local home brew shop has no idea what their grain crush setting is - I have an old corona mill; I suppose I could recrush but that's a PITA. So, my final advice, Relax, Have a Homebrew. We made beer back when we thought the Earth was flat while sleeping in a cave and were convinced a magical paddle turned sweet grain into magic juice.
 

Maalea

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I could recrush but that's a PITA.
I'm not calling anyone out but I've seen this on the site many times and (unless you cannot use a drill, If this is the case bless you for using the hand crank) I just don't understand. It takes about 3 minutes to do a double crush of the grains.
Am I missing something?
 

GoodTruble

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The corona mills may very well be hand-crank only. And while drill-powered mills may only take a few minutes, you still need to get everything out, repackage and clean. So more like 15-30 minutes in total. - Note, I grind my grains and think it is time well spent, but in total, it's more than just a few minutes.
 

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I brewed my third batch on my 65L a few days ago. I averaged 81% mash efficiency on my first two brews, but recirculation and sparging were agonizingly slow - even with rice hulls. I also had a lot of gunk that managed to clog the pump. My grain mill had been set very fine (about .03") because I used to do BIAB in a cooler. I adjusted the gap to .045" for this brew and sparging and recirculating were perfect, but my efficiency was only 66%. I guess I'll disassemble my mill and see where .04" gets me. I don't mind using another couple of pounds of grain, if that's what I need to do to hit my numbers.

I was too lazy to add some DME to my latest mild, so it'll only hit 3.1% ABV instead of the intended 3.7%. I guess it'll be a sessionable session beer. :)
 

cactusgarrett

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I adjusted the gap to .045" for this brew and sparging and recirculating were perfect, but my efficiency was only 66%. I guess I'll disassemble my mill and see where .04" gets me. I don't mind using another couple of pounds of grain, if that's what I need to do to hit my numbers.
Try conditioning your malt - I found that helped immensely in being able to seamlessly use credit card width mill gap setting (0.030"). I was of the same opinion, changing over to AIO with no-sparge - I'll just add some extra malt to make up for the hit in efficiency. However, that doesn't help with a clogged pump, so I started conditioning my grain. It really is night & day.
 

GoodTruble

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Try conditioning your malt - I found that helped immensely in being able to seamlessly use credit card width mill gap setting (0.030"). I was of the same opinion, changing over to AIO with no-sparge - I'll just add some extra malt to make up for the hit in efficiency. However, that doesn't help with a clogged pump, so I started conditioning my grain. It really is night & day.
What do you mean by conditioning?
 

cactusgarrett

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What do you mean by conditioning?
Getting the grain slightly wet before milling. It keeps the husks in tact better and helps with lautering.

 

trarmer007

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I'm not calling anyone out but I've seen this on the site many times and (unless you cannot use a drill, If this is the case bless you for using the hand crank) I just don't understand. It takes about 3 minutes to do a double crush of the grains.
Am I missing something?
No call out taken. I have a bolt that fits in the handle screw and use a drill. But there's another limit to a corona mill - the hopper size. To recrush 26lbs of grain takes pouring, milling, and repeating 10X; plus set-up & clean-up, etc., so I'm opting for a bag DME instead. To each his own.
 

Civilian

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Tomorrow it is!
Picked up a Belgian Blond and a beer recipe at the LHBS today.
Quick question, the hop boil additions are listed by time but not an overall time, is it usually started with the first addition (calls for 60 min)?
 

GoodTruble

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Tomorrow it is!
Picked up a Belgian Blond and a beer recipe at the LHBS today.
Quick question, the hop boil additions are listed by time but not an overall time, is it usually started with the first addition (calls for 60 min)?
If I understand your question correctly a - Yes. Usually the time listed for each addition is how long that addition should be in the boil.
 
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