Robobrew/Brewzilla Discussion

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maltboy1

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I'd like to use whole hops in a Brewzilla, but I'm worried about utilization and flavor extraction when using a spider. Has anyone ever used the mash tube as a giant hop spider? I was thinking I could rinse it out and put it back in the kettle, boil and add hops as usual, and then just lift it out before transferring the wort to the primary. Does anyone see any issues with that?
 

DuncB

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David heath has a video on his channel about this I think
I'd like to use whole hops in a Brewzilla, but I'm worried about utilization and flavor extraction when using a spider. Has anyone ever used the mash tube as a giant hop spider? I was thinking I could rinse it out and put it back in the kettle, boil and add hops as usual, and then just lift it out before transferring the wort to the primary. Does anyone see any issues with that?
Your other option is a hop missile or rely on the false bottom.
I dont know if the brewzilla has this as standard, Robobrew did have it as standard.
 

Teufelhunde

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I'd like to use whole hops in a Brewzilla, but I'm worried about utilization and flavor extraction when using a spider. Has anyone ever used the mash tube as a giant hop spider? I was thinking I could rinse it out and put it back in the kettle, boil and add hops as usual, and then just lift it out before transferring the wort to the primary. Does anyone see any issues with that?
I would think that your hops utilization would be worse than a spider doing it that way. You would have minimal wort circulation around the hops unless you used the pump to pour it back in the top as you boil, but they say to NOT use the pump during the boil due to very shortened pump life span. I use pellet hops commando and I whirlpool during the chill, pull my chiller, whirlpool 5 more minutes, then let it settle for 5 minutes. I get an extremely small amount of hop matter that makes it past the false bottom, barely enough to cover the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket fermenter. I would think the false bottom would work well with whole hops.

YMMV

Lon
 

NJL

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I've used a false bottom with whole wet hops during a hop stand. It was 1.2kgs and nearly filled it completly so they couldnt really freely float around. I recirculated the whole time and the hop cones acted like a filter. I have never had such clear wort in the fermenter.
 

maltboy1

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...they say to NOT use the pump during the boil due to very shortened pump life span.
Thanks for the reply. How was it determined that using the pump for boiling wort is bad? It sounds like one of those accepted facts that seems reasonable but may not be true. The pump is rated for boiling liquid. It may wear out faster because it gets used more, but I'd have to see some proof before I'd believe that using it to pump boiling wort could damage it.
Not trying to be snarky. In God I trust. All others bring data. :)
 

DuncB

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Trouble is the pump tends to airlock with boiling liquid passing through it. This is bad for the pump.

I really don't see the need to pump during the boil, just stir if you are concerned.
 

maltboy1

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Trouble is the pump tends to airlock with boiling liquid passing through it. This is bad for the pump.

I really don't see the need to pump during the boil, just stir if you are concerned.
I use it to pump wort into the hop spider when using pellet hops. I figure it could help with utilization by supplying "fresh" wort, and it would remove any bits of grain left from the sparge. I haven't noticed any cavitation problems so far.
 

amr

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Hullo! I am considering getting a brewzilla 35 3.1.1. My current setup is a super rudimentary mash tun + stainless steel kettle to boil. I only make 2.5 gallon batches and was wondering if the unit would be too big for it.

If anyone has made / continues to make this batch size, would love to hear thoughts / cons etc.

Thank you.
 

DuncB

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Should be fine, I do 23 litre batches in my all in one that's up to 70 litres.
10 litres to fermenter, so end of boil 12 litres, pre boil 13 or so.
 

amr

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Should be fine, I do 23 litre batches in my all in one that's up to 70 litres.
10 litres to fermenter, so end of boil 12 litres, pre boil 13 or so.
Nice! Thank you! Also, would it work without the hop spider? I am reading both that it does and does not clog the pump if hops are directly chucked in.
 

DuncB

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Nice! Thank you! Also, would it work without the hop spider? I am reading both that it does and does not clog the pump if hops are directly chucked in.
I started with a robobrew 3 and just used the bottom plate and didn't have a problem with hop blocking, you will get trouble if you have the recirculation tube in the grain and you turn the pump off. It siphons back and sucks the grain up the tube which causes trouble.
The guten I use now has a hop spider supplied but I used it once and just chuck the hops in and whirlpool.
 

Teufelhunde

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Nice! Thank you! Also, would it work without the hop spider? I am reading both that it does and does not clog the pump if hops are directly chucked in.
I use a Brewzilla 3.1.1 and throw my hops in commando, don't have too much problem with blocking the pump. If it does block, simply put some air pressure backwards through the pump and it will clear easily. DO remember, however, to always pull the recirc tube up out of your wort prior to turning off the pump because it will siphon back down through the pump if you don't, and if it happens to be laying in grain, you will suck a bunch of grain into the pump, and then you have an issue.....

The false bottom does a much better job than I expected at stopping all the gunk from getting into the pump and your fermenter. To aid this, I remove my chiller after cooling and whirlpool for 10 minutes(using the whirlpool arm), then turn the pump off and allow it to settle for 5 minutes prior to pumping into the fermenter. I always get a nice hop cone on the false bottom and VERY little gunk in my fermenter (maybe an 1/8" in the bottom once it settles)

YMMV

Lon
 
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amr

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I started with a robobrew 3 and just used the bottom plate and didn't have a problem with hop blocking, you will get trouble if you have the recirculation tube in the grain and you turn the pump off. It siphons back and sucks the grain up the tube which causes trouble.
The guten I use now has a hop spider supplied but I used it once and just chuck the hops in and whirlpool.
Got it. I was just wondering if I need to invest in a hop spider or if I could just use a hop bag that I had (or not use anything at all). Looks like it isn't necessarily required as long as I take care of the recirculation bit. Thank you!
 

amr

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I use a Brewzilla 3.1.1 and throw my hops in commando, don't have too much problem with blocking the pump. If it does block, simply put some air pressure backwards through the pump and it will clear easily. DO remember, however, to always pull the recirc tube up out of your wort prior to turning off the pump because it will siphon back down through the pump if you don't, and if it happens to be laying in grain, you will suck a bunch of grain into the pump, and then you have an issue.....

The false bottom does a much better job than I expected at stopping all the gunk from getting into the pump and your fermenter. To aid this, I remove my chiller after cooling and whirlpool for 10 minutes(using the whirlpool arm), then turn the pump off and allow it to settle for 5 minutes prior to pumping into the fermenter. I always get a nice hop cone on the false bottom and VERY little gunk in my fermenter (maybe an 1/8" in the bottom once it settles)

YMMV

Lon
Super! Thank you so much for the tip. Appreciate it!
 

harpthomas

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who was selling the v3.1.1 for $350? Just starting to look hard an an AIO here now, and torn between S40/BZ3.1.1/BZ4...but if someone is still offering the BZ3.1.1 at $350 CAD that would likely be the answer
I just ordered mine from Amazon for $329. It says Robobrew, but it was the Brewzilla 3.1.1 when I got it.
 

amr

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Couple of more question before I pull the trigger on the Brewzilla:
1. Do I need to get the whirlpool arm? Does it actually help?
2. I will brew mostly only 10L batches. Given this, would the hop spider even reach that depth? And hence the question - should I buy this?

Thank you.
 

ryanj

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Couple of more question before I pull the trigger on the Brewzilla:
1. Do I need to get the whirlpool arm? Does it actually help?
2. I will brew mostly only 10L batches. Given this, would the hop spider even reach that depth? And hence the question - should I buy this?

Thank you.
Full disclosure: I have a pre-order in on a Gen 4 and I'm coming from a 3 vessel HERMS.

  1. From what I understand, the whirlpool arm is not necessary, but may help with chilling since you can whirlpool the hot wort while chilling and create more heat transfer which might cut some time off the process. Again, not necessary but might help cut some minutes from your brewday.
  2. I would absolutely suggest buying a hop spider. You may lose some hop utilization, but that's debatable. Keeping the hops nice and neat in the spider will speed up clean up time and reduce risk of pump clogging. If the spider doesn't reach the depth for a 2.5G boil, you can always look into extending the arm to sit lower.
 

Henbrew

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Couple of more question before I pull the trigger on the Brewzilla:
1. Do I need to get the whirlpool arm? Does it actually help?
2. I will brew mostly only 10L batches. Given this, would the hop spider even reach that depth? And hence the question - should I buy this?

Thank you.
I use a large nylon bag for my hops. You can get the smaller reusable ones too and just use multiple. I like the bags because you can squeeze the wort out of them before transferring. Every drop counts! 😄

They're also nice for filtering out small particles after the mash while it comes up to a boil.
 

Sammy86

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Couple of more question before I pull the trigger on the Brewzilla:
1. Do I need to get the whirlpool arm? Does it actually help?
2. I will brew mostly only 10L batches. Given this, would the hop spider even reach that depth? And hence the question - should I buy this?

Thank you.

1. You don't need it, but I like seeing the hop cone. You can't whirlpool and chill at the same time unless you have a second pump.

2. Hop spiders are nice...i started using mine then threw then in commando and haven't turned back.
 

GoodTruble

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I just ordered mine from Amazon for $329. It says Robobrew, but it was the Brewzilla 3.1.1 when I got it.
Wow. That's a great deal. I'm now contemplating what kind of complex nonsense I could pull off with TWO Brewzillas.......
 

Teufelhunde

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Couple of more question before I pull the trigger on the Brewzilla:
1. Do I need to get the whirlpool arm? Does it actually help?
2. I will brew mostly only 10L batches. Given this, would the hop spider even reach that depth? And hence the question - should I buy this?

Thank you.
1. Whirlpool arm not needed, but I like having it. I think that whirlpooling during chilling helps to cool the wort, no testing done or evidence, it just makes sense to me that it would.

2. I don't think a hop spider would be needed as the false bottom catches almost all of the hop matter, at least if you whirlpool. May not reach low enough to be in your wort anyway...
 

TheCountAU

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Couple of more question before I pull the trigger on the Brewzilla:
1. Do I need to get the whirlpool arm? Does it actually help?
2. I will brew mostly only 10L batches. Given this, would the hop spider even reach that depth? And hence the question - should I buy this?

Thank you.
(First post).

Just another way of tackling two problems at once…..

I have the stainless flexible arm in the photo and added camlock ends - acts as my recirculating hose and a whirlpool arm. Grab a dust cap and drill a small hole to increase whirlpool velocity. I have a second dust cap with a larger conical hole for normal recirculation of the mash ( like a Clawhammer). Works fine for my 35L Brewzilla and any plumbing outlet will have longer hoses for the 65L or when using extenders..

Cheers.
 

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TheCountAU

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@TheCountAU

Ingenious and effective I'm sure, a little sticky when you fish it out after whirlpool to pump into the fermenter? or do you drain via the tap?
No mess so far…. Just disconnect from the return pipe, lift, invert the wort drops out. It’s usually too hot to pull the dust cap off. Wort into fermenter via tap, yep..

I’ll add more info on the weekend with photos of gear etc etc.. but in short, I bought the 3.1.1 two and a half years ago after doing extract for 26 years and I’m really pissed at myself for not going all grain earlier!
 

amr

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Slightly tangential but please do bear with me:

OK so I ordered the 3.1.1. Now, the thing is that before I bought it, I had a conversation with the owner of the store (I live in India and this is one of the two official Kegland suppliers here). In India, it is fairly expensive (~400USD) and so I had to do my due diligence. Also, I only required it a couple of weeks later (traveling until then). Today, the store owner called me up and said that he had only one 3.1.1 left and, as luck would have it, someone else ordered one from the online store at the same time. He asked me if, since I could wait, he could give the one to the other person and that he had a new shipment coming in a couple of weeks. Well, that worked fine for me since I was in no particular hurry and the other person was. All good so far but here is the catch.

The new shipment that he was getting was for the Gen 4. And, obviously, it would cost more. How much more? In actuality, about a hundred dollars more. But, long story short, he offered a discount and, well, I got it for $470, which, I thought, well, a one-time purchase that should last me quite a few years, and long (perhaps unnecessary) story short, I now am the owner of a Gen 4 system and await delivery.

I look forward to brewing but any tips would be most appreciated! Have an excellent weekend everyone!
 

Sammy86

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Slightly tangential but please do bear with me:

OK so I ordered the 3.1.1. Now, the thing is that before I bought it, I had a conversation with the owner of the store (I live in India and this is one of the two official Kegland suppliers here). In India, it is fairly expensive (~400USD) and so I had to do my due diligence. Also, I only required it a couple of weeks later (traveling until then). Today, the store owner called me up and said that he had only one 3.1.1 left and, as luck would have it, someone else ordered one from the online store at the same time. He asked me if, since I could wait, he could give the one to the other person and that he had a new shipment coming in a couple of weeks. Well, that worked fine for me since I was in no particular hurry and the other person was. All good so far but here is the catch.

The new shipment that he was getting was for the Gen 4. And, obviously, it would cost more. How much more? In actuality, about a hundred dollars more. But, long story short, he offered a discount and, well, I got it for $470, which, I thought, well, a one-time purchase that should last me quite a few years, and long (perhaps unnecessary) story short, I now am the owner of a Gen 4 system and await delivery.

I look forward to brewing but any tips would be most appreciated! Have an excellent weekend everyone!

Sounds like the brewing gods were in your favor! Nice pick up!
 

Bottoms_Up

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I have seen a lot of efficiency numbers throughout this thread, but it is never clear whether that is Mash Efficiency or Brewhouse Efficiency.

For the Gen 4 120v Brewzilla, what is your typical:

1. Brewhouse efficiency;
2. Mash efficiency;
3. Boil off rate; and
4. Mill gap size.

I know there are a lot of variables, but I'm only looking for ballpark figures.

Thanks.
 
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GoodTruble

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I have seen a lot of efficiency numbers throughout this thread, but it is never clear whether that is Mash Efficiency or Brewhouse Effiency.

For the Gen 4 120v Brewzilla, what is your typical:

1. Brewhouse efficiency;
2. Mash efficiency;
3. Boil off rate; and
4. Mill gap size.

I know there are a lot of variables, but I'm only looking for ballpark figures.

Thanks.
My brewhouse efficiency is usually 73-83%.

I don't measure the rest. But I usually only lose .5-1 gallon to boil off.
 

Teufelhunde

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I have a quick question for those with the 3.1.1 and a jacket. How in the Sam Hill are you supposed to get that jacket on? If I had six hands, I could probably get it on there pretty easily, but the way they hide the seam under the recirc pipe makes it damn near impossible.

Anyone have a good way of getting it done?

Thx

Lon
 

GoodTruble

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@Teufelhunde - Yeah, I've wondered about the logic of having the jacket seam right under the recirc pipe. First, way easier with metal recirc pipe (thinner, tougher) than poly sight glass (thicker, breaks if you look at it funny). Second, I find it's best to just get any part of it velcroed near the top and bottom (to hold in place), then smooth your hands along the whole exterior from opposite sides (kind of like pushing up/bunching up a carpet) to force enough slack to get the whole velcro strip attached. It may also get a little looser with time, but not much.
 
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maltboy1

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I have a quick question for those with the 3.1.1 and a jacket. How in the Sam Hill are you supposed to get that jacket on? If I had six hands, I could probably get it on there pretty easily, but the way they hide the seam under the recirc pipe makes it damn near impossible.

Anyone have a good way of getting it done?

Thx

Lon
Slide the flap under the pipe first and hold it in place while sliding the other side under it. Fasten the Velcro in the middle and work your way out.
 

maltboy1

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I just lob the hop pellets in the kettle and rely on the trubtrapper to catch them all and the trub.
Tried this for a Fuller's LP clone and it worked pretty well. The flow decreased at one point but the pump was easy to clear with a little backflow. The clone recipe called for a large late hop addition and a 30 minute whirlpool. I think I may have been better off using the spider for that part because the hops settled quickly and didn't get much circulation. The Brewzilla whirlpool arm isn't long enough, IMO.
We did another batch with whole hops and the wort was noticeably clear into the fermenter.
 

DuncB

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Tried this for a Fuller's LP clone and it worked pretty well. The flow decreased at one point but the pump was easy to clear with a little backflow. The clone recipe called for a large late hop addition and a 30 minute whirlpool. I think I may have been better off using the spider for that part because the hops settled quickly and didn't get much circulation. The Brewzilla whirlpool arm isn't long enough, IMO.
We did another batch with whole hops and the wort was noticeably clear into the fermenter.
I whirlpool via a 90 degree and small pipe fitted onto the inside of the tap and then initially ran the recirc pipe back through the tap in reverse. Later converted to a larger ball lock as a replacement and fitted a three way half way up the metal recirc pipe so I could divert to whirlpool or over the top or both. This does mean I can have whirlpool on during mash which mixes the dead space between the malt pipe and the vessel wall. This improves efficiency.
 

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@Bottoms_Up - If you sparge, you will get decent efficiency. But I also try to stay under 12-13 lbs of malt in the 35L. If there is more than that, I split it up and do a reiterated mash.
So you sometimes do a mash, save it later for the boil, do another mash, then add both for the boil all on one brewday?

Have you considered using more grain, but a lower water-to-grain ratio for the mash? I think you can go as low as about 1 quart per pound of grain. Then you would make up the rest during the sparge. Using 1 quart of mash water per pound of grain, you will end up with a total volume (mash water + grain) of about 34 quarts. The Gen 4 has a total capacity of 37 quarts, so that would still give you 3.2 quarts of room at the top, which is a little tight but still doable. If, rather, you use 23 pounds of grain, your total volume will be about 31.3 quarts, which is well below the top level. Thus you should easily be able to do a high gravity beer with the Gen 4, comfortably up to about 23 pounds of grain, using 23 quarts of mash water.
 
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GoodTruble

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I use the 3.1.1. The Gen 4 may be different, but there is a real physical limit for grain/mash capacity in the 3.1.1 before wort (and anything else) begins flowing into the side holes of the malt pipe. And if the grain gets too compacted , the recirc just carves channels under the top screen, and you don't get the full benefit of recirc.

If I have more that 12-13 lbs of grain, I will just mash the first half (leaving 6-7 lbs of base grain aside). Then pull the malt pipe and BIAB mash the last 6-7 lbs in the wort from the first mash. Then boil it all. I've found it is much easier to just mash twice than to deal with an overstuffed malt pipe.
 
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