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rjhoff

rjhoff

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You know I'm not really sure...i know the water amount effects the mash thickness...in my old cooler tun I always used 1.5/pound and always hit my numbers. I guess its a bit of trial and error to see especially with recirculation.
Let us know the results...
 

KYBLUE

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Question for the group...is anyone raising their 65L up...and if so how?

Last time out I was gonna put it on a 6 ft table but after I realized how high it was I chickened out...I ended up stacking three foldable tables and put it up there so I wouldn't have to bend down so far for the controller. My biggest concern is lifting the malt pipe and sparging. While I have invested in a pulley I would still need to get up for the sparge.

Any ideas/recommendations?
I use one of these from harbor freight. Works pretty well and folds for storage.
 

DeadGuyNick

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Hey all! I'm looking at getting the 35L version. Moving into a smaller place, so I'm getting rid of my propane burner set up. Excited to save space!

Anyway, a few questions after reading through this thread.
  1. Has anyone come up with a solution for the false bottom and clogged pump? I saw suggestions about cutting a silicone tube and putting it around it, to fill that gap. Anyone do this, or something else? I like to throw my hops right in the boil. I would also grab the whirlpool attachment with my order.
  2. Has anyone used one of these inside the house, like in the kitchen? I've never brewed indoors, so I don't know what kind of steam/condensation this would create. I would likely brew in the garage with the door open, but on really cold days it would be awesome to brew inside.
  3. Is anyone having issues with the stamped measurements? I saw somewhere that they may be off, due to a manufacturing issue. Though I'm sure that's all fixed now, just curious if it's still potentially an issue.
  4. Anyone get boil overs on a bigger beer? I don't generally make big beers, but once in a while I'd like to make an imp stout or similar. I could always go for a 3-4 gal batch if needed, but wondering if anyone has had issues with a boil over on this system, and what happened. Was clean up a PITA? Did it ruin the controller or any switches?
Thanks for any answers! I almost bought the system, just out of pure excitement, but I need to make sure this is the right set up for me.
 
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rjhoff

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Hey all! I'm looking at getting the 35L version. Moving into a smaller place, so I'm getting rid of my propane burner set up. Excited to save space!

Anyway, a few questions after reading through this thread.
  1. Has anyone come up with a solution for the false bottom and clogged pump? I saw suggestions about cutting a silicone tube and putting it around it, to fill that gap. Anyone do this, or something else? I like to throw my hops right in the boil. I would also grab the whirlpool attachment with my order.
  2. Has anyone used one of these inside the house, like in the kitchen? I've never brewed indoors, so I don't know what kind of steam/condensation this would create. I would likely brew in the garage with the door open, but on really cold days it would be awesome to brew inside.
  3. Is anyone having issues with the stamped measurements? I saw somewhere that they may be off, due to a manufacturing issue. Though I'm sure that's all fixed now, just curious if it's still potentially an issue.
  4. Anyone get boil overs on a bigger beer? I don't generally make big beers, but once in a while I'd like to make an imp stout or similar. I could always go for a 3-4 gal batch if needed, but wondering if anyone has had issues with a boil over on this system, and what happened. Was clean up a PITA? Did it ruin the controller or any switches?
Thanks for any answers! I almost bought the system, just out of pure excitement, but I need to make sure this is the right set up for me.
I have the 35L, am very satisfied with it.

1) I don’t have an issue with the pump clogging, although I use a hop spider. Many people who throw the hops in the boil have issues with the pump. I’m using the stock false bottom with the screen over it and do make a point to keep the malt in the malt pipe! I use the whirlpool attachment more to help with the chiller.

2) I always brew in the basement, no matter what season. I previously brewed on a propane unit and do not miss that for a second! I suppose for some people the humidity off the boil could be a concern though.

3) No issues with the stamped volume indicators. I’ve owned a 3.0 for three years and I recall an earlier version had trouble with that. I verified the volumes before my first brew session. I rely more on the liter indicators as there’s tighter resolution.

4) No issues with boil over although I keep a close eye out for the occasional hot break. I recently did a 120 min boil so the pre boil volume was quite high, no problem at all. The mash is more of a challenge on big beers. I max out at 17 lb grain bill but I’ve had good results with subbing 1-2 lb DME on my biggest beers.

I’d say the RB is excellent overall. My only two “nice to haves“ would be 240v for faster heating and larger volume for big beers. That said I’m brewing like a fiend and no desire to change anything for the foreseeable future!
 

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I’d say the RB is excellent overall. My only two “nice to haves“ would be 240v for faster heating and larger volume for big beers. That said I’m brewing like a fiend and no desire to change anything for the foreseeable future!
Thanks for the response! Maybe I'll just go with the hop spider as well, to avoid pump issues. Maybe I'll try a whirlpool arm and silicone bit around the false bottom first, see how I get along.

With a boilover on this system, what's the best way to handle it? Once I see it starting to rise, immediately shut off the elements and start stirring? Any other advice for avoiding total catastrophe?!

I guess I also don't know if there's any general advice on preventing a messy hot break.
 
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rjhoff

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Thanks for the response! Maybe I'll just go with the hop spider as well, to avoid pump issues. Maybe I'll try a whirlpool arm and silicone bit around the false bottom first, see how I get along.

With a boilover on this system, what's the best way to handle it? Once I see it starting to rise, immediately shut off the elements and start stirring? Any other advice for avoiding total catastrophe?!

I guess I also don't know if there's any general advice on preventing a messy hot break.
No problem! I tried to put the silicone ring on the false bottom once, then gave up and put it away - it really didn’t fit, at least for me.

I only see issues with hot break. I boil with both elements on, some people use only one element once the wort reaches boil. With a 120v unit I get a good boil but it’s not excessive. For hot break, I stir a lot and that seems to take care of it. I usually have a spray bottle of Star San solution nearby which also knocks it down. The 240v units could have more issues with boil over as the element power (heat) is higher. That said, I’m happy with the 120v heating times set aside.

I recently brewed a barleywine with a huge grain bill, subbed 2 lbs of DME, and boiled for 120 min with pre-boil volume at 7.75 gallons. It was so full that I delayed adding the DME until there was enough boil off (which I believe lowered my OG). I had no issues with boil over even with that extreme recipe.
 

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No problem! I tried to put the silicone ring on the false bottom once, then gave up and put it away - it really didn’t fit, at least for me.

I only see issues with hot break. I boil with both elements on, some people use only one element once the wort reaches boil. With a 120v unit I get a good boil but it’s not excessive. For hot break, I stir a lot and that seems to take care of it. I usually have a spray bottle of Star San solution nearby which also knocks it down. The 240v units could have more issues with boil over as the element power (heat) is higher. That said, I’m happy with the 120v heating times set aside.

I recently brewed a barleywine with a huge grain bill, subbed 2 lbs of DME, and boiled for 120 min with pre-boil volume at 7.75 gallons. It was so full that I delayed adding the DME until there was enough boil off (which I believe lowered my OG). I had no issues with boil over even with that extreme recipe.
Well cool, all sounds good! I probably won't get into too many big beers, but I will definitely consider subbing in DME if I do, fantastic idea.
 

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From what I've seen online I.e. YouTube many Aussie brewers don't use the top screen at all
Sorry for bringing up an older topic but wanted to reiterate the issues with the top screen, for me at least. After 3 batches using the top screen and having draining issues with my mash I decided to remove it completely and plugged the hole in the bottom screen with a 1/2in bolt. After doing this the mash for my last 3 brews went much better, aside from me having to adjust my crush a bit also. Removing the tube in the middle also made mashing in much easier.
 
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rjhoff

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Sorry for bringing up an older topic but wanted to reiterate the issues with the top screen, for me at least. After 3 batches using the top screen and having draining issues with my mash I decided to remove it completely and plugged the hole in the bottom screen with a 1/2in bolt. After doing this the mash for my last 3 brews went much better, aside from me having to adjust my crush a bit also. Removing the tube in the middle also made mashing in much easier.
When you say top screen, are you referring to the fine mesh screen thats placed in the bottom of the mash pipe or the one that goes on top? I’m using both bottom screens and not the top.
 

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When you say top screen, are you referring to the fine mesh screen thats placed in the bottom of the mash pipe or the one that goes on top? I’m using both bottom screens and not the top.
I got rid of the one on that would sit on top of the mash and the center pipe. I am using the false bottom and a single screen on the bottom of the malt pipe.
 

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Sorry for bringing up an older topic but wanted to reiterate the issues with the top screen, for me at least. After 3 batches using the top screen and having draining issues with my mash I decided to remove it completely and plugged the hole in the bottom screen with a 1/2in bolt. After doing this the mash for my last 3 brews went much better, aside from me having to adjust my crush a bit also. Removing the tube in the middle also made mashing in much easier.
This is exactly what I did! First brew day with it this upcoming Saturday!
 

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Sorry for bringing up an older topic but wanted to reiterate the issues with the top screen, for me at least. After 3 batches using the top screen and having draining issues with my mash I decided to remove it completely and plugged the hole in the bottom screen with a 1/2in bolt. After doing this the mash for my last 3 brews went much better, aside from me having to adjust my crush a bit also. Removing the tube in the middle also made mashing in much easier.
I have continued to use the top screen and center pipe, just because I don’t want to have to babysit the mash. It is a safety feature, to keep the wort from scorching if the water doesn’t flow fast enough. I like to do other things while mashing, and aside from checking a few times, I just turn the pump down low, set, and forget. It’s worked out well so far.

Adjusting the crush is probably the main thing that helped. I mean, either it flows, or doesn’t. The pipe is there in case it doesn’t.
 
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rjhoff

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Good point on the safety issue. I do mostly big beers and without the center pipe it can overflow the top of the mash pipe. On smaller grain bills I’m putting a marker above the mash bed and just keep an eye on it.
 

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I find (or maybe assume) that the top screen compacted the mash and was the cause of me having reciculation problems. For example, the last Brew day I used the top screen I immediately had a slow flow which ended up leading to a scorched mash because I turned my back on it for 15 minutes ( I was doing 5 gallon batch in the 65L so the overflow was too high to help). The next day I did the exact same Brew with the top screen removed and it flowed with no restrictions. At one point I had the recirc arm completely open and the flow was perfect. In the end this worked out better for me and I would definitely say YMMV. I just wanted to bring it up in case others were having issues.
 
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rjhoff

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I find (or maybe assume) that the top screen compacted the mash and was the cause of me having reciculation problems. For example, the last Brew day I used the top screen I immediately had a slow flow which ended up leading to a scorched mash because I turned my back on it for 15 minutes ( I was doing 5 gallon batch in the 65L so the overflow was too high to help). The next day I did the exact same Brew with the top screen removed and it flowed with no restrictions. At one point I had the recirc arm completely open and the flow was perfect. In the end this worked out better for me and I would definitely say YMMV. I just wanted to bring it up in case others were having issues.
Go figure. I'm not seeing any pattern with recirculation flow, top screen or not, but I can see where the top screen could contribute to compacting the mash.
 

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Go figure. I'm not seeing any pattern with recirculation flow, top screen or not, but I can see where the top screen could contribute to compacting the mash.
I really hadn't considered compacting. I guess it could happen. But I've tried it both ways, and hadn't noticed a difference in flow. For a while, I had lost the piece that fits on the center pipe and sits on top the screen. It's function is to regulate how far the center pipe is above the top screen. So I just guessed. As I see it, the top screen is there to keep grain from flowing down the center pipe. And you don't want the center pipe to sit too high.

In general, I've been happier since backing off how fine I mill the grain. No need push the boundaries. I would rather use a little more grain than get a stuck sparge. It's minimal extra cost. Brewers on a commercial scale have to worry about efficiency, because they have to worry about profit margins. I'm doing this a hobby, and just want to make good beer.
 
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I really hadn't considered compacting. I guess it could happen. But I've tried it both ways, and hadn't noticed a difference in flow. For a while, I had lost the piece that fits on the center pipe and sits on top the screen. It's function is to regulate how far the center pipe is above the top screen. So I just guessed. As I see it, the top screen is there to keep grain from flowing down the center pipe. And you don't want the center pipe to sit too high.

In general, I've been happier since backing off how fine I mill the grain. No need push the boundaries. I would rather use a little more grain than get a stuck sparge. It's minimal extra cost. Brewers on a commercial scale have to worry about efficiency, because they have to worry about profit margins. I'm doing this a hobby, and just want to make good beer.
Whatever works best for you. I’ve messed with 3-4 different parameters to get my efficiency in the ballpark and now am thinking about what I might back off on.
 
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cayde1001

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In general, I've been happier since backing off how fine I mill the grain. No need push the boundaries.
What do you have your mill set at and what efficiency are you getting? My first Brew I hit 85% but that was mostly due to a stuck mash and very slow sparge (5hrs total), due to me using my BIAB mill setting and no rice hulls. My 2 successful brews since then I have been around 78%, I think my mill setting is around .040in.
 

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What do you have your mill set at and what efficiency are you getting? My first Brew I hit 85% but that was mostly due to a stuck mash and very slow sparge (5hrs total), due to me using my BIAB mill setting and no rice hulls. My 2 successful brews since then I have been around 78%, I think my mill setting is around .040in.
My mill has markings at .050 and .025. I set it about half way between. So...close to what you are doing. I assume it's not very exact, and just look at the crush. When I tried to dial it down I ended up with a stuck sparge.

I haven't even tried to calculate efficiency. I just look at expected readings. The last batch, which was a Dortmunder Lager, had an expected OG of 1.058 in the recipe, and I ended up with 1.062. So, a little over, and I call it good.
 
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rjhoff

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What do you have your mill set at and what efficiency are you getting? My first Brew I hit 85% but that was mostly due to a stuck mash and very slow sparge (5hrs total), due to me using my BIAB mill setting and no rice hulls. My 2 successful brews since then I have been around 78%, I think my mill setting is around .040in.
Interesting. I’m getting 75-84% since I dropped my mill gap to 0.032”, this includes large grain bill batches. I’ve also been stirring the mash on 15 minute intervals. Interestingly when my gap was at 0.039 I always struggled with efficiency.
 
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My mill has markings at .050 and .025. I set it about half way between. So...close to what you are doing. I assume it's not very exact, and just look at the crush. When I tried to dial it down I ended up with a stuck sparge.

I haven't even tried to calculate efficiency. I just look at expected readings. The last batch, which was a Dortmunder Lager, had an expected OG of 1.058 in the recipe, and I ended up with 1.062. So, a little over, and I call it good.
Can set the gap using a feeler gauge? That way you’re not estimating and you have more resolution.
I always key in on the pre-boil SG as an indicator vs target. If I’m close on that then my efficiency will be close.
 

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Can set the gap using a feeler gauge? That way you’re not estimating and you have more resolution.
I always key in on the pre-boil SG as an indicator vs target. If I’m close on that then my efficiency will be close.
I could, and have feeler gauges, micrometers, etc. It might be nice to know I guess. But I can’t really tighten it closer without getting a stuck sparge, regardless of what the numbers say.
 

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Anybody firing up their Robobrew this weekend? The main thing about these units is that it makes brewing so much easier and enjoyable. I've been brewing just about every weekend this year. And drinking alot of beer as a result.

In the last month I did an IPA using Mosaic hops; a robust porter, which is really almost a stout; and the last two weekends it has been a Dortmunder Lager. This lager has become one of my favorites. I've traditionally been an IPA guy, but have gotten more into lagers this year. Once I get a cake of yeast going, I just keep using it for a while.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
 
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I’m brewing a west coast IPA on Saturday and a Biere de Garde on Monday. I’m on track for 25 batches this year. Basically I brew as soon as one of my 2 fermenters opens up. Amazing how fast those kegs empty!
 

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Brewing Saturday...12 gallon batch split into two fermentors. Half getting 34/70 half 2565. Definitely looking forward to it with the new ratchet and pulley system and SS table i added to the brewery.
 

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Brewing Saturday...12 gallon batch split into two fermentors. Half getting 34/70 half 2565. Definitely looking forward to it with the new ratchet and pulley system and SS table i added to the brewery.
Let us know how it turns out!

Saflager 34/70 is what I've been using all summer/fall. The first couple of batches had a bubblegum kind of taste. I figured out that it was from underpitching yeast, and that you have to pitch 2 packs of dry yeast for a 5 gallon batch of lager. It cleared up after I let it sit a few weeks. But best to pitch plenty of yeast to start.
 

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Let us know how it turns out!

Saflager 34/70 is what I've been using all summer/fall. The first couple of batches had a bubblegum kind of taste. I figured out that it was from underpitching yeast, and that you have to pitch 2 packs of dry yeast for a 5 gallon batch of lager. It cleared up after I let it sit a few weeks. But best to pitch plenty of yeast to start.
Yes, will do. I've been using 34/70 as my go to Lager yeast for the last 3 years now. Very forgiving especially when you pitch 2 packs.
 

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Looks like it is brew day for many of us. I’m going to head down and fire up the Robobrew soon. I’m not even sure what I am going to make yet. I usually just start heating water, and use that time to browse through recipes. I picked up some supplies yesterday, so am ready for whatever. I have a batch of lager to keg. Have a batch of Russian Imperial Stout ready also, and plan on handing bottles of that out as Xmas presents.
 
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Looks like it is brew day for many of us. I’m going to head down and fire up the Robobrew soon. I’m not even sure what I am going to make yet. I usually just start heating water, and use that time to browse through recipes. I picked up some supplies yesterday, so am ready for whatever. I have a batch of lager to keg. Have a batch of Russian Imperial Stout ready also, and plan on handing bottles of that out as Xmas presents.
I think we brewed the same RIS recipe a few months ago. I put mine on tap before Thanksgiving and loving it!
 

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Brewing my first all grain tomorrow since it is supposed to rain.

Bought my robobrew used and ran a couple of extract recipes through it to test the equipment.

Keeping it simple, bought an all grain west cost ipa kit from more beer.

Looking forward to it.
 

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Brewing my first all grain tomorrow since it is supposed to rain.

Bought my robobrew used and ran a couple of extract recipes through it to test the equipment.

Keeping it simple, bought an all grain west cost ipa kit from more beer.

Looking forward to it.
Welcome to the Robobrew club. Let us know how it goes. Enjoy!
 
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Brewing my first all grain tomorrow since it is supposed to rain.

Bought my robobrew used and ran a couple of extract recipes through it to test the equipment.

Keeping it simple, bought an all grain west cost ipa kit from more beer.

Looking forward to it.
Welcome! Check-in on this thread if you have questions about your process or equipment...
 

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I think we brewed the same RIS recipe a few months ago. I put mine on tap before Thanksgiving and loving it!
I think so too. Glad to hear that yours turned out well. It was the heaviest beer I’ve ever done. Over 20lbs of grain! I haven’t tried mine yet. It’s been in the secondary for several months.
 

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Alright Brewers, are you ready for an epic tale about one man and his Robobrew BREWZILLA 65L?

So, first off let me say overall it was a successful day. There is 10.75 gallons of beer in two fermentors waiting for yeast pitch.

First,Beersmith lied to me and instead of mashing in with 2 qt/pound I mashed in with 3 qt/pound...why you might ask because dummy me didn't look at the mash numbers properly and didnt notice that there was a gallon of "deadspace" so it added more water to the mash.

Needless to say it was a very very thin mash and since I took out the center pipe ALOT of grain made its way down to the bottom but I ventured on. Mashed 30 mins at 145 then 30 at 158. PBG:1.054 way over shot 1.043 PBG. I attribute this to my brand new grain mill which I'm now in love with and need to name it.

So, i drained out the entire Brewzilla into my old mash tun and a bucket...used my new pulley to suspend the malt pipe on top of the old mash tun and sparged. Got myself 13 gallons (needed 13.5 but oh well).

Put all the wort back into the Brewzilla, dialed down the boil to just 3,000 instead of 3,500 added my hops 5 minutes earlier because of the higher OG and came out with 1.060 on the dot OG. Way high for a Kolsch and Helles but they'll be a little more boozy no big deal.

The CFC I got from Morebeer worked great! Got from boiling to 74 degrees in 3 minutes and was down to 62 in 6 minutes.

Also, figured out the correct amounts of mash and sparge from now on. From here on out I'll mash with 12 gallons (2 plus a little bit qt/pound) and get 10.5 out then sparge with 5.5 and get 3 out for 13.5 boil to get 11 in the fermentors.

Even though there were some bumps overall successful brew day!

Cheers ya'll!

Sammy
 
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rjhoff

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I think so too. Glad to hear that yours turned out well. It was the heaviest beer I’ve ever done. Over 20lbs of grain! I haven’t tried mine yet. It’s been in the secondary for several months.
Yeah I recall, thick mash :-o I subbed 2 lb DME for the 2-row. I was light on pre-boil, had some other issues maintaining boil (DME related) and ended up at 8.9%
 
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Alright Brewers, are you ready for an epic tale about one man and his Robobrew BREWZILLA 65L?

So, first off let me say overall it was a successful day. There is 10.75 gallons of beer in two fermentors waiting for yeast pitch.

First,Beersmith lied to me and instead of mashing in with 2 qt/pound I mashed in with 3 qt/pound...why you might ask because dummy me didn't look at the mash numbers properly and didnt notice that there was a gallon of "deadspace" so it added more water to the mash.

Needless to say it was a very very thin mash and since I took out the center pipe ALOT of grain made its way down to the bottom but I ventured on. Mashed 30 mins at 145 then 30 at 158. PBG:1.054 way over shot 1.043 PBG. I attribute this to my brand new grain mill which I'm now in love with and need to name it.

So, i drained out the entire Brewzilla into my old mash tun and a bucket...used my new pulley to suspend the malt pipe on top of the old mash tun and sparged. Got myself 13 gallons (needed 13.5 but oh well).

Put all the wort back into the Brewzilla, dialed down the boil to just 3,000 instead of 3,500 added my hops 5 minutes earlier because of the higher OG and came out with 1.060 on the dot OG. Way high for a Kolsch and Helles but they'll be a little more boozy no big deal.

The CFC I got from Morebeer worked great! Got from boiling to 74 degrees in 3 minutes and was down to 62 in 6 minutes.

Also, figured out the correct amounts of mash and sparge from now on. From here on out I'll mash with 12 gallons (2 plus a little bit qt/pound) and get 10.5 out then sparge with 5.5 and get 3 out for 13.5 boil to get 11 in the fermentors.

Even though there were some bumps overall successful brew day!

Cheers ya'll!

Sammy
Always feels good when you hit that OG! Was grain passing though the bottom screen due to grain crush or overflowing the top of the pipe?
 

Sammy86

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Always feels good when you hit that OG! Was grain passing though the bottom screen due to grain crush or overflowing the top of the pipe?
Overflowing the top pipe...even after stirring every 15 minutes and letting it rest agin for 5 before starting the pump it was flowing crazy!
 
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rjhoff

rjhoff

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Overflowing the top pipe...even after stirring every 15 minutes and letting it rest agin for 5 before starting the pump it was flowing crazy!
I get very inconsistent recirculation flow on the 35L. I have a couple recipes where it’s due to grain bill but I‘d say for all recipes I’m restricting pump flow and cycling the pump on and off. I also time the pump on right after the heaters turn off which puts the hot wort on the grain and helps to keep the mash temp up. I guess the 3.0 grist ratio created a bigger problem for you...
 

RePete

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I get very inconsistent recirculation flow on the 35L. I have a couple recipes where it’s due to grain bill but I‘d say for all recipes I’m restricting pump flow and cycling the pump on and off. I also time the pump on right after the heaters turn off which puts the hot wort on the grain and helps to keep the mash temp up. I guess the 3.0 grist ratio created a bigger problem for you...
Same here. As I say, I normally want to set and forget it. So I put on the top screen, turn the pump on, but just set it to a trickle. Then, I check it later and adjust the flow.

This approach backfired on me yesterday, because I set it and left to mow the yard. (I’m basically just mulching leaves). I thought I had switched it to auto mode. I have been using auto mode to step mash, and have the temps and times programmed. I came back to find that it was still in manual mode, with the temp sitting at 122* for an hour. I switched it to auto, and let it run from there. But the OG ended up being much lower than targeted, ending at 1.062. I guess it will be an IPA instead of a DIPA? It’s an Arrogant Bastard recipe.
 
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