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Gozie Boy

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That spool on the top port of my MT is an additional instrument tee so that I'm measuring Mash tun out and mash tun in (rather than HERMS out, which should be the same as HLT bulk temp).

I don't have any reason why the valve is kettle side rather than the other side of the tee, and actually had never noticed that it was different, lol!

I like your idea of removing those valves. I have gotten to the point where opening and closing valves is mostly muscle memory, but I have definitely forgotten to open the MT return a couple times and wondered why I wasn't getting flow 🥴
 
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Gozie Boy

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Oops, somehow hit a reply (above) before I wrote my message. So that top MT temp probe is effectively measuring the delT across the hose from the HERMS out to MT in. I have never measured the MT in temp. Is that temp drop ever more than a degree (as long as fluid is moving much)?
 

TheMadKing

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Oops, somehow hit a reply (above) before I wrote my message. So that top MT temp probe is effectively measuring the delT across the hose from the HERMS out to MT in. I have never measured the MT in temp. Is that temp drop ever more than a degree (as long as fluid is moving much)?
Yes it's usually between 4-6 degrees of loss in my system, depending on ambient
 

Bohern

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I normally start my sparge with 168F water just a couple minutes after I start runoff. I try not to let the liquid level drop below the grain bed for a couple reasons, first it compacts the grain bed as others have mentioned, second it has been mentioned as a significant source of oxidation (oxidizing compounds in the grain and then washing them into your beer with the sparge water) - so as a matter of "good practice" I try to keep at least 1" of water over the top of the grain bed.

a slow runoff and sparge does increase efficiency. I don't have a flow meter, but I usually will try to introduce sparge water slowly enough that it does not cause significant mixing of clear water and wort (i.e. there's a layering effect of clear water sitting on top of denser wort), and try to match my runoff to that.

All of that said, if I'm doing a big beer then I'll switch to batch sparging because I need the efficiency boost - you loose wort clarity into the kettle, but I'll take that over 55% efficiency on a barleywine any day.
@TheMadKing Please explain what process you use when doing a batch sparge on this system, if that is what you are using when doing so.
 

TheMadKing

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@TheMadKing Please explain what process you use when doing a batch sparge on this system, if that is what you are using when doing so.
Pump the first runnings to the boil kettle until the pump sucks air, then add however much sparge water BeerSmith shows that you need at 168F back to the grain. Stir the grain thoroughly, I let it sit for 5-10 mins, then drain it off again.

You can change your mash profile to calculate volumes for batch sparging in BeerSmith too.
 

Bohern

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Pump the first runnings to the boil kettle until the pump sucks air, then add however much sparge water BeerSmith shows that you need at 168F back to the grain. Stir the grain thoroughly, I let it sit for 5-10 mins, then drain it off again.

You can change your mash profile to calculate volumes for batch sparging in BeerSmith too.
That was my thought but wanted to make sure. I did a beer yesterday that had a bigger grain bill and took a small hit on the eff side. So wanted to ask for next time.

Many Thanks!
 

TheMadKing

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That was my thought but wanted to make sure. I did a beer yesterday that had a bigger grain bill and took a small hit on the eff side. So wanted to ask for next time.

Many Thanks!
I goofed on my beer yesterday. I tightened my mill gap to mill wheat and golden naked oats, and then when I opened it back up to normal, I didn't tighten the set screws that lock the rollers in place. I ended up with a bunch of uncrushed barley and didn't realize it until after I mashed in and saw it floating in there... 2 hour mash, big sparge and 90 minute boil, and I managed to salvage 68% efficiency... Ugh... Don't rush.. Lesson learnt
 

Bohern

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I goofed on my beer yesterday. I tightened my mill gap to mill wheat and golden naked oats, and then when I opened it back up to normal, I didn't tighten the set screws that lock the rollers in place. I ended up with a bunch of uncrushed barley and didn't realize it until after I mashed in and saw it floating in there... 2 hour mash, big sparge and 90 minute boil, and I managed to salvage 68% efficiency... Ugh... Don't rush.. Lesson learnt
I had a similar thing happen to me but just in reverse, mine went tight so I was under .030 for sure.
I got mine marked with a sharpie now with my old setting of .038 and the new one of .045 from you. I always check both sides before milling. I feel your pain for sure.
 

flyerwire

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So ran through my first attempt and threw caution to the window and did an attempted step mash on a cream. It went mostly smoothly besides the extra time... which was fine because I was still being extra cautious about the valves open/close with the pumps.

I messed up and had the recirc tube while mashing, which goes deeper than what I would want. Everything went as much as expected and loved seeing such a nice whirlpool at the end. Ended up with less liquid than i wanted but hit 76% on my first attempt and with the recirc tube on, so i’m feeling good about that.

A few questions and comments before round 2 tomorrow.
— How do you control the flow on the pumps? Things are pretty much (full bore vs trickle) and the pump doesn’t sounds super happy (yes, i’m clamping down AFTER the pump)
— Do you run your recirc full speed? I did on this one, it keeps a pretty solid 5ish degree differential between HLT and Mash, but was just curious.
— Whats your % on BK for your rolling boil? I boiled off a bit over 1.5G in an hour boil, so I’m apparently too high around 70% (it was a light beer). How much of a boil do you keep on the system? Slowish boil with enough to break the surface? Or do you go more vigorous and the 1.5G isn’t bad.

Now down to the biggest issue i had... cleaning
— How do you empty out your vessels from that last bit of water? I ended up getting a small handheld shopvac to suck the last bit up
— Do you take apart the MT to clean everything? I ended up taking it apart because i couldnt get everything from under the false bottom even with the vac

Other than that, i was very pleased with how great it operated throughout the process. I’ve brewed on a full 3 pot system before, so it wasn’t a learning experience besides the pump setup, which will stop me from having a drink while brewing for a few more times.
 

Bohern

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So ran through my first attempt and threw caution to the window and did an attempted step mash on a cream. It went mostly smoothly besides the extra time... which was fine because I was still being extra cautious about the valves open/close with the pumps.

I messed up and had the recirc tube while mashing, which goes deeper than what I would want. Everything went as much as expected and loved seeing such a nice whirlpool at the end. Ended up with less liquid than i wanted but hit 76% on my first attempt and with the recirc tube on, so i’m feeling good about that.

A few questions and comments before round 2 tomorrow.
— How do you control the flow on the pumps? Things are pretty much (full bore vs trickle) and the pump doesn’t sounds super happy (yes, i’m clamping down AFTER the pump)
— Do you run your recirc full speed? I did on this one, it keeps a pretty solid 5ish degree differential between HLT and Mash, but was just curious.
— Whats your % on BK for your rolling boil? I boiled off a bit over 1.5G in an hour boil, so I’m apparently too high around 70% (it was a light beer). How much of a boil do you keep on the system? Slowish boil with enough to break the surface? Or do you go more vigorous and the 1.5G isn’t bad.

Now down to the biggest issue i had... cleaning
— How do you empty out your vessels from that last bit of water? I ended up getting a small handheld shopvac to suck the last bit up
— Do you take apart the MT to clean everything? I ended up taking it apart because i couldnt get everything from under the false bottom even with the vac

Other than that, i was very pleased with how great it operated throughout the process. I’ve brewed on a full 3 pot system before, so it wasn’t a learning experience besides the pump setup, which will stop me from having a drink while brewing for a few more times.
OK here goes as far as how I do it.

Answers on a few questions
I have the Blichmann Riptide pumps so I use the linear valve and that helps control the flow. NOTE, you may have to open it up to start and then throttle back

I have found about a 4 deg delta between the two, there are many variables that affect this. Obviously, ambient temp, volume of flow, etc.

My % is 80% as of now and I use a 20G pot, my only advice is to do a few boil test and see what fits you.

- Cleaning and other issues
I empty my vessels a few ways depending. i have a table just outside of my garage so I can take them out, dump and give a quick rinse with the hose. AND I also use a shop vac once clean.

For the Mash Tun: i clean as soon as my boil starts for the most part. I take it outside, sit on on the table and take apart and clean. I put the dip tubes and false bottom in a tub of PBW or like. I wash the tun with sponge and PBW or Bar Keepers Friend depending if I have beerstone or not.

hope this helps
 

flyerwire

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OK here goes as far as how I do it.

Answers on a few questions
I have the Blichmann Riptide pumps so I use the linear valve and that helps control the flow. NOTE, you may have to open it up to start and then throttle back

I have found about a 4 deg delta between the two, there are many variables that affect this. Obviously, ambient temp, volume of flow, etc.

My % is 80% as of now and I use a 20G pot, my only advice is to do a few boil test and see what fits you.

- Cleaning and other issues
I empty my vessels a few ways depending. i have a table just outside of my garage so I can take them out, dump and give a quick rinse with the hose. AND I also use a shop vac once clean.

For the Mash Tun: i clean as soon as my boil starts for the most part. I take it outside, sit on on the table and take apart and clean. I put the dip tubes and false bottom in a tub of PBW or like. I wash the tun with sponge and PBW or Bar Keepers Friend depending if I have beerstone or not.

hope this helps
thanks! it does. My one difference is I’m trying to avoid moving these beasts around, but the MT is by far the most difficult to clean but at least has the least wires.

i drilled a hole in one of my lids and added a TC port to see if I can CIP things with the ball
 

TheMadKing

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thanks! it does. My one difference is I’m trying to avoid moving these beasts around, but the MT is by far the most difficult to clean but at least has the least wires.

i drilled a hole in one of my lids and added a TC port to see if I can CIP things with the ball
I start cleaning as soon as I hit a boil. I only move my mash tun after I vacuum it out. So scoop all the grain, vacuum everything else you can get, remove the temp probes, TC fittings and false bottom and put them into a bucket of PBW water with valves open to clean out the inside, then I take the pot out of my garage and set it on a foam pad in my driveway, scrub it down with bar keepers friend, rinse, give it a wipe with a dry towel and let it dry for an hour or so during the boil.

After my boil I suck out the trub with the shop vac, spray down the inside with the hose, suck that water out. Run water through all the hoses and pump to flush them. Fill the BK with the PBW water in the bucket and add more to hit 10 gallons or do. Then I recirculate that through my HERMS coil, wort pump, and chiller for 45 mins and then pump it out. Then I disconnect my hoses from the brew kettle and flush the hoses, pump, herms and chiller with water for 3-4 minutes to rinse. Then I rinse the brew kettle with it draining through the outlet as best I can. Then I shopvac, rinse, shopvac, rinse, wipe with a dry towel and she's done. Don't forget to flush the outlet and whirlpool arm too.

Garden hose quick disconnects will fit the Spike QD's too.. Not perfectly, but good enough and that helps a ton

You could clean the mash tun in place, but you're always going to have to take the the false bottom out. But it took more shopvac/rinse cycles than I liked so I found it easier to just move that one pot outside
 

flyerwire

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You could clean the mash tun in place, but you're always going to have to take the the false bottom out. But it took more shopvac/rinse cycles than I liked so I found it easier to just move that one pot outside
thats where i finished on my first attempt. It started taking too long so i just took it out. I'll try taking false bottom out, putting just a valve back on and CIP ball and see if that helps before i give up my dream of not lifting anything out. Trying to have things buttoned up when my outside is 0F
 

itsnotrequired

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my 20 gal kettle system is all threaded connections except the heater elements (tc). pumps controlled by ball valves on outlet. i only have a one degree temp differential between hlt and mlt but i recirc full-throttle. the faster you go, the closer the temps maintain. i like a vigorous boil so i run 85-90% output.

depending on hlt volume, i clean that as soon as it runs empty. i use some clean dish towels to soak up water in the hlt, ring out into a bucket. one final swipe with dry towel and done. no removal of valves or heating element or any other attachments. i also just use my mouth to blow out the herms coil, lol.

once bk filled, i set to boil and start cleaning the mlt. i brew in my basement and am fortunate enough to have a utility sink next to brew stand. i use the mash pump and a long hose on output into the sink to pump as much liquid out of mlt as possible. then i scoop grain into bucket, take outside and dump into compost (sometimes two trips if a bigger beer). then i take out the dip tube and false bottom, rinse off in utility sink (which also has a spray arm), set aside to dry. disconnect mlt rtd probe and pick the whole kettle up, carry over to sink. dump out remaining liquid/grain and use spray arm/sponge to wipe down interior. dump again and then fill up with some more water, this time tipping and opening outlet ball valve to clean that out. final dump, set on floor, use towels to dry off like the hlt. wipe down exterior as necessary (just water/towel). i don't bother rinsing out inlet ball valve since sparge cleans that for me. i do open/close that valve a couple times during sparge to get clean water on most of the ball surfaces (same deal on herms inlet/outlet valves). no valves/fittings removed. set mlt back on brew stand, insert dip tube/false bottom, done. similar to

by the time above process finished, boil is about ready to start. once that's done and beer transferred to conical, i rinse out the plate heat exchanger and then setup a recirc of hot pbw in a small bucket, using the wort pump. while that is happening, i remove the heater element from the bk and clean with sponge/washcloth as best i can. i use a hopstopper in my bk so next step is remove that and associated dip tube, spray with hot water in utility sink, set into bucket with pbw that is cleaning the heat exchanger. then i tip bk on side on the brew stand, dumps right into utility sink (sink rim at same elevation as brew stand). plug tc opening for heater element with spong and blast away with spray arm. tip up and move over to sink, clean with same technique as mlt. no fittings/valves removed. dry everything off, set back on brew stand and install heating element.

during bk cleaning, i swap the hoses on the heat exchanger a couple times to get cleaner flowing both ways. once done, i rinse off the hopstopper/dip tube and set aside to dry. run hot water through the heat exchanger for a few minutes, switch hose connections to get flow both ways. drain as much water as possible and set on floor, on end (over next few days, periodically tip it to get water out). hopstopper is now dry, install into bk, day is done.
 

flyerwire

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Thanks all.

My ideal process is

When done with sparge, transfer all liquid out / dump. Scoop out all grain for compost, suck out final bit with shopvac. Remove TC clamp and output to remove false bottom / suck remaining grain under false bottom. Clean false bottom in sink. put clamp and valve back in, run a CIP cycle with CIP ball through lid. Rinse cycle, dry up remaining water after rinse cycle is done, put back together.

The BK is pretty easy, i suck up the whirlpool cone with the shopvac, rinse it out with hot water, then do same CIP cycle as MLT (just move the lid). I use the wort pump to do the CIP cycle on MT and run it through the chiller so it cleans those as well at the same time.

Don't worry @itsnotrequired ... i blow out the HERMS coil with my mouth too :) I want as little water as possible sitting in there.

I don't have a utility sink, and I brew in a space detached from my house, so trying to keep everything as contained as possible

Still finalizing everything so excuse some of the random tools around... here is my setup

1.jpeg
 

itsnotrequired

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Thanks all.

My ideal process is

When done with sparge, transfer all liquid out / dump. Scoop out all grain for compost, suck out final bit with shopvac. Remove TC clamp and output to remove false bottom / suck remaining grain under false bottom. Clean false bottom in sink. put clamp and valve back in, run a CIP cycle with CIP ball through lid. Rinse cycle, dry up remaining water after rinse cycle is done, put back together.

The BK is pretty easy, i suck up the whirlpool cone with the shopvac, rinse it out with hot water, then do same CIP cycle as MLT (just move the lid). I use the wort pump to do the CIP cycle on MT and run it through the chiller so it cleans those as well at the same time.

Don't worry @itsnotrequired ... i blow out the HERMS coil with my mouth too :) I want as little water as possible sitting in there.

I don't have a utility sink, and I brew in a space detached from my house, so trying to keep everything as contained as possible

Still finalizing everything so excuse some of the random tools around... here is my setup

View attachment 685279
love the pumps on the doors! i only break out the pbw to clean the mlt and bk once or twice a year. fill bk to top with water, use control panel to maintain at 160 degree f (use pid control mode, not manual). add pbw, circ using mash pump for 45 minutes or so. drain dirty water into sink, wiping down inside of bk as the water level drops, trying to grab the film left behind as soon as possible. once empty, rinse out with spray arm using same technique as after brewing. fill back up with water, heat to 170. transfer water to mlt using mash pump, add pbw and recirc with mash pump for 45 minutes (overheated water to account for cold mlt and not able to heat water while recirculating). i also hook the herms coil into this. once done, rinse everything out.

hlt only ever has ro/di water in it so i haven't done any pbw on that since i first got it. same for water pump. the bearings in the chugger wear down over time so i'll actually start to see a 'ring' in the hlt, wipe it off with barkeeper's friend every couple months. i also take barkeeper's to the outside of all the kettles about once a year.

i have yet to remove any of the valves/threaded connections, 55 brews in. should probably do that one of these days but doesn't seem critical to me as everything running through them is boiled.
 

atratus

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Hello!
I'm new here. 1st post. I have the 20g Spike system and love it. I've been brewing with it since November of 2018. No failures. Great brew days.

Yesterday the BK plug shorted out. I kept smelling plastic but didn't see the plug melting. It had melted all the way to bear metal of the plug when I saw it and powered off. The plug is now permanently attached to the heating element.

I need a new heating element and cable that goes from BK heating element to the control panel (the long cable). Problem is the cable is not listed on their website. I've reached out via service ticket (email). Anyone have a direct email I might be able to get for @SpikeBrewing ?

Cheers!
 

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TheMadKing

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Hello!
I'm new here. 1st post. I have the 20g Spike system and love it. I've been brewing with it since November of 2018. No failures. Great brew days.

Yesterday the BK plug shorted out. I kept smelling plastic but didn't see the plug melting. It had melted all the way to bear metal of the plug when I saw it and powered off. The plug is now permanently attached to the heating element.

I need a new heating element and cable that goes from BK heating element to the control panel (the long cable). Problem is the cable is not listed on their website. I've reached out via service ticket (email). Anyone have a direct email I might be able to get for @SpikeBrewing ?

Cheers!
Go to BrewHardware and buy yourself some good Nema Plug ends Receptacle, Nema L6-30R Twist Lock Cord Receptacle for 240v, 30 amps

Then you can make your own cable. If you really want to get serious you can coat the heating element prongs in Dielectric grease to keep out any moisture and oxygen. This practice is controversial and I've seen good arguments on both sides. I opted not to do this after my plug melted (I luckily caught it a bit earlier than yours). This seems to be a relatively common problem unfortunately.

If your heating element isn't physically damaged, and just coated in melted plastic from the plug, you could try cleaning it using an exacto knife and some coarse grit sandpaper.
 

atratus

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Thanks TheMadKing. Spike customer service has been excellent for me. By the time I had the item in your link to purchase/ship Spike had replied saying they've submitted an order for an element and 2 new plugs. I did order one from your link. Figure its a good thing to have a spare around. HAHA!
 

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Hey all, I am doing my first Double IPA on my Spike system. My question pertains to how to handle the mash / sparge with this brew. The recipe is as follows.
19lbs of grain and 1lb or corn sugar in the boil @ 10 min. I am using 2 qts per pound of grain as my water to grist ratio for my mash, which is where my question comes from.
This will make up 38 qts / 9.5 gal of mash water that with grain absorption leave me with 7.5 gallons of my 8.5 gallon boil volume.
So will I just drain the mash to the kettle when done with the mash and then add an additional gallon back to the tun like doing a batch sparge on this to get my full boil volume? Just seems like with this large of a grist, I won't do the traditional sparge since it is only a gallon or so.

What do you all do?

@TheMadKing please add your thoughts too if you can please.
 

TheMadKing

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Hey all, I am doing my first Double IPA on my Spike system. My question pertains to how to handle the mash / sparge with this brew. The recipe is as follows.
19lbs of grain and 1lb or corn sugar in the boil @ 10 min. I am using 2 qts per pound of grain as my water to grist ratio for my mash, which is where my question comes from.
This will make up 38 qts / 9.5 gal of mash water that with grain absorption leave me with 7.5 gallons of my 8.5 gallon boil volume.
So will I just drain the mash to the kettle when done with the mash and then add an additional gallon back to the tun like doing a batch sparge on this to get my full boil volume? Just seems like with this large of a grist, I won't do the traditional sparge since it is only a gallon or so.

What do you all do?

@TheMadKing please add your thoughts too if you can please.
I would fly sparge like normal and just sparge until I hit my preboil volume in the brew kettle.

I only really batch sparge with beers where my expected OG is 1.095+ and I am trying to eek out a few more efficiency points. With 19lb of grain I would expect 70% BH efficiency or so.
 

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I would fly sparge like normal and just sparge until I hit my preboil volume in the brew kettle.

I only really batch sparge with beers where my expected OG is 1.095+ and I am trying to eek out a few more efficiency points. With 19lb of grain I would expect 70% BH efficiency or so.
do you think that the 2 qts per is too much here, would I be better served using 1.5 so I could have more sparge volume? The 1.2 gallons of sparge will go pretty quick and I'll basically just drain the kettle at that point.
 

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do you think that the 2 qts per is too much here, would I be better served using 1.5 so I could have more sparge volume? The 1.2 gallons of sparge will go pretty quick and I'll basically just drain the kettle at that point.
That's not a bad idea, I don't see why not.

You could also do a larger sparge and a 1.5 hour boil
 

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Hi All,
Thanks for contributing to this very informative thread. I have been brewing off and on since 96 and used a propane 3 vessel keggle system with 1 pump for many years. I am contemplating a new electric brewery setup for my basement and I just went through this entire thread.

Currently, I am using a Grainfather with two Spike CF5s and an Icemaster 100 for temperature control. I typically achieve 80-85% mash efficiency with the Grainfather but dislike the under powered pump and heating element. I also have quite a bit of room in my basement brewing area and have a stainless table ~6 feet already in place by my sink. There is also a 30 Amp 240 V plug in the vicinity.

I mainly brew 5 gallon batches but want the flexibility for the occasional 10 gallon batch. I really like the Spike equipment and will likely add a Spike CF10. I am also looking at the BrewTools B80Pro and B40Pro and it seems like I want something that is sort of in between the units, like a B60Pro, which they are not going to make. The B80Pro is capable of 25 liter batches but I am not sure if it does them well, efficiency-wise. I like to achieve decent mash efficiency but realize that consistency is best for making good beer.

How are 5 gallon batches on the Spike 15 and 20 gallon three vessel systems? I immediately thought I would get a 15 gallon system but wanted to inquire about the minimum volume differences and users experience on 5 gallon systems with both the 15 gallon and 20 gallon size.

Thanks!
 

Bohern

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Hi All,


I mainly brew 5 gallon batches but want the flexibility for the occasional 10 gallon batch. I

How are 5 gallon batches on the Spike 15 and 20 gallon three vessel systems? I immediately thought I would get a 15 gallon system but wanted to inquire about the minimum volume differences and users experience on 5 gallon systems with both the 15 gallon and 20 gallon size.

Thanks!
I too wanted to do as you want, I wanted the ability to do 5 gallon and 10 gallon batches. For that I'd suggest getting the 15 Gallon system, my thoughts are the 20 gallon kettles are just too big for 5G batches.

NOW, with that being said I split the difference and went with 15G mash tun and HLT but opted for a 20G boil kettle. I was concerned about a boil over doing a 10G batch in a 15G kettle.

you can customize with Spike and i like that. The only negative I can share with having a 20G kettle is the boil off rate is 1.5 gallons per hour. But if you plan / allow for that in recipe design it is easy to overcome.
 

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Thanks Bohern. I think that is a good idea. I typically target a little over 6 gallons to make sure I get 5 gallons in the corny keg.

Are you happy with your system? Did you get the double batch 50 amp option for using two elements at the same time?
 

Bohern

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Thanks Bohern. I think that is a good idea. I typically target a little over 6 gallons to make sure I get 5 gallons in the corny keg.

Are you happy with your system? Did you get the double batch 50 amp option for using two elements at the same time?
YES, i am very happy with this system, i really like the repeatability and versatility of what i can do with it. I did do the double batch but i went direct to Ryan of Electric Brewing supply to get my board. I also bought Blichmann riptides and the table for the system from outside sources which help trim the cost.
 

Bohern

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Thanks Bohern. I think that is a good idea. I typically target a little over 6 gallons to make sure I get 5 gallons in the corny keg.

Are you happy with your system? Did you get the double batch 50 amp option for using two elements at the same time?
If you want anything custom, beit port placement, an opening for a steam slayer now is the time to do it. This was the path I took and glad I did.
 

TheMadKing

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The 1.5 qts per worked like a charm for this big grain bill, actually exceeded my projected numbers by just a tad. For sure this beer will hit 9.5% barring anything unforeseen.

Cheers
Awesome!

Great call and I'll be doing that on my next big beer
 

Labrat

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If you want anything custom, beit port placement, an opening for a steam slayer now is the time to do it. This was the path I took and glad I did.
I am now considering a 20 G HLT, 15 G MT and 20 G BK. What would be the downside of a larger HLT, besides having to heat more water to cover HERMs coils? Does anyone know if there are specs for the different size HLTs? I am curious about the relative position of the HERMs coil in the 20 G vs the 15 G.
 

Bohern

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I am now considering a 20 G HLT, 15 G MT and 20 G BK. What would be the downside of a larger HLT, besides having to heat more water to cover HERMs coils? Does anyone know if there are specs for the different size HLTs? I am curious about the relative position of the HERMs coil in the 20 G vs the 15 G.
I am not really sure what the benefit of a 20 gal HLT would be. When I do a 5G or 10G batch with my 15G HLT I always have plenty of water left over.

The only downside would be the extra cost and time to heat, I don't really see a benefit. But maybe I am not aware of what the reason would be to why you feel it is needed.
 

Labrat

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Thanks for the information on having a significant amount of water remaining in the 15 gallon HLT.

In looking at the drawings on the Spike site it seems like there is not much of a difference with minimum volumes between the 20 G (6-15 gallon batches) and the 15 G (5-10 gallon batches) and the 20 G kettles give the most flexibility on the high side. lately, I have also considered purchasing the complete 20 G system and then also purchasing a 10 G MT for 6 gallon batches. This would take care of my concerns with having too thin of a grain bed in the 20 gallon kettle and the 20 G HLT and 20 G BK should not have much of a draw back for 6 gallon batches. Considering the overall expense of the system another ~$300 seems to cover you for 6 and 12 gallon batches efficiency-wise.

I have been emailing Spike some for quotes and today they indicated that they only sell the Spike control panel with the entire system. I was going to skip the Chuggers and get a couple of Riptides. The Riptide reviews make it seem like the way to go.
 

Bohern

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Thanks for the information on having a significant amount of water remaining in the 15 gallon HLT.

In looking at the drawings on the Spike site it seems like there is not much of a difference with minimum volumes between the 20 G (6-15 gallon batches) and the 15 G (5-10 gallon batches) and the 20 G kettles give the most flexibility on the high side. lately, I have also considered purchasing the complete 20 G system and then also purchasing a 10 G MT for 6 gallon batches. This would take care of my concerns with having too thin of a grain bed in the 20 gallon kettle and the 20 G HLT and 20 G BK should not have much of a draw back for 6 gallon batches. Considering the overall expense of the system another ~$300 seems to cover you for 6 and 12 gallon batches efficiency-wise.

I have been emailing Spike some for quotes and today they indicated that they only sell the Spike control panel with the entire system. I was going to skip the Chuggers and get a couple of Riptides. The Riptide reviews make it seem like the way to go.
1st - you can buy the exact same control panel from Electric Brewing Supply, you can save a few dollars going direct.

2nd - If you were to buy a 20G system with the plans to do a 5G batches I feel you may fight channeling in the Mash Tun due to the grain bed being so thin. So you are on track with your thoughts

My two cents is a 20G BK and 15G MT and HLT gives you the best of both worlds with the least of amount of cons.
 

Labrat

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1st - you can buy the exact same control panel from Electric Brewing Supply, you can save a few dollars going direct.

2nd - If you were to buy a 20G system with the plans to do a 5G batches I feel you may fight channeling in the Mash Tun due to the grain bed being so thin. So you are on track with your thoughts

My two cents is a 20G BK and 15G MT and HLT gives you the best of both worlds with the least of amount of cons.
I visited the electric brewing supply site and it looks like Spike is selling an EBSP200, $1550, with their system. Now I am curious about why the electric brewing supply's unit is cheaper than the also well respected Electric Brewery panel, $2295. Are the timers that much more expensive? I need to do some more research on control panels.
 

GParkins

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I visited the electric brewing supply site and it looks like Spike is selling an EBSP200, $1550, with their system. Now I am curious about why the electric brewing supply's unit is cheaper than the also well respected Electric Brewery panel, $2295. Are the timers that much more expensive? I need to do some more research on control panels.
You might also consider taking a look at the UniFlex from BruControl...It's about $1300 all in, and does a fair bit more.
 
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