Spike Solo Owner's Thread

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Beerstein

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I'm happy to report that the SS valve I put on the return outlet worked great. No dry burned elements and no mash filtering problems. I still used 8oz of rice hulls for a 12.5lb mash bill. I'll post a picture sometime.
 

SonomaBrewer

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That happened because proteins from the mash settled on top of the element since everything was so static. I always recommend running the whirlpool to briskly mix all the wort under and around the sides of the basket. By splitting your pump output, you can stir (whirlpool) and recirculate but with the recirculation flow VERY dialed back.
Tried splitting recirc between the whirlpool and the mash bed over the weekend. Generated a ton of foam below the basket and on the mash, even with the whirlpool valve dialed way back and slow pump setting. Not sure if the foam was generated in the T splitter or in the kettle, but pretty confident this will hurt head retention.
 

lazlobrewstoo

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Is the spike+ solo 10g or 15g recommended for primarily 5g batches? Seems like there are issues with the dead space and stuck mashes in the larger kettles but also issues with high gravity batches fitting in the 10g kettles. Recommendations?
 

Beerstein

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Is the spike+ solo 10g or 15g recommended for primarily 5g batches? Seems like there are issues with the dead space and stuck mashes in the larger kettles but also issues with high gravity batches fitting in the 10g kettles. Recommendations?
I don't think you'd ever be dissatisfied going bigger. Unless you want to do 2.5 gal batches. I've solved all my slow sparge problems. Unfortunately, my wife really likes it, so I'm having to compete with her.
 

Bobby_M

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Tried splitting recirc between the whirlpool and the mash bed over the weekend. Generated a ton of foam below the basket and on the mash, even with the whirlpool valve dialed way back and slow pump setting. Not sure if the foam was generated in the T splitter or in the kettle, but pretty confident this will hurt head retention.
It must be some issue with your system. I've been doing this split recirc process for a couple years now and I have zero foam anywhere during the brew day and I certainly have no head retention issues. It could be that you're still running too much volume up into the basket making the whirlpool outlet exposed to air. If that happens, the flow coming in will push a bunch of air into the process. You should be running about 1 to 1.5 quarts per minute to the top recirc. It could also be an air leak in your plumbing somewhere. Look for bubbles in hoses.
 

SonomaBrewer

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It must be some issue with your system. I've been doing this split recirc process for a couple years now and I have zero foam anywhere during the brew day and I certainly have no head retention issues. It could be that you're still running too much volume up into the basket making the whirlpool outlet exposed to air. If that happens, the flow coming in will push a bunch of air into the process. You should be running about 1 to 1.5 quarts per minute to the top recirc. It could also be an air leak in your plumbing somewhere. Look for bubbles in hoses.
Thanks Bobby. I think I have figured out the error of my ways -- the valve for the whirlpool loop was at the end of (rather long) connection from my pump. Pressure head against that valve generated bubbles.
 

slade_brewing

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Does anyone else use beersmith with the spike solo? Can anyone explain the dead space measurements from the Spike's website and when to change it in Beersmith? I thought when you dough in and get your water level you would have to change the dead space amount, but doesn't your deadspace amount change the volume of water you put in? My thought process is just a snake eating its tail right now.
 

Biggz1313

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Does anyone else use beersmith with the spike solo? Can anyone explain the dead space measurements from the Spike's website and when to change it in Beersmith? I thought when you dough in and get your water level you would have to change the dead space amount, but doesn't your deadspace amount change the volume of water you put in? My thought process is just a snake eating its tail right now.
You can download the exact equipment profile in Beersmith that Spike created specifically for their systems. Have you done that? If you go to your equipment page in Beersmith, and click Equipment Add Ons, scrolle to Spike Solo Series (3) and add that, you'll then have the equipment profiles for the 10, 15, and 20 gallon solo systems that you can use freely.
 

Biggz1313

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I use both. I uncheck the “Adj mash for dead space” box in the Spike Solo equipment profile and my volumes are right on. Here’s a screen shot of my profile:
Just a question as I've never clicked that button as mine say "Adj Mash Volume for Losses" where as yours says "Adj Mash for Deadspace." If you have your Mash Losses field set to 0.00, I didn't think clicking that button would do anything for you since there are no losses to addjust for on the Solo as all the deadspace is technically recoverable, no? I've had my system for almost a year, but am almost as equally new to brewing so some of these beersmith fields still confuse me.
 

RogerGrahl

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Just a question as I've never clicked that button as mine say "Adj Mash Volume for Losses" where as yours says "Adj Mash for Deadspace." If you have your Mash Losses field set to 0.00, I didn't think clicking that button would do anything for you since there are no losses to addjust for on the Solo as all the deadspace is technically recoverable, no? I've had my system for almost a year, but am almost as equally new to brewing so some of these beersmith fields still confuse me.
I am using the latest online version of BeerSmith and there may be differences between BeerSmith versions and platforms. What you are saying makes sense. There really shouldn’t be any mash related dead space losses for the Solo system. As Bigzz1313 suggested, a good place to start is with the Spike profiles. I had to do some adjusting to the Spike profile to get things dialed in, but it was a good place to start. The adjustments I made were to keep more wort in the kettle (trub loss) when I transfer from the kettle to the fermenter and more beer in the fermenter (fermenter loss) when I transfer from the kettle to the keg. Bad for efficiency, good for clearer beer. Anyway, it sounds like you are paying attention to your process. That’s one of the biggest advantages of this system. Once it’s dialed in for your process, you can nail your numbers (volumes, gravities, temperatures, pH) batch after batch.
 

slade_brewing

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You can download the exact equipment profile in Beersmith that Spike created specifically for their systems. Have you done that? If you go to your equipment page in Beersmith, and click Equipment Add Ons, scrolle to Spike Solo Series (3) and add that, you'll then have the equipment profiles for the 10, 15, and 20 gallon solo systems that you can use freely.
Yes I have downloaded the profiles. But I am wondering if that dead space measurement a static number depending on the overall size of the system or what you have for volume after you mash in? The have a webpage that shows what dead space is and how much you have based on 1/2 gallon increments.


I think I am getting confused with the terms. I looks like Beersmith uses the terms Mash Tun Addition and Recoverable Mash Dead Space interchangeable.

How does this look for a mash profile then if I assume 1 gallon deadspace loss?

Mash Tun.JPG
 

Biggz1313

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I am using the latest online version of BeerSmith and there may be differences between BeerSmith versions and platforms. What you are saying makes sense. There really shouldn’t be any mash related dead space losses for the Solo system. As Bigzz1313 suggested, a good place to start is with the Spike profiles. I had to do some adjusting to the Spike profile to get things dialed in, but it was a good place to start. The adjustments I made were to keep more wort in the kettle (trub loss) when I transfer from the kettle to the fermenter and more beer in the fermenter (fermenter loss) when I transfer from the kettle to the keg. Bad for efficiency, good for clearer beer. Anyway, it sounds like you are paying attention to your process. That’s one of the biggest advantages of this system. Once it’s dialed in for your process, you can nail your numbers (volumes, gravities, temperatures, pH) batch after batch.
Ok perfect, that's what I thought. I actually do the same things as you with the losses to kettle trub and chiller, and fermenter trub losses because who doesn't love crystal clear beer haha.
 

RogerGrahl

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Yes I have downloaded the profiles. But I am wondering if that dead space measurement a static number depending on the overall size of the system or what you have for volume after you mash in? The have a webpage that shows what dead space is and how much you have based on 1/2 gallon increments.


I think I am getting confused with the terms. I looks like Beersmith uses the terms Mash Tun Addition and Recoverable Mash Dead Space interchangeable.

How does this look for a mash profile then if I assume 1 gallon deadspace loss?

View attachment 744783
 

RogerGrahl

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slade_brewing, there should be no dead space loss when mashing with the Solo system…or any BIAB system. My losses are set to zero.
 

slade_brewing

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slade_brewing, there should be no dead space loss when mashing with the Solo system…or any BIAB system. My losses are set to zero.
What is the loss of wort from the bottom of the tun to the valve called? Or does the system settings account for that already? Thank you for the help RogerGrahl!
 

RogerGrahl

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What is the loss of wort from the bottom of the tun to the valve called? Or does the system settings account for that already? Thank you for the help RogerGrahl!
I account for this in the “trub loss” value found in the equipment profile. I have this value set to 1.75 gallons. This might be higher than most people’s setting, but by raising the kettle pickup tube and leaving more wort behind when I transfer from kettle to fermenter, I minimize the amount of trub that goes into the fermenter. The 1.75 gallons also includes wort that is left in the lines and pump.
 

Biggz1313

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What is the loss of wort from the bottom of the tun to the valve called? Or does the system settings account for that already? Thank you for the help RogerGrahl!
like @RogerGrahl mentioned, the loss to kettle/trub has it's own field in the equipment profile, not the mash page in beersmith. That field is where you should also include any losses to tubing/counterflow chiller as well. There is also a separate field in the equipment profile for losses to trub in the fermenter as well, they are both configurable separately so you can adjust both accordingly.
 

KBW PilotHouse

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Spike says not to use rice hulls but I'm wondering if I should anyway. I'm also thinking about jumping up to 0.040" for my next batch.
Spike says not to use rice hulls. I just can’t see not using rice hulls when milling at 0.035”. So that might have been my problem: I did my first test mash in 10 gal Spike Solo with the matching Solo basket. Use a Riptide pump for recirc. and 240v Brewcommander with 3500W element.

For keeping 1/2” OD silicone tubing just above mash I used the Brewha float ball. Hit mash temp spot on, left sit for 10 min to settle. Mash temp was correct. Within 10 mins of restarting pump and element at 60% power I couldn’t hold mash temps. Recirc flow seemed fine, slow flow around mash, and fluid level didn’t seem to rise in basket.

Temps would ramp up and down with 5-7 deg F above and below set mash temp of 152 F. I decreased power to 50% then 40% and continued to check recirc. About 20 min into mash the recirc stopped flowing. Shut off pump, stirred mash, and repositioned float ball for correct depth.

Continued recirc to end of mash, temps still varied by 4-5 deg F above & below set temp. (element control always set to Auto). Left mash sit w/ pump off for 10 min to settle out.

Bottom line - user error; I’m missing something. Grain bill was simple (used old grains for test, milled to 0.035”).

7 lbs 2-row pale malt
0.5 lbs rice hulls

Brewcommander has new probe and holds water temps within total of 1 deg F of set temp. Anyone have experience and good insight into this?

KBW.
 

RogerGrahl

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Spike says not to use rice hulls. I just can’t see not using rice hulls when milling at 0.035”. So that might have been my problem: I did my first test mash in 10 gal Spike Solo with the matching Solo basket. Use a Riptide pump for recirc. and 240v Brewcommander with 3500W element.

For keeping 1/2” OD silicone tubing just above mash I used the Brewha float ball. Hit mash temp spot on, left sit for 10 min to settle. Mash temp was correct. Within 10 mins of restarting pump and element at 60% power I couldn’t hold mash temps. Recirc flow seemed fine, slow flow around mash, and fluid level didn’t seem to rise in basket.

Temps would ramp up and down with 5-7 deg F above and below set mash temp of 152 F. I decreased power to 50% then 40% and continued to check recirc. About 20 min into mash the recirc stopped flowing. Shut off pump, stirred mash, and repositioned float ball for correct depth.

Continued recirc to end of mash, temps still varied by 4-5 deg F above & below set temp. (element control always set to Auto). Left mash sit w/ pump off for 10 min to settle out.

Bottom line - user error; I’m missing something. Grain bill was simple (used old grains for test, milled to 0.035”).

7 lbs 2-row pale malt
0.5 lbs rice hulls

Brewcommander has new probe and holds water temps within total of 1 deg F of set temp. Anyone have experience and good insight into this?

KBW.
I’m not familiar with the BrewCommander, but it gets pretty good reviews. I use Spike’s controller and have it set to ‘Auto’ for mashing. It gets set to ‘Manual’ for boiling. I’m not sure if the BrewCommander has equivalent settings. My temps (according to the PID readout) are very stable (+- a few tenths).
 

KBW PilotHouse

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I’m not familiar with the BrewCommander, but it gets pretty good reviews. I use Spike’s controller and have it set to ‘Auto’ for mashing. It gets set to ‘Manual’ for boiling. I’m not sure if the BrewCommander has equivalent settings. My temps (according to the PID readout) are very stable (+- a few tenths).
Yea the Brewcommander has similar settings. I’m really thinking the problem lies with my mash recirculation….?
 

RogerGrahl

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Yea the Brewcommander has similar settings. I’m really thinking the problem lies with my mash recirculation….?
How are you getting your mash temps? PID readout? ThermaPen? Other? Do you use a cover while mashing? Your equipment and process seems sound.
 

KBW PilotHouse

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How are you getting your mash temps? PID readout? ThermaPen? Other? Do you use a cover while mashing? Your equipment and process seems sound.
I’m monitoring mash temps from Brewcommander probe. I use a ThermaPen to occasionally check mash temps during process. The odd thing to me is that temps can be hit and held at different when just using water & PBW. I used several different temps like I was step mashing and all within 1 deg F. Seems to me I’m doing recirc incorrectly or I had a stuck mash and didn’t realize it? From experience I know when I have a stuck mash 😖

I always keep lid on kettle when mashing other than looking at grain bed. There was a lot of grain in bottom of kettle after mashing; probably a pint!

Appreciate your feedback!

Cheers 🍻
 

RogerGrahl

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I’m monitoring mash temps from Brewcommander probe. I use a ThermaPen to occasionally check mash temps during process. The odd thing to me is that temps can be hit and held at different when just using water & PBW. I used several different temps like I was step mashing and all within 1 deg F. Seems to me I’m doing recirc incorrectly or I had a stuck mash and didn’t realize it? From experience I know when I have a stuck mash 😖

I always keep lid on kettle when mashing other than looking at grain bed. There was a lot of grain in bottom of kettle after mashing; probably a pint!

Appreciate your feedback!

Cheers 🍻
Everything looks solid to me. You have the best equipment available. You obviously know how to use it. Your process is sound. You’re willing to troubleshoot and experiment. I agree a good place to start is with your recirc. The only other thing I can think of is BrewCommander settings somehow reset, but that’s a long shot.

I haven’t had trouble holding a steady mash temps with my Solo, but I did run into wild fluctuations in my fermenter. That was due to me building a DIY PID with a Raspberry Pi. I learned about hysteresis on that adventure. I also learned that a messed up PID controller will wildly swing temperatures as it starts chasing itself.

Good luck and let us all know what you learn.
 

Beerstein

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I recently did a massive brew in my solo 20g. I used 43 pounds of malt in it, and the thing did not even blink. Now it did take two people to move the basket :cool:

Im thinking it would be pretty easy to brew 15 gallons of beer in this.
 
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