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Spike - Steam Condenser Lid

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We are extremely excited to announce the upcoming release of our new steam condenser lids! We've had a few people ask what a steam condensing lid is and what the advantages are so we'll talk about them a little more. We hope this thread can spark some discussion around the concept. We're happy to answer questions everyone might have!

What is a steam condensing lid?
A steam condensing lid is a device that can be placed on your kettle during boiling. The lid converts steam produced during the boil back into water using a misting nozzle which is installed in the top piping. The misting nozzle creates a vacuum which effectively draws the steam out of the kettle.

What are the advantages of a steam condensing lid?
The steam condensing lid eliminates the need for an exhaust hood or keeping a garage door open during indoor brewing (usually electric). The steam created during boiling (usually 1-2 gallons) will condense on your walls, in your walls and on your equipment; this lid eliminates that issue. An added benefit is the water used to condense the steam can be captured and used for cleaning as it will be quite hot.

DMS
Dimethyl Sulfide (otherwise known as DMS) is a common off flavor which is boiled off during the boil step. Many brewers have concerns about DMS off flavors when using a steam condensing lid; we did too! That's why we worked with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's chemistry lab to confirm that DMS was still being properly boiled off and not present in the wort. Our testing showed that after just 30 minutes that DMS had been completely removed and below detectable laboratory equipment (25ppb).

Specs:

-Lids for 10, 15, 20, 30 and 50gal Spike kettles
-The lid was designed to work with other popular brands like SS, Blichmann and MegaPot. We will be releasing specific dimensional specs so you can confirm the lid will work with an existing kettle.
-4" port with clear cap to monitor boil and for easy hop additions (without lid removal)
-Additional 1.5" TC port for a CIP ball

Sign up for the steam condenser email list to get first looks/info on pricing, release date, sizing, etc!

 
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kiwipen

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I like the clear lid, but I don't like the thought of using it as a hop port.

If I were to get this I think I'd rather put a triclamp funnel on the CIP port. 1,5" to 3" or 4" with a TC cap with a handle.






That's just my observations,
 

Redpappy

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And you had to bring this up now...just got my spike kettle back, added a 1 1/2 TC port on top side of kettle for a steam slayer.
 

mattxander12

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How is the weight balance? I'm not terribly worried about the cantilever action going on as I'm sure its been tested...but it does seem by visuals that its a "touch it gingerly" type of affair.

I'm very excited with these new offerings and being open to cross-brand usage! Really supports someone like me who may prefer SS's electric kettle offerings, but really are loving Spike's eBIAB basket and now this steam solution. It's a great time to be alive, ya know, if you ignore the pandemic.
 

NewJersey

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How is the weight balance? I'm not terribly worried about the cantilever action going on as I'm sure its been tested...but it does seem by visuals that its a "touch it gingerly" type of affair.

I'm very excited with these new offerings and being open to cross-brand usage! Really supports someone like me who may prefer SS's electric kettle offerings, but really are loving Spike's eBIAB basket and now this steam solution. It's a great time to be alive, ya know, if you ignore the pandemic.
Same here! I brew in an SS 1V ekettle settle biab and love it. The Spike eBIAB thing is nice, but I dont see myself switching over. (LOVE my Spike flex+ for fermenting tho)
Cool to have options. If ever brew in an area that I'd need steam mitigation I'd consider this lid for sure.
 
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How is the weight balance? I'm not terribly worried about the cantilever action going on as I'm sure its been tested...but it does seem by visuals that its a "touch it gingerly" type of affair.
There are no balance issues. Sits on the kettle very sturdily.

Very Cool idea!
Is it possible it could fit a Keggle?
You might be able to cut a custom hole to match the lid dimensions.
 

Yesfan

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Only downside I see is it doesn't look very user friendly for those who use an immersion chiller. Here lately, I've went back to using an IM because I got tired of my plate chiller getting plugged up with hop debris (yes, I whirlpool). I would put the IM chiller in the last 5-10 mins of the boil to sanitize it.

That being said, the pros still outweigh the cons. I'm sure this would work with my v3 kettles since other brands were mentioned as compatible. I also like the idea of reusing the collected steam for cleaning once it's condensed back to water. Like what's been said, "a seal and a gasket" and you have a fermenter. A couple of other questions to @SpikeBrewing ......

1) Can you do no chill with this lid? Instead of cooling the wort after boiling, could I just leave the lid on and let the escaping steam still condense and be collected for future batches, cleaning, etc.? If so, then that's even more water conserved.

2) Instead of the clear lid on the (assuming) 4" port, can you get one with handles like the one pictured in the other post above? I don't see my self unscrewing the triclamp, removing the cap, pitch the hops, replace the cap and clamp when I could just crack the lid open to do the same thing. Obviously, I could crack the lid, but was just asking in case the lid needs to stay on for its intended purposes. I've never used or heard much about a steam slayer, so please look over my ignorance.

Looks cool (and pricey) but like anything else, I've gotten my money's worth and then some with Spike gear. I don't see why this wouldn't be any different.
 

matt_m

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I like the 1.5" TC where the condenser attaches to the lid. Would make it very easy for those of with Anvil Foundry systems too to transfer between the two systems.
 
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Only downside I see is it doesn't look very user friendly for those who use an immersion chiller. Here lately, I've went back to using an IM because I got tired of my plate chiller getting plugged up with hop debris (yes, I whirlpool). I would put the IM chiller in the last 5-10 mins of the boil to sanitize it.

That being said, the pros still outweigh the cons. I'm sure this would work with my v3 kettles since other brands were mentioned as compatible. I also like the idea of reusing the collected steam for cleaning once it's condensed back to water. Like what's been said, "a seal and a gasket" and you have a fermenter. A couple of other questions to @SpikeBrewing ......

1) Can you do no chill with this lid? Instead of cooling the wort after boiling, could I just leave the lid on and let the escaping steam still condense and be collected for future batches, cleaning, etc.? If so, then that's even more water conserved.

2) Instead of the clear lid on the (assuming) 4" port, can you get one with handles like the one pictured in the other post above? I don't see my self unscrewing the triclamp, removing the cap, pitch the hops, replace the cap and clamp when I could just crack the lid open to do the same thing. Obviously, I could crack the lid, but was just asking in case the lid needs to stay on for its intended purposes. I've never used or heard much about a steam slayer, so please look over my ignorance.

Looks cool (and pricey) but like anything else, I've gotten my money's worth and then some with Spike gear. I don't see why this wouldn't be any different.
1) We haven't specifically tested this but I don't see why not

2) All the lids will have handles on them. You can lift the lid off or use the 4" port. We recommend using the 4" port but you can use whatever process you like best.
 
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How much water does it use in an hour? Can you run a pump in a bucket and just recirculate the same liquid? Or does it need to be hooked to cold high pressure water?
 

Dlawrence529

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How much water does it use in an hour? Can you run a pump in a bucket and just recirculate the same liquid? Or does it need to be hooked to cold high pressure water?
A picture in the email they sent today shows it hooked to a bucket.
 

Yesfan

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Edit: check out Beer and BBQ Larry review. He says it uses 15-25 gallon per hour. He covers the water usage well


Saw that the other day. Larry's video pretty much sealed it for me. I feel like I "waste" enough water chilling beer. Another 15-25 gallons crosses this off my list of brewery wants. I'd rather put the $300 toward a CF-5 conical.
 
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How much water does it use in an hour? Can you run a pump in a bucket and just recirculate the same liquid? Or does it need to be hooked to cold high pressure water?
The lid uses about 15-25GPH depending on the size lid. We don't recommend recirculating the liquid as it'll be quite hot. We recommend capturing and using it for cleaning. We include a submersible pump. All the user needs to supply is cold water and a bucket.
 

BEER-N-BBQ_BY_LARRY

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Only downside I see is it doesn't look very user friendly for those who use an immersion chiller. Here lately, I've went back to using an IM because I got tired of my plate chiller getting plugged up with hop debris (yes, I whirlpool). I would put the IM chiller in the last 5-10 mins of the boil to sanitize it.
Yes. I forgot to mention in the video that I had to revert to a CFC instead of my preferred IC. Immersion Chillers and Steam Condensers are not compatible unfortunately. You need to choose one.
 
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If I wanted to connect the spray nozzle to my city water connection instead of the pump how many psi do you reccomend I supply to the spray nozzle for optimum efficiency?
 

AkTom

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Immersion Chillers and Steam Condensers are not compatible unfortunately. You need to choose one.
[/QUOTE]

How much steam would you get in your brew space by putting ic in at 2 minutes? Stir/whirlpool as normal. I would think (not a strong point), it wouldn’t be too bad.
 

BEER-N-BBQ_BY_LARRY

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Immersion Chillers and Steam Condensers are not compatible unfortunately. You need to choose one.
How much steam would you get in your brew space by putting ic in at 2 minutes? Stir/whirlpool as normal. I would think (not a strong point), it wouldn’t be too bad.
[/QUOTE]
2 minutes in my opinion is not enough time to sanitize an IC, but removing the lid and putting an IC in at 2 min mark, you'd get 2 minutes of water vapor plus some extra during the time it initially chills. Wouldn't be bad depending on the size of your room.
 

matt_m

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Saw that the other day. Larry's video pretty much sealed it for me. I feel like I "waste" enough water chilling beer. Another 15-25 gallons crosses this off my list of brewery wants.
Definitely seems excessive and greatly reduces my interest as well. I have to wonder the reason for the high flow given that the Steam Slayer recommends 6, maybe 9 GPH on the same size kettles?
 

Bobby_M

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Yes. I forgot to mention in the video that I had to revert to a CFC instead of my preferred IC. Immersion Chillers and Steam Condensers are not compatible unfortunately. You need to choose one.
I don't think so. I use a SteamSlayer and an immersion chiller all the time. You may be referring to the false idea that you need to have an immersion chiller sitting in the boil for 15 minutes. I stop my boil, drop the chiller in and start chilling about 2 minutes later.
 

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Definitely seems excessive and greatly reduces my interest as well. I have to wonder the reason for the high flow given that the Steam Slayer recommends 6, maybe 9 GPH on the same size kettles?
The only thing I can think of is they chose a very high flow sprayer that would be compatible with a weak submersible pump.
 

verboten

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I don't think so. I use a SteamSlayer and an immersion chiller all the time. You may be referring to the false idea that you need to have an immersion chiller sitting in the boil for 15 minutes. I stop my boil, drop the chiller in and start chilling about 2 minutes later.
Same, I open the lid up drop it in, and away we go.
 

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I swear that arm on top has got my anxiety up. Don't break the shiny!
 

matt_m

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I watched a video on the Spike Nano version of this and the guy used a 5 gallon bucket of cold water for the condenser to start a 1 hour, 30 gallon boil test. He recirculated the same 5 gallons of water for 45 minutes until it was hot then started running the waste down the drain. Wondering if this is actually a feasible method of operation, especially for a 5 gallon brewer?
 

IanMC

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Hi @SpikeBrewing,

Is the pump really strictly necessary? I have a water hookup attached to my brew cart, and was originally intending on using that to feed a Steam Slayer. As a huge Spike fan (and kettle owner), I would rather use this steam condenser lid, but the idea of the pump (and having to refill the cold-water bucket periodically) is off-putting. My water feed would be an outdoor hose bib, so the pressure is pretty good, and should definitely be more than what the pump is able to put out.

Thanks!
 
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Hi @SpikeBrewing,

Is the pump really strictly necessary? I have a water hookup attached to my brew cart, and was originally intending on using that to feed a Steam Slayer. As a huge Spike fan (and kettle owner), I would rather use this steam condenser lid, but the idea of the pump (and having to refill the cold-water bucket periodically) is off-putting. My water feed would be an outdoor hose bib, so the pressure is pretty good, and should definitely be more than what the pump is able to put out.

Thanks!
You can use your water source but the water usage will be much higher. Our pump is 6psi. Your supply will most likely be 40psi+.
 

IanMC

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You can use your water source but the water usage will be much higher. Our pump is 6psi. Your supply will most likely be 40psi+.
Okay, thanks for answering that. How does your sprayer respond to different flow rates? I can restrict the flow upstream with a ball valve, which should help with the increased water usage, as long as it doesn't negatively affect the spray. Do you know what the minimum pressure/flow rate necessary is?

Thanks!
Ian
 

matt_m

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Unfortunately the water issue killed the deal for me and I went with a Steam Slayer which I just received and installed late this week. On my 15 gallon kettle with a 5500W, second boil test, I ran at 35% power and used a 6GPM nozzle and the effluent was still not too hot to stick my hands in. I plan to add plumbing to send it to my sump pump.

I really liked the idea of the lid. Hopefully an option can be added after the first round to allow using normal household water pressure so usage can be brought to a reasonable number. My guess is users will modify them pretty quick.
 
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Okay, thanks for answering that. How does your sprayer respond to different flow rates? I can restrict the flow upstream with a ball valve, which should help with the increased water usage, as long as it doesn't negatively affect the spray. Do you know what the minimum pressure/flow rate necessary is?

Thanks!
Ian
The minimum pressure we recommend with our sprayer is 6psi. This produces enough misting liquid to have the system work properly. This is backed up by 3rd party lab testing for DMS.

I was excited about this until I saw the 15-25 GPH figure too. As far as I can tell, the steam slayer doesn't require a pump and uses less water - am I wrong?
Unfortunately the water issue killed the deal for me and I went with a Steam Slayer which I just received and installed late this week. On my 15 gallon kettle with a 5500W, second boil test, I ran at 35% power and used a 6GPM nozzle and the effluent was still not too hot to stick my hands in. I plan to add plumbing to send it to my sump pump.

I really liked the idea of the lid. Hopefully an option can be added after the first round to allow using normal household water pressure so usage can be brought to a reasonable number. My guess is users will modify them pretty quick.
The nozzle size, flow rate, pump size, etc has all been designed to work with our system. All this is backed up by 3rd party lab testing to confirm DMS is not present.
 

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Thanks for the explanation. I'm curious - did you test lower flow rates and find that not all the DMS was removed?
This is a good question, and one I'd like to know the answer to also. It seems that other offerings (Steam Slayer, among others) have been able to provide satisfactory results with a much lower flow rate, and I wonder what the disconnect is here. Is it Spike's stance that these other products do not reduce DMS formation sufficiently, and thus the higher flow rate is necessary?

Bobby from Brew Hardware above speculates that the nozzle here is optimized for a lower input pressure, which seems like it might be correct given the stated 6 PSI figure given by Spike.

Perhaps there might be another configuration available in the future that removes the pump and substitutes in a higher PSI sprayer?

Please don't take this as an attack on Spike Brewing - quite the contrary. I'm a very devoted fan of the company, and will probably be buying this no matter what the answer is. However, from a basic engineering standpoint, this should be pretty black and white, and I'd like to see if it's possible to get to the lower flow rate utilized by other brands without a corresponding drop in quality.
 

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I'm not speaking for Spike in any way but I speculate that their design priority was to make their unit usable without a cold water supply. To that end, they are using a submersible pump and that pump only makes 6psi. In order to get the right amount of cooling on 6psi, they are using a very high flow spray tip.

They COULD have used a high pressure diaphragm pump to make 100psi out of a bucket and use a restrictive low flow nozzle but the pump would be more expensive.

They COULD decide to sell the unit without the pump AND with a restrictive nozzle that would work on a high pressure cold water supply.

The presence or lack of DMS in the finished beer is more a function of removing an adequate amount of steam during the boil and/or accommodating a vigorous enough boil to remove that DMS into the steam in the first place. This goal is achievable with either a pump and a bucket or a cold water supply line. The only thing that changes is what kind of nozzle is installed to keep the effluent cold enough for the amount of boil input power you want to use. For many people, there is an endless supply of relatively cold, cheap, high pressure water within a few feet of the brewing area. Even if it's 50 feet, thin PE tubing is dirt cheap, cheaper than a pump, and that's one less bucket to jockey around.
 

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Anyone know where to buy a triclamp low flow nozzle? Google has not turned anything up for me but I may not be using the right search terms.
 

matt_m

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Take a look at the thread on steam condensers--there's a parts list of items you'd need from Bobby and McMaster Carr. But also in one of the videos on the Spike unit, I thought I caught a glimpse of a fitting so possibly you'd just need new nozzle and maybe a fitting or two to adapt.
 

IanMC

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Take a look at the thread on steam condensers--there's a parts list of items you'd need from Bobby and McMaster Carr. But also in one of the videos on the Spike unit, I thought I caught a glimpse of a fitting so possibly you'd just need new nozzle and maybe a fitting or two to adapt.
This seems like a key point. If the mister is replaceable, then the unit should be easily reconfigurable for a household water hookup.

Looking at the picture that @SpikeBrewing posted earlier (reproduced below), it looks like part G, the mister, is just an NPT part that screws into the underside of the water inlet TC fitting. If so, this is great, and should fix our problem easily.
SCL_Product_Guide.jpg
 
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