Useless malt pipe bottom?

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EdanZ

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Hi everyone, I have been a happy BIAB brewer for several years with great success. I recently decided to upgrade to an electric setup so I could free up the kitchen on brew days. I got the Klarstein braueld pro 35l (coobra/agape), similar to most other popular electric kettle/malt pipe setups. The build quality seemed great, so I was excited to have a first brew day on it. So far so good... that is until I tried brewing with it.

First the malt pipe bottom screen allows a ton of grain bits and debris into the kettle. You would think that I has spilled a cup of grain into it. Terrible!

Then, of course, the bazooka filter that comes with it completely clogged toward the end of the mash from the grain debris alone! I had to siphon all the wort out of the kettle after the sparge, so I could remove and clean the filter, then siphon the wort through a hop spider into kettle for the boil. That added at least another 40 minutes to the brew day.

Anyhow, I don't know who designs these machines, but if the malt pipe lets that much debris into the kettle, then why even have one? I just don't get it. I'm already thinking I'm just going to line the pipe with a BIAB for the next time.

Is this very common with these electric/malt pipe setups? Is there a more elegant solution, other than lining it with a BIAB? How do the manufacturers expect people to boil wort that is full of pieces of grain? Why even supply a bazooka filter if it's going to get clogged after the first 30 minutes of use, requiring a major operation to unclog it? Ugggghhh!
 

JohnSand

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Sounds like a rough brew day. I've only used my Brewzilla once, and I used a bag in it. Others have too. There's a whole thread on the Brewzilla, probably on other all in one systems. Good luck!
 

Sammy86

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Hi everyone, I have been a happy BIAB brewer for several years with great success. I recently decided to upgrade to an electric setup so I could free up the kitchen on brew days. I got the Klarstein braueld pro 35l (coobra/agape), similar to most other popular electric kettle/malt pipe setups. The build quality seemed great, so I was excited to have a first brew day on it. So far so good... that is until I tried brewing with it.

First the malt pipe bottom screen allows a ton of grain bits and debris into the kettle. You would think that I has spilled a cup of grain into it. Terrible!

Then, of course, the bazooka filter that comes with it completely clogged toward the end of the mash from the grain debris alone! I had to siphon all the wort out of the kettle after the sparge, so I could remove and clean the filter, then siphon the wort through a hop spider into kettle for the boil. That added at least another 40 minutes to the brew day.

Anyhow, I don't know who designs these machines, but if the malt pipe lets that much debris into the kettle, then why even have one? I just don't get it. I'm already thinking I'm just going to line the pipe with a BIAB for the next time.

Is this very common with these electric/malt pipe setups? Is there a more elegant solution, other than lining it with a BIAB? How do the manufacturers expect people to boil wort that is full of pieces of grain? Why even supply a bazooka filter if it's going to get clogged after the first 30 minutes of use, requiring a major operation to unclog it? Ugggghhh!

Sounds like you didn't have the screen flush with the malt pipe...that happened to me once with my Brewzilla and it was quite the mess...when you put the malt pipe into the AIO make sure to push the screen down with a spoon or paddle...i have found it sometimes needs a little nudge to get flush once in the water.

Or you can as stated above use a BIAB...I wouldn't get too obsessed or frustrated about it...things happen in brewing!
 
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EdanZ

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Yeah, it was a bit stressful when I realized that I couldn't just pull the malt and start the boil, like with BIAB. Plus I got a little hot side aeration going on, that I wouldn't otherwise have, but I still got my wort into the fermenter :)

Sammy86, the machine I got doesn't have a removable bottom. It's all one piece, but let me ask you, with your brewzilla, as long as you set the bottom tightly, you don't get any malt to clog your pump filter? I guess it's possible that my malt pipe has screen perforations that are just not fine enough. I ordered my malt pre-milled, so, I can't make it any less fine.
 

Sammy86

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Sammy86, the machine I got doesn't have a removable bottom. It's all one piece, but let me ask you, with your brewzilla, as long as you set the bottom tightly, you don't get any malt to clog your pump filter? I guess it's possible that my malt pipe has screen perforations that are just not fine enough. I ordered my malt pre-milled, so, I can't make it any less fine.

Nope, after my one debacle I haven't had any issues. My Brewzilla has been a godsend especially after the twins popped out. I have a good schedule and being able to wake up to strike water ready to go is awesome!
 

BQ&W

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Another bag user here.(Anvil Foundry) This allows me a finer crush and helps with clean-up, too.
Good luck on your next brew- don't get discouraged, it may take a brew or 2 or 3 to get your process down!
 

Henbrew

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I have a Brewzilla and recirculate my wort through a fine nylon bag after the mash while it's heating up for the boil. I've ditched the fine screen mesh from my mash basket for improved flow. Works good at removing any fine particles before the boil. I just rinse out the bag and use it for hops during the boil.
 

odie

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why not just take your old bag and place inside the basket? That's what I do with my home made BAIB set up and home made malt pipe.
 

kevin58

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I'm guessing it was the fault of your crush. If you were milling very fine for all those years of doing BIAB and then didn't open the rollers a bit for the new system then the crush was too fine.
 
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EdanZ

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I was considering if a finer screen to line the bottom of the malt pipe might be simpler and easier to clean, but I have since read that they can clog too and result in a stuck mash... so I guess my BIAB in the malt pipe it is!
 

Draft Master Flash

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I use my malt pipe on my Digiboil lined with a mesh bag otherwise I would have to use a larger crush. The only advantage is that I have something to hold the pipe when it's raised. Seems to work okay so far.


DMF
 

odie

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maltboy1

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FWIW, we crush at around .035 inches with an 8-inch roller, and we don't have any problem with malt particles getting through the false bottom. I suspect that many brewers who use the small roller mills will have more mash particle breakthrough because they tend to shred the husks more than larger diameter rollers with a shallow crush angle. One problem we have encountered in our first two Brewzilla sessions is that the grain bed tends to compact following dough-in. We stirred the mash to loosen things up about 15 minutes in, and it was great after that. We also junked the top screen halfway through the first batch. It only serves to compress the grain bed IMO. We have never used the overflow pipe. We plugged the hole in the false bottom with a brass plug. For the second batch, we set the malt pipe in the sparge position and poured the crushed grain in, then we SLOWLY lowered it into the mash water and stirred. ZERO doughballs.
 

yaakov

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I use my malt pipe on my Digiboil lined with a mesh bag otherwise I would have to use a larger crush. The only advantage is that I have something to hold the pipe when it's raised. Seems to work okay so far.


DMF
I used mine one time….it really sucks. The bottom of the pipe is weak, comes away from the bottom…..it is just too much of a hassle. I love my digiboil though and I use it all of the time. I have had it for 3 years. I just switched over to megapot from Northern Brewers and their false bottom for a tun. I haven’t used it yet, but plan to this weekend. The digiboil is great, but the malt pipe setup is less than I personally desire. Also, their false bottom is weak and cannot take the pressure. It bends and distorts. My malt pipe is sitting in the corner of my basement gathering dust.
 

Draft Master Flash

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I used mine one time….it really sucks. The bottom of the pipe is weak, comes away from the bottom…..it is just too much of a hassle. I love my digiboil though and I use it all of the time. I have had it for 3 years. I just switched over to megapot from Northern Brewers and their false bottom for a tun. I haven’t used it yet, but plan to this weekend. The digiboil is great, but the malt pipe setup is less than I personally desire. Also, their false bottom is weak and cannot take the pressure. It bends and distorts. My malt pipe is sitting in the corner of my basement gathering dust.
I only use the pipe as a holder for BIAB. It seems to work fine for when I raise the pipe and am able to rest the pipe with the bag inside on the supports while I drain from the bottom into a 1 quart Pyrex container and pour over the top. The Digiboil is so skinny that just laying the bag on top on a grill would just make a big mess. It probably wouldn't work well without a bag and just using the pipe.

I would just use my regular kettle with a burner and a bag if it wasn't for so many bugs where I live. The Digiboil really is practical for brewing inside and it is possible to make good all grain with it.

DMF
 

yaakov

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Question: where do you have your digiboil sitting when you pull up on the malt pipe? I have had to use a ladder and it was very heavy to pull up onto the retainer that holds it. I have a small table that I screwed down to a moving dolly from Harbor freight. I can just move it over to my hoist location (indoors in the basement) a few feet away and tie the bag to the hook and hoist the bag easily. I only use a false bottom with a bag and skip the malt pipe. It works fine with the false bottom and nothing gets burnt or scorched. The only problem that I have found is the temperature below the bag is hotter than liquid on the top, because the bag is expanded in the skinny digiboil and forms a seal, so it has to be stirred until everything is up to temperature and then left to sit.
I am moving to propane this weekend, so on to a new adventure…I have been totally electric before..Hopefully there won’t be a bug problem. I am in Colorado and where I live it isn’t too buggy. We get a few yellow jackets..hopefully beer doesn’t attract them.
 

Draft Master Flash

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I have it in my kitchen in the corner where the sink is by a longer counter sitting on a 19" end table. I use a step stool to raise the pipe and rest it on the steel wire that attaches to the top of Digiboil. I'll admit it is heavy. I'm seriously thinking of just sitting the Digiboil on the floor and attaching a pulley to the top of a folded ladder and using it as a hoist. I haven't had over 11 LBS mash yet but can imagine it getting pretty heavy with a larger mash.


DMF
 

yaakov

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I thought of the floor, but the ball valve is too close to the ground. I suppose if you had a pump you could do it. The ball valve on mine is a bit smaller than the typical 1/2”npt ball valves that I use. I put quick disconnects on most of my hoses and valves. I haven’t looked to see if a different size ball valve would fit the digiboil. I never thought of a ladder and a hoist.
 

Draft Master Flash

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On my Digiboil the ball valve is about 8" off the ground so I would need a pump to transfer to fermenter not sure if the ground would be a good idea after all because I'm used to just dumping wort into an Anvil 7.5 bucket fermenter after chilling. I'll have to see if the ladder has enough clearance to just leave it on the end table.

DMF
 

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