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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: tygo on March 28, 2013, 04:48:07 PM

Title: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: tygo on March 28, 2013, 04:48:07 PM
I've seen several references to people using the Boilermaker kettles with a false bottom as their boil kettle.  I see from Blichmann's manual that this is not recommended.

From the manual:

"It is not suitable or recommended for use as a boil screen since it will impede the convective flow of a full rolling boil and may lead to scorching of the wort."

I've been thinking about upgrading my kettle and using the false bottom in it as a boil kettle so I can do less hop bagging and to hopefully help filter out some trub.

Anyone have any thoughts of the wisdom of doing this?
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: thatgeekguy on March 28, 2013, 05:31:23 PM
I wouldn't do it, Blichmann is correct. You're trapping the hottest part of the boil under a screen, I would expect burned wort. The Blichmann design probably traps more, but I can see the same problem with a standard punched-hole false bottom. And any trub that gets underneath it could end up trapped and burned.
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: quattlebaum on March 28, 2013, 05:49:39 PM
I agree with thatgeekguy don't use a false bottom in your boil kettle. I chill to about 100 and whirlpool thane let it sit for 30 45 min undisturbed.......very little trub or hops in ferm
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: Pinski on March 28, 2013, 06:32:29 PM
Our 30 gallon BK has a false-bottom screen. Seems to boil just fine, there is no scorching or apparent caramelizing, and it does capture a large amount of hop debris and trub.
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 28, 2013, 08:27:39 PM
So I have been doing it wrong all these years? Pico system false bottom.
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: svejk on March 28, 2013, 08:49:35 PM
I agree that the design of the Blichmann false bottom makes me think it might not work well as a boil kettle because it looks like it would be too restrictive.  I do have a screen-type false bottom in my 15G boil kettle, and most of the time I don't have a problem as long as I am making 5G batches.  On a few occasions when I have made 10G batches there is a phenomenon that has made me hesitant to continue making larger batches with the false bottom in place.

On my first 10G batch, the kettle had about 12G of wort in it and early in the boil I noticed that the activity in the kettle had slowed down quite a bit but the level looked higher than I thought it had been.  After a few seconds, the wort level in the kettle suddenly dropped a couple of inches with a big thud that shook the deck.  At the end of the boil, I saw that the false bottom had a large amount of break material/proteins, etc. that had built up under it and they had effectively plugged the holes in the screen.  My hunch is that a pocket of superheated wort/steam had developed under the false bottom and lifted the rest of the wort in the kettle.  It seems like a really dangerous situation and I'm sure glad that it wasn't more violent.

The next few batches went without a hitch, but they were all 5 gallon batches.  Then the next time I did a 10G batch, the same event happened again so I knew that it was something that mainly just happened with large batches on my system.  I don't make 10G batches very often, but for me hop bags are a much safer option.
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: blatz on March 28, 2013, 09:04:46 PM
So I have been doing it wrong all these years? Pico system false bottom.

no i don't think so, Jeff, I think the warning is more esoteric to the Blichmann system.  I used a sabco false bottom for 5+ years without issue on my keg kettle system.  The Blichmann FB that i do use for my mash tun seems like it sits very snug to the bottom which could cause the aforementioned problem.

My Sabco FB sat maybe an inch, inch and a half off the bottom and thus circulation of the wort was probably easier.

I don't know - you're the engineer, not me, just my $0.02
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 28, 2013, 10:10:32 PM
So I have been doing it wrong all these years? Pico system false bottom.

no i don't think so, Jeff, I think the warning is more esoteric to the Blichmann system.  I used a sabco false bottom for 5+ years without issue on my keg kettle system.  The Blichmann FB that i do use for my mash tun seems like it sits very snug to the bottom which could cause the aforementioned problem.

My Sabco FB sat maybe an inch, inch and a half off the bottom and thus circulation of the wort was probably easier.

I don't know - you're the engineer, not me, just my $0.02
When I boil with leaf hops, I often scrape the false bottom with the mash paddle. The leaf hops can act as reed valves, and prevent the wort from flowing down. The boil will make the wort go up. In my Sabco there is 1 gallon below the false bottom.

Thinking about this, the Blichmann false bottom with the "buttons" would be really hard to scrape with the mash paddle as those stand proud of the bottom.
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: tygo on March 28, 2013, 10:29:21 PM
So what I'm gathering here is that this may not be the best plan...
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: klickitat jim on March 28, 2013, 10:30:54 PM
Why not pull the false bottom and use a bazooka instead

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: tygo on March 28, 2013, 10:33:14 PM
Why not pull the false bottom and use a bazooka instead

Because I think it'll get clogged up.  I used a partial bazooka in my current kettle in conjunction with the dip tube and had a problem with it getting clogged up with hop matter and trub.

I've been bagging both pellet and whole hops and that works pretty well but I'd prefer to be able to toss at least the whole hops in without a bag.
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: klickitat jim on March 29, 2013, 01:56:09 AM
I use the screen tube from morebeer and never clogs. I use whole hops tho.

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: tygo on March 29, 2013, 02:29:44 AM
I use the screen tube from morebeer and never clogs. I use whole hops tho.

I was fine with using a screen until I started to recirculate during the chilling.  Then the clogging on the screen caused a lot of foaming in the kettle.  Before I started using the pump the screen worked just fine for whole hops.
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: tschmidlin on March 29, 2013, 03:18:09 AM
I've been using a false bottom in my kettle for over 10 years, no problems with scorching.  Although my false bottom is perforated stainless, not the blichmann.
Title: Re: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: klickitat jim on March 29, 2013, 05:42:08 AM
I use the screen tube from morebeer and never clogs. I use whole hops tho.

I was fine with using a screen until I started to recirculate during the chilling.  Then the clogging on the screen caused a lot of foaming in the kettle.  Before I started using the pump the screen worked just fine for whole hops.

Ah, I use gravity. I'll bet recirculation would change that

"Freedom is temporary unless you are also Brave!" - Patriot

Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: tygo on March 29, 2013, 12:22:06 PM
I've been using a false bottom in my kettle for over 10 years, no problems with scorching.  Although my false bottom is perforated stainless, not the blichmann.

What are you using Tom?

I might need to consider some other options.
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on March 29, 2013, 12:56:06 PM
I've tried stainless 'scrubbies', bazooka screens, tea balls, etc. All have clogged or come loose during the boil.

The best thing that works for me is a street 90 elbow pointed down and a good whirlpool. I get a bit of hop material at the very beginning of the transfer, but I'm very clear after that as long as I don't tilt/shake the kettle.
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: blatz on March 29, 2013, 01:44:51 PM
So what I'm gathering here is that this may not be the best plan...

clint what about the hop blocker instead? 
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: tygo on March 29, 2013, 02:50:22 PM
So what I'm gathering here is that this may not be the best plan...

clint what about the hop blocker instead?

I've seen pretty mixed reviews of the hop blocker.  Plus, that's for pellet hops, right?  I want something that'll help screen out whole hops.
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: blatz on March 29, 2013, 02:53:09 PM
yeah it is for pellets mostly.  I just bought one and will be testing it out next weekend.
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: morticaixavier on March 29, 2013, 03:05:06 PM
what ever happened to the hop taco?
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: tschmidlin on March 29, 2013, 04:00:22 PM
I've been using a false bottom in my kettle for over 10 years, no problems with scorching.  Although my false bottom is perforated stainless, not the blichmann.

What are you using Tom?

I might need to consider some other options.
It's a sheet of stainless with a bunch of holes punched in it, too uniform to have been made by hand.  I have no idea where it came from, I bought the gear used.  I'm pretty sure the keggles were made by one of the local homebrew shops.  The false bottoms look like they were simply cut out of a sheet.

I use whole hops almost exclusively, they make a nice filter bed for the wort and collect trub.  When I use only pellets I end up with a bunch of gunk stuck to the bottom of the false bottom.  Still no problems with scorching or wort getting trapped though.
Title: Re: Blichmann Kettle with False Bottom
Post by: tygo on March 29, 2013, 04:33:14 PM
I'm considering maybe getting a keggle instead with a pico false bottom.  It's a cheaper option and sounds like it might work better for what I'm trying to do.