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General Category => Pimp My System => Topic started by: compacto on June 21, 2015, 07:03:23 AM

Title: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on June 21, 2015, 07:03:23 AM
I'll be building a system in the same vein as the Grainfather/BIAC over the next few weeks and will use this thread to track it.

I wanted something I could use indoors, had a small footprint and was electric/automated and I could tuck away when not in use. Really liked the idea of those all-in-one style homebrewing systems but am too stubborn to fork out the cash for one. So building my own, that's what homebrewings about right...? I wasn't going to attempt to use the vessel to ferment like the BIAC because carboys are cheap and that's too long to wait between brews. I wanted to add a few extra bells and whistles than what I saw on those units, mainly oxygenation and a pre-chiller (84º groundwater here ???).

I'll be using...


This week I've received the kettle and started in on the stand. I had planned to weld the legs to the kettle but upon receiving it realized it was a really really thing 20g (claimed) that likely would warp way to much to be welded too. For a port I think I'll end up using one of the solder flanges from BrewHardware instead of welding to it. The stand will hold the pump and house the CF inside the legs. I've got some SS spring toggle latches coming in that will secure the kettle to the stand.

Next will be the pump and coils. I used a 120v 2000w on my last setup and it really struggled with 6 gallons so I'm hoping the dual coil will remedy that. I had planned to weld ports also for the elements but being hesitant about the metal thickness is leading me to just use a bulkhead, that also takes quite a bit of work out of the build.

16g 1.5" 304SS for the legs.
(http://i.imgur.com/PJXXHq5.jpg)

Fit up
(http://i.imgur.com/pQGJRUZ.jpg)

Tacks
(http://i.imgur.com/65RFSQd.jpg)

(http://http://i.imgur.com/SIcBaFe.jpg)

Welds
(http://i.imgur.com/SIcBaFe.jpg)

Welds
(http://i.imgur.com/PaBh473.jpg)

More welds...
(http://i.imgur.com/0SXE7wA.jpg)

Tapped plates for the wheels
(http://i.imgur.com/G3QLrpx.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/wIzYytn.jpg)

Vinyl tubing, 100ft $10
(http://i.imgur.com/KJzAbYc.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/kYrum3g.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/VZQMpR6.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on June 21, 2015, 06:49:37 PM
Shell done for the panel

(http://i.imgur.com/mzfovaa.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on June 26, 2015, 12:17:03 AM
Parts came in! Super fast shipping from Brewers Hardware. SS Chugger and various TC fittings. I'll be doing the build in two phases. The first being minimal but functional. No fancy hard plumbing, silicone tubing mostly, no sight gauge or inline oxygen.

I decided to go with 2 120v elements. I just wanted to be able to brew where ever I end up and also I've got two 120v GFCI outlets on separate breakers right in my kitchen whereas the 240v is not. The rest of the stuff will be in from Brew Hardware on Saturday.

Making a thermowell out of that probe tubing and a TC cap which will feed through the tee which is attached to the pump. It'll sit about 4" inside the kettle which should be plenty.  I've been a trub-in-fermentor-brewer, but should I ever want to whirlpool I can add an inlet at that point and put the thermowell elsewhere.

(http://i.imgur.com/vp6qSV9.jpg?1)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: rjharper on June 26, 2015, 05:14:36 PM
Parts came in! Super fast shipping from Brewers Hardware. SS Chugger and various TC fittings. I'll be doing the build in two phases. The first being minimal but functional. No fancy hard plumbing, silicone tubing mostly, no sight gauge or inline oxygen.

Watching this with interest. My 2 cents are to skip the hard plumbing. I hard plumbed, and it's nice, it looks good, and the whole path is stainless or teflon now, but my configuration is fixed. I have a single tier, batch sparge with a single pump, and I cant' begin to clean the mash tun until I've chilled and pumped out my wort. Even if I add a second pump to switch to fly sparge, I'll still need to reinvest in more stainless line, and possible more valves. My buddy has the same setup with silicon hoses. He can start clean up early. If he wants to mix up his brewday with a partigyle, he can run a hose wherever.

In short, I think hard plumbed looks good, and is all stainless but is expensive and restrictive. Silocn hose is cheap, flexible, and you don't need the complexity of a sight gauge!  My next equipment upgrade will probably switch to hoses.
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on June 26, 2015, 11:36:46 PM
That's a good point and I've considered it. I'm using this phase of the build to see if there's any reason I want to go further and hard plumb. And when I say hard plumb, being such a compact build, that will only include a three way valve and a sight gauge (currently no way of knowing volume on this kettle) which will act also as the transport pipe  upwards for sparging. I think somewhere in between will be the sweet spot.
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on June 28, 2015, 05:51:10 AM
More parts in from BrewHardware. Additional 2000w element, radius solder flange and other parts
(http://i.imgur.com/kOMiQWY.jpg)

Also bottled 3 brews today. A Bavarian hefe, a gose and a white IPA (chainbreaker clone)

(http://i.imgur.com/o9ZkeDW.jpg?1)

Oops

(http://i.imgur.com/gsuUtAn.jpg)

Bent elements as not too hit eachother in the kettle and spread the heat a bit more. For all you wondering, these elements (BH's 2000w 120v) bend and function when bent just fine.

(http://i.imgur.com/jYET8eo.jpg)

Thermowell ready for welding

(http://i.imgur.com/vwkyiGC.jpg)

Solder flange, my soldering skills are meh. You can't even see it with the clamp on it though.

(http://i.imgur.com/bbd4iw6.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/ke6o7xq.jpg)

Fit up

(http://i.imgur.com/pSzyUVI.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/udT0OdG.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/GOBnLy1.jpg)

Test run

(http://i.imgur.com/B06ZL3Q.jpg)

9g boil

(http://i.imgur.com/0MFwAdd.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on June 29, 2015, 02:50:23 AM
Test brew today. Belgian wheat, split the batch between two fermentors and pitched Forbidden Fruit and Weihenstephan to do a comparison. Brew day went smoothly on the new system. Having the CF down near the legs is kind of a pain with having to switch the silicon tube around. Also doesn't drain its contents being below. Probably will just throw it in the sink during chilling and call it a day.

(http://i.imgur.com/fOxG6uV.jpg)

Brew day and the race, perfect!

(http://i.imgur.com/bmuRdL4.jpg)

That continuous sparge makes some mighty clear wort.

(http://i.imgur.com/t5Jd7rE.jpg)

Quite an aggressive boil from these two elements. Had to be on spray bottle duty the entire boil.

(http://i.imgur.com/M9LcVfj.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: tonyccopeland on June 29, 2015, 11:18:48 AM
Nice build! I have that same kettle in my propane setup and find the boil doesn't need to be that aggressive once the hot break has passed, but maybe electric works differently.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: rabeb25 on June 29, 2015, 12:33:35 PM
Nice work! I wouldn't consider that clear wort however  ;)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on June 29, 2015, 03:30:36 PM
*clear of grain particles. Still quite cloudy, brewing a hefe.
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: dak0415 on July 06, 2015, 12:49:19 PM
Once the boil gets going, just unplug one of the elements!
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on December 04, 2015, 05:06:16 PM
Hello!

A slight change in direction for this build. Lots of work done. After a few test batches on the 11g and the realization that I wanted more beer from a brew day I decided to build essentially the same thing, only using my old keggle. 13g really works perfectly with the dual 2000W elements, the boil is aggressive without spilling over. This way I can ferment 12 gallons from a single batch. Same amount of work, more beer!


Progress since the change in direction:

New stand, mounted pump, mounted spring toggle latches. Having a quick release system for the vessel is one of the best features of the system. Just one TC clamp and two latches and I can lift the vessel of it's stand, spray it out in the sink and put it back on in only a few minutes.

Ordered tons of TC fittings, mainly a solid route from the pump up to the top of the vessel for continuos sparge (had a little incident where the hose slipped out of the clip and sprayed wort all over the kitchen  :o ). Also a TC port and whirlpool arm will be fabricated and welded onto the vessel. Debating between a direct tangential one and a face flange at the top with 90º arm dipping inside.

Got the thermowell welded to a TC flange inline with the pump flow, reads ~0.7º from true which I'm pleased with.

Things to do:

I've got to bore out the top of the keg to fit the old kettle inside. I'll actually be using the kettle itself as my bag strainer as the strainer the Bayou came with tops out at ~25lbs of grain. I'm thinking this will get me near 30lbs. It'll just need a boatload of holes in the bottom.

Fabricate something to hold the basket above the water for draining.

Changing the enclosure for the control panel. I'll only be using the panel to control one element for maintaining mash temps and just plugging the other one in for heat up and full boil. Got a nice extruded aluminum box (typically used to house computer hardware) for the enclosure. I plan to pop off the front and back and throw them on the CNC to mill out shapes for the PID, outlets etc as fit up wasn't very good on my last attempt doing with with a punch and a dremel.

It's been super helpful brewing on this system as the build progresses, I've gotten a clearer picture of what I want this system to be minimally capable of and where I can cut out fluff that over complicates it and my brewday.


(http://i.imgur.com/zjRhBOO.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/QQaZYqG.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on December 04, 2015, 05:07:10 PM
Got the enclosure in for the control panel. Modeled it to make sure everything fits. It'll only be controlling the one heating element and pump. I'll just mill out the holes on the cnc and then wire it. Hopefully have it ready for the next brewday.

(http://i.imgur.com/8EZeIzP.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/ceWnDS3.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on December 04, 2015, 05:09:09 PM
Machined the control panel tonight. Fit up worked out great. all the switches/outlets fit snug. I'll wire it tomorrow night.

Machining the back plate.

(http://i.imgur.com/IanQYg0.jpg)

Finished

(http://i.imgur.com/HU2fiF7.jpg)

Front plate

(http://i.imgur.com/g2dBXyL.jpg)

Front plate engraving

(http://i.imgur.com/F6oz0L6.jpg)

Done!  ;D

(http://i.imgur.com/onnQsTS.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/ed80shS.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/rHfwlkX.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on December 04, 2015, 05:09:44 PM
Quick test run of the control panel. Running good. Quick question for other PID+K type thermocouple users. Likely due to how a K-type works, I noticed it the wire bumps my kettle or anything else, the temp shoots down drastically. Any one else experience this? Remedies? Insulating the wire maybe?

(http://i.imgur.com/RPoFd8q.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/ZzN05Y6.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on December 09, 2015, 05:11:30 PM
Hello!

Got the rest of the TC fittings in. Quick test boil to make sure everything works. Beginning fabrication on the sparge arm, whirlpool inlet  and put the wheels on this weekend.

(http://i.imgur.com/M4tbgqI.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/Ol25asb.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/hy8JtPn.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: beersk on December 09, 2015, 09:38:29 PM
Whoa, that is seriously pro quality. Nice work. Why did you decide to go with the keggle and not a bigger Bayou Classic kettle?
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on December 09, 2015, 10:40:05 PM
Whoa, that is seriously pro quality. Nice work. Why did you decide to go with the keggle and not a bigger Bayou Classic kettle?

Thanks!

A few reasons, mainly weldability. The Bayou kettles are so thin it makes welding near impossible. They don't get thicker until you go to their 25.5g kettle which would have been overkill for this build. The thickness of a keg is hard to beat and impossible to find in kettle.
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: HoosierBrew on December 09, 2015, 10:44:12 PM
Yeah, seriously nice. Wow.
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: beersk on December 10, 2015, 02:41:27 PM
Whoa, that is seriously pro quality. Nice work. Why did you decide to go with the keggle and not a bigger Bayou Classic kettle?

Thanks!

A few reasons, mainly weldability. The Bayou kettles are so thin it makes welding near impossible. They don't get thicker until you go to their 25.5g kettle which would have been overkill for this build. The thickness of a keg is hard to beat and impossible to find in kettle.
Makes sense. Again, very nice work.
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on December 13, 2015, 01:10:17 AM
Hello!

Finished the recirculation setup today. The shop doesn't have a die for 0.5" tube so bent it in the slip roll which worked surprisingly well, but is limited to ~4"+ radius bends. Welded pipe to TC flanges. Spray is nice and dispersed from the spray ball.

Next up! whirlpool inlet and wheels...and tons of other stuff.


(http://i.imgur.com/17sNCn9.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/1YJgs53.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/xXfn6Zu.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/eskVDTq.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/XD1KpL0.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/tNKVxn9.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/Zq1II5a.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/U1Utmnh.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/x6Lhqjl.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on December 13, 2015, 10:22:38 PM
Brew day with the new features! Sparge system worked out really well. A Bavarian Wheat using WLP300, first time using White Labs. Had a hard time getting Wyeast 3068 where I wanted it (big esters, big banana flavor) so giving this one a try, supposedly very similar yeasts.

(http://i.imgur.com/Tjbxgl9h.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/xFTNNdnh.jpg)

Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: 69franx on December 13, 2015, 10:24:43 PM
Looks great!
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: beersk on December 14, 2015, 06:39:26 PM
Dang, those pictures aren't showing up in your last post, Compacto. Good luck with the 300. I didn't think it was as good as the 3068.
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on December 23, 2015, 02:18:09 PM
Another test brew on the system. Finally figured out a method for verifying volume so did a test brew trying to make sure I could hit all my numbers. Gravity was still a bit wonky. Seem to be getting 63% without sparging. Is that normal to you other BIABers?

Also, a question for refractometer users, what're your methods for taking readings? I seem to get ones that are all over the board. ie it climbs and falls during the mash...? I'm recirculating so I can count out a non homogeneous mash. It's only two or three drops so it cools in seconds. And I've calibrated it with distilled water.

Any other ideas?

(http://i.imgur.com/wCHrwvv.jpg)

A bit of descrpency in internal grain and mash temps.

(http://i.imgur.com/zwg1UPX.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on December 23, 2015, 02:49:48 PM
Hello!

Got a bunch more fabrication done last night in hope I can brew over the holiday weekend.

Progress: I (finally) got the wheels on which should make the whole brewing process loads easier. Welded another TC port on the kettle for the whirlpool/stirring inlet.

This time of year with the ground water 64º I can knock out to ~66º in one pass through the CFC so I typically do that straight into fermentor and that knocks a good 25 minutes off my brewday. But when I brew a beer where I want to leave sediment behind I'll put it to use. But during the brew it serves the dual purpose of stirring the wort as I heat to boil. That way as soon as mash is over, I can swing the sparge arm over to the whirlpool inlet, turn the pump on, begin stirring the wort to not scorch it, turn the coils on, yank the basket, rest it atop the kettle and begin sparging. This was I can go from mash end to boil in 22 minutes (last batch with 10.5 gallons).

One of my big goals for this build was to shorten the brew day. This past sunday, from filling the kettle to pitching the yeast it was 4 hours and 25 minutes for a 10g batch (60min mash, 60 min boil). I'm hoping with the new features and ones to come I can get it around 3:30 for 12g.

Plate for the feet

(http://i.imgur.com/ThxO9WR.jpg)

Got to love the Edwards Iron Worker. Punching through 0.25" 304 is a walk in for park for that machine.

(http://i.imgur.com/IaxRRtQ.jpg)

Whirlpool/stir arm

(http://i.imgur.com/5zpWDev.jpg)

Port fit up. I've tried about five different methods for putting ports on kettles. If you're going to weld one on. I think the best way is to buy a hole saw the same size as the ID of your TC fitting. Drill the kettle, the TC port won't fit right away, take a file and ream it until you can forcibly jam the port into the hole which will ensure good fit up. Then weld away. If you can fit your head on the inside, weld both. If not, the outside wild do with a back purge. Perhaps solder the inside afterwards.

(http://i.imgur.com/Rq0bpEC.jpg)




Here are the different configurations for brewing-

Mash

(http://i.imgur.com/j7PJIxH.jpg)

Sparge/ heat to boil

(http://i.imgur.com/1E0rDEW.jpg)

And cooling/ draining after cleaning.

(http://i.imgur.com/hodr42s.jpg)


(http://i.imgur.com/5xxJ2ei.jpg)

Yet To Do -

As I've become a bit obsessive about shortening the brewday the whole bag part of the BIAB thing is a bit of a pain. Been thinking of fabricating a bag-less grain basket. It would also allow for the grains to sit fully in the water as about 3" is exposed with the current basket. Also an increased grain capacity would be well used. We'll see, that mush SS is expensive ...
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: rekoob01 on December 23, 2015, 08:35:29 PM
Well done my friend, well done.

Sent from my SM-T210R using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on December 28, 2015, 02:06:40 AM
Spent a few hours polishing. Forgot how much I love polishing stainless  ::)

Once it's completely finished I'll probably spend a day getting it mirror (or trying at least.)

(http://i.imgur.com/BXKIvOl.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/ep3Yg1s.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/lScVCVt.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: beersk on December 29, 2015, 03:03:51 PM
Nice work!
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on January 07, 2016, 05:50:35 AM
Hello!

Small update. I'll be adding a 4.25" lip to the top of the kettle. A few reasons I've wanted to do this. Mainly having a recirculating mash strainer sitting right at the top of the kettle is a spill over waiting to happen. I've had to very gingerly stir the mash with 20+Lbs of grain as it sits right at the brim. This way if it does over flow it'll flow back into the kettle. The cross bars will hold the strainer basket when mashing and also while sparging, much like the Grainfather system.

Volume will also increase to 17.5 gallons which will be well used.

The lip will also allow me to use the lid from the Bayou kettle directly on this system.



(http://i.imgur.com/AVr1387.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: yso191 on January 07, 2016, 02:26:49 PM
Very impressive build!
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: factory on January 07, 2016, 06:20:40 PM
So when is the Kickstarter Campaign?

Seriously awesome build.  I wish I had the skills/equipment/imagination to pull off something like this.
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: compacto on January 08, 2016, 02:29:26 PM
Hello!

Fabricated the lip last night. I increased the diameter a bit in order to use the bayou kettle as the grain basket and do higher gravity beers if wanted.

I started with some scrap 16g 304 I had. It was a bit shy on length so welded two bits together and smoothed out the welds. Popped it in the slip roll, welded it together and then into the bead roller for a flared lip. I'll get to welding it on next weekend. It'll be a lot of work (inside/outside welds) and then grinding and polishing.

(http://i.imgur.com/cO8BfCc.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/bMqlBbD.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/7wZKntf.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/rRXpAma.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/UfDdkvI.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/OA7MBxn.jpg)
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: wright3599 on August 20, 2016, 04:32:52 AM
I am also working on a similar build.  I found a SS basket in the bargain bin at utah diesel supply very similar to a grainfather basket.  You could make one I suspect with the skills and resources you have available.  Much easier for me to purchase.   Love your build!
(http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160820/cb1216a3ef0407c87a6c7e0fc42f417f.jpg)

(http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160820/421a5df736d33b217bb8d2c25ef931e5.jpg)

(http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160820/9aae2370ebe7cae9ea4039e52670ef06.jpg)

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-T337A using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: thundershred on December 13, 2016, 06:11:17 PM
Very impressed.  That is awesome and very drool-worthy.
Title: Re: Progress Thread - DIY Grainfather/BIAC style system [PICS]
Post by: weazletoe on February 07, 2017, 05:24:06 PM
Very nice!!  I'm curious about your heating elements. You have two 120v 2000k elements. Are you running them on one circut, and if so, what amp?