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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: Joe T on January 11, 2019, 02:09:31 PM

Title: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 11, 2019, 02:09:31 PM
Hi everyone,
Last year I implemented a reciculating mash system to try to get clear wort into the kettle. I've had marginal success with it but it's been inconsistent and I've also had lower than my normal efficiency.
After running off to the kettle I've noticed that the grain bed is somewhat pulled away from the sides of the mash tun and seems to be somewhat compacted, leading me to think maybe I'm running the pump too fast, even though I have had this happen when cutting back the flow as low as I can from the beginning. I've tried stirring at intervals in the mash to uncompact the grain bed. So I'm installing a manometer composed of 2 weldless sight glasses, one above the false bottom and one below, with hope that I can see what is going on and be able to make adjustments from there.
Where exactly, in relation to the false bottom and pump, should I install the sight glasses? What should I look for when using it? Any other insight on getting clear wort into the kettle?
I brew 5.5 gallon batches, full volume mash, in a 15 gallon direct fired tun. Slotted false bottom sits about 3" above the bottom on a rack made of 3" wide SS sheet metal pieces that go together vertically in a tic tac toe type of grid. I pump into the water on top of the grain through a piece of locline with the outlet just under the surface. I condition my grain just before milling leaving the husks intact after milling. Mill gap is about .035 and Mill runs at 120 rpm.
Thanks in advance for your comments.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: goose on January 11, 2019, 02:21:17 PM
I am not really sure that you need two sight glasses.  From my pro-brewing days, we had a manometer installed at the outlet of the mash/lauter tun and could see if the if the runoff was getting stuck by watching the change in the height of the liquid in the tube.  When it started dropping, we slowed the runoff rate.

I may be a bit off base here but I don't think that the extra sight glass on top of the false bottom will buy you anything.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 11, 2019, 02:38:16 PM
Thanks for your response, goose.  I'm using the double sight glass setup in trying to emulate the manometer on the SS brewtech 20 gallon mash tun. I can't seem to find much info on manometers on the homebrew level.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: majorvices on January 11, 2019, 02:48:56 PM
You want one below the false bottom and one above it. When the one above the false bottom starts to go down you will need to slow your pump speed or run off. You might also have luck not grinding so fine.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 11, 2019, 03:09:03 PM
Thanks. So an inch above and below the false bottom? Half inch? Not important?
I recently got a new Mill and I'm still working on determining the best crush for my system.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: RC on January 11, 2019, 06:05:24 PM
Any other insight on getting clear wort into the kettle?

Personally I don't think it's all that important. I recirc to remove the big particles, but then run it off. Hasn't seemed to make a difference in the clarity or longevity of my finished beers. YMMV of course.

Anyway, you probably have too much flour, i.e. you're milling the grain too finely. The fine flour particles as well as proteins and lipids from the grain collect as gunk top of the grain bed and form a thin but impenetrable layer called obertieg (or just tieg), which prevents water from percolating through the grain. So the water takes the path of least resistance, which is down the sidewall instead of through the grain. The grain pulls (or is pushed?) away from the wall and efficiency suffers, because you're running off mostly water. You may not be running the pump fast, but it is indeed too fast relative to the (low) permeability of the grain bed.

Gently raking/cutting through the top layer of the grain bed during runoff helps a lot with this. I use a simple butter knife. Only need to cut ~1 inch (or even less) deep. The idea is to prevent the tieg from forming. Making your grind coarser will also help.

I don't really see how the manometers will help you here. It's a process issue, not a measurement issue. But you do want that second manometer immediately above the false bottom, as close to it as possible. Cheers.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: denny on January 11, 2019, 06:57:10 PM
Any other insight on getting clear wort into the kettle?

Personally I don't think it's all that important. I recirc to remove the big particles, but then run it off. Hasn't seemed to make a difference in the clarity or longevity of my finished beers. YMMV of course.

Actually, this was my answer, too, but I withheld figuring I'd get yelled at!  But, don't worry about clear wort.  I have never found any difference in the finished beer between a clear runoff and a cloudy one.  If it was me, my inherent pragmatism would say "why are you going to so much effort to do something that doesn't matter.  Of course, your own decision is up to you.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 11, 2019, 07:06:54 PM
Good info RC. You hit on my goals there with the comment on longevity. I tend to brew intensively but intermittently. I'll brew many consecutive batches until my kegs are full and then get busy with something else for a few months.  So shelf life is important to me and if clear wort helps meet that goal, I'm all in.
I'll try opening up the mill to .040 and see if that helps.
As far as cutting the obertieg, I've tried that. But since I am doing a full volume mash, the top of the grain is under several inches of liquid so I can't even see it to know if I'm doing it right. But I'll keep trying it.
Another thing I've been doing is starting the recirculation immediately. I wonder if I should let things settle first?
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: denny on January 11, 2019, 07:20:11 PM
Good info RC. You hit on my goals there with the comment on longevity. I tend to brew intensively but intermittently. I'll brew many consecutive batches until my kegs are full and then get busy with something else for a few months.  So shelf life is important to me and if clear wort helps meet that goal, I'm all in.
I'll try opening up the mill to .040 and see if that helps.
As far as cutting the obertieg, I've tried that. But since I am doing a full volume mash, the top of the grain is under several inches of liquid so I can't even see it to know if I'm doing it right. But I'll keep trying it.
Another thing I've been doing is starting the recirculation immediately. I wonder if I should let things settle first?

But does clear wort help with that goal?  Not trying to start an argument, but I haven't seen any evidence that it does.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 11, 2019, 07:26:38 PM
Denny, I'm just trying to take the advice of Kunze: Cloudy lautering and poor trub excretion lead to large amounts of free fatty acids in the wort, which the yeast cells require to produce new cell substances, but which can also contribute to a reduction in flavour stability.
Also, if the grain bed is compacting and somewhat collapsing towards the center so that the wort is going around the grain bed instead of through it, then my efficiency takes a big hit, which is frustrating to me. I know, throw in an extra pound of grain. But I get great pleasure in designing and building a system and seeing it work as intended.
Title: Manometer
Post by: BrewBama on January 11, 2019, 07:39:59 PM
... You might also have luck not grinding so fine.

Now we’re talkin!

Whether it makes a difference or not, as a result of recirculating throughout the mash, I get crystal clear wort in the boil kettle. ...and I like it!

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: denny on January 11, 2019, 07:58:42 PM
Denny, I'm just trying to take the advice of Kunze: Cloudy lautering and poor trub excretion lead to large amounts of free fatty acids in the wort, which the yeast cells require to produce new cell substances, but which can also contribute to a reduction in flavour stability.
Also, if the grain bed is compacting and somewhat collapsing towards the center so that the wort is going around the grain bed instead of through it, then my efficiency takes a big hit, which is frustrating to me. I know, throw in an extra pound of grain. But I get great pleasure in designing and building a system and seeing it work as intended.

If you enjoy it, do it.  I go by my experience, and I hate building equipment!
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 11, 2019, 08:51:56 PM
Denny, I'm just trying to take the advice of Kunze: Cloudy lautering and poor trub excretion lead to large amounts of free fatty acids in the wort, which the yeast cells require to produce new cell substances, but which can also contribute to a reduction in flavour stability.
Also, if the grain bed is compacting and somewhat collapsing towards the center so that the wort is going around the grain bed instead of through it, then my efficiency takes a big hit, which is frustrating to me. I know, throw in an extra pound of grain. But I get great pleasure in designing and building a system and seeing it work as intended.

If you enjoy it, do it.  I go by my experience, and I hate building equipment!

Cloudy wort distracts me from my flow state on brew day.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: RC on January 11, 2019, 09:10:56 PM

Also, if the grain bed is compacting and somewhat collapsing towards the center so that the wort is going around the grain bed instead of through it, then my efficiency takes a big hit, which is frustrating to me.


Not to further the debate about the utility of a long vorlauf, but a long vorlauf is the culprit behind the teig--and therefore it's ultimately behind the grain compaction and low efficiency you're experiencing. You're taking the very fine particles that get through the false bottom and depositing them on top of the bed, where they accumulate. Longer vorlauf = more accumulation. So cutting the teig becomes more important with a long vorlauf.

Do you also do protein rests? They cause a ton of teig. But we'll save protein rests for another thread ;-)

For cutting the teig, I would just dip in a long spoon until you feel a little resistance, then go a tiny bit deeper and start gently raking. No visual necessary. But a coarser crush alone might fully solve your problem.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 11, 2019, 09:28:09 PM
Good info, RC. I shall cut the teig and crush coarser to reduce the amount of flour.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 11, 2019, 09:40:11 PM
An alternative to knifing the top dough (that's English for Oberteig) is to just take your spoon and gently stir up the top inch or so of the grain bed into the liquid.   It will settle with the protein sludge more dispersed through the material instead of as a solid cap.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: mabrungard on January 11, 2019, 10:48:52 PM
As Rob just pointed out, cutting the top dough, oberteig, or schmutzedecke is not the way to go. It violates every principal of flow through granular media to just "cut" the layer. What good is cutting a thin groove in the layer going to do in comparison to dispersing and trapping that doughy material within the upper portion of the grain bed????

A manometer is only needed below the false bottom or at the bottom of the tun. Two manometers are not needed. The most important thing that I've found in the almost 20 years of brewing with a manometer-equipped tun, is to NOT allow too much drawdown to EVER be applied to the grainbed. In my experience, you don't want to draw down the head level at the bottom of the bed any lower that the bottom of the bed. When using a pump, you can impose a suction on the bottom of the bed that is several feet below the bottom of the bed. That is way too much suction and that will compact the bed. Monitoring and limiting the drawdown is the best way to avoid compacting the bed.

Regarding the "grain pulling away from the walls", what sort of false bottom is in that tun? It sounds like the center of the false bottom is collapsing. 
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: tommymorris on January 11, 2019, 11:38:01 PM
Why does my wife’s manometer read zero around me?
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: mabrungard on January 11, 2019, 11:47:22 PM
Why does my wife’s manometer read zero around me?

Ha! I didn't even think of that.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 12, 2019, 04:32:27 AM
As Rob just pointed out, cutting the top dough, oberteig, or schmutzedecke is not the way to go. It violates every principal of flow through granular media to just "cut" the layer. What good is cutting a thin groove in the layer going to do in comparison to dispersing and trapping that doughy material within the upper portion of the grain bed????

A manometer is only needed below the false bottom or at the bottom of the tun. Two manometers are not needed. The most important thing that I've found in the almost 20 years of brewing with a manometer-equipped tun, is to NOT allow too much drawdown to EVER be applied to the grainbed. In my experience, you don't want to draw down the head level at the bottom of the bed any lower that the bottom of the bed. When using a pump, you can impose a suction on the bottom of the bed that is several feet below the bottom of the bed. That is way too much suction and that will compact the bed. Monitoring and limiting the drawdown is the best way to avoid compacting the bed.

Regarding the "grain pulling away from the walls", what sort of false bottom is in that tun? It sounds like the center of the false bottom is collapsing.

It's a flat, slotted false bottom that sits on a 5 x 3 tic tac toe type of grid. It's extremely sturdy. I could easily stand on it when it's installed in the tun. Sorry, I can't seem to attach a link or picture.
So if I install a single manometer below the false bottom, what will it look like during optimal flow vs. excessive flow?
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: ynotbrusum on January 12, 2019, 11:37:08 AM
I experienced compaction on recirc (Herms) so I simply crushed a bit coarser and run off a bit slower, until the problem was solved.  My system works with a mill gap of .030” and the outlet valve on the pump at half way open initially, then after the first mash step (Hochkurz), I run wide open.  I can run it half open for the whole mash, but my ramp times suffer, especially getting to mash out.
Title: Manometer
Post by: BrewBama on January 12, 2019, 01:14:22 PM
I experienced compaction on recirc (Herms) so I simply crushed a bit coarser and run off a bit slower, until the problem was solved.  My system works with a mill gap of .030” and the outlet valve on the pump at half way open initially, then after the first mash step (Hochkurz), I run wide open.  I can run it half open for the whole mash, but my ramp times suffer, especially getting to mash out.

That’s interesting. I mill at what would probably be considered course grits (I don’t have sieves to measure) and recirculate throughout a Hochkurz mash (RIMS). But if at any point during the mash or lauter I set the pump output valve wide open the suction will compact the grain bed, flow will stop and I’ll cavitate the pump. 

In lieu of a manometer, over several brews through some educated guesswork, I found a sweet spot for my system which includes a grist mill, water to grist ratio (1.75 qts/lb) and setting for the MLT pump output linear flow valve.  I measured the valve gap and now set the pump to it each time I brew. These combined constants allow good flow across the element but not so strong as to compact the grain bed. 

There were several points of frustration (one ‘interesting’ 8 hr brew day comes to mind) until I came to this particular combination. The frustration made me dig in to the available information to determine why I was having trouble. Basically, I had to understand my system. I decided I can’t control variability of agricultural products but what I can control I will.  My results lately have been pleasurably consistent.

Edit: the pump output valve is set at 5/16” which I measured at .7 gpm.

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 12, 2019, 02:03:34 PM
I experienced compaction on recirc (Herms) so I simply crushed a bit coarser and run off a bit slower, until the problem was solved.  My system works with a mill gap of .030” and the outlet valve on the pump at half way open initially, then after the first mash step (Hochkurz), I run wide open.  I can run it half open for the whole mash, but my ramp times suffer, especially getting to mash out.

That’s interesting. I mill at what would probably be considered course grits (I don’t have sieves to measure) and recirculate throughout a Hochkurz mash (RIMS). But if at any point during the mash or lauter I set the pump output valve wide open the suction will compact the grain bed, flow will stop and I’ll cavitate the pump. 

In lieu of a manometer, over several brews through some educated guesswork, I found a sweet spot for my system which includes a grist mill, water to grist ratio (1.75 qts/lb) and setting for the MLT pump output linear flow valve.  I measured the valve gap and now set the pump to it each time I brew. These combined constants allow good flow across the element but not so strong as to compact the grain bed. 

There were several points of frustration (one ‘interesting’ 8 hr brew day comes to mind) until I came to this particular combination. The frustration made me dig in to the available information to determine why I was having trouble. Basically, I had to understand my system. I decided I can’t control variability of agricultural products but what I can control I will.  My results lately have been pleasurably consistent.


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I definitely can't run wide open. I control my mash pump output with a ball valve. Maybe I need to look at a linear flow valve for better control.
Doing a full volume mash, I'm at almost 3 quarts per pound.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: goose on January 12, 2019, 02:42:25 PM

Also, if the grain bed is compacting and somewhat collapsing towards the center so that the wort is going around the grain bed instead of through it, then my efficiency takes a big hit, which is frustrating to me.


Not to further the debate about the utility of a long vorlauf, but a long vorlauf is the culprit behind the teig--and therefore it's ultimately behind the grain compaction and low efficiency you're experiencing. You're taking the very fine particles that get through the false bottom and depositing them on top of the bed, where they accumulate. Longer vorlauf = more accumulation. So cutting the teig becomes more important with a long vorlauf.

Do you also do protein rests? They cause a ton of teig. But we'll save protein rests for another thread ;-)

For cutting the teig, I would just dip in a long spoon until you feel a little resistance, then go a tiny bit deeper and start gently raking. No visual necessary. But a coarser crush alone might fully solve your problem.

I always knife my grain bed during runoff, I use the flat handle of my stainless steel spoon.  I learned that during my pro gig at Hoppin' Frog.  It does seem to improve lautering efficiency.  I usually go about 2 inches into the grain bed (for a 10 gallon mash) and 1 inch for a 5 gallon mash and I always have an inch or two of liquid on top of the grain bed.  You will feel the resistance when you get into the grain bed as has already been posted.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: mabrungard on January 12, 2019, 03:42:12 PM
So if I install a single manometer below the false bottom, what will it look like during optimal flow vs. excessive flow?

Well I'm sure you recognize that with no pumping, the level in the manometer will be coincident with the level in the tun. What I've found to be a 'safe' pumping flow rate is when the level in the manometer is pulled down almost to the level where your manometer plumbs into the tun. If the manometer level gets much lower, you'll pull air into the mash...and that's not good.

Now it might be safe to pump harder than what I've described, but that would require that you set up your manometer with a U-tube section than descends lower than the bottom of the tun. Since I don't want to deal with having something like that on my tun, I live with drawing down my 'straight' manometer level about to the bottom of the tun.

Another thing that many brewers don't know, is that the permeability (ability to pass flow) of the mash bed changes during the course of the mashing period. It can be quite low initially and it does rise. A manometer enables the brewer to properly throttle the flow to the permeability that the mash bed is currently delivering. You'll just keep adjusting the wort valve through the mash with the aim of keeping the manometer level near the bottom of the tun.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: majorvices on January 12, 2019, 04:10:23 PM
Why does my wife’s manometer read zero around me?

Bwahahahaha!
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: majorvices on January 12, 2019, 04:22:39 PM


A manometer is only needed below the false bottom or at the bottom of the tun. Two manometers are not needed.

It helps to have to have two though because you can see if you are pulling too fast with two. If the one above the false bottom starts to fall you can adjust your pump speed or valve flow and if you bring them close to alignment you know you aren't running too fast. That said though you can fix a lot with adjusting your grind. When I have had the grain pull away from the sides it has usually been when the grain has been ground too fine.

I'll add: This is certainly a "first world" home brewing problem from a guy who "grew up" Zap papping and Denny Conn batch sparging.  ;)
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 12, 2019, 05:21:47 PM
Thank you everyone. This discussion has been very informative and helpful for me to take the next step down the rabbit hole in refining my process. 
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: mabrungard on January 12, 2019, 08:28:26 PM
It helps to have to have two though because you can see if you are pulling too fast with two. If the one above the false bottom starts to fall you can adjust your pump speed or valve flow and if you bring them close to alignment you know you aren't running too fast.

Keith, you still only need one. The head drop observed under the false bottom still signals that you're pulling too much. A manometer that is higher in the tun doesn't provide you additional information. For the granular media that is the grist, the headloss is proportional to the depth through the bed. If you're blinding your false bottom, then you long ago exceeded the flow rate that you should have operated at.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: majorvices on January 12, 2019, 08:48:03 PM
I see what you are saying Martin and maybe on a system where you can see the top easily you are correct. But if you can't easily or accurately judge your water level (say a closed system or a system that you have to access the top via cat walk) two helps.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: mabrungard on January 12, 2019, 10:05:56 PM
All you need to do is turn off the pump to see where the static water level is.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: majorvices on January 12, 2019, 10:09:34 PM
Not if you are using a grant. Though you cpuld close a valve. But I have a graduated valve on mine and I can adjust flow via two tubes without closing valve.

I see what you are saying but two is better than one.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: charlie on January 13, 2019, 01:20:02 AM
After running off to the kettle I've noticed that the grain bed is somewhat pulled away from the sides of the mash tun and seems to be somewhat compacted, leading me to think maybe I'm running the pump too fast,

Sounds like you're getting wall flow and poor grain bed perfusion. Optimum flow during vourlauf is said to be 1 GPM, so it's possible that your flow rate is too high, but mash tun geometry may also be a factor.

I used to slow the speed of my March HS-809 pump using a variable transformer. But in 2005 I switched to a herms system using a 1/4 inch coil, and it slowed the flow down perfectly with no modulation. So if flow rate is the problem you could consider using a restrictor instead of a transformer.

Charlie
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 13, 2019, 03:44:14 AM
After running off to the kettle I've noticed that the grain bed is somewhat pulled away from the sides of the mash tun and seems to be somewhat compacted, leading me to think maybe I'm running the pump too fast,

Sounds like you're getting wall flow and poor grain bed perfusion. Optimum flow during vourlauf is said to be 1 GPM, so it's possible that your flow rate is too high, but mash tun geometry may also be a factor.

I used to slow the speed of my March HS-809 pump using a variable transformer. But in 2005 I switched to a herms system using a 1/4 inch coil, and it slowed the flow down perfectly with no modulation. So if flow rate is the problem you could consider using a restrictor instead of a transformer.

Charlie

Interesting suggestion. I have a 1/4" cfc that runs full bore at .6 gpm. I'm only a pump away from a counter flow herms.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: ynotbrusum on January 14, 2019, 11:45:17 AM
I do think that the HERMS coil I use acts as a throttle, as Charlie says.  Plus I use the small DC Topsflo pump, which is likely a difference from a March pump’s pull on the grainbed? Again wide open only is used at the higher mash temps when the mash thins out a bit and I am doing full volume mashes.

Cheers!
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 14, 2019, 01:55:38 PM
A double manometer has been installed on my mash tun and is awaiting the new brew day when I can try it out, hopefully this weekend.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: goose on January 14, 2019, 02:04:07 PM
A double manometer has been installed on my mash tun and is awaiting the new brew day when I can try it out, hopefully this weekend.

Let us know how it works.  Inquiring minds want to know about the two manometer thing.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: ynotbrusum on January 14, 2019, 07:29:05 PM
A double manometer has been installed on my mash tun and is awaiting the new brew day when I can try it out, hopefully this weekend.

Let us know how it works.  Inquiring minds want to know about the two manometer thing.

A picture would be great, too, if you can swing it!
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 14, 2019, 08:37:33 PM
I'm not sure how to attach a picture so I'll attempt to paint one with words. I used 2 weldless flex sight glasses from brewhardware.com. One sight glass is 2 x 1/4" SS elbows secured with a weldless fitting, with a piece of silicone tubing stretched between them and secured with hose clamps. The lower elbow of one sight glass is located 7/16" on center above the false bottom. I couldn't get it much closer. The other one is about an inch below the false bottom. They are close enough together that the tubes touch along their entire length. They are located about 3 1/2" from the valve.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: charlie on January 15, 2019, 01:24:17 AM
A double manometer has been installed on my mash tun and is awaiting the new brew day when I can try it out, hopefully this weekend.

Excellent. Let us know what you find out. As we used to say back at the drug lab, negative data is still data!

My experience is that you have to upload the pic to a service such as Google Drive and link to it from there. I don't know why the forum can't host photos (bandwidth?), but it's a real PITA to post pics.

Charlie
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 15, 2019, 01:35:46 AM
A double manometer has been installed on my mash tun and is awaiting the new brew day when I can try it out, hopefully this weekend.

Excellent. Let us know what you find out. As we used to say back at the drug lab, negative data is still data!

My experience is that you have to upload the pic to a service such as Google Drive and link to it from there. I don't know why the forum can't host photos (bandwidth?), but it's a real PITA to post pics.

Charlie
I've never successfully linked a photo from Google Drive or Photos, though it's supposed to work.  Apparently it works from third party hosting sites like imgur or photobucket.   But seemingly not Google Photos.  But if you post from the Tapatalk app, it is dead easy to include an image from your phone or other storage in your post.  Only reason I installed the app.  This should probably be mentioned in the sticky on images in the AHA Messages, Forum Rules and FAQs board.

EDIT to clarify, you can post a link address to an image on Google Drive for others to click on.  But to get the image to appear in the post, the hosting sites or Tapatalk are apparently the only way.

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 15, 2019, 10:45:38 AM
Thanks Robert(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190115/4c0a9b900fd82d6125cbf19ee736ab2d.jpg)(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190115/585c6d0d6cd691c8bb2781b8088d3416.jpg)(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190115/d601f74411d6ac216207b37ff5285f44.jpg)

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 15, 2019, 10:51:59 AM
Excellent. Let us know what you find out. As we used to say back at the drug lab, negative data is still data!


I'm sensing some doubt there...
Would've been funnier if it was a photo lab.

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 15, 2019, 01:33:47 PM
Thanks Robert(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190115/4c0a9b900fd82d6125cbf19ee736ab2d.jpg)(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190115/585c6d0d6cd691c8bb2781b8088d3416.jpg)(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190115/d601f74411d6ac216207b37ff5285f44.jpg)

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Just wondering if that support grid design doesn't promote channeling/ wall flow.  How do you get even flow down through each cell to a single draw off?  Could be your problem right there.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: BrewBama on January 15, 2019, 01:51:21 PM
Very clean install. That should work well.

However, as Robert already pointed out, the grid seams to lie flat on the bottom of the vessel while the edges allow flow thru the bevel of the grid. I wonder if the center grid panels could be notched with a dremel every half inch, or so to promote flow under the grid without sacrificing strength.


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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 15, 2019, 01:56:48 PM
Very clean install. That should work well.

However, as Robert already pointed out, the grid seams to lie flat on the bottom of the vessel while the edges allow flow thru the bevel of the grid. I wonder if the center grid panels could be notched with a dremel every half inch, or so to promote flow under the grid without sacrificing strength.


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That notching just might do it.  Worth a try for sure.  I'd be inclined to replace the grid with some kind of stand on feet to completely clear the space under the false bottom.

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 15, 2019, 02:23:39 PM
I had the same suspicions when I first got the grid stand. I notched the bottom of each of the center grid walls 1/8" deep x an inch wide with a bench grinder probably 15 batches ago. I've considered notching wider and deeper but that stuff is not easy to grind down.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 15, 2019, 02:47:29 PM
I had the same suspicions when I first got the grid stand. I notched the bottom of each of the center grid walls 1/8" deep x an inch wide with a bench grinder probably 15 batches ago. I've considered notching wider and deeper but that stuff is not easy to grind down.
So grinding is difficult.   Would it be possible to drill through the false bottom, or is that made of "adamantium" too?  If you can drill it, you could just run through 4 stainless bolts to serve as legs, easily adjustable to the correct height and not affecting flow at all.  Or if you have access to a welder (as in person or equipment) legs could be attached.   Until recently I would have just said, "have NorCal fabricate something for you."  But sadly I here they're going out of business.

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 15, 2019, 03:56:11 PM
I don't think the false bottom would be supported enough to just put some feet on it. I do agree that the way the grid sits on the bottom of the tun and walls off sections is a concern and might still impede flow, even with the notches I've put in it. I'm a procrastinator but I'm not a quitter. I'll find a way to improve it.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 15, 2019, 04:25:41 PM
Basically an old piece of junk I haven't used in forever, just remembered I haven't scrapped it yet.   But it shows an idea of how "feet" can be made fairly sturdy.(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190115/9d4e500c9080f930b5c73d7bffa8e6a2.jpg)

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 15, 2019, 04:47:27 PM
I was able to notch it with a pair of aviation snips. Now my hand hurts. Obviously I need to clean up the edges but what do you think? Still strong enough to support all 200# of me.(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190115/170c9c2f7c613d06a005a7b25d19239d.jpg)(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190115/f112020ac11edf8ff2fdee81f609812c.jpg)

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: BrewBama on January 15, 2019, 05:10:50 PM
I think that should do great.  As an old Avn Mech the snips were a great choice.


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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 15, 2019, 05:28:37 PM
That looks great!  Report after your next brew if you see a significant difference (pretty sure you will.)

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 15, 2019, 05:54:37 PM
Thanks for the insight and motivation.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 16, 2019, 12:32:41 AM
Tinkered with my crush. .040 on the left, .045 on the right.
With the .040 there's clearly still some flour. With the .045 just husks and grits. Should look even better with properly conditioned grain.(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190116/751467a9f5527d78b9b7539333dda0d4.jpg)

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: BrewBama on January 16, 2019, 02:30:29 AM
Tinkered with my crush. .040 on the left, .045 on the right.
With the .040 there's clearly still some flour. With the .045 just husks and grits. Should look even better with properly conditioned grain.(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190116/751467a9f5527d78b9b7539333dda0d4.jpg)

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I believe the best crush for you will depend on your system and how you operate it. Somewhat trial and error based on an education guess.


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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 16, 2019, 02:43:18 AM
I might not change the crush at all on the next brew.  You've already modified the flow pattern under the false bottom, and installed the manometers to allow adjustment of your flow rate.  If you change too many factors at once, you'll never know which one made what difference.   Dial in the system incrementally and methodically,  would be my approach.

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 16, 2019, 10:46:35 AM
At this point I just want to have a properly recirculating mash.
I was interested in the manometer to help me see what's going on and to take the guesswork out of adjusting my flow rate and get repeatable results going forward. I've looked into the linear flow valve and I'll likely replace the ball valve on the pump outlet with one in the near future. But flow rate was likely only a part of the problem.
I had suspected for a while now that the rack needed further modification.
I recently replaced my old, worn out mill and didn't have the new one dialed in yet. I'm sure I'll continue to tinker with it over the next couple batches. But for now I'd like to start with minimal flour and hopefully get a nice clear runoff.

Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: BrewBama on January 16, 2019, 11:45:04 PM
I think you’ve made some positive advancements. 

I agree that traditional troubleshooting techniques prescribe one change at a time but (if you’re like me) I don’t brew enough to get the results I need as quickly as I need making one adjustment.  It might take the rest of the year to get a desired result.

However, I recently had a couple failures due to something I did when I made numerous equipment and process changes at once. I had to take a couple steps back and think I determined the culprit. That was a couple brew mistake which is a significant hit to a four beer pipeline (two on tap, one conditioning, one fermenting). I had to expedite a couple brews which could have been better had I been able to apply my normal timeline.


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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 17, 2019, 10:44:47 AM
I think you’ve made some positive advancements. 

I agree that traditional troubleshooting techniques prescribe one change at a time but (if you’re like me) I don’t brew enough to get the results I need as quickly as I need making one adjustment.  It might take the rest of the year to get a desired result.

However, I recently had a couple failures due to something I did when I made numerous equipment and process changes at once. I had to take a couple steps back and think I determined the culprit. That was a couple brew mistake which is a significant hit to a four beer pipeline (two on tap, one conditioning, one fermenting). I had to expedite a couple brews which could have been better had I been able to apply my normal timeline.


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Exactly right. I embrace learning from my failures, but I just want it to work right now. I may have shirked proper troubleshooting procedure but I've still learned more than someone who just goes out and buys something like a Grainfather, with all due respect for those who take that route.
May I ask about your recent failures and how you found the culprit? It's much better to learn from others' mistakes.
Title: Manometer
Post by: BrewBama on January 17, 2019, 02:31:04 PM
I think you’ve made some positive advancements. 

I agree that traditional troubleshooting techniques prescribe one change at a time but (if you’re like me) I don’t brew enough to get the results I need as quickly as I need making one adjustment.  It might take the rest of the year to get a desired result.

However, I recently had a couple failures due to something I did when I made numerous equipment and process changes at once. I had to take a couple steps back and think I determined the culprit. That was a couple brew mistake which is a significant hit to a four beer pipeline (two on tap, one conditioning, one fermenting). I had to expedite a couple brews which could have been better had I been able to apply my normal timeline.


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Exactly right. I embrace learning from my failures, but I just want it to work right now. I may have shirked proper troubleshooting procedure but I've still learned more than someone who just goes out and buys something like a Grainfather, with all due respect for those who take that route.
May I ask about your recent failures and how you found the culprit? It's much better to learn from others' mistakes.

Sure.  Long story short: either a failed o-ring in a fermenter drain valve, a QD that was used to close transfer, the yeast, or the Potassium Metabisulfate. Not really sure.

Short story long: I used to brew outside on a propane burner.  I heated strike and sparge water in a kettle, mashed and batch sparged in a cooler MLT.  To move hot water I’d lift the kettle and pour it in the cooler.  It was all gravity from the MLT to the BK and from the BK to the fermenter — no pump. I made some pretty good beer using this method but I was subject to weather conditions.

I always wanted to move inside so weather did not play such a significant part of my brewing schedule. Plus I was growing tired of taking three trips up and down the basement stairs hauling equipment outside. I also realized lifting ~5 gallons of hot water chest high twice a brewday was probably not the safest.

Then tragedy struck and my wife’s health deteriorated significantly. I could no longer afford to disappear outside on the Big Deck for five hours. She requires 24/7 attention.

So, the decision was made to move my brewery into the laundry room. That meant new equipment and processes including a pump, false bottom, induction cooktop, and ventilation. I also wanted to add step mash capability in the small space so a RIMS tube was plumbed into the system.  The result is a two vessel RIMS system that I enjoy.

About that same time the LODO guys had not yet broken off into their own forum so the techniques they were discussing interested me. I added even more equipment and processes such as oxygen scavenging strike water, purging kegs, closed transfer, spunding, etc.

Oh and I found some beer stone so I cleaned everything with BS remover. I *think* I rinsed well enough.

So, from one brew to the next I went from all gravity batch sparge outside to adding all this new equipment and processes inside. Though I brewed a tried and true recipe, I used a different yeast manufacturer on the first beer.

The resulting Cream Ale was awful.  I have only produced three dumpers: a Flanders Red which was true to style that I discovered I detest, this Cream Ale, and the beer after it (I’ll have to look it up). I couldn’t believe I improved my brewery for this. Devastated having spent some good money on all this new shiny stuff to produce crap, I had to figure out amongst all this change where I went wrong.

After removing, disassembling, adjusting, cleaning, sanitizing every freakin thing I narrowed it down to either a failed o-ring in a fermenter drain valve, a dirty QD that was used to close transfer, Kmeta used to oxygen scavenge, or yeast.

From that day to this I don’t really know but those are the only things I found as I cleaned and removed elements.

The happy ending is that I am producing beer I enjoy, safely, without regard to weather conditions.


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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 17, 2019, 04:42:02 PM
Nothing wrong with the shotgun approach to troubleshooting when it's cheap, easy and gets it done.
My journey from hauling stuff outside and manually moving hot water and filled glass carboys, to a dedicated indoor, electric, no-lift brewery, has taken a similar path. Except for the ailing wife part. Best wishes with that. Designing and building my brewery has been just as rewarding as the brewing process.
FWIW gimme a kolsch over a cream ale any day.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 17, 2019, 04:58:52 PM
I had a similar thought on the "shotgun" approach in this case.   You've improved flow, you've got a new mill, everything you've done is bound to be an improvement.   So if the next brew goes well, proceed with all the modifications on the "ain't broke, don't fix it" principle.   Of there's still something suboptimal, then troubleshoot systematically.

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: BrewBama on January 17, 2019, 07:31:57 PM
...
FWIW gimme a kolsch over a cream ale any day.

LOL. The wife drank Little Kings as a wayward youth so I brew a Cream Ale each year for her birth-month.  Besides, it’s too good to be beer! Cheers! 

https://youtu.be/cVwxRupup3Q


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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 17, 2019, 11:20:05 PM
Handling my thirst is like trying to catch a bullet with a pair of pliers in the dark! Ha! Too funny!
Never heard of little kings but my Dad used to drink Genesee cream ale when I was a young man. Dang. Now I might have to brew a cream ale. I'm using WLP029 for it though.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 17, 2019, 11:35:36 PM


Handling my thirst is like trying to catch a bullet with a pair of pliers in the dark! Ha! Too funny!
Never heard of little kings but my Dad used to drink Genesee cream ale when I was a young man. Dang. Now I might have to brew a cream ale. I'm using WLP029 for it though.

I used to drink Genesee in my misspent youth, it was the go to beverage around here.  Little Kings was from Cincinnati, IIRC, never had one.  But ah, the memories around Genny Cream.... 

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 19, 2019, 02:19:55 PM
I brewed a Dunkel last night and made some observations.
After mashing in, both sight glasses of the manometer showed 10.5 gallons before recirculating.
Begin recirculation after 10 minutes. Manometer went down to 10.25 with level in lower sight glass showing just a bit lower. I played with the flow a bit and manometer level went down slightly as flow increased with both sight glasses eventually levelling out. I don't think I ever went past half throttle. I should have gone full throttle to see what happens but I didn't want any issues on this brew. I'll try in the future.
Gave it a good stir after 15 minutes. Grain bed was firm but didn't seem compacted. Stopped flow and let it rest 10 minutes before resuming recirculation l. I later determined flow to be ~.5 gallon per minute when timing how long it took to fill a gallon in the kettle. Manometer started with the lower sight glass showing a bit lower but both sight glasses eventually leveled out.
Upon transferring to the kettle, wort looked pretty clear and I was quite satisfied with it. Although 28 srm probably wasn't the best choice to test clarity. Preboil gravity came in about where I expected at 1.051 at 2.45 quarts per pound.
After lautering, top of grain bed was slightly (1/16") pulled away from sides of tun only on the front half of the tun(above the valve). Crush was .045" and there was zero flour in the teig. Wish I could get a picture but my camera kept crashing every time I turned it on. It's fine now, go figure.
Other observations: MLT is direct heated by a hot plate on a temperature controller with the temp probe in a thermowell after the pump at the inlet of the recirculation arm at the top of the tun. Kind of a pseudo RIMS with 2.5 gallons below the false bottom. The dial thermometer 2" above the false bottom consistently shows 6° below the temp shown on the controller. Does this indicate poor flow through the grain bed? All my thermometers are calibrated with ice water.
When raising temp to mash out, temp would spike at 170 then level out after a couple of minutes at 160, spike at 170 and level out at 162, 170 and then 164 and so on. Indicator of poor flow or is .5 gpm too slow? I'll experiment more with a faster flow next time.
Mash pH 5.20 at room temperature.
Edit: I stirred upper inch of grain bed with about 20 minutes left in the mash.

Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: BrewBama on January 19, 2019, 05:17:15 PM
I think that’s a great run. Your cycle between 160-170 shows you’re getting some circulation. My system does that when I have a large error between the set value and perceived value. It calms down when temps even out. The wort across the element is heated to temp and then is replaced with cooler wort which will then be heated, etc, etc. After a while your temp cycling should be far less as the wort temp evens out throughout the mash.

The 6*F low in a stratified layer concerns me more than the cycling. It should also even out over a few cycles. If it doesn’t I believe that is an indication of poor circulation down to that level and should be addressed to even out the grain bed temp.  Simple stirring could solve the stratification.


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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 19, 2019, 06:00:31 PM
So if my recirculation was perfect, would the top of the grain bed be in contact all the way around the sides of the tun after lautering? Since mine was slightly gapped above the valve/outlet (I have a 90° pick up tube in the port directly behind the valve), might there be some channeling along the front wall of the tun? This could explain the temperature difference at the dial thermometer which is 2" above the false bottom and extends in 4"?
If that's the case, might it help to extend the pick up to the center of the tun?
Hope I'm not over thinking this. I'm not necessarily chasing perfection, I just want to understand what is going on.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 19, 2019, 06:20:45 PM
Joe, was the bed pulled away with liquid above it, or did you see this only after it was completely drained?  I wouldn't worry about how the spent grain settles after it's drained, only if there's channeling during the run.  OTOH, I firmly believe in having the draw off at the center no matter what; you can't do better to ensure even drainage as across the bed. If possible do it.

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: goose on January 19, 2019, 07:03:45 PM
Joe, was the bed pulled away with liquid above it, or did you see this only after it was completely drained?  I wouldn't worry about how the spent grain settles after it's drained, only if there's channeling during the run.  OTOH, I firmly believe in having the draw off at the center no matter what; you can't do better to ensure even drainage as across the bed. If possible do it.

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+1
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 19, 2019, 07:04:12 PM
I didn't notice until the bed was fully drained. In the past, it was as much as a 1/4" gap all around the top. So things are vastly improved and I'm nitpicking.
But the 6° difference in thermometers has me curious. I understand you have to expect some stratification of temps but I expected a continuously recirculating mash to be more homogeneous than that.
Title: Manometer
Post by: BrewBama on January 29, 2019, 12:14:12 AM
Here’s my undisturbed grain bed after a brew day. With this batch I obtained 91% mash efficiency (2 points higher OG than planned) and 72% brew house efficiency (both calculated by BeerSmith). I plan 70% BH but this additional 2% is within my brewery personal tolerance.

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190129/e3f063194ad90fbe20fd77a93d9e5bc8.jpg)


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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 29, 2019, 12:44:50 AM
Using standard textbook definitions, I conservatively plan for 72% Brewhouse Yield, which equates to about 96%  Brewhouse Efficiency.   It seems that Beersmith doesn't use standard textbook definitions (brewhouse yield = weight of extract in wort/weight of grist; brewhouse efficiency = brewhouse yield/laboratory extract, CGAI.)  We may actually be getting the same result.  For my edification,  could you explain the definitions BS uses?  (And now I remember I forgot to take a picture of my grain bed on Saturday, I had intended to post here too!)

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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: BrewBama on January 29, 2019, 02:07:35 AM
This article seems to explain BS calculations:  http://beersmith.com/blog/2008/10/26/brewhouse-efficiency-for-all-grain-beer-brewing/

As long as I can reliably estimate OG when developing a recipe then hit the estimate within 1 or 2 points plus or minus on an actual brew day is good for me.  I probably leave more wort in the kettle than others in an effort to reduce trub in the fermenter at the detriment of BH efficiency. I know I could simply dump the kettle contents into the fermenter to increase Brewhouse efficiency but I prefer not to.


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Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Joe T on January 29, 2019, 02:15:23 AM
Here’s my undisturbed grain bed after a brew day. With this batch I obtained 91% mash efficiency (2 points higher OG than planned) and 72% brew house efficiency (both calculated by BeerSmith). I plan 70% BH but this additional 2% is within my brewery personal tolerance.

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190129/e3f063194ad90fbe20fd77a93d9e5bc8.jpg)


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Looks good. No flour at all. And that's decent efficiency.
I usually get around 65-67% brew house efficiency, per Brewer's Friend. That's usually close to 100% conversion efficiency, half gallon loss MLT dead space, half gallon or more trub loss in kettle and break separation, half gallon loss post fermentation. 
I'm all set for an early morning start on a snow day brew day tomorrow. I'll post my numbers and observations.
Title: Re: Manometer
Post by: Robert on January 29, 2019, 02:19:40 AM
This article seems to explain BS calculations:  http://beersmith.com/blog/2008/10/26/brewhouse-efficiency-for-all-grain-beer-brewing/

As long as I can reliably estimate OG when developing a recipe then hit the estimate within 1 or 2 points plus or minus on an actual brew day is good for me.  I probably leave more wort in the kettle than others in an effort to reduce trub in the fermenter at the detriment of BH efficiency. I know I could simply dump the kettle contents into the fermenter to increase Brewhouse efficiency but I prefer not to.


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Thanks for the link.  So many people use BS, it will be helpful for me to understand what it means when they quote its calculations.  (But he could've just used standard terms....)

I also mainly care about predictability, and the biggest inefficiency in my system is also planned losses in the interest of trub reduction.

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