Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: enso on April 14, 2011, 03:24:28 PM

Title: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: enso on April 14, 2011, 03:24:28 PM
dang it!

I invest in a kettle valve (no weld) to make my life easier.  Has it?  Hell no!  >:(

What I have:  A converted sanke keg.  Stainless ball lock weldless, from bargain fittings.  My pickup tube is 1/2" soft copper soldered to a copper male npt fitting which is screwed into the stainless coupling.  The pickup is bent down to the center of the kettle bottom.  I usually stuff a stainless scrubby under it to do some coarse filtering.

What happens:
Sometimes it drains okay, sometimes not.  There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason.  It can not flow when there is only a 5 gallon batch or a ten gallon.  It might flow fine with a lot of hops and not at all with a malty low hopped beer.  Generally I end up scooping or using my auto siphon.

What I have done to fix it so far:
I have tried a longer piece of hose attached to the hose barb on the outside of the kettle to lower the outlet of the liquid.  I have tried it with and without the venturi device on the end of the vinyl hose outlet.  I have resoldered the pickup connection, it seems solid.  I have used teflon tape on the threads.  I attempted to bend the tube even closer to the bottom.  I have used a large hop bag (5 gallon paint strainer suspended in the kettle.

I just bought a new piece of soft copper tubing and am going to try to redo it in hopes of a better outcome.  I was thinking perhaps I should position the diptube to the side instead of the bottom.  Any idea here folks or did I waste my money and time on a drain and just g back to the old autosiphon.  Which by the way could be hit or miss also!

If I left out any crucial info let me know.  I can try and take pictures at some point to if that would help.  I just want to be able to drain my beer int the fermenter without cursing the whole time.  Is that so much to ask!!!
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: hamiltont on April 14, 2011, 03:31:00 PM
Without seeing your setup I can only think of 2 things.  Ditch the scrubby & raise the brew pot up higher.  Cheers!!!
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: tschmidlin on April 14, 2011, 04:00:09 PM
How munged up is the scrubby at the end of the batch?  Something is getting clogged obviously, maybe the answer is to move the tip further from the bottom, not closer.  And yeah, try it without the scrubby.  The 1/2" pipe should be plenty big, and you should have no problem getting flow.  The problem might be with the ball valve, have you tried doing it water-only?
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: maxieboy on April 14, 2011, 04:05:34 PM
(http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/images/IMG_1553.jpg)
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: mabrungard on April 14, 2011, 04:26:01 PM
Your number 1 problem is locating your drain pickup at the center of the pot.  After whirlpooling, that is exactly where all the trub falls. 

Move the pickup to the periphery of the pot bottom and the scrubby won't get inundated with so much stuff. 
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: jeffy on April 14, 2011, 04:47:25 PM
Your number 1 problem is locating your drain pickup at the center of the pot.  After whirlpooling, that is exactly where all the trub falls. 

Move the pickup to the periphery of the pot bottom and the scrubby won't get inundated with so much stuff. 
^This is where the outlet of my kettle is located and I don't even use a scrubby.
I had an 8" sheet of stainless attached into the bottm of the kettle that keeps the trub away from it.  It is curved to follow the shape of the whirlpool if you can understand what that means.  Maybe I'll take a picture of it.
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: tallcall on April 14, 2011, 04:48:27 PM
I have a converted keg with a weld-less fitting also but no pickup tube. I whirlpool and then drain once it finishes I tip the keggle and drain the last bits before the trub gets to the valve. Yes, you lose a little but thats for the beer gods.
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: enso on April 14, 2011, 08:01:32 PM
I will attempt to post some pictures later.  I went to do so only to discover the basement is flooding.   :o

Have to take care of that first.   ::)

To respond to a few suggestions.  Yes, I forgot to mention I have tried it without the scrubby.  Yes I have tried it with water only.  It worked one time and not another.  I have cleaned out the ball valve by running a dip tube type brush through it plus running a hose backward through it.  Looks clear.

I will get picks so you folks can help diagnose before I rebuild.
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: Kit B on April 14, 2011, 08:48:27 PM
You have gremlins, in your brewpot...Plain & simple.
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: jeffy on April 14, 2011, 08:59:55 PM
Or an air leak downstream.
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: narvin on April 14, 2011, 09:24:50 PM
Hop stopper!

Buy this (http://www.mcmaster.com/#9230t625/=bvkp1y), fold in half and dog ear both sides in one corner outward to fit your racking tube, and fold the edges over twice with a ruler and seal with the tap of a hammer.  No stainless thread needed to seal it up.

In a 20 gallon kettle:

(http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5136/5491528839_6152770384_z.jpg)
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: morticaixavier on April 14, 2011, 09:58:18 PM
I will attempt to post some pictures later.  I went to do so only to discover the basement is flooding.   :o

Have to take care of that first.   ::)

To respond to a few suggestions.  Yes, I forgot to mention I have tried it without the scrubby.  Yes I have tried it with water only.  It worked one time and not another.  I have cleaned out the ball valve by running a dip tube type brush through it plus running a hose backward through it.  Looks clear.

I will get picks so you folks can help diagnose before I rebuild.

Ahh how I miss springtime mud season in vermont. Hope you have a good sump pump!
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: Will's Swill on April 15, 2011, 12:02:38 AM
OK, weird idea for you, but if this doesn't even work with water, are you vapor locked?  This happens to me when I already have fluid in my counter flow or pump and I try to drain hot water into them for cleaning.  Try rapping on the valve to get the air bubbles out of the line.
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: enso on April 15, 2011, 12:39:18 PM

Ahh how I miss springtime mud season in vermont. Hope you have a good sump pump!

Ha!  Yup.  Landlord added a french drain in the back of the house last fall to "fix" this problem.  Working great so far.   ;)

Fortunately there is a working floor drain in the brew room where the leak is.  Soon as we finish buying the house from the landlord I will rip the carpet out that is covering it!!!
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: enso on April 15, 2011, 01:30:20 PM
Okay here tis'.

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_dqlQTLe4QyI/TahGkkqva0I/AAAAAAAAAH4/ontatn8yWFE/s800/IMG_5494.jpg)

(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_dqlQTLe4QyI/TahGk5XIoGI/AAAAAAAAAH8/8gASLo0jzLM/s800/IMG_5495.jpg)

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_dqlQTLe4QyI/TahGlymKVkI/AAAAAAAAAIA/zPgfZ5RHgg0/s800/IMG_5497.jpg)

Also needed to clean 'er  out afore I took some photos...   ::)

Hope that is enough visual to pin point an issue.  I believe that is high enough above the carboy but perhaps not?
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: hamiltont on April 15, 2011, 01:38:12 PM
How long is the tube from the valve to the carboy? I'm thinking there isn't much drop if you measure from where the pickup tube end is at the bottom of the pot to the neck of the carboy.  Just for giggles & grins, try raising the BK up about a foot higher.  cheers!!!
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: maxieboy on April 15, 2011, 02:04:06 PM
1)Use a hop taco(stopper) with your p/u tube where it is now(make sure to leave an inch or so space between the inlet and bottom of BK). Or 2) Change p/u tube to the periphery as Martin suggests. Height of BK is sufficient. Raising it won't help it drain better.
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: weithman5 on April 15, 2011, 02:17:38 PM
as long as the outlet is opening to air, the volumetric flow rate will not be affected by how high the kettle is. it is driven by how high the fluid level is in the kettle and will slow as the level drops.  the atmospheric pressure will be the same on both sides.  if the outlet is in the bottom of the carboy, as the carboy level increases and kettle level drops the flow rate will drop faster.
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: tallcall on April 15, 2011, 02:25:18 PM
You said you tried it with water and it worked one time but not the other, from that I would say you have a bad ball valve. If you have water in your kettle and open the valve no mater what water should be coming out. The only thing to stop it would be the ball not turning.
Title: Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
Post by: maxieboy on April 15, 2011, 02:29:07 PM
as long as the outlet is opening to air, the volumetric flow rate will not be affected by how high the kettle is. it is driven by how high the fluid level is in the kettle and will slow as the level drops.  the atmospheric pressure will be the same on both sides.  if the outlet is in the bottom of the carboy, as the carboy level increases and kettle level drops the flow rate will drop faster.

+1 A more detailed explanation of what I was getting at. Thanks.