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Messages - dean_palmer

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Equipment and Software / Re: Pumps
« on: December 12, 2012, 08:06:55 PM »
I just upgraded my pumps (809HS) to the larger March 815 impeller. Highly suggested as it has reduced the cavitation and sometimes they even prime and pump hard on the initial power-up.

I just got a Blichmann Therminator and used it for the first time this past weekend.  Works very well, but it still takes a while (45 minutes?) to cool the whole batch in the kettle before going to the fermenters.

I'll have to time it next brew and make specific notes as I don't recall it taking half that much time even on a single unit. I'm running the water full blast and the wort pump the same (as wort conditions allow). I've had these chillers for some years now and they have been great, but I have recently added a trub/hop filter (Brewers Hardware) as they did tend to collect debris on some sessions.

Very nice, Dean.  And you just made that stand last week, too.  Some people have way too much energy.

Do you chill the wort through two therminators directly to the fermenters?  If so, do you have one running ground water and one with ice water?

Hi Jeff :-)

Yeah, I welded this just over a week ago to get all the components up off the ground after so many years :-) Bought a new welder so I had motivation.

As for the chilling, I typically recirculate through chiller #1 with tap water, back to the kettle until the temp reaches about 100f. Then I swap out the garden hose with a submersible pump in ice water and keep recirculating until the kettle temp is near pitching (the output of the chiller typical 50-60F once ice water is connected), then pump to the fermenter. This way I hope to leave behind a lot more small particulate.

When I want to save time over wort clarity I hook the two chillers inline and can pump wort at pitch temps directly to the fermenter. I can also do this and recirculate to drop the kettle temps faster but it uses more ice.

I try not to use both for the wort loss, but with larger batches in the summer they are awesome together.

I'm currently waiting on a new 20g kettle from Stout Tanks, so 15g batches will become typical and the extra chill power will be welcome.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: brewhouse photo
« on: December 10, 2012, 12:58:29 PM »
Do a Google search for "brewhouse" and then click the images tab at the top. Numerous pics.

There was a previous question about using the March 815 size impellers in the 809HS pumps, and I just did that change this past week. It did make a difference in the speed and ease pf priming and my pumps are already in the optimum position. They both now prime quickly and pump at an increased volume (not that a volume increase was the need).

What I also found is that when I added a new pump head recently (stainless) that the head I removed already had the high flow impeller installed. I thought it was just a coincidence that when I installed the new head and repositioned my pumps on the rack that it seemed like they were harder to prime than before. It was the impeller, and the reason that I'd use this one pump more than the other regularly is that it always seemed to prime easier. Now I know why :-)

Pimp My System / Kind of a Brutus 10 clone with RIMS, but it works for me
« on: December 04, 2012, 08:32:58 PM »

Kettles are from Stout Tanks
50amp back to back control panel for electric, runs 2 vessels at a time. All three elements can run once all vessels are up to temp. (probably never needed)
5500w 240v elements for the kettle and HLT, 4500w in the RIMS tube.
Brewers Hardware RIMS tube mounted directly to the tri-clamp port on the mash tun.
For backup or cookouts, 3 banjo burners, one high power model under the brew kettle, manual control for propane.

One March 815 pump and one March AC-5SSB-MD Beer Pump
Two Blichmann Therminator chillers
Brewers Hardware trub/hop filter canister (so far useless and prone to clog)
Inline thermometer and oxygen stone after the chillers

I will weld up similar racks for local folks.

Just added the Stout Tanks 20 Gallon conical and kettle.

Equipment and Software / Re: Minimum Amps Required For Simple RIMS Setup
« on: December 04, 2012, 08:13:44 PM »
I've been using a 4500W element running on 120v on a 15a circuit for a few years now in my RIMS tube along with the March 809 pumps running with no issues. Even with the element running for long periods I have never had any indication of a heavy load.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Dryhopping in bags: Am I Oxidizing?
« on: December 04, 2012, 06:35:56 PM »
I dry hop in the serving keg with stainless steel keg valve balls in the bag, and a string tied to the underside of the lid for easy removal. Would work the same for conicals.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Pests in brew house/ Need storage suggestions!
« on: November 30, 2012, 06:33:21 PM »

Dean, what happened to make you this passionate against the Vittles Vault?  Did grain spoil on you?  I've had a good experience with mine thus far.


Well, to make a long story shorter (I hope) Keep in mind the ones I bought were probably 8 years ago so they might have fixed the plastic mold quality and seals but I doubt it.

I bought the first one (about 14 gallon size) and made a fermenter out of it, then bought two more for grain storage. I found that all of these had such inconsistent molding of the main vessel that I had to hand file it to make the gasket surfaces seal on the lid mount ring. After that I found that for the o-ring in the spin-on lid to seal it had to be screwed on so tight that it took a mallet to loosen it. Kind of impractical for something advertised as being better than regular bucket lids and costing $45+ each. I really didn't care that the airlock didn't bubble as I knew the nasties would not be able to just float in due to the poor seal, but with our high humidity here in Florida I wasn't willing to leave my bulk grain possibly exposed to moisture and possibly insects (no rodents :-) I just want to make sure people don't think they are getting something better than buckets, and spending money for no reason. They should call them the "gimmick-Seal lids" not Gamma Seal. Just my experience, opinion, and a bit of humor.

Not to mention that if you need to really clean them you need to remove the lid mount and that is difficult and can break that part. If used for fermenters this is where the nasties hide. My solution and modification suggestions for this are at the bottom of the main page of my website. Pics of the vessels as fermenters is also on the site.

All Grain Brewing / Re: Kettle Mashing Question
« on: November 30, 2012, 06:00:54 PM »
1/2" ID silicone for everything. If you are using a March pump you should be using at least the ID of the pump inlet, and that's 1/2".

I live in Florida and have fought with warm tap water for almost 10 years in this hobby. I went through all the ideas for pre-chillers and such.

Pre-chillers in ice water while not efficient, can be used fairly effectively with a plate chiller after the wort has been recirculated down below 100 with tap water in the kettle, and ice then added to the pre-chiller bath. Before the wort is down near 100 it's a waste. As long as your tap water has at least a 15-20 degree differential it is effective, so adding ice too soon only wastes the ice and doesn't really improve chilling much.

My current method is to chill and recirculate to near 100 with tap water, then swap the tap water hose for a submersible pump in ice water. Crazy fast chilling.

I also have two Blichmann therminators that can be used inline with the first on tap water and the last on the ice water pump. That can allow me to pump 10+ gallons of hot wort directly into a fermenter and get a finished temp in the fermenter below 60f as needed.

I make the ice in the freezer during the week so I don't need to buy it. I probably use about 15lbs of ice for a 10 gallon batch, but I'll have to weigh it some day to be exact.

I haven't yet seen a glycol rig that I can afford that had the BTUs to do the same. The pump was about $40 (get at least  1/4hp not a little "pond pump"). The rest is garden hose and quick connects from the hardware store.

Equipment and Software / Re: RIMS Question
« on: November 29, 2012, 09:15:41 PM »

Mine is just silicone tubing with a "T" and it stays just below the surface of the mash. Lifted for the pic. I used to use a foam float on it, but doesn't seem to need it.

It comes right from the RIMS tube sitting between the mash tun and the brew kettle, and when it is time for the wort to go into the kettle I just stop the flow for a second, shake off any debris, and move this to the kettle. Nothing more needed.

The rule is to measure what you are trying to control, and that's the fermenter temp. Attach the probe to the side of the vessel and cover it with something to insulate it (washcloth, bubble wrap, stuffed toy, etc) from ambient air. Set, and forget.

As others have said, the variance of the liquid to a minor overshoot on the cold is virtually nothing.

Air is a poor conductor and insulator, so adding a fan to come on when the freezer comes on keeps the air temp more even and reduces the effects of the overchill. This is why the upright frost-free freezers are excellent as they use circulating air, not walls that get cold with coils in them like chest units, but a simple PC fan plugged into the same controller outlet as the freezer fixes that.

Equipment and Software / Re: Pumps
« on: November 29, 2012, 09:03:57 PM »
I bought my first pump simply to eliminate an elevated HLT. It was a good upgrade and made my setup easier to use and safer to be around. I'd like to think that every thing I upgraded or changed led to an improved process or product, but there are a lot of things that are just nice to have.

One of my pumps is a March with a Chugger stainless head added. The stainless is sure nicer, but there is no benefit to the process itself as the poly heads work the same. If it weren't for a generous friend giving me the stainless head, I'd still have the poly and be working just fine.

Equipment and Software / Re: Sparge for Picnic Cooler Tun
« on: November 29, 2012, 08:47:29 PM »
onto a plate held above the grain bed (using gloves of course).  It can be a pain, especially when I'd rather be measuring the runoff pH and grav.

As others have said, batch sparge, then don't worry about the PH and gravity for the most part. For when you vorlauf/recirculate to clear the wort, just find a plate or other item that will stay near the surface that you can just pour the wort onto in the mash tun. It can be a pie plate or anything. I used to use a tupperware lid because it floated. No reason you should need gloves for the operation, and no reason to have to hold it above the grain and liquid. Many times I just poured it back directly with no deflector and it never mattered.

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