« on: December 13, 2015, 10:21:53 AM »
I decided to purchase the 10 gallon Brew Easy for my upgrade complete with the TOP and the gas version. To date I have only brewed one batch and it was a 5.5 gallon proven recipe that I thought would be a good starting point and have a couple observations from one batch in: Sorry for the length of the post......
The auto sparge arm is a bit short, my guess is about 2-3" as it had a hard time maintaining proper recirculation with the smaller mash volume and kept wanting to just drop straight down. I fixed this by unscrewing the arm and the float for this batch but a longer arm is on my list for future 5.5 gallon batches
You will need to bend the heat shields under the BK spout in order to actually get the hoses hooked up due to the height and location of the spigot on the BK, it's not a big deal but with Blichman engineering I would have thought they would take this into consideration, just a small gripe:) You will also want to use the 90 degree connector to deflect your tubing away from the heat source and it fits better!
On the TOP if you get the Therminator, which I did, and mount it the way it is designed along with the pump, it is very difficult to hook up the water out line due to the proximity of the pump. I am also finding that if you want to swap out to QDs they actually will wind up right against the pump housing making for a difficult connection as well. I had to drill some new holes in the mounting bracket to create a better offset on the mount.
There is definitely a loss of heat through the recirculation and the actual mash temp in the MT which needs accounting for when you set the temp on the TOP, in cold weather, which I have yet to deal with, I am anticipating a larger discrepancy between the two readings
Beersmith now has equipment profiles for these units but I have found the basic set up to be off a bit. Be sure to account for your actual boil off. Also for your losses be sure to account for wort left in the tubing as there is quite a bit depending on the length of your tubing runs along with your typical kettle losses in the BK and MT
I am really happy with the purchase even though my first batch was a disaster! I totally over shot my mash temp, had issues as described with the recirculation and short sparge arm, miscalculated my boil off and tubing losses and couldn't really get a handle on the various orifices to select but being my first batch on the system I wasn't expecting perfection and knew there would be some things I had to dial in.
For Steve, hopefully you can answer a few questions I have:
The first on the orifices. did you stick with the 1.5 size throughout the process. I have read an exhausting thread on HBT regarding various sizes and switching to the smallest one for draining the MT into the BK which seems to me to be a painfully slow option, is it really necessary? Which orifice have you found to be the best at maintaining proper balance between the two kettle volumes.
Second, at what level do you set your sparge arm? I have read for it to be a bit above the grain bed, like an inch or two? Seems right but not sure.
Curious to know what you are experiencing in boil off rate, my old set up with a wide low pot was 2 hours over 60 minutes and I thought (Incorrectly) that the taller narrow kettle would be less and boy was I wrong! I know there are various factors that play into this and plan on running a batch of water prior to my next go around but thought I would ask
I am starting all my recipes at 65% assumed efficiency and was curious if you have found any ways to improve on this, Ideally I would like to get closer to 70% since my last set up was 80% consistently, dropping 15% is a lot to swallow......I am already aware of water chemistry and use Bru'n water with great success. I am thinking orifice selection can help from what I've read and proper mash out. All the other typical items like crush and pH I already have accounted for.
Thanks for any help!