Author Topic: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods  (Read 8380 times)

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2013, 08:00:26 AM »
I've tried a few things on my Sabco to reduce debris getting into the chiller and/or the primary.  If I'm using all leaf hops, I go with just the false bottom and a ball of stainless scrubbies around the dip tube but under the false bottom.  If I'm using pellets, I use the hop stopper attached to the dip tube without the false bottom.  It's a tight fit with the center kettle dip tube and it does get kind of mashed, but it works great and I haven't had any suction issues so far.

Thank you so much for the response. I'll have to try the Hop Stopper on my next brew day. 10 gallons of a German lager seems like a good idea.
Amanda Burkemper
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2013, 05:15:21 AM »
Amanda,


I have had mine for a couple of years, but brewed with no modifications. I have bagged any pellet hops that I use to this point. Can't find some of the new hops in whole form, so going to have to find a better solution.


Next brew, planning to take the false bottom out of the boil kettle, and just angle the dip tube to the side to allow for a hopstand and whirlpool. It's attached with a tri-clamp so should work - will just have to account for the wort left behind. Jaybird at Norcal also has replacement false bottoms that work fine with the Brew-Magic kettles/keggles, and has stands for the false bottom that can act as a trub/hops filter. I may go this route if the whirlpool doesn't work well. Might take some pictures... will have to see how the brew day goes.


I have also considered plumbing in the hops/trub filter from Brewers Hardware somehow, but the setup makes that different as you would want it behind the pump, not in front to get the pressure required.


I have recirculated using the long dip tube that comes from the MLT, sterilized in the boil, through a mesh bag to keep trub and hops out of the fermenter. Not the best way - but passable.


Not really a modification, but I have mounted a pump and built tri-clamp hoses to allow me to recirc independent of the hard plumbing if required. Handy if the mash sticks, but not necessary.


Offline Hooch

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2014, 09:19:50 AM »
For what it's worth the old Brew Magic forum is gone, but a new one was started last year, here.

http://www.brewmagiciansforum.com

It's user runned, with no persuasion from Sabco ;D

Cheers,
Hooch
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2014, 09:42:06 AM »
For what it's worth the old Brew Magic forum is gone, but a new one was started last year, here.

http://www.brewmagiciansforum.com

It's user runned, with no persuasion from Sabco ;D

Cheers,
Hooch

Neat. Thanks Hooch!
Amanda Burkemper
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2014, 06:20:39 AM »
I have over half a million dollars in brewery equipment and here I am drooling about your guyses homebrew systems. Damn, I want one!!!  >:(
Cowboy. Pirate. Brewer.

Offline dannyjed

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2014, 07:35:05 AM »
I got to brew on a Brew Magic system about a month ago. My buddy wrote the Android ap for them and we got use it for a weekend. It was very nice, but it was kinda like test driving a nice sports car for a week and then having to give it back. :-[
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2014, 08:14:33 PM »
Two brews in now.

Question about the RIMS system. In a one hour mash, it doesn't keep temperature well for something that calls itself "self-regulating". I have to baby sit the mash, lighting and turning off the burner 4-5 times to somewhat maintain a mash temperature. Kinda miss the cooler. Kinda...


Anyway, I pulled out the element to see if it needs cleaning. Sparkling clean, looked brand new. I haven't checked to see if it has current running to it, but is this normal?? Seems like a RIMS should be better than this.
Amanda Burkemper
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2014, 05:15:39 AM »
Two brews in now.

Question about the RIMS system. In a one hour mash, it doesn't keep temperature well for something that calls itself "self-regulating". I have to baby sit the mash, lighting and turning off the burner 4-5 times to somewhat maintain a mash temperature. Kinda miss the cooler. Kinda...


Anyway, I pulled out the element to see if it needs cleaning. Sparkling clean, looked brand new. I haven't checked to see if it has current running to it, but is this normal?? Seems like a RIMS should be better than this.

Yes, it should.  I found the electric element to not work well to raise temps to the next step, but it should maintain the current temp well.  I stopped using mine after the second one shorted out and now keep a really low flame on under the mash and recirculate the whole time.  If you get the flame just right it will maintain the temp well. 
Some people insulate their mash tuns.  I may do this soon, but I've been using it without for at least 10 or 12 years.
You should be able to check voltage at the heater to see if it is the element or the thermostat, or at least feel how hot the tube is when it's on.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2014, 06:25:35 AM »

Yes, it should.  I found the electric element to not work well to raise temps to the next step, but it should maintain the current temp well.  I stopped using mine after the second one shorted out and now keep a really low flame on under the mash and recirculate the whole time.  If you get the flame just right it will maintain the temp well. 
Some people insulate their mash tuns.  I may do this soon, but I've been using it without for at least 10 or 12 years.
You should be able to check voltage at the heater to see if it is the element or the thermostat, or at least feel how hot the tube is when it's on.

Yeah, I wasn't attempting to step the mash up, just trying to hold it at 154F. It did this on the first brew day, but it was about 20F outside and I could barely even get a boil, so I attributed that to it being entirely too cold to brew. I'll be meeting up with the previous owner to go over tasting exams this week, so perhaps he can shed some light on it as well.

I have extra Reflectix, so I could insulate it... but then what's the point of a RIMS? It should just work, and I don't want to put a Band-Aid on a Sabco (just in principle, it sounds odd).

ANYWAY. What exactly would I be checking for? For instance, it I use an ammeter across the terminals at the end of the TC RIMS tube, what am I looking for? I would assume that if the VMS system is set to "heat on", that it would show a intermittent voltage at the terminals. That would mean that at least the VMS system is working. But, if the element is indeed faulty, then how would I know for sure? If it's receiving voltage and not working exactly as planned, is that enough to say definitively that the element is bad? The TC element is $185 from Sabco. I don't exactly want to buy it.
Amanda Burkemper
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Offline Hooch

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2014, 07:50:39 AM »
I had the same issue and a faulty relay was to blame.  My system was still under warranty and Bob at Sabco sent me a new one right away. 

Looks like I can't attach files here so I'll email you the troubleshooting guide.

Cheers,
Hooch
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2014, 01:56:11 PM »
I had the same issue and a faulty relay was to blame.  My system was still under warranty and Bob at Sabco sent me a new one right away. 

Looks like I can't attach files here so I'll email you the troubleshooting guide.

Cheers,
Hooch

Thank you Hooch. I talked to John at Sabco a little bit ago and he basically told me exactly what your troubleshooting guide said to do.

Is it bad that I'm crossing my fingers for a faulty relay? I don't want to drop $185+ on another element and I don't want to send in my controller for repair either. I'll be picking up an ammeter after work, filling the tun with water and seeing what works and what doesn't. Rabble.  :(
Amanda Burkemper
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2014, 07:01:46 PM »
I find that brewing in cold weather is tough, although we seldom get it down here in Bastrop. I brewed a week ago when it was about 30F outside - and had to lower the garage door a bit to keep the wind off the kettles. The system seems to perform well above 55F or so.


I find that I have to pre-heat the system well, usually in setting up the strike water, about 8-10 degrees high. Let this circulate a bit and heat up the plumbing. Then I can use a very light direct flame to creep up on the step temperature to keep from shuffling the direct fire on and off. Mashing with the lid on can also help to hold the heat.


I don't have the challenges with the cold like folks north - but it has been a challenging winter here.

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2014, 08:08:49 AM »
What a timely post. I'm quitting again today as it is just too cold for this thing to work. The dump valve before the pump is frozen shut and the seals on the pump itself have contracted enough to allow a bit of water to seep through the seals while it is running. In order to not do any real damage, I'm throwing in the towel.

Apparently 8*F is too cold. How in the hell am I supposed to brew on this thing? I wish I hadn't given away my old cooler mash tun brewery. It was way less finicky than this thing.
Amanda Burkemper
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Offline Pinski

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2014, 08:33:07 AM »
What a timely post. I'm quitting again today as it is just too cold for this thing to work. The dump valve before the pump is frozen shut and the seals on the pump itself have contracted enough to allow a bit of water to seep through the seals while it is running. In order to not do any real damage, I'm throwing in the towel.

Apparently 8*F is too cold. How in the hell am I supposed to brew on this thing? I wish I hadn't given away my old cooler mash tun brewery. It was way less finicky than this thing.
That's a drag, but you're making me feel better about my cooler rig taking up space in the barn.  Trade that thing in for a Brutus type. The BrewSculpture 3100/electronic has been simple and reliable. Maybe less automated and slick looking but fairly servicable.
Dang, hope you're able to get up and running soon. Good luck.
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Offline Hooch

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2014, 08:42:34 AM »
Bummer to hear about your woes guys.  I brew in an insulated garage, and keep a carbon monoxide alarm nearby, open the garage door about 6" off the ground, same with a back door to increase the amount of airflow.  I brewed when it was 9ºF outside, not sure how cold it was in my garage when I started, but during the boil it got up to the mid 50s in there.

Although, during winters like this one, I wish there was an electric version of the brew magic system; so that we can brew totally indoors.   
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