Author Topic: Using a Keggle  (Read 2195 times)

Offline MrDonde

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Using a Keggle
« on: July 01, 2016, 02:52:02 PM »
Morning,

I am in the process of getting into all grain brewing, been doing mini-mash previously, and I bought some keggles, along with all the other equipment.

Last weekend I got a 5 gallon recipe from my local homebrew store and got started brewing. Right away I ran into an issue with my keggle. The keggle I am using has a false bottom for mashing. But due to the height of the false bottom the amount of strike water in the recipe did not even fill the keggle past the false bottom. So if I had but my grains in they would not be wet at all. I believe the recipe called for 2 or 3 gallons of strike water. So I would probably need a total of 6 gallons to cover the grains.

I spoke to the previous owner and he said this a common issue with keggles and I need to use a higher volume recipe or just add more water and adjust for the missing sugars, etc.

Is this true? Is there some easy formula for how adding more water?

Thanks for any help.
-Donde

Offline kramerog

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2016, 05:01:53 PM »
It seems that your problem could be fixed if you used a different false bottom.  The false bottom does not have to cover the entire bottom such that there is less volume under the false bottom.  I don't use a keggle for mashing so I don't have any recommendations for false bottoms.

Offline MrDonde

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2016, 06:51:31 PM »
It seems that your problem could be fixed if you used a different false bottom.  The false bottom does not have to cover the entire bottom such that there is less volume under the false bottom.  I don't use a keggle for mashing so I don't have any recommendations for false bottoms.

Thanks for the idea. The false bottom does seem large. I will check if someone sells them or has like a DIY kit.

Please, if anyone else has ideas/experience/suggestion please post them  ;D
-Donde

Offline Stevie

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2016, 07:30:48 PM »
Domed false bottoms have very low deadspace, but they can be knocked around a bit if soft plumbing is used.

Offline MrDonde

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2016, 07:59:39 PM »
Domed false bottoms have very low deadspace, but they can be knocked around a bit if soft plumbing is used.

I assume by "soft plumbing" you not being welded in place? This might work for me but I will need to see if I can connect the false bottom to the tap currently used on my keggle.
-Donde

Offline Stevie

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2016, 08:43:52 PM »
I mean vinyl or silicone tubing. Stainless tubing is a bit tougher to get setup, but holds the dome down.

Offline SonnyK

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2016, 08:59:07 PM »
^^ Only issue I see with this is ability to clean adequately.  Mine has silicone tubing and while it is flexible.. It allows me to scrub everything beneath the false bottom before and after brewday.

Depending on your budget: you may want to invest in a Rubbermaid Cooler design with Spigot (you could always drill + attach yourself) and False Bottom.  I believe they are ~$150.

Offline wv_brewer

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2016, 10:03:07 AM »
I use a domed false bottom from Morebeer which runs about $30 and then have a ss diptube that fits down through it.  However you will always have some dead space with a false bottom that you will need to adjust for.  Also, 2 or 3 gallons of strike water doesn't seem like nearly enough even setting aside the FB issue.  Seems like that would not account for grain absorption.

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Offline fmader

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2016, 02:38:17 PM »
2-3 gallons doesn't seem like nearly enough strike water. You'd only run off about a gallon of wort with that. FWIW, I use a total of 9 gallons of water on average for a 5.5 gallon batch. I mash in a cooler and have minimal dead space. Usually I'm around 6 - 6.5 gallon of mash water. The rest to sparge. Depends on the recipe. After grain absorption, hop loss, boil off, and kettle/tun loss, I end up with about 5.5 gallons into the fermenter. Which usually allows for me to get a full 5 gallons of finished beer into the keg.
Frank

Offline MrDonde

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2016, 03:35:58 PM »
2-3 gallons doesn't seem like nearly enough strike water. You'd only run off about a gallon of wort with that. FWIW, I use a total of 9 gallons of water on average for a 5.5 gallon batch. I mash in a cooler and have minimal dead space. Usually I'm around 6 - 6.5 gallon of mash water. The rest to sparge. Depends on the recipe. After grain absorption, hop loss, boil off, and kettle/tun loss, I end up with about 5.5 gallons into the fermenter. Which usually allows for me to get a full 5 gallons of finished beer into the keg.

I did my first brew this weekend and I am not sure it was super successful.

I was following the recipe to calculate my strike water. the calculations came out to about 4 1/2 gallons of strike water. I put in 6 since I cannot empty my keggles 100% due to the location of the valve.

I also followed the suggestion of adding extra water to the mash until it was below the false bottom. (3 gallons). I mashed for an hour, per the recipe, then sparged.

By the end of sparging I had a little under 6 gallons in boil keggle. I did the boil then chilled the wort and added it to my primary. I ended up with about 3.5 to 4 gallons of wort in my primary. Per the recipe I added water to get it to 5 gallons.

I checked on my primary this morning and found no activity. Along with the water issues I also incorrectly read the temperature for the mash, so instead of 150F I was close to 180F. Also the liquid yeast I used had be left out for a day, then put back in the fridge, and pulled back out this weekend when I brewed.

So not the ideal start to my all grain brewing experience but I am learning what not to do.
-Donde

Offline salcedo

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2016, 02:53:37 PM »
You might try replacing the false bottom with a bazooka screen.  As you probably know, mashing at 180F can't be good. But I'm always an optimist, so give it another day to see if you get yeast activity.

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Offline MrDonde

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2016, 04:11:54 PM »
You might try replacing the false bottom with a bazooka screen.  As you probably know, mashing at 180F can't be good. But I'm always an optimist, so give it another day to see if you get yeast activity.

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It is like 3 days now and still no activity, it seems like a lost cause. But live and learn.

As for the bazooka screen I have one keggle with one of those. I might give that shot with a future brew.
-Donde

Offline rblack90

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2016, 10:38:11 PM »
With 3 gallons of deadspace. Say you have a 13lb grain bill and you want to mash at 1.25qt\lb of grain. You would need 4.06 G of strike water. Add the 3 G and you're at a little over 7 G. Did you mash in at 180 or was that the temperature after you got all stirred in. You denature all enzymes at 172. If your mash was 180 then that would explain for no conversion and your lack of activity in your airlock.
 

Offline Sam G

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2016, 06:05:51 PM »
Two options to consider:
  • Replace the existing false bottom with a bazooka screen or smaller domed version FB
  • Remove the false bottom and make that keggle a HLT; then build out a cooler mash tun

Offline MrDonde

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Re: Using a Keggle
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2016, 08:05:50 PM »
With 3 gallons of deadspace. Say you have a 13lb grain bill and you want to mash at 1.25qt\lb of grain. You would need 4.06 G of strike water. Add the 3 G and you're at a little over 7 G. Did you mash in at 180 or was that the temperature after you got all stirred in. You denature all enzymes at 172. If your mash was 180 then that would explain for no conversion and your lack of activity in your airlock.

I did mash at 180F by mistake. Thankfully I installed thermometers in the my keggles so I should be able to avoid that in the future.
-Donde