Author Topic: Beat down on a brew day  (Read 1528 times)

Offline Werks21

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Beat down on a brew day
« on: October 11, 2016, 02:10:24 AM »
Sunday was a brutal brew day for me. I spent almost 8 hours brewing a ten gallon batch. I had the brewhouse set up the night before and there was significant cleaning left when I walked away. It was my first brew day on my  newly assembled 2 tier/single pump Direct fire rims system. (Previously brewed extract and BIAB only) I missed my mash temp by a mile on the low end, Recircing to bring up the temp took forever and resuted in a large over shoot (temp rose when stirred). I probably spent a little more than half the mash time within a degree of the mash temp. there were other problems and mistakes as well. All in all the beer is brewed and will probably be just fine, but I have a lot of improvements to make and a few questions to have answered. Here are a few things. Feel free to take on any or all.

Mash in:   I had my mash water in my tun preheated because I can do that kind of thing with a direct fire mash tun. I couldn’t find a calculator that provided me with a grain only strike temperature so I had to best guess it based on different calculators I found for Strike water. As stated above. The best guess didn’t pan out

Maintaining Mash temp:    I have only one thermometer which is in the side of the tun (15 gal sanke) and it doesn’t indicate well for recirc. I have to stir to check temp as I discovered. I know that those with automated electric RIMS use the out flow of the tun as the mash temp, but they cycle on and off in milli seconds which apparently works great buy I don’t know If that will work because I need to long cycle, plus I just spent a bunch of money to put this thing together….

Sparge speed:      Im having a hard time getting a slow flow from the Chugger pump. It seems that the pump will not stay coupled at lower flow rates. This led me to sparge way faster than I probably should have. Because I just took that as low flow and set my drain speed to match. I realized it was going fast about halfway through but just let it go because I figured I could make up some time which I did, and hit my targets well enough thought I known that does not make it right/ideal.

Mash PH:       Used Brew’n water and was way off. Targeted 5.35 I think… got 6.34 and had to add acid. No Idea what happened here… accurate measuring scale and PH meter and pretty sure I measured all additions accurately and set the program up well.
         

Im going to make some changes before next brew day with batch sparge being one of them. I can drain at  full throttle without issue so I figure it’s an easy way to get around the flow rate issue and simplify/speed the brew day. Heck I may even look into no sparge. I can always try fly sparging again in the future if I feel so inclined.

Current system is X3 stainless 15gallon vessels. MLT is direct fired RIMS and is raised. Pump into MLT gravity out. Batch brewed was 10 gallons of 1.045 ish wort split to boil 5 gallons each in different Kettles. Pump is new chugger/standard Impeller, system connections are all 1½ Tri clamp with ½ “ hose barbs and ½ “ Sil tubing.

Grain bill was 15 lbs Marris otter and 1.5 lbs crystal 75.
Jonathan W.
Snohomish WA

Offline wmsouthworth

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2016, 08:37:41 AM »
My brew days almost always take a full work day, when you add everything up. A new system in my experience take time to get use to. I cook for a living, and anytime I enter a new kitchen I know I have to adapt to a new environment and equipment. Give yourself some time and you will be cranking out brews with ease on your new system. I know I'm not giving you a specific answer to your questions, but I know more advanced brewers will be along  to help you.

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2016, 11:15:27 AM »
As far as the grain strike, I use beersmiths infusion temp tool.  It seems to hit it right on, if you have a RIMS set-up how is your heat regulated? Manually? If so the pronged thermometers need calibrated from time to time.  A high quality thermocouple is an investment, but a lifetime investment. Or invest in a heat regulator, that has a in line T probe thermostat and it will keep your coldest temp at a +/-1F of your target.  It's also a bigger investment, but much like a mill can make all the difference in your final product.  And if you can put a ball valve on each side of your pump you can help slow things up.  Open them up all the way, turn your pump on, slowly turn your flow in down and flow out down little by little until you see the flow you want in your recirculation.  That should be the same speed as your sparging I believe.

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Offline narvin

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2016, 12:49:06 PM »
Are you throttling at the output of the pump?  That's where you should be limiting the flow, not the input.

A mash pH of 6.34 seems impossible unless you were adding something like pickling lime.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2016, 01:27:54 PM »
Exactly! 6.34 is not possible unless the tap water was hugely alkaline or an alkaline salt was added. Sounds like a measurement error.

If your pump decouples when the output valve is closed, the pump is defective. There should be no reason that this should decouple the magnets.

You should measure the temperature of your wort at a point as close as possible downstream of the heat input. That provides the best feedback for the PID.
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Offline zwiller

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2016, 02:21:38 PM »
Give yourself some time and you will be cranking out brews with ease on your new system.

+1000.  I seem to recall other brewers just running water in the system or doing smaller scale batches to try and dial things in.  From watching other posts, it might even require modification of the system to do this. 
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Offline natebriscoe

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2016, 02:36:28 PM »
The rims probe needs to be output flow (I like it right at the kettle valve). I use the hysteresis control instead of pid for my direct rims, stops the short cycling problem. I can ramp from  acid rest to Sach rest in less than 30min, check your flowers rate.

Offline natebriscoe

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2016, 02:40:13 PM »
Also remember most of your enzymes are in the liquid not the malt. Liquid temp is more important than malt temp.

Offline Stevie

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2016, 03:08:13 PM »
Also remember most of your enzymes are in the liquid not the malt. Liquid temp is more important than malt temp.
My mind was blown the first time I heard this. It really makes so much sense when you think about it.

Offline natebriscoe

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2016, 03:10:40 PM »
Also remember most of your enzymes are in the liquid not the malt. Liquid temp is more important than malt temp.
My mind was blown the first time I heard this. It really makes so much sense when you think about it.
No kidding. Years back when I built my direct rims, I learned that the hard way.

Offline Werks21

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2016, 05:12:07 PM »
Thanks for all the replys, I do believe that I will grow into the system but there is some work to be done too. My pump is throttled at the output with a 5/8 ID ball valve. And thinking about it I dont know that the pump decouples fully but flow rapidly falls off to nothing or next to nothing at a certain point. I am brand new to pumps less my reading up of forums so its hard to say. I will pay attention to noise next time. It peformed the same with mash recirc and clean water though..
And I AM USING PICKLING LIME! My water is very soft. I dont know how to post photos here yet so no screen shot of Brew'n water but the adjustment and summary page look good. As much as I believe that I measured perfectly, I have made a mistake or two in the past so who knows. I will add half as much next time and see what happens.
Oh and my rims is not automated. I use a PIC (Person In Charge) instead of a PID lol... not working out so great though. Actually all of the replies about RIM's T-couples and PID modes lead me to believe that RIM's is automated by design/default, and that fact has alluded me. Or did I give that impression by comparing electric automation?
electric automation is where I would like to be for the whole system but that is some serious money for what I want though. Maybe one day...
Jonathan W.
Snohomish WA

Offline natebriscoe

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2016, 05:36:22 PM »
Possible your pump is cavitating?  Picking up air at a connection somewhere? Or the wort boiling under the false bottom?

Offline Werks21

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2016, 06:01:48 PM »
Well my connections are all TC with otiker clamps so not likely at connections but I did not check for air in the supply hose. I will add it to my list of things to investigate.
Jonathan W.
Snohomish WA

Offline narvin

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2016, 02:30:40 AM »
It seems unlikely that you'd need pickling lime for any pale beer.  Base malt is going to give you a pH of 5.6-5.8.  Double check your spreadsheet calculations and don't overdo any adjustments just to try to match a water profile.  Many of them are decarbonated (Alkalinity reduced) before use.
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Offline Werks21

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Re: Beat down on a brew day
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2016, 03:39:47 AM »
I will double check but I did have to add pickling lime to get my PH where I wanted it to be. (originally) Maybe because of the use of other additives?? I had to play around and add a cocktail of things to get a match for the pale ale profile because my water is so void of minerals.
Jonathan W.
Snohomish WA