Author Topic: I feel like a newbie all over again...  (Read 2465 times)

Offline Phil_M

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I feel like a newbie all over again...
« on: March 06, 2017, 01:47:30 AM »
So after being the exception that proves the rule, (I broke Denny's "cheap and easy" method) I bought a SS Brewtech 10 gallon mash tun.

Despite have brewed for several years now, today was my first time brewing on a system with a false bottom. I ended up having a terrible time getting my runoff to the point that it didn't have grain bits in it. In the end I managed to keep a most of it out of the kettle, but sill ended up with some grain particles. I'm not terribly worried, it'll still be beer.

The real issue is how to prevent this from happening again. After taking everything apart for cleaning, found that I'd pulled a large slug of particles out from under the false bottom. I'm not sure if I have the flow rate right when I started my vorlauf, and perhaps this is how so much got under there? How are other folks vorlaufing?

Aside from this the mash tun worked great! Even with my opening the lid 4 times to check the temperature I only lost a degree in a 60 minute mash. The only complaint I have is the included thermometer-it's completely useless. At one point it was reading 137o when my Thermapen was reporting 156o.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline Laminarman

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2017, 02:05:14 AM »
Never, every deny the Thermapen.  I can't help with the SS, you are way more advanced than me.  But if I'm grilling a venison tenderloin on the grill, and the Thermapen says 125, it's 125.  They are just awesome. 

Offline Phil_M

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2017, 02:08:08 AM »
Never, every deny the Thermapen.  I can't help with the SS, you are way more advanced than me.  But if I'm grilling a venison tenderloin on the grill, and the Thermapen says 125, it's 125.  They are just awesome.

The Thermapen is probably the best cooking investment I've made. Barbecue, brewing, heck even just throwing some chicken in the oven, my wife and I use it daily. We're considering buying a second...
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline Alewyfe

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2017, 06:53:26 AM »
Pull very slowly until you're running sufficiently clear wort. Any false bottom has a lot larger holes than a wire braid.
Regarding the thermometer, yes the thermapens are accurate, but they don't take a reading half way down the tun and the temp will vary substantially at different depths until the temp equalizes. That said, most analog bimetal thermometers need to be calibrated and take a much longer time to stabilize their reading.

Those SS Tuns look really nice...sounds like it will work well for you.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2017, 03:05:05 PM »
After you have properly recirculated (if you choose to do so) you could stop the runoff, and put your drainage hose into a fine mesh hop sack clamped tight with a worm clamp. This will clear wort into your kettle and keep all of the extra crap inside the bag out of your precious wort. I have been doing this for years and it works well.

Just some extra insurance to potentially avoid any husky/astringent notes from grain particulates in the boil.

Offline narcout

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2017, 04:58:23 PM »
After you have properly recirculated (if you choose to do so) you could stop the runoff, and put your drainage hose into a fine mesh hop sack clamped tight with a worm clamp.

That's what I was going to suggest as well.  It works.

Alternatively, you could line the tun with one of these: http://www.brewinabag.com/collections/frontpage/products/the-brew-bag-for-coolers?gclid=CM655rqswtICFU5gfgodUqoNrw
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2017, 05:18:53 PM »
Part of why I got out of BIAB is cleaning is a pain. With the cooler, and now that mash tun, I can just lay them next to the sink and rinse them out. Might even just start putting the false bottom in the dishwasher...

Before I took any readings with the thermapen I gave the mash a good stir. This should have equalized the temperatures. The thermometer that comes with the mash tun is digital, I've no idea why it was so far off.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline 802Chris

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2017, 05:55:13 PM »
Part of why I got out of BIAB is cleaning is a pain. With the cooler, and now that mash tun, I can just lay them next to the sink and rinse them out. Might even just start putting the false bottom in the dishwasher...

Before I took any readings with the thermapen I gave the mash a good stir. This should have equalized the temperatures. The thermometer that comes with the mash tun is digital, I've no idea why it was so far off.

It's interesting you say that. I just switched from a stainless braid to a brew bag for my cooler and I found it easier to clean, at least for me. I like dumping the bag in the trash and just spaying it and the cooler down before dying. No having to worry about grain getting stuck all over everything. To each his own of course!

Also, I would be surprised if the digital thermometer didn't have at least a basic way to calibrate it? Maybe the manufacturer could shed some light. There's nothing more frustrating than finding out your temps are way off.

Offline Phil_M

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2017, 08:37:50 PM »
That's just it, the included thermometer can't be adjusted, or at least I don't know how to. The direction did not include any sort of calibration method, and upon inspection of the thermometer there's no apparent way to calibrate it. Definitely the Achilles heal for what otherwise a very nice piece of gear.

For those with good (Blichmann or other higher end) analog thermometers, how accurate are they? I'm not talking Thermapen accuracy, just want to be within a degree or two.

And going back to the original question, I guess I must have run things wide open at first. Next time around I'll go easy till the grain bed has set.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline narcout

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2017, 08:57:43 PM »
I really like that company (good products, excellent customer service), but those included digital thermometers are the exception. 

For those with good (Blichmann or other higher end) analog thermometers, how accurate are they? I'm not talking Thermapen accuracy, just want to be within a degree or two.

I have two of the Blichmann weldless thermometers, and I think they would work fine for your purposes.  Honestly, though, why even bother?  I would just take readings at the beginning and the end of the mash with the Thermapen and call it a day.   
It's too close to home
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2017, 09:05:46 PM »
Because a part of me is bothered by the thermowell being there if I'm not going to use it? Honestly they should just offer a version that's fully insulated vs. having a small uninsulated area for the thermowell hole.

That being said, I'm slow and didn't know (or knew and forgot) that Blichmann's remote thermometers were selling now. That's probably the route I'll go.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline syncopadence

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2017, 10:00:06 PM »
I also have the 10 gal ss brewtech mash tun. I haven't had this problem, but I will say I usually have the valve about halfway open when doing my vorlauf.

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Offline Phil_M

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2017, 11:20:47 PM »
I also have the 10 gal ss brewtech mash tun. I haven't had this problem, but I will say I usually have the valve about halfway open when doing my vorlauf.

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Do you mill your own grains? What's your mill's gap set to?
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline syncopadence

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2017, 01:02:14 AM »
I also have the 10 gal ss brewtech mash tun. I haven't had this problem, but I will say I usually have the valve about halfway open when doing my vorlauf.

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Do you mill your own grains? What's your mill's gap set to?
I do not, I just let my local hbs do it, and I don't know what they set it to. Something I want to find out now. Assuming you're milling properly, maybe just try vorlaufing slower. How open is your valve?

Offline Phil_M

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Re: I feel like a newbie all over again...
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2017, 01:10:23 AM »
I went wide open to start, just as I did with my old "cheap and easy" setup. From what I've learned here, this isn't the right approach with a false bottom...

The mill questions were more related to how tight is possible before stuck sparges happen.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.