I have been out of brewing for a while due to the arrival of a baby...he simply wouldn't give me the time last summer! However, it looks like I'll be able to get back into it right away and am sort of chomping at the bit to get started.
However, there are a few issues that I had the last time I brewed that I would love to have resolved.
1. I started using a 10 gallon Blichmann BoilerMaker the last 2 times I brewed and while it's a beautifully designed brewpot, I had a huge problem getting the wort out of the pot. I did not siphon...I tried to drain through the valve on the pot, and the dip tube that is supposed to allow a brewer to get the absolute most liquid out of the pot started to clog with trub, and I would lose up to a gallon of wort this way. Now, I feel a little silly for asking this, but I have a feeling my problem is with the whirlpool...could someone please explain this process to me? I know it seems an odd question for someone who has been brewing for a while, but before I used this particular pot, I never had a problem with losing wort to clogs. I have read that doing a proper whirlpool will aid in having the trub settle in the center of the pot, allowing for a complete drain. Any comments would be appreciated.
2. I am going to be upgrading my chiller and have money set aside for a Thermanator. However, it seems a little too good to be true to chill 10 gallons in 5 minutes, and I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't be pumping under-chilled wort into a glass carboy, causing it to shatter on me. Paranoid, maybe, but I figured it would be safer to ask than to just charge ahead.
3. Finally, no matter what pot I use, I have ALWAYS managed to boil off way too much. Very frequently, I end up with a 4 gallon batch after boiling 6 gallons for 1 hour. How vigorous should my boil be? Also, should I stop the boil early if I notice the volume decreasing too much?
Thanks for any input.