Author Topic: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...  (Read 1726 times)

Offline enso

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Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« on: April 14, 2011, 08:24:28 AM »
dang it!

I invest in a kettle valve (no weld) to make my life easier.  Has it?  Hell no!  >:(

What I have:  A converted sanke keg.  Stainless ball lock weldless, from bargain fittings.  My pickup tube is 1/2" soft copper soldered to a copper male npt fitting which is screwed into the stainless coupling.  The pickup is bent down to the center of the kettle bottom.  I usually stuff a stainless scrubby under it to do some coarse filtering.

What happens:
Sometimes it drains okay, sometimes not.  There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason.  It can not flow when there is only a 5 gallon batch or a ten gallon.  It might flow fine with a lot of hops and not at all with a malty low hopped beer.  Generally I end up scooping or using my auto siphon.

What I have done to fix it so far:
I have tried a longer piece of hose attached to the hose barb on the outside of the kettle to lower the outlet of the liquid.  I have tried it with and without the venturi device on the end of the vinyl hose outlet.  I have resoldered the pickup connection, it seems solid.  I have used teflon tape on the threads.  I attempted to bend the tube even closer to the bottom.  I have used a large hop bag (5 gallon paint strainer suspended in the kettle.

I just bought a new piece of soft copper tubing and am going to try to redo it in hopes of a better outcome.  I was thinking perhaps I should position the diptube to the side instead of the bottom.  Any idea here folks or did I waste my money and time on a drain and just g back to the old autosiphon.  Which by the way could be hit or miss also!

If I left out any crucial info let me know.  I can try and take pictures at some point to if that would help.  I just want to be able to drain my beer int the fermenter without cursing the whole time.  Is that so much to ask!!!
Dave Brush

Offline hamiltont

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2011, 08:31:00 AM »
Without seeing your setup I can only think of 2 things.  Ditch the scrubby & raise the brew pot up higher.  Cheers!!!
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2011, 09:00:09 AM »
How munged up is the scrubby at the end of the batch?  Something is getting clogged obviously, maybe the answer is to move the tip further from the bottom, not closer.  And yeah, try it without the scrubby.  The 1/2" pipe should be plenty big, and you should have no problem getting flow.  The problem might be with the ball valve, have you tried doing it water-only?
Tom Schmidlin

Offline maxieboy

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2011, 09:05:34 AM »
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2011, 09:26:01 AM »
Your number 1 problem is locating your drain pickup at the center of the pot.  After whirlpooling, that is exactly where all the trub falls. 

Move the pickup to the periphery of the pot bottom and the scrubby won't get inundated with so much stuff. 
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2011, 09:47:25 AM »
Your number 1 problem is locating your drain pickup at the center of the pot.  After whirlpooling, that is exactly where all the trub falls. 

Move the pickup to the periphery of the pot bottom and the scrubby won't get inundated with so much stuff. 
^This is where the outlet of my kettle is located and I don't even use a scrubby.
I had an 8" sheet of stainless attached into the bottm of the kettle that keeps the trub away from it.  It is curved to follow the shape of the whirlpool if you can understand what that means.  Maybe I'll take a picture of it.
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Offline tallcall

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2011, 09:48:27 AM »
I have a converted keg with a weld-less fitting also but no pickup tube. I whirlpool and then drain once it finishes I tip the keggle and drain the last bits before the trub gets to the valve. Yes, you lose a little but thats for the beer gods.

Offline enso

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2011, 01:01:32 PM »
I will attempt to post some pictures later.  I went to do so only to discover the basement is flooding.   :o

Have to take care of that first.   ::)

To respond to a few suggestions.  Yes, I forgot to mention I have tried it without the scrubby.  Yes I have tried it with water only.  It worked one time and not another.  I have cleaned out the ball valve by running a dip tube type brush through it plus running a hose backward through it.  Looks clear.

I will get picks so you folks can help diagnose before I rebuild.
Dave Brush

Offline Kit B

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2011, 01:48:27 PM »
You have gremlins, in your brewpot...Plain & simple.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2011, 01:59:55 PM »
Or an air leak downstream.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline narvin

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2011, 02:24:50 PM »
Hop stopper!

Buy this, fold in half and dog ear both sides in one corner outward to fit your racking tube, and fold the edges over twice with a ruler and seal with the tap of a hammer.  No stainless thread needed to seal it up.

In a 20 gallon kettle:


« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 03:18:47 PM by narvin »
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2011, 02:58:18 PM »
I will attempt to post some pictures later.  I went to do so only to discover the basement is flooding.   :o

Have to take care of that first.   ::)

To respond to a few suggestions.  Yes, I forgot to mention I have tried it without the scrubby.  Yes I have tried it with water only.  It worked one time and not another.  I have cleaned out the ball valve by running a dip tube type brush through it plus running a hose backward through it.  Looks clear.

I will get picks so you folks can help diagnose before I rebuild.

Ahh how I miss springtime mud season in vermont. Hope you have a good sump pump!
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Offline Will's Swill

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2011, 05:02:38 PM »
OK, weird idea for you, but if this doesn't even work with water, are you vapor locked?  This happens to me when I already have fluid in my counter flow or pump and I try to drain hot water into them for cleaning.  Try rapping on the valve to get the air bubbles out of the line.
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Offline enso

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2011, 05:39:18 AM »

Ahh how I miss springtime mud season in vermont. Hope you have a good sump pump!

Ha!  Yup.  Landlord added a french drain in the back of the house last fall to "fix" this problem.  Working great so far.   ;)

Fortunately there is a working floor drain in the brew room where the leak is.  Soon as we finish buying the house from the landlord I will rip the carpet out that is covering it!!!
Dave Brush

Offline enso

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Re: Got them boil kettle pickup blues again...
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2011, 06:30:20 AM »
Okay here tis'.







Also needed to clean 'er  out afore I took some photos...   ::)

Hope that is enough visual to pin point an issue.  I believe that is high enough above the carboy but perhaps not?
« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 06:32:54 AM by enso »
Dave Brush