Saturday, July 16, 2011

Maiden Voyage Results

The maiden voyage brew session was successful but with a couple minor glitches to correct. I had cavitation issues with the pumps but managed to get them primed. Overall the session went real smoothly and my brew buddie JD was on hand to help out. Since then I have changes a couple of things with the brewery's plumbing configuration and installed the Blichmann easy connectors on both pump's suction lines. I also re-installed the drainage plumbing to be on the pumps out going side and added a HLT above the mash tun to hold hot liquor for the sparge. I guess you can say that I now do a modified batch-fly sparge using 3 vessels.

Using the 30 plate heat exchanger instead of an installed coil for the HERMS system was a huge improvement on performance and it serves double duty during the wort chilling process as well.

I have since brewed on the system 5 times and it is performing very well. It is real easy to use and the results have been better that I anticipated! Seems that the quality of the beer has improved quite a bit too! Yayyy!

Below are a few pics of the brewery as it stands now....but I already have a couple minor changes in mind which concerns the control panel and the SSR wiring....more on that later....!

Here's the reconfigured system in full operation performing the mash. The cooler is for storing sparge water when pumped to it from the boil kettle (on left)

Here's the control panel holding temperature at 151 degF

This is a shot of the home made sparge and liquor return arm.

The sparge arm in action returning the wort to the top of the mash.

Running off the wort into the boil kettle.

Wort coming up to a boil using 3 heatsticks.

While the wort is boiling, the mash tun is cleaned of spent grains and filled up with 60 lbs of ice and enough water to prime the pump and start the cooling process.

Here's where I had to change the plumbing for the pumps. The drainage system is very useful to purge hot or cold liquids. It also allows me to capture quite a bit of wort that gets trapped in the system. I can then return this wort to the boil kettle.

This is the output side of the chilling process after the boiling of the wort has been completed. This is a 1 pass operation and cools the wort from 200+ degrees F directly into the fermenter at the desired fermentation temperature. The temperature is controlled by either slowing down or speeding up the flow of the hot wort which is being pumped through the plate heat exchanger. The first time I used it, the wort was cooled too much (48 degF) and I had to wait for it to warm up to be able to pitch the yeast! I just added the thermometer so I can now regulate the exiting temperature of the wort. The entire cooling process takes 15 minutes from the boil kettle to the fermenter in 1 pass.

Well that's it for now as I have to go downstairs and bottle the Imperial Rye IPA and check up on the Belgian White that's now fermenting. My next session will be next week and we'll be doing a Hefeweizen complete with decoction.

I'll be posting more next week.....until then....

Keep Brewing!


Anonymous Mark said...

Can you explain in some detail exactly what you use and how you use it when cooling. I have a 30 plate chiller and get nowhere near as good an exchange as you're getting. Excited to hear how you do it. THANKS. Mark

9:27 PM  
Blogger wottaguy said...

Thanks for asking Mark...
Sorry I'm a bit late with the reply....but we're moving again!!

I empty the 11 gallon mash tun aof spent grains, then add about 4 inches of cold water to it and 60 lbs of ice cubes. When the boil is over and the heat has been stopped, I first recirculate the cold iced water thru the plate chiller (20 plate from duda deisel) for 5 minutes to get the chiller cold, then start pumping the hot wort thru the other side slowly into the better bottle fermenter(s). The temp is controlled via the output valve on the pump....that is....slow = colder/ verses faster = warmer.... If you want...when I get the brewery back into operation, I can do a video of the entire sequence and let you know when it is available...We have an ice house close by and it is very inexpensive....5.00/30 lbs....the fast cool down is very much worth it! Thanks for visiting....we're moving on Saturday....ugggg!!!! New design coming up!

Keep Brewing! (_)3

8:25 PM  

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