Couple of Questions before I Buy

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Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby HLA91 » Mon May 26, 2014 7:18 pm

Hi All,

I am on the road to buying a 20L BM but I just had one or two questions before I invest.
My first question was reliability, but reading through the forum the support from speidel sounds 5* should anything go wrong.
Second question, what is the minimum brew-length safely possible in the 20L BM? Only reason I am asking is I fancy making a few beers I have seen in my books but don't want to go all out making 23L only to find out I don't like it. Could I say do a 10-12L (Final volume) batch as a trial?

Third and last question is water volumes, due to the BM producing a "gentle" boil can anyone tell me what the maths are to work out how much initial liquor I would need, based on desired final volume, and what grain to Water ratio is the norm in the BM? (I don't intend on sparging, not initially anyway, just to help the maths)

Thanks

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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby Dicko » Mon May 26, 2014 9:25 pm

Hi HLA91, welcome here.

The smallest brew that you may achieve on a 20 litre BM is around 17 litres due to the amount of water needed to cover the element during the sparge process.
You could make your wort in the normal way and then draw off the extra volume and use it for yeast starters before the boil. Then just boil the remainder to achieve your required volume.
You could freeze this starter wort in Pet bottles and thaw and boil and dilute as required.

Boil off does vary slightly from different owners however a set of figures for a close start on a 20 BM are;

60 minute boil = 3.20 litres
80 minute boil = 4.26 litres
90 minute boil = 4.80 litres

If you choose these figures then adjust from your own results.

I hope this helps
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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby Nesto » Mon May 26, 2014 9:40 pm

On this and other forums, I've read brewers who have been brewing on their BMs for years now. There were some early reports of damage during shipping, but Speidel addressed those well IMO and have seemed to fix how they package for shipment now - haven't read about many problems recently.

There have been some issues with the pump impeller blade getting damaged from grain getting into the pump. Speidel has also addressed these issues well. And some of those issues are user generated - some users don't clean their pumps after each use. It's easy and recommended. Some users got worried by seeing a portion of the impeller blade shaved off and thought the impeller was broken. Turns out this is normal in the pump to balance the impeller blade.

I haven't tested minimum water amount, but I have seen reports from 16-20 liters. It will depend on how much grain you use. More grain will allow less water volume, but might also lead to mash issues - lower efficiency, maybe a stuck mash.

Boil off: I use the Speidel insulating jacket and have a fairly consistent boil off rate of 3.8 liters per hour. From other users here, that rate is affected by using insulation (there are some DIYs for that), but use of a hood or other lid DIY does not seem to affect the rate, but will affect the vigorousness of the boil.
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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby niels » Tue May 27, 2014 7:37 am

Dicko wrote:You could make your wort in the normal way and then draw off the extra volume and use it for yeast starters before the boil. Then just boil the remainder to achieve your required volume.

You could also consider of doing split batches. Split the resulting wort in 2 and pitch them with different yeasts. This way you have two different beers out of one brew. When one isn't your thing the other could still be awesome ;)

Nesto wrote:Boil off: I use the Speidel insulating jacket and have a fairly consistent boil off rate of 3.8 liters per hour. From other users here, that rate is affected by using insulation (there are some DIYs for that), but use of a hood or other lid DIY does not seem to affect the rate, but will affect the vigorousness of the boil.

You also need to consider the environment temperature. If you brew in the winter in a garage it will be a little more difficult to maintain a vigorous boil while in the summer this is no problem at all. But as with every type of installation you'll have to do a few brews to dial in the numbers.

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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby HLA91 » Tue May 27, 2014 10:24 am

Splitting batches is a good idea, although SWMBO has said that should a beer not be to my liking, I have my Brother and Father who will most likely drink it so nothing should go to waste.
What about an upper seal to stop grain escaping and blocking the pump? Is it necessary, or just a belt and braces idea?
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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby niels » Tue May 27, 2014 10:30 am

HLA91 wrote:What about an upper seal to stop grain escaping and blocking the pump? Is it necessary, or just a belt and braces idea?

I don't see the need for the upper seal. The newer Braumeisters come with a fine stainless steel mesh that you put on top/under the bottom/top plates and this combo doesn't let any noticeable grains through. The few grains that I might see are the ones that I spilled by accident when filling the malt pipe.

The BM is designed to work in it's stock appearance and it performs very well. The few alterations people do are mostly because of personal reasons. I would suggest brewing stock at least once or twice before thinking about "pimping" your BM. It's bling-factor is already very high straight out of the box ;)

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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby HLA91 » Wed May 28, 2014 10:31 am

Well I am no longer a potential owner, I am now a Proud Owner, my BM arrived this morning. Such a shame I can't use it until the 8th June :( .
The only reason I was asking about an extra seal was that I have read reports of occasionally grain slipping through the side of the top mesh & filter and blocking the pump.
Obviously the risk factor is low, but should that happen what are the procedures to clear the pump whilst the BM is mid-way through a brew day?
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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby Cervantes » Wed May 28, 2014 11:56 am

I don't have the top seal and the only times that I've had grain anywhere but the malt pipe is when I've been clumsy and spilt it.

I think that this may have been an issue with the older models before the introduction of the steel mesh filter.

I'd second Niels' recommendation of brewing with the BM as it comes out of the box before starting to add to it.

There is a section here on modifications and some are very handy, but by no means necessary to produce good beer.
Cheers :cheers:
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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby HLA91 » Sat May 31, 2014 8:04 pm

Hey all,

My BM arrived and tonight was the first chance I actually had to have a quick look and give it a flush through. It heats fine and the pump seems fine (so quiet it's spooky) but if there is no grain in the malt pipe should the pump pump water over the top like normal or is it displacement that helps it along normally?
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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby Cervantes » Sat May 31, 2014 9:58 pm

I'm 90% sure that the pump should pump water over the top of the malt pipe even without grain in there.

I can't check for you as I'm at work.

It doesn't rush over though. It's a very gentle spill over the top.

If anything I'd imagine that it flow faster without grain as there is less of a restriction to the flow. Less back pressure if you like.

Try turning your pump on and off a few times at 30 second intervals. This will purge any air from the pump. Air in the pump will stop it working properly.
Cheers :cheers:
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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby HLA91 » Sat May 31, 2014 10:10 pm

It was about 6 inches from the top and I purged the pump, but I then only just realised I had forgotten to use the butterfly nut to hold the bar down, thus preventing a seal from forming. And there was me like an idiot going "why is the inner and outer water level the same hmmmm"
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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby Dicko » Sat May 31, 2014 10:13 pm

Another thing to check is that the small knob or dial on the body of the pump has not turned as this will reduce the flow.
When I got my BM this dial was sealed with a red wax type seal but I must have bumped it when cleaning and I had inadvertently reduced the pressure without me knowing and I thought I had a stuck sparge as the flow was extremely slow.
I turned it back to full position and it worked fine.
Speidel say in their instructions to leave this setting alone so I don't know why they provide adjustment on the pump. :roll:
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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby Nesto » Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:25 am

HLA91 wrote:It was about 6 inches from the top and I purged the pump, but I then only just realised I had forgotten to use the butterfly nut to hold the bar down, thus preventing a seal from forming. And there was me like an idiot going "why is the inner and outer water level the same hmmmm"


I did the same thing early on. Was freaking out thinking I had broken my system! Then I realized the same thing you did. Make sure to tighten down that wing nut!
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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby Cervantes » Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:43 am

HLA91 wrote:It was about 6 inches from the top and I purged the pump, but I then only just realised I had forgotten to use the butterfly nut to hold the bar down, thus preventing a seal from forming. And there was me like an idiot going "why is the inner and outer water level the same hmmmm"


Don't feel too bad. If you haven't made a few mistakes here and there then you haven't done much.

My worst disaster to date, was forgetting to put the bottom filter plate in the malt pipe................

I salvaged the brew but it was a pain in the arse. :oops:
Cheers :cheers:
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Re: Couple of Questions before I Buy

Unread postby Cervantes » Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:48 am

Dicko wrote:Another thing to check is that the small knob or dial on the body of the pump has not turned as this will reduce the flow.


Last time I brewed I looked for this dial, but don't seem to have one on my pump.
Cheers :cheers:
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