200L BM Modification

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200L BM Modification

Unread postby Stefan » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:43 am

Hi all,

So I am not sure how the smaller BM's work but I have been using the larger one for a few months now and will be trying out a two mods with my next brew. Really sorry for the dodgy paint art ;)

1) Reverse mash flow
The continuous recirculation in the BM is great for creating a nice filter bed in the grain and getting a lovely clear wort. Figure 1 shows the regular circulation in my BM, The problem with it (might be different in the smaller ones) is that as soon as you lift the malt pipe, the wort flows in the opposite direction and quite a lot of grain material etc... that you have carefully filtered falls out of the bottom and dirties the wort. My plan is to circulate from top to bottom during the mash instead of bottom to top. Hopefully this will set the filter in the correct direction for when I lift the malt pipe.

I will do this by lifting the malt pipe about an inch off of the bottom and then simply pumping the wort into the top of the malt pipe and allowing it to drain out of the bottom. This is illustrated in Figure 2. I have tried it without malt and it seems to work well. The speed of the pumps is very nicely and easily adjustable so I should be able to balance the flow easily.

Figure 1
Figure 1.jpg
Figure 1


Figure 2
Figure 2.jpg
Figure 2


2) Modified whirlpool
The 200L BM has an inlet with a 90 degree bend on the inside of the kettle. After the boil, this creates a great little whirlpool in the BM to help concentrate the trub into the centre and away from the outlet of the kettle to the pump. This works very well for the most part. My only issue is that it is right near the bottom of the kettle and although it creates a good whirlpool, if one connects a plate chiller and the temp of the incoming wort is very cool, it creates a cold layer at the bottom that doesn't mix with the top layer at all (some kind of inversion layer). To counter this, I have extended the 90 degree bend and pointed it upward slightly. This creates a better mix. I have tried it once or twice and it seems to work well, especially when using a plate chiller.

So that's all I have so far. If anyone is interested, let me know and I'll keep the post updated :)

Cheers,
Stefan
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Re: 200L BM Modification

Unread postby Oz11 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:03 am

My first thought is that by reversing the flow you'll compact the grain bed and get a stuck mash?
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Re: 200L BM Modification

Unread postby niels » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:52 am

Thanks for sharing, Stefan. It's nice to see some with a BIG BM sharing some experiences!

Oz11 wrote:My first thought is that by reversing the flow you'll compact the grain bed and get a stuck mash?

Wouldn't this be similar to a continuous sparge? It all depends on how hard you suck the wort through the filter bed, no?

On a side note: I would love to see some pictures from a brew day, Stefan. So if you find the time while handling your beast, could you snap some?

- Niels
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Re: 200L BM Modification

Unread postby bruulog » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:02 am

Stefan wrote:Hi all,

...My only issue is that it is right near the bottom of the kettle and although it creates a good whirlpool, if one connects a plate chiller and the temp of the incoming wort is very cool, it creates a cold layer at the bottom that doesn't mix with the top layer at all (some kind of inversion layer). To counter this, I have extended the 90 degree bend and pointed it upward slightly. This creates a better mix. I have tried it once or twice and it seems to work well, especially when using a plate chiller.

So that's all I have so far. If anyone is interested, let me know and I'll keep the post updated :)

Cheers,
Stefan


I only have a 50 l but fail to understand, why you pump cooled wort back to your boiler and not to fermenter.
I whirlpool hot wort, let it sit few minutes and then pup it to fermenter via CF cooler.
I end up with 19 C clear wort and this is OK for the yeast I use.
I make my own copper/ss chillers (immersion) - 20l & 50l and counterflow (cfc)
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Re: 200L BM Modification

Unread postby Oz11 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:14 am

niels wrote:Thanks for sharing, Stefan. It's nice to see some with a BIG BM sharing some experiences!

Oz11 wrote:My first thought is that by reversing the flow you'll compact the grain bed and get a stuck mash?

Wouldn't this be similar to a continuous sparge? It all depends on how hard you suck the wort through the filter bed, no?


- Niels


True enough, but our sparge arm just sprinkles onto the top of the mash so as not to disturb it, I think if you start pumping through the mash it will compact the bottom, and using pump breaks isn't going to prevent that as far as I can see.... be interesting to see the results though.
FV: Northdown/EKG Bitter
Cond: Oatmeal Stout
On MiniKeg: Boadicea Bitter, Single Hop Boadicea, Dogbolter, US Amber
Bottled: Triple Stout, English Wheat Beer, Salem Porter, Triple Stout '15, JHB, Exmoor Gold, APA, Foundryman's Gold, Whitbread 1905 XK, US IPA, Irish Stout, SNPA, Autumn Mild, US Stout, Summit IPA, Milk Stout, Jaipur, 1930's Courage Stout

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Re: 200L BM Modification

Unread postby bruulog » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:01 pm

I will do this by lifting the malt pipe about an inch off of the bottom

There will be no sucking. If lifted malt pipe is surrounded by wort, the flow rate will be painfully slow.
I lift our malt pipe out so it's almost out of the wort, run the wort through and then sparge with equal amount of water to malts ( X kg of malts gets X litres of water)
I make my own copper/ss chillers (immersion) - 20l & 50l and counterflow (cfc)
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Re: 200L BM Modification

Unread postby Dan » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:59 pm

I believe the wort will still run over the top of the malt pipe.
You may need to create a complete seal across the top so the wort is forced down through the grain bed.
I'd love to see some video footage if you have the time
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Re: 200L BM Modification

Unread postby bruulog » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:38 am

Dan wrote:I believe the wort will still run over the top of the malt pipe.
You may need to create a complete seal across the top so the wort is forced down through the grain bed.
I'd love to see some video footage if you have the time


This probably guarantees stuck mash. Gravity and pressure from the liquid will work against you.

I think this "do not disturb grain bed" hysteria is coming from square cooler box mash dun users.
Large mash duns have plough like blades that rotate around the centre. Get yourself a nice stainless steel mixing paddle and go for it.
In a tall (proportionally) mash pipe like BM have, you can use mixing paddle to move stuff around and you will be fine.

Malt pipe and kettle behave like "communicating vessels" when you start lifting the malt pipe out and pump wort or water in from the top of the malt pipe. Experiment to find the best speed for pump and how high you need to lift the malt pipe.
I am sure that 50 and 200 behave differently because of the weight of the grain (hence the compression of the grain bed).
I make my own copper/ss chillers (immersion) - 20l & 50l and counterflow (cfc)
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