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Upcoming brewery upgrade: new mash tun


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#21 Mando

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 05:09 AM

Brief update: not impressed so far.

Tried attaching the ball valve and hose barb; both only went on a couple of turns before they wouldn't turn any further, but were not fully attached/seated. Makes me think the threading is off.

Tried to find a customer svc phone number, but apparently SS Brewtech doesn't have one, and the only real way to contact them is by email.

Not a good first impression at all. Will likely end up returning this mash tun and stick with the cooler i've been using.

 

did you put teflon tape on the threads?


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#22 Bklmt2000

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 03:15 PM

Another brief update (been offline for a week, save for a little intermittent browsing on our iPad.  Finally got our office and my computer put back together this morning, as everything was packed away during our flooring renovation):

 

After my last post, and to Morty's post above, I did deploy some plumber's tape on the threads of the ball valve and barb, hooked everything up (did get an extra turn or more for both the ball valve and barb, I'm assuming due to the plumber's tape; both seemed pretty stable), and did an overnight leak test w/ room-temp water.

 

Next morning, no leaks.  Cool.  Then, I did a several-hour long leak test w/ 120° water (the hottest our water heater is programmed to heat to).  The verdict?  No leaks.  Also cool.

 

I'm hoping to get a pre-Turkey Day brew session in, hopefully on Wednesday, and take a dive off the deep end and see if this thing will leak or not at mash temps.

 

I plan on pre-heating the thing w/ 170° water, let it sit 10-15 minutes, and see if any leaks develop.  If not, I think it's worth a chance to put this tun through its paces and see how it does. 

 

If any leaks develop prior to mashin, brewday will be aborted and I will exhaust all options w/ SS Brewtech to get this resolved.

 

Here goes nothing.


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#23 Bklmt2000

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 09:21 AM

After-action report: no leaks.

 

However, I'm not really digging this mash tun after all.  It was pretty much impossible to get clear wort; used the same crush/recipe/etc. that always worked well in my cooler MLT. 

 

Resorted to using a ultra-fine mesh bag over the end of the drain hose to collect the grain bits that got past the false bottom.  The wort did seem relatively clear going into the primary, which I think is mostly due to using 2 paint strainer bags in my Ale Pail primary to filter out the hops, trub, etc.

 

Might give it another try in the future, but for now, I think I wasted $400 bucks on a mashtun that looks nice but is more of a hassle to deal with than it's worth.


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#24 zymot

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Posted 28 November 2019 - 11:23 AM

In theory, they do everything right. I get a clear runoff with a bazooka that is a moderate wire screen mesh. That sets up the mash it makes an effective filter. Maybe if you lined the bottom with some stainless steel screen that would duplicate a bazooka.

 

Even if it works, it still sucks. You pay four bills for specialized equipment and you are considering using a band aid. Let the manufacturer know of your disappointment.


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#25 Bklmt2000

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 02:28 PM

A likely solution has presented itself: a 200-micron nylon mesh brewing bag from brewinabag.com.

 

Did some research earlier, and stumbled onto an article at brulosophy.com, where the author had the same issue I did with grain getting past the false bottom, so he sprung for the same bag that I just bought.  Article said that this brewing bag lining the tun, before adding strike water and grain, immediately solved the false-bottom/grain bit issue, and also made cleanup a lot easier (hoist bag out of tun, place in trash bag, and dump.  No scooping out grist by hand).

 

Talked to a guy at brewinabag.com (might've been the owner?) and he said if I ordered today, said bag would ship tomorrow and arrive around Tuesday next week.  Which would work out great if it does show up then, as I was hoping to get a follow-up brewday in next week.

 

Will report back once I get another brewday in and see how this brewing works out.


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#26 HVB

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 04:39 PM

A likely solution has presented itself: a 200-micron nylon mesh brewing bag from brewinabag.com.

 

Did some research earlier, and stumbled onto an article at brulosophy.com, where the author had the same issue I did with grain getting past the false bottom, so he sprung for the same bag that I just bought.  Article said that this brewing bag lining the tun, before adding strike water and grain, immediately solved the false-bottom/grain bit issue, and also made cleanup a lot easier (hoist bag out of tun, place in trash bag, and dump.  No scooping out grist by hand).

 

Talked to a guy at brewinabag.com (might've been the owner?) and he said if I ordered today, said bag would ship tomorrow and arrive around Tuesday next week.  Which would work out great if it does show up then, as I was hoping to get a follow-up brewday in next week.

 

Will report back once I get another brewday in and see how this brewing works out.

 

I have a false bottom now with my Spike MLT and I also had some grain passing by it.  I could see it in the sight glass on the exit of the RIMS.  I plan to use my old BIAB bag in the MLT to see it it stops the issue.  I have no doubt it will.


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#27 Mando

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 06:03 PM

I just let the grain bits fly into the kettle.  no problems yet!


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#28 HVB

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 06:58 PM

I just let the grain bits fly into the kettle. no problems yet!


In my case, I don't want them in my RIMS.
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#29 Bklmt2000

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 06:16 AM

In my case, I don't want them in my RIMS.

 

Similar here; when I used my now-defunct cooler/stainless braid setup, very little grain matter got past the stainless braid and I want to replicate that now.


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#30 Mando

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 04:37 PM

In my case, I don't want them in my RIMS.


My simple cave man ways don't allow me to understand such black magic :)
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#31 Stout_fan

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Posted 02 December 2019 - 02:03 PM

In my case, I don't want them in my RIMS.

I don't want them in my counterflow chiller!


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#32 Bklmt2000

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Posted 02 December 2019 - 02:47 PM

Another minor update: the brewbag I ordered arrived today, a day early.  Woot.

 

Will be breaking it in on Wednesday.  Seems pretty solid; appears to be made of the same material as the smaller, drawstring nylon mesh grain bags I occasionally use for keg-hopping w/ pellet hops.

 

Also fits the tun perfectly, with enough material left to lip over the rim of the tun, so I can secure it to the tun's handles w/ binder clips (brewbag seller owner's suggestion), so the bag won't move during mash-in, stirring in sparge water, etc.


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#33 Mando

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Posted 02 December 2019 - 03:39 PM

so I might be kind of weird in that I add my grain to my strike water and not the other way around.  since you can direct fire your tun do you just wing it a bit and plan to undershoot your initial mash temp and heat the mash up until you get there?  


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#34 Bklmt2000

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Posted 02 December 2019 - 03:52 PM

so I might be kind of weird in that I add my grain to my strike water and not the other way around.  since you can direct fire your tun do you just wing it a bit and plan to undershoot your initial mash temp and heat the mash up until you get there?  

 

Actually, my new tun has a big sticker on it warning against heating it.  So, it can't be direct-fired (NBD in my book).

 

And like you, I add my grain to my strike water (with my old and current setups, I preheat the tun by overheating the strike water a bit, and then mashing in once temps have leveled out).

 

For my first batch (13lb grain bill) I heated my strike water to ~170° (I took a SWAG on the temp), added to the tun, put on the lid, and let sit 10 minutes (same basic approach as I took with my old tun, just heated the water a few more degrees since my new tun is stainless steel).  Once mashed in, I hit 151° (my target temp) on the nose, according to my Thermapen.  Cool.

 

I'll do the same on Wednesday and see if I can replicate my efforts.


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#35 Mando

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Posted 02 December 2019 - 05:02 PM

sorry - I'm really whiffing lately.  very distracted.  I remember now that's an insulated mash tun right?  makes sense no direct heating!


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#36 Bklmt2000

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Posted Yesterday, 07:53 PM

Brewed yesterday what will in all likelihood be my last batch with this mashtun.  Three batches total brewed on this mashtun, and it's just not worth the hassle.

 

Even with the brewbag I purchased, far too much grain bits/debris gets past the false bottom, and I'm done dickering around with this thing.  The hype about not loosing temps during the mash, due to a silicone gasket on the lid, is just that - hype.  This thing loses heat faster than my old cooler tun.  (And yes, I did pre-heat it; it just doesn't work as well as advertised).

 

Going to my trusty cooler/stainless braid setup starting with my next batch next week.  Sucks I wasted almost $500 on this venture b/w the tun and brewbag, but nothing I can do now.  I'm stuck with a tun I don't want to use anymore but can't return.  Might sell it someday and let it become someone else's problem. 

 

Bottom line - don't waste your money on SS Brewtech.  Lot of hype, but for what it is, it's way overpriced frustration. 


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#37 Stout_fan

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Posted Yesterday, 08:13 PM

Seems like if you installed a RIMS system that would help establish the grain bed. With the amount of grain you have in the runoff I'd suggest a Blichmann Riptide for its rapid teardown.. But That's another 2 Benjamins. :o


Edited by Stout_fan, Yesterday, 08:14 PM.

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