Brewzilla & Grain Bag

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martin1256

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I’m sure I’m not the only one who has issues with the grain interfering with the pump flow, therefore I’m considering using a grain bag next time. It should make the pump flow better & less mess to deal with by negating the pipe tube also. Anyone tried it & comments please.
 
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I sometimes batch sparge with a grain bag when I'm doing beers with higher percentage of Wheat,Rye or oats. I don't use the malt pipe just the bottom filter. I have my sparge water in a cool box. I pull the bag and rest on a grill over the brewzilla to drain first runnings. Then dunk the bag in the cool box for 10 mins and add the sparge wort to the brewzilla. Get good efficiency and less grain in the brewzilla. I did it for a while for all brews because it just eliminated stuck/slow sparges
 
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martin1256

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Many thanks, interesting idea about dunking the bag into a sparge container, I’ll try that along with the grain bag, cheers 🍻
 

hoppyscotty

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Seems an expensive route to buy a Brewzilla for a BIAB. Personally I seem don't seem to have issues with the pump blocking but I use the whirlpool arm every brew even if I'm not doing a Whirlpool/hopstand additions. I run the pump for the last few minutes of the boil and during cooling with the whirlpool arm and It gathers the majority of the hop matter into a nice cone in the centre of the false bottom with no issues with the pump blocking.

Its true some hop matter gets through the holes in the FB but not to any substantial amount that causes the pump to block. In fact I find the majority of the hop matter gets past the false bottom when you are nearing the end of the transfer to the fermenter as the wort level starts to drop to the level of the hop cone and some of the hops slide off the side of the hop cone as the wort washes them off and down the side of the false bottom as the sealing between the edge of the false bottom and the side of the vessel is not good with gaps of a couple of mm in places.

Again I've never had a blocked pump due to this but do get hop matter into the fermenter (not a major issue but would prefer for only clear wort to end up in the fermenter) and the matter that does get through blocking my plate chiller which is a shame because its a brilliant bit of kit.

I'm always trying to think of ways to seal the edge of the false bottom but have 't come up with anything yet. Think my next attempt will be to remove about 5mm or so from the edge of the false bottom to reduce its diameter and put some silicone tubing around the edge as a seal. Might even get some fine mesh like you have at the bottom of the malt pipe too but concerned the fine mesh will just clog.
 

martin1256

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Seems an expensive route to buy a Brewzilla for a BIAB. Personally I seem don't seem to have issues with the pump blocking but I use the whirlpool arm every brew even if I'm not doing a Whirlpool/hopstand additions. I run the pump for the last few minutes of the boil and during cooling with the whirlpool arm and It gathers the majority of the hop matter into a nice cone in the centre of the false bottom with no issues with the pump blocking.

Its true some hop matter gets through the holes in the FB but not to any substantial amount that causes the pump to block. In fact I find the majority of the hop matter gets past the false bottom when you are nearing the end of the transfer to the fermenter as the wort level starts to drop to the level of the hop cone and some of the hops slide off the side of the hop cone as the wort washes them off and down the side of the false bottom as the sealing between the edge of the false bottom and the side of the vessel is not good with gaps of a couple of mm in places.

Again I've never had a blocked pump due to this but do get hop matter into the fermenter (not a major issue but would prefer for only clear wort to end up in the fermenter) and the matter that does get through blocking my plate chiller which is a shame because its a brilliant bit of kit.

I'm always trying to think of ways to seal the edge of the false bottom but have 't come up with anything yet. Think my next attempt will be to remove about 5mm or so from the edge of the false bottom to reduce its diameter and put some silicone tubing around the edge as a seal. Might even get some fine mesh like you have at the bottom of the malt pipe too but concerned the fine mesh will just clog.

Hi, thanks for the info. I like to keep the pump running so as to keep a flow through the grain whilst it’s in the mash phase. I’ve seen the mesh on the Brewzilla web site, but as you say not sure of the hole size? Another option I guess is to get a muslin bag and put the bottom plate in it so as to make a fine filter and take up some of the gap around the edges? I tend to put hops in a muslin bag as they tend to turn to mush and can cause some issues at times (these are the pellet type).
 

hoppyscotty

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you're right, I'm not sure how fine a mesh you can get away with and the problem with the mesh at the bottom of the malt pipe is that the surface texture is quite rough due to it being made from wire mesh which I think catches the hop matter encouraging it to clog rather than being flushed off the surface. If it was made from a flat metal plate with fine holes or slots laser drilled then I think it would perform alot better and be less prone to clogging.

I'm not keen on running the pump all the way through the boil...I only turn it on for the last 5 mins or so with the whirlpool arm. I suspect running it through the boil might help to draw the hop matter through the FB and with more hop matter passing through the pump for the entire length of the boil you're just increasing the chances of it catching and forming a clog. Just my impression...I've never actually run the pump through the boil.
 

martin1256

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Yes I guess there really isn’t any point in using it during the boil, but I like to during the mash to try and improve the efficiency of it by keep flushing the grain with the malt to extract as much as possible or don’t you think it does?
 
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I did this for a while, but getting the grain bag out was cumbersome compared to using the malt pipe and efficiency didn't really change much. If you have a setup for pulling out and letting the bag drain it might be worth a try. I still had to reduce the flow of the pump a bit and had a burnt batch once before I figured it out.

I ended up widening the crush adjustment and seemed to help with the flow in the malt pipe.
 

martin1256

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Thanks, I guess using the pipe with a grain bag would work as you can pull it up the same? I buy grain kits at the moment as I’m still learning & I figured trying to device my own ( I want to do one day) is like predicting lottery balls trying to get the flavour you want? How does a batch burn, surely keeping it moving with the pump stops it sitting on the element & causing issues?
 
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Thanks, I guess using the pipe with a grain bag would work as you can pull it up the same? I buy grain kits at the moment as I’m still learning & I figured trying to device my own ( I want to do one day) is like predicting lottery balls trying to get the flavour you want? How does a batch burn, surely keeping it moving with the pump stops it sitting on the element & causing issues?
Scorching is due to a high mash wattage or to finer crush, the fine starch will settle over the element and scorch. While you can gain a little more efficiency it comes at a cost, better to get the crush right and use a little etra grain to lift efficiency. Also stir to keep the temperature even.
 

hoppyscotty

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You shouldn't be getting significant amounts of grain getting through the malt pipe bottom...you need to understand why you're getting so much through. Occasionally I've had grain crushed by the supplier that contains alot of flour and that has caused issues with stuck mashes but never a clogged pump. It is not unheard of for people to use a bag inside the malt pipe but if the bag itself becomes clogged with, say grain flour, then that could cause more tricky challenges when faced with a stuck mash. When I've had a stuck mash I've always managed to manage by stirring, but if the bag pours are clogged then you have no chance. I'd focus more on why it is grain is getting past the malt pipe bottom.

As an additional thought, if you are vigorously stirring while mashing in, especially at the beginning then the vortex created can partially lift the bottom screen. I've had that issue once and ever since have only ever gently stirred during mash in and avoided scraping the bottom of the malt pipe so as not to disturb the bottom screens.
 

martin1256

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Thanks for the scorching info. Yes I have thought about putting the bag in the pipe, thus solving the problem of lifting it out & draining/sparging. I’m thinking of sieving the grain first to remove the flour, I didn’t think it would have such an effect. I use grain kits at the moment as not the proficient or confident to buy some different grain types and device my own recipe.

What difference does it make to buy grain and crush it yourself?
 

Zorro

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I had problems with the pump blocking, I used @foxy suggestion for the helix coil with the attachment going into the pump. I usually have oats, wheat etc added so I think this was part of the reason why.

Never blocked since and works great. Although my tap blocked, when I just chucked the hops in, however now I just pump into the fermenter. However thinking about it, I'm not sure if the coil placement interfered with the tap flow.

US $8.90 | KegLand 1m Helix Coil and Tee (304 Stainless) - False Bottom Replacement for Mash, Lauter, Kettle HOMEBREW

US $1.25 | 8mm 10mm 12mm 14mm 15mm 16mm 20mm 25mm 32mm Hose Barb X 1/4" 3/8" 1/2" 3/4" 1" BSP Male 304 Stainless Steel Elbow Pipe Fitting

8mm X 1/2 then a small piece of silicone to hold it in place on the barb.

I use the pro plate on the malt pipe with a silicone gasket to stop the bottom plate moving. It will work on the normal one too

US $0.80 | Kegland U-Channel silicone Seal for Robobrew 35L Malt Pipe Screen

Use a Stanley knife to trim it as much as possible. Wet the pipe a little and it slides in ok.
 

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I tried this, and it didn't work, but I can't remember why I'm afraid.
Lol, shame.

My last brew was GH Corriander, lime and Ginger Beer. Must have crushed the seeds too fine and they passed through the false bottom screen. Blocked pump. I thought of lining the kettle with a bag first then adding the malt pipe. Will use the biab as a giant hop sock next time.
 
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Lol, shame.

My last brew was GH Corriander, lime and Ginger Beer. Must have crushed the seeds too fine and they passed through the false bottom screen. Blocked pump. I thought of lining the kettle with a bag first then adding the malt pipe. Will use the biab as a giant hop sock next time.
I must admit, I have done about 6 brews on my BZ, and have had pump blockages in half of them :(
 

private4587

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Seems an expensive route to buy a Brewzilla for a BIAB. Personally I seem don't seem to have issues with the pump blocking but I use the whirlpool arm every brew even if I'm not doing a Whirlpool/hopstand additions. I run the pump for the last few minutes of the boil and during cooling with the whirlpool arm and It gathers the majority of the hop matter into a nice cone in the centre of the false bottom with no issues with the pump blocking.

Its true some hop matter gets through the holes in the FB but not to any substantial amount that causes the pump to block. In fact I find the majority of the hop matter gets past the false bottom when you are nearing the end of the transfer to the fermenter as the wort level starts to drop to the level of the hop cone and some of the hops slide off the side of the hop cone as the wort washes them off and down the side of the false bottom as the sealing between the edge of the false bottom and the side of the vessel is not good with gaps of a couple of mm in places.

Again I've never had a blocked pump due to this but do get hop matter into the fermenter (not a major issue but would prefer for only clear wort to end up in the fermenter) and the matter that does get through blocking my plate chiller which is a shame because its a brilliant bit of kit.

I'm always trying to think of ways to seal the edge of the false bottom but have 't come up with anything yet. Think my next attempt will be to remove about 5mm or so from the edge of the false bottom to reduce its diameter and put some silicone tubing around the edge as a seal. Might even get some fine mesh like you have at the bottom of the malt pipe too but concerned the fine mesh will just clog.
I also have never had a blocked pump but i have added a small tea strainer under the main screening over pump inlet and this catches what passes this screen
 

Crappyfish

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Thanks for the scorching info. Yes I have thought about putting the bag in the pipe, thus solving the problem of lifting it out & draining/sparging. I’m thinking of sieving the grain first to remove the flour, I didn’t think it would have such an effect. I use grain kits at the moment as not the proficient or confident to buy some different grain types and device my own recipe.

What difference does it make to buy grain and crush it yourself?
The difference apparently is it stays fresher if it's whole and not crushed. There may be more to it than that but mines simple it's the satisfaction of being able to crush it when I need it as I can buy bulk if I want. There are loads of threads about crushing your own grain as for taste I can't answer that cos I don't usually do the same recipe more than once so I suppose it's down to individual choice.
 

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