Ideas on upgrading on the cheap...

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@Hazelwood Brewery do you leave the heat on when mashing?
I always turn it off completely and just wrap it up in an old fleece jacket. Usually only drops 2c over a 60 - 90 minutes mash, which I can't see objectively altering the beer.
My worry about using a false bottom and maintaining some heat source, is the mash will get hot at the bottomand without a recirc pump then it won't be an even mash temp.
I do the same as you. Boiler is turned of once I add the bag and grain
 

Wurp

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Thanks.. you are a knowledgeable bunch! I am going to keep my eyes open for a burco local to me I think. Seems the soundest and safest way to get a bigger batch. I have seen hacks with kettle elements and buckets but it seems you can get a boiler second hand for the same cost with the added safety factor!
I think if I can clear my cellar I may get permission from the boss to get a fridge or two down there and shift on to kegs in time. The amount I spend on bottle tops in the past year would have bought a corny..
 

jof

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Also remember that a 1 hour boil generates a lot of steam.
That's why lots of us boil in the shed/garage/outdoors.

I learnt this the hard way as I ended up having to wash down the walls of the utility room after condensation caused streaks on them (even though it was summer & I had back door & window open)
 
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Also remember that a 1 hour boil generates a lot of steam.
That's why lots of us boil in the shed/garage/outdoors.

I learnt this the hard way as I ended up having to wash down the walls of the utility room after condensation caused streaks on them (even though it was summer & I had back door & window open)
Snap
 
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I brew outdoors for that reason. This is yesterdays brew during the boil.

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Wurp

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Thanks.. I was thinking of how I could vent my cellar, but it's not going to happen...garden seems better option
 

Nicks90

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Agreed, 4 or 5 liters of boil off is a lot of water to vent!
And if your walls are not warm, the steam will stick like s69t to a shovel unless your vent fan is like a mini tornado, sucking the air from the rest of the house! You'll end up with cats, dogs and small children being sucked in to the vent!
 

hedgerowpete

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Go for brew in a bag.

Avoid kegs like the plague, terrible idea unless you have a grand in cash spare.

If you aim at 30l pots your just under the 40 pint 25 litre ish mark. Aim for the 35 to 45 litre pot size and a kettle element to heat it. At the 40 l pot size i do whole water volume biab batches.

I went plain second hand 50l pot, plus gas a gas cooker top, i used two gas rings at once.

I then added a front tap point.

Third was a kettle element and then home made pid controller.
Added a second element and changed the controller box to a twin set.

Fourth was a pump, hoses and clamp fittings. I went camlocks and not tri clamps as i only buy two at a time. Apair with every restock order.

This christmas i went mad and brought 3m of hose pipe!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I still use bottles to hold the beer. I started with newcastle brown ale bottles as thats my only shop brought beer, crown caps are very very cheap to buy for them. some bottles were reused several hundred times. I fell onto a huge amount of Grolsch bottles a few years back and only use these now/ three crates to a brew. i was up one crate a day. Tues, Wed, Thurs. they are sat then waiting for saturdays brew day.

I brew a huge amount of beer and wine, far more than the average hobbiest and do so with simple kit and not millions spent on shiney toys.

Buy something simple but is expandable, a simple pot with do and a mesh bag with hold the grain.


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Nice set up Pete, I also BIAB in a pan and like the simplicity
I prefer gas and a ring as I don't want to overload the simple electrics in my shed.

That extension lead makes me worry though,used rolled up like that it's at risk of overheating and/or fire.
 

RoomWithABrew

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@Eskimo John and @Wurp

No it's just a condenser, a still is different although it is legal to distill your own spirits here in new zealand. There are distillation columns that can fit on all in one brew systems. I've seen tall vertical ones that basically make pure alcohol from a fast ferment of sugar, yeast and nutrients. There are other pot still types that produce less alcohol but allow flavours to be infused for some spirits such as gin. Most people I think just make " pure " alcohol and then use flavourings.

Anyway that's off topic. I saw a condenser advertised on the website for an online brewshop here in NZ, far too expensive made by brewtools Brewtools Steam Condenser
I realised that it was just TC connectors which are widely available from China but also in widespread use in the dairy industry down here so were viewable and I was able to " copy " the plan. Few videos on the web as well, short circuit brewers, Homebrew challenge and David heath as well. Other info came from this thread and also explains the challenges of an overhead extractor

It's a long thread.

My explanation of my build is in this thread post 7


good contributions from the maker of the steam slayer about his design which is well respected.

I built the condenser because I had the same issues as @jof and @Cheshire Cat with indoor brewing.

It works really well, boil off is about 30 % power and I'm so glad I didn't try the extractor route, it would have been more expensive and less effective in my brew area.

Cutting the hole in the lid for hopping and peeking is very handy and I have the lid on during the mash as well so less loss during that phase as well. I only attach the condenser though during the grain draining and sparge phase and it only takes a few moments. My condenser is a little bigger just because I'm using a bigger system ( 70 litre ) the normal all in ones such as a brewzilla or grainfather would require a few less parts.
I don't believe that the water flow creates the negative pressure gradient suggested due to the venturi effect I think the steam rises goes along the tube and then meets the cold spray and condenses. It works well. I did get a stainless steel spray nozzle in the end but it was a much bigger diameter ( about 2cm) and I decided to stay with my hacked garden sprayer nozzle that I soldered onto some copper pipe which works fine. The other thing that I do now is have an old towel on the metal lid and wrapped around the pipe work as far as the spray point. This keeps the lid hotter and the tubing hotter so less condensation of steam until it reaches the water spray. Also a little safer. The gentle boil has not caused any issues with DMS.

Hope this helps you.

Next hack to talk about is using the tap as an inflow for a whirlpool on the all in one systems.
 

RoomWithABrew

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For a brewzilla 35 sized unit you need something more like this configuration of condenser.

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But you could do it with all 1.5 inch so wouldn't need the adapter and as the lid is less wide the vertical arm would be over the edge anyway, it would also be less tall as the L would be clamped directly to the lid.
 
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When I brewed in the Utility room the whole room was a condenser; the walls, windows and light shades all dripping liquid water lol. Even with the window and doors open and extractor fan running hence the moved to the garage.
 

moto748

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I brew in the kitchen, and I don't suffer too badly with condensation. Biggest thing I found was, adjust the temp so that the boil is 'no more vigorous than it needs to be', if you know what I mean. And open a window!
 

hedgerowpete

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Nice set up Pete, I also BIAB in a pan and like the simplicity
I prefer gas and a ring as I don't want to overload the simple electrics in my shed.

That extension lead makes me worry though,used rolled up like that it's at risk of overheating and/or fire.

extension lead is only powering a .5amp pump and the usb recharger for the wifi speaker, heating elements go off to the right to a double socket each when two are used or like now just the one lead. the kettle lead you see is just from the SSR via the 13 amp plug to the kettle element
 
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extension lead is only powering a .5amp pump and the usb recharger for the wifi speaker, heating elements go off to the right to a double socket each when two are used or like now just the one lead. the kettle lead you see is just from the SSR via the 13 amp plug to the kettle element

Interesting to see how your system has evolved, my set up is about as basic as it gets !
 
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