Karsten Mash-kettle Review

Discussion in 'Beer Kits & Brewing Equipment Reviews.' started by eramm01, Aug 1, 2018.

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  1. Aug 1, 2018 #1

    eramm01

    eramm01

    eramm01

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    I have just bought a Klarstein Mash-kettle off Amazon for £209 and have now used it to brew an English Ale. I thought there might be somebody on the forum who might be interested in my review of it on Amazon:
    It is an excellent piece of kit but the handbook is VERY misleading.
    I brew in the way most English Home-brewers do with a 90 minute 65°c mash, a 76°c batch sparge and a 90 minute hopped seethe (rolling boil).
    The specification in the handbook for the kettle gives a temperature range of 60-100°c. If this were true it would be impossible to do a seethe (rolling boil) as this needs a temperature of 103°c (or for that matter a stepped mash as needed to brew a German style lager). Luckily the specification in the handbook is WRONG! A good seethe (rolling boil) can be reached by setting the heater above 103°c.
    The specification also misses the timer that comes with the kettle.
    The handbook also tries to tell you how to brew using the kettle. The English translation is laughable and the method doesn’t reflect English homebrewing.
    There is a HEALTH and SAFETY NOTE missing from the handbook. If you’re doing a good seethe (rolling boil) DO NOT put the lid on. If you do, then when you take it off half the wort will spring out and (like me) you will not only lose half your wort, but you may also spend a few hours in the local A&E department with a scalded foot.
    There are a couple of other things to note. The temperature reading does not reflect the temperature in the malts being mashed. To get a steady mash temperature you need to use a thermometer and ‘shenk the wort up’ by drawing off jugs of wort and pouring them back over the malts in the kettle until a steady mash temperature is reached.
    The mash bucket provided with the kit not only works well as a bucket to hold the malts but also as a hop-spider when you do the seethe.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
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  2. Aug 2, 2018 #2

    Horners

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    I have this machine - agree with all of your points. I bought this when very new to HB - (had only done a couple of kits) and found the pidgin English directions bewildering. Think they also omit to mention the cut out switch in the base of the unit.
     
  3. Aug 2, 2018 #3

    AdeDunn

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    You could always add a recirculation pump, will make it a lot easier to get a steady mashing temperature through your grain bed. Just switch out the barbed fitting on the tap for either a male QD fitting or a male Camlock fitting. Then fit the counterpart female fitting onto the inlet of the pump, and some form of tap/valve on the outlet of the pump (assuming magnetic drive here) so you don't pump too fast and create a void under the grain bucket.

    You wouldn't normally boil with a lid on anyway though. Even ignoring the "you need to boil off the DMS" which some reckon modern malts don't need, you still want to boil liquid off in order to reach your target OG. Keeping the lid on would keep too much liquid during the boil, and lead to you missing your targets but overshooting on volume into FV. You'd then end up having to use more grain to offset this, meaning more volume been taken up by grain during the mash.
     
  4. Aug 9, 2018 #4

    Llamaman

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    The Prodigy's working title for "smack my bitch up".
     
  5. Aug 10, 2018 #5

    Henders

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    Thanks eramm. I just fell for their 20 quid discount and ordered it too! I read your review before buying, which helped me make the decision!

    Today I've been building a nice little bench to put it on :).
     
  6. Aug 23, 2018 #6

    Henders

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    Today I'm hopefully doing my first BIAB! Or maybe tomorrow as I realise how much I have to do.

    Does anybody know the volume that the max line inside the kettle signifies? I'm assuming it's 25L but I'm scared to start marking L marks in case it's just some arbitrary "stop here k" mark!
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  7. Aug 23, 2018 #7

    Horners

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    Unhelpfully no. I did stand there and measure it out by tipping in 5 litre jugs and believe it came out at a round number but cant remember what that number was. Do let us know - save me doing it again!
     
  8. Aug 23, 2018 #8

    Henders

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    Aha! Well in the end I did similar to you, however I'm only doing a 10L batch this time so it's still a mystery!

    It's all quite nerve... racking :/
     
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  9. Aug 23, 2018 #9

    Horners

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    @Henders one thing i do know is that even a long way below that line it looks like the boil will go way over once it gets on the roll. Cue me hovering there nervously like a gunslinger from a western armed with two spray bottles
     
  10. Aug 23, 2018 #10

    Henders

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    Agree! I tried leaving it on the 1500w element but it wasn't that mental, and some quick googling made me give in and switch the 3000w back on.

    Anyway it all went well as regards me avoiding panicking and messing anything up. However my efficiency ended up being 56%, which I suppose is the ballpark that the brewersfriend calculator told me to use for my first attempt! So lots of stuff to google and read up on here again.

    Also I found my 10L containers for no-chill fun have empty space just above the opening, which makes them pretty much impossible to fill completely. Poop.
     
  11. Aug 25, 2018 #11

    AdeDunn

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    Brupaks Anti-Foam was pretty much an essential when I was running my old ACE mash tun boiler (which were very very similar, but without the basket) if I wanted to boil a decent volume. Without it, no amount of stirring would keep the foam monster from climbing out. Still, even with it it didn't stop the sploshing effect from running at full power. I'd often stand there wishing I had a way to set the power some where in between the 2 options.... I now know of course there is, with a bit of DIY. ;)

    https://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/...a-cheap-digital-boiler-power-regulator.74112/

    It's way easier than it looks. I built one into my brewing control panel, I only use it when mashing though as don't actually need it for the boil as my 2500 watt element is just about spot on for the boil (keep thinking I'd like a bit more oomph in fact... lol).

    As to no chill, have you considered just buying a cheap immersion chiller off eBay? It's a lot less bother.
     

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