Klarstein Maischfest and Mashing

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matt76

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I did another test today - the silicon hose I ordered arrived in the post this morning and since I wasn't planning to brew today I figured I may as well check it all fits. Otherwise mainly the same as last time.

I ordered 2m of 8mm ID x 12mm OD silicon hose. This is slightly smaller than the 9mm ID PVC tube I used before so I wasn't certain if it would fit over the tap on the kettle but it's fine - unlike the PVC stuff, silicon is pretty soft and supple even when cool and doesn't really change as it warms up. It's also a better fit on the pump inlet/outlet. Still, pipe clips all round just to be sure 👍

One thing I did change was to add some lactic acid into the water, mainly to stop my stupid hard water turning my kettle into a giant stick of chalk!

I can't quite bring myself to cut a hole in the lid of my kettle - I don't actually have a drill big enough anyway though I'm sure FIL will have something suitable in his workshop. For now I've used a box clip on the rim of the kettle to prop the lid open - actually makes it slightly easier to remove the lid if I want to check the grain temp with a thermometer, compared to feeding the pipe through a hole in the lid. I figure a towel or two over the lid will cut out most of the heat loss by convection through the gap.

So, all looking good - next brew day planned for Tuesday so will give it a whirl for real then 👍🤞 (what's that expression about no plan survives first contact with the enemy... 🤣)
 

Burtsbeets

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So, first brew with the pump all set-up!

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The heating was a little quicker this time around, with constant recirculation it took 20 - 25 minutes to bring 16 L up to 71 degrees.

I forgot this time to uncoil my extension lead fully which lead to overheating and cutting out. So once uncoiled and cooled the brew day was back on!

I doughed in, with the expected temperature drop to the mash temp, and started the pump up. The grain basket for the Klarstein is actually a lot better than I thought at stopping particulates, even with a good stir during dough in. The pump had no issues what so ever at, what I think, is the brewing equivalent of take-off being one of the most dangerous parts of flying :D

After about 10 minutes the pump started making noises, having heard it before I knew it was sucking up air. The flow through the grain bed during the start of the mash was a lot slower than the pump, even when moderately throttled. So I tightened the mole grips a little to get a good flow through the pump to match that of the grain bed and it was all plain sailing through the rest of the mash.

I did monitor the grain bed after the Klarstein switched on to heat and off again, which it does a little bit more with the recirculation, and the problem of overshooting has been resolved completely I think. It overshoots by 1 degree still, but lets be honest, thats a vast improvement and great for a piece of kit on the budget end of the scale.

All-in-all, the pump was a fantastic purchase. As well as keeping the temperature in check, it just makes a few things in the brew day easier. Such as drawing off sparge water, taking in-situ samples of the mash, wort transfer, clearer wort, cooling is now quicker and saves stirring.

It was not without its lessons though. The main one being, make sure the pipe is in the pot or don't talk on the phone while brewing :laugh8:

Looking forward to hearing about your brew day with the new set up @matt76
 

matt76

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Sounds good @Burtsbeets 👍

Can you just clarify the water & grain amounts?

You said you heated 16L - this is full-volume no-sparge, right?

How much grain did you use?

I'm struggling a bit to believe the pump will drain the wort faster than it will flow through the grain bed, but guess I'll see for sure in a few days!
 

Burtsbeets

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Here is the direct copy and paste from Brewtarget.

I heated 16.5 L, took out 5 L for the sparge then mashed into 11ish litres.

I think it was the start that was the slowest until the mash thinned. I was quite surprised at how slow it went through, to be honest. Maybe it was brew specific, I will most likely brew tomorrow again, so will see.

Oh yeah, the DME was because my boil-off dropped a lot for some reason. Not sure what the hell happened there as it is normally 4.5 L. Maybe it was colder outside than I thought, the boil was not as vigorous as it usually is as well.

----------------------

Tropical Stout - Foreign Extra Stout (13D)
Brewer
Date
Batch Size11.000 LBoil Size16.500 L
Boil Time1.000 hrEfficiency85%
OG1.049 sgFG1.008 sg
ABV5.4%IBU28.5 (Tinseth)
Color29.8 srm (Morey)Estimated calories (per 33 cl)148
Fermentables
Total grain: 2.394 kg
NameTypeAmountMashedLateYieldColor
Simpsons - Maris OtterGrain1.750 kgYesNo81%3.0 srm
Dry Extract (DME) - LightDry Extract154.000 gNoNo95%8.0 srm
Simpsons - Crystal LightGrain133.000 gYesNo0%50.0 srm
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 120LGrain130.000 gYesNo72%120.0 srm
Simpsons - double roast crystalGrain100.000 gYesNo74%160.0 srm
Weyermann - Dehusked Carafa IIGrain77.000 gYesNo70%457.0 srm
Briess - Roasted BarleyGrain50.000 gYesNo55%660.0 srm
Hops
NameAlphaAmountUseTimeFormIBU
Target10.4%9.000 gBoil60.000 minPellet20.0
Citra11.7%6.000 gBoil10.000 minPellet5.4
Motueka7.9%5.000 gBoil10.000 minPellet3.1
Citra11.7%7.000 gBoil0.000 minPellet0.0
Motueka7.9%6.000 gBoil0.000 minPellet0.0
Yeast
NameTypeFormAmountStage
Saflager 34/70LagerDry11.00 gPrimary
Mash
NameTypeAmountTempTarget TempTime
MashInfusion0.000 mL66.000 C66.000 C0 s
 

matt76

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@Burtsbeets ah, that'll be it then - I tend to go with a similar grain bill, about 2.5kg usually, but I do full volume with 15L or more.

Efficiency is a bit lower then when I used to dunk sparge but it's a lot less faff.

It's still something to keep a close watch on - making sure the kettle doesn't run dry beneath the grain bed - but hopefully the extra 4L or so in the mash will make the difference.

Oh and btw, I just bottled my tropical stout yesterday. Will be interested to hear how yours comes out 👍:beer1:
 

AdeDunn

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Try adding either some rinsed rice hulls or oat husks to your grist, it'll make for a "looser" grist allowing the liquid to flow more freely whilst recirculating. Of course, you could also fit a tap on the outlet of your pump if it's magnetic drive (if it's not, then you're limited to voltage control) and reducing the flow until it stops creating a void under the grain. You'll still get enough circulation through the grain to give you an even temperature gradient (unless your crush is way too fine, or you use a lot of unmalted adjuncts that are prone to getting gummy...).
 

Broken Toe

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I know this thread is mostly focused on the mashing side of the klarstein, but I thought I would try a small hijack here.

I'm sure you have noticed the pre-drilled hole, rubber seal and clamps for the lid... To me this seems a bit excessive for the mash, is the intention that this can be used as an FV? What are your thoughts?
 

matt76

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I know this thread is mostly focused on the mashing side of the klarstein, but I thought I would try a small hijack here.

I'm sure you have noticed the pre-drilled hole, rubber seal and clamps for the lid... To me this seems a bit excessive for the mash, is the intention that this can be used as an FV? What are your thoughts?
IIRC from the blurb somewhere on the website or similar, I think yes that's exactly the intention.

However, personally I wouldn't do it without first removing all the crud from the kettle - I use a single giant hop bag in the boil but there's still a load of hot/cold break material/trub left at the end.

Also I wouldn't want to tie up my kettle for that long.

The only time I've used it for fermenting was making a kettle sour (so fermenting with lactobacillus, not yeast) when I used the heater to keep it around 35degC.

FWIW, you still need that breather hole - when I do an overnight mash I cover the hole with cling to keep any small bugs out. When I come back in the morning the lid is usually suctioned on until I peel off the cling!
 

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Thanks @matt76 Yes. Souring with this is so much easier than my old keggle.

I agree though I would not want to have it out of commission that long.
 

Burtsbeets

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@Burtsbeets ah, that'll be it then - I tend to go with a similar grain bill, about 2.5kg usually, but I do full volume with 15L or more.

Efficiency is a bit lower then when I used to dunk sparge but it's a lot less faff.

It's still something to keep a close watch on - making sure the kettle doesn't run dry beneath the grain bed - but hopefully the extra 4L or so in the mash will make the difference.

Oh and btw, I just bottled my tropical stout yesterday. Will be interested to hear how yours comes out 👍:beer1:
Wow, 4 day brew! To be fair, even the yeast I have is tearing through fermentables at the moment. Won't be that quick though! I did aim to make mine on the weaker side compared o the style guidelines though. I can be a fast drinker sometimes and have been caught out by some of my stronger IPAs haha. Although, I do enjoy the one strong beer while making dinner in the week!


Try adding either some rinsed rice hulls or oat husks to your grist, it'll make for a "looser" grist allowing the liquid to flow more freely whilst recirculating. Of course, you could also fit a tap on the outlet of your pump if it's magnetic drive (if it's not, then you're limited to voltage control) and reducing the flow until it stops creating a void under the grain. You'll still get enough circulation through the grain to give you an even temperature gradient (unless your crush is way too fine, or you use a lot of unmalted adjuncts that are prone to getting gummy...).
I did have a tap but had to get rid as it was unsuitable. I was surprised about the flow through the bed, but it wasn't too big of a deal, managed to get a good extraction of the fermentable sugars. It also got thinner as the mash went on. I will be looking into a more permanent solution to the mole grips though.
 

AdeDunn

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Yeah, was easier for me with my pump as the fittings on it are 1/2" BSP not barbed, so I could just screw fittings (like taps) directly to it. With a pump with barbs, you've got to put the tap either inline, or fit it to lid of your boiler at which point I recommend also using either a quick disconnect or a camlock fitting so you can remove the hose from the lid quickly and easily.
 

matt76

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Yeah, was easier for me with my pump as the fittings on it are 1/2" BSP not barbed, so I could just screw fittings (like taps) directly to it. With a pump with barbs, you've got to put the tap either inline, or fit it to lid of your boiler at which point I recommend also using either a quick disconnect or a camlock fitting so you can remove the hose from the lid quickly and easily.
This just gave me an idea...

I've been scouring eBay to no avail for an inline valve to:
(a) fit the 8mm ID hose I've got without the need for extra reducers and such like, and
(b) isn't made of some dodgy material that's likely to taint the beer (stainless would be ideal, I'm on the fence about brass which is easier to source)

But my pump has barbs that screw on to 1/2" NPT fittings (n.b. other pumps may use other standards such as BSP)...

And lo & behold, provided I don't mind ordering something from China it looks like I can get a valve that will screw directly into my pump between the outlet and the hose barb:

 

matt76

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First live test of the recirc pump on the Porter I brewed today.

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Same set up as when I tested it previously. I added a couple of towels on top to reduce heat loss with the lid cracked open, plus used some molgrips to squeeze the pipe to reduce the flow rate. You can see I also stuck a temp probe into the mash to compare with the readout on the Klarstein (measured at the base of the kettle).

The pump itself worked flawlessly and didn't miss a beat. The main challenge was reducing the flow rate into the grain bed such that the bottom of the kettle didn't run dry (which it did once, cue rush to stop the pump as it started sucking in air!).

@AdeDunn - I see now exactly what you meant about this!

The pump is way overpowered I think - to make it balance I had to reduce the flow to little more than a trickle. I didn't measure it but I'd estimate maybe as little as 0.5-1.0L/min. I'm struggling to believe that this is sufficient to keep mash temperature in the grain bed steady, but it could be - I'll stick with it to build up more experience and a clearer picture. Perhaps the point is really to stop the wort in the dead space at the bottom of the kettle overheating and instead keep the fluid moving.

As for the mash temp itself - well, previously I've noticed it tends to spike at times above my intended mash temp of 67degC to 70-72degC. I think with the pump the temperature tends to change more frequently/quickly with the heater coming on more often but for less time - I noticed temps tended to drop to 64-65degC before the thermostat kicked in. Generally I'd say temps were between 64-65 and 68degC.

I also noted that the Klarstein readout temp and the thermometer probe were pretty much in agreement all the time with maybe just a slight lag between them during heating.

Hard to tell if the wort is clearer as this is a dark beer (>30SRM), but maybe - next couple of brews will be paler (5-6 SRM) so I'll get a better idea then. But efficiency was higher than usual which may be a side effect.

Drawbacks? It's a change to my process so I had to keep a close eye on it during the mash and not set and forget. I think this will settle down as I get more used to it though. It's sometihng else to clean - but hopefully the benefits will make it worthwhile with practice.

Overall - happy so far so will stick with it and see how things pan out.
 

AdeDunn

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Three things that will help with your flow issues (apart from an SS tap after the pump obviously. lol). Use some rice hull or oat husks in your grist (if I remember correctly, the usual is around the 4% mark), seriously it helps a LOT to get the liqour flowing through the malt column more freely. Next up, I bought one of those BIAB bags with the coarser mesh on the bottom and finer up the sides. Lastly, either see if you can buy a larger crush size (end of the day, once you throw in recirc, it's not exactly like normal BIAB where you can use a super fine crush any more) or get a grain mill and do it yourself.

The pump I used on my ACE and my eBIAB (same pump) was pretty similar to yours. I didn't need to bother with the crush thing, normal crush worked fine, but I did have to be careful with the bag I used (my ACE came with one, but my DIY rig I had to buy bags myself) as some were just too fine a weave and clogged way too easily. I also used to chuck some rinsed rice husks in there.

I used to run with the tap between 1/4 to 1/2 way open tops, didn't need it any higher than that. Full whack, I'd hear that horrid gurgling quite quickly. 3/4 I'd get varying results depending on what I had in my grist, some would be fine, other less so.

I even did a step mashed (acid rest etc) Beligan Wit in my eBIAB once, with a really really high percentage of unmalted wheat, went like a dream.

You'll get the hang eventually.
 

matt76

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@AdeDunn thanks for the tips, I'll consider rice hulls.

Next up, I bought one of those BIAB bags with the coarser mesh on the bottom and finer up the sides.
Interesting you mention this as I already have one... But I double bag... This bag sits inside a large very fine weave nylon bag. The latter is very effective and typically catches 1-2 handfuls of fine sandy silty material that would otherwise end up in the kettle and going through the pump now. For sure it's this bag that's creating the additional restriction.

You'll get the hang eventually.
Amen to that 👍 30 brews on the kitchen hob, 35+ in the Klarstein... but only 1 using the recirc pump. Any change to you process is gonna take a bit of practice before you get it fully dialled in 👍
 

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Yeah, I was getting around 80% brewhouse efficiency with my DIY eBIAB rig, since switch to my single vessel Klarstein I'm down to 60% and even dipped under this.... Switching to fly sparging from my next brew day on to try to bring it back up again as bought an 18 litre tea urn to heat my sparge water with. Plan is to fit a tap and male QD connector to it at some point so I can use the Klarstein pump for the sparge eventually. Just need to take one of the taps off my old eBIAB rig, cut a hole with my Q-Max+steel drill bit, and buy a male QD fitting. lol Big changes always have a nock on effect.

Regarding the particles. If your pump has an open impeller it should cope fine with tiny particles of solids, and the grain bed will filter them out eventually. Sounds like the flour you get with pre-crushed malt. I get a lot less of it since I bought a mill and started buying uncrushed. I still get some, but just not as much. lol
 

Burtsbeets

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Yeah, I was getting around 80% brewhouse efficiency with my DIY eBIAB rig, since switch to my single vessel Klarstein I'm down to 60% and even dipped under this.... Switching to fly sparging from my next brew day on to try to bring it back up again as bought an 18 litre tea urn to heat my sparge water with. Plan is to fit a tap and male QD connector to it at some point so I can use the Klarstein pump for the sparge eventually. Just need to take one of the taps off my old eBIAB rig, cut a hole with my Q-Max+steel drill bit, and buy a male QD fitting. lol Big changes always have a nock on effect.
I found my efficiency fell off of a cliff after changing to the Maischfest compared to a bag in a pot on the hob.

Sparging has become a necessity to hit the normal efficiencies i was seeing of >80%.

The pump does seem to be alright with the flocculant solid that normally occurs and actual fine solids, most of which dont get sucked up into the recirc.
 

matt76

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Did my second brew using the recirc pump yesterday. Pretty much same setup as before except I went with a single grain bag with a coarse weave at the bottom. I felt like I had got my bearings a bit more so everything felt a bit smoother and cleaning up afterwards was less hassle.

For sure this totally solved the flow restriction problem to the point where I didn't need molgrips on the pipe or anything like that, and there was no indication at all the bottom of the kettle was in danger of running dry (and sods law, the valve I ordered arrived in the post today! 😂)

I did see a few grain bits going through the pump but it didn't seem to cause any problems. As you can see from the picture above the wort was really clear - right up until the point I moved the grain basket and then it just went cloudy again! 🤣

I don't see this as a major issue - it's certainly no more cloudy than before I started using the pump and I give the grain bag an almighty squeeze after mashing anyway. One good thing I have started to suspect though is that I'm absolutely positive from this and the previous brew that I'm getting more clear wort out of the kettle and into FV - I tend to use slightly different amounts of water from brew to brew so I'll need to keep an eye on this over the next few brews.

But all in all, pretty positive 👍🍻
 

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