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Mods to a 40L Buffalo boiler

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Cestrian

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My old leccy boilers finally given up the ghost, so I’ve treated myself to a 40L buffalo boiler. Before I start ripping it apart, I thought I’d ask if anyone has any tips of how to modify these for a brew kettle. With my last boiler I drilled a hole in the bottom and one on the skirt, to put a bottom drain in, so I minimised losses. This has a concealed element so probably can’t do that!
 

Baz Chaz

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Only thing I did with mine was change the tap to a ball valve, minimal loss after boil to be honest.
 

Gerryjo

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I've a burco 30l which I changed out the tap to a ball lever SS weldless valve with a copper manifold as a filter inside. About £20 all in for the conversion.
 

nixhaz

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I've done the ball lever thing too, but I have a giant bazooka attached to it. It's a PItA and clogs up a lot. Would not recommend! @Gerryjo could you post a pic or link of what you use as the manifold please? I really think I need to change mine up..
 

Cestrian

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I‘ve never had much luck with a manifold that’s meant to act as a siphon. The always seem to get stuck.
Ive got a 12” perforated false bottom that I could try, but again never had much luck with them.
 

Cestrian

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I used to use a mesh strainer on a copper dip tube with a ball valve, but that would always clog up and always seemed to lose the siphon. thats why I ended up putting a second valve off the bottom.
 

Gerryjo

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I've done the ball lever thing too, but I have a giant bazooka attached to it. It's a PItA and clogs up a lot. Would not recommend! @Gerryjo could you post a pic or link of what you use as the manifold please? I really think I need to change mine up..
Here's the one I've done for the mashtun recently as I have the Burco packed on the shelf at the moment.
IMG_20200519_170420.jpg
 

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Gerryjo

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IMG_20200519_155714.jpg


The tap on the boiler is about the same height as the mashtun and a length of 1/2" copper pipe,elbows and tees. No need to solder as when cut to fit put together and squeeze the joints firmly so the pipe remains in place but can be pulled apart for cleaning. I used a wood spade bit to punch holes in the pipe. Best thing I ever done as I had a 12“ bazooka which was no where near as good.
 
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Brew_DD2

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Can you get a rolling boil on these without modifying the electrics?
 

BeerCat

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To keep a rolling boil remove the bottom and unclip the thermocouple from the base and tied it away from the base, that way your not modding any electric parts.
That is what i did hundreds of boils ago. The only other thing that could stop it boiling is flour/gunk on the bottom plate.
 

Brew_DD2

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To keep a rolling boil remove the bottom and unclip the thermocouple from the base and tied it away from the base, that way your not modding any electric parts.
Nice. Seems like a really simple fix. How do they cope when ramping up to a boil? Require constant stirring to prevent scorching or is the element a low watt density?
 

Gerryjo

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These are not low density elements as they are designed for boiling water hence less Dense than viscous sugary wort. The problem arises when the base for heat transfer becomes coated causing it to form an insulator which then causes heat build up on the element side causing the thermal cutout to react and shutting of power.
Giving a good stir and ensuring that the base is clean prior to use will help reduce the risk and if using it for BIAB ensure that you raise the bag of the bottom by about 2" and give it a good stirring regularly.
PS here is the manifold broke down
IMG_20200702_110813.jpg
 

nixhaz

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Thanks @Gerryjo I need to get one of these made up!
I've never had a probem getting a rolling boil from mine, and it has never cut out (touch wood!!). I was lucky I think!
 

Gerryjo

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Thanks @Gerryjo I need to get one of these made up!
I've never had a probem getting a rolling boil from mine, and it has never cut out (touch wood!!). I was lucky I think!
My Burco has been the same and probably the reason why I'll be reluctant to get rid as I have the settings calibrated to a point on and mid dial settings from 1 to 5 then max for boil which is handy to know.
 

Gerryjo

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I‘ve never had much luck with a manifold that’s meant to act as a siphon. The always seem to get stuck.
Ive got a 12” perforated false bottom that I could try, but again never had much luck with them.
Did your manifold have slits cut or holes punched and was it upward or downward fitted?
The only reason I ask is that when downward fitted with the holes facing the base the grain/hops depending on what your using it for have less chance of getting clogged up then gravity takes over when draining compacting hops/grain to a filter bed allowing the wort to be drawn through the holes similar to a venturi effect but not a big enough draw so as to pull larger matter through though you do need to slowly draw off the liquid to start then slowly open your valve.
 

Cestrian

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good tip about removing the thermocouple. Thanks.
 

Cestrian

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Did your manifold have slits cut or holes punched and was it upward or downward fitted?
The only reason I ask is that when downward fitted with the holes facing the base the grain/hops depending on what your using it for have less chance of getting clogged up then gravity takes over when draining compacting hops/grain to a filter bed allowing the wort to be drawn through the holes similar to a venturi effect but not a big enough draw so as to pull larger matter through though you do need to slowly draw off the liquid to start then slowly open your valve.
I’ve done the same as this on my mash cool box with the holes facing down and it works well. Never tried this on a boiler though
 

Bedale Brewman

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Just bought a 40l Buffalo Boiler and done my first BIAB with it this week. The only mod I've done is change the tap to a ball valve type with a bazooka hop filter. Took a few attempts to get a seal after I shredded the Kevlar washer. I found fitting a couple of 3/4 inch fibre washers - inside and outside - did the job. No problem achieving a rolling boil - just set it to High and off it went. Very pleased. Now have 23 litres of Yorkshire Bitter fermenting away. Happy Days!
 

Gerryjo

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I’ve done the same as this on my mash cool box with the holes facing down and it works well. Never tried this on a boiler though
Same principle and great for leaf hops in a boiler though pellets keep in a muslin bag our keep the manifold to the walls slightly raised and whirlpool.
 
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