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hughjamton

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I'm looking to upgrade ( slightly)
I've been brewing, quite successfully, biab in a 30L plastic bucket with a couple of cheap kettle elements.
A couple of things are annoying me though.
Firstly when I lift the bag out it makes a bit of a mess no matter how careful I am, so I think a basket or malt pipe would solve this.
More annoying though is the kettle elements, it doesn't matter what I do, they always end up covered in burnt wort no matter what I try.
I've even used just one to bring it to a boil, whilst constantly stirring, then switch to the other for the boil, but they still end up covered in crap, which is a pig to clean.
So far it's not affected the taste.
My theory is they are very small and the heat is too concentrated.
Anyway, what to do next, on a limited budget.
I already have a heavy good quality 50ltr pot with a ball valve, but no lid, although I have an aluminium paella lid that would fit. It has no heating element.
I also have a 32ltr brewpacks pot, no element.
I was originally thinking of putting a larger element in the 50ltr and cutting the bottom out of the 32 and installing a false bottom.
I was hoping with the longer element it would spread the heat and wouldn't scorch.
The pot is slightly magnetic, so should work on an induction hob, but it's 410mm wide, so would completely cover a hob and is much larger than the maximum recommended size.
However, I fancy something like Hazelwood's set-up with a burco and a basket just for the simplicity.
Can I have some opinions please.
 

Galena

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I use a Klarstein Fullhorn which is just a glorified water heater but the heater element is concealed and it also has a removable false bottom.
It is 30 litres to the brim and I BIAB with a Klarstein bag which is pricey but a good fit. I batch sparge using a plastic insulated drinks chiller to keep the water hot until needed. It is a very simple sysetem but works well, if I recirculate during the mash and do a batch sparge I can acheive 78- 80% efficiency.
I rarely get any scorching, this is because there are 3 heat options with the Fullhorn 2500W which is great to heat up water quickly, 1600w which I use for a rolling boil and 900w which id ideal for maintaining temperature during the mash, though I do as said recirculate to keep the heat evenly distributed.
It would of course help if I had a cheap boiler for the sparge water rather than decanting it off the Fullhorn but I have been thinking of getting an all-in-one and upgrading to 50 litres but they are rather expensive and I like the system I have.
The only drawback with it really is that it is 30 litres to the brim and I would like a larger version to be able to brew 50 litres by the same method but nobody seems to make a 50 litre version. I could do a self build from a 50l stock pot but when considering it the cost would probably be more than an all in one.
 

MmmBeer

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If the scorching is the major problem, then would a variable output controller be an option? That way it will run at full power, when raising water to mash temperature, then to maintain temperature or a steady boil, it runs the element(s) at a reduced power, minimising risk of scorching.

I haven't used one myself, other than the one built into the control box on my Grainfather, but I'm sure a similar piece of equipment must be available. I know some members are using PID controllers and could give some further advice.
 

cushyno

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I had a couple of scorched brews in my peco, which is essentially a bucket with an element.
I have completely cured the problem by these two measures:
  1. Voltage regulator. It works. With a 2.4kw element I run it at 65-75% power depending on how grainy the wort is. Lower power for wheat beer. Effectively giving me a 1600-1800w element when it's needed. The important time is raising wort to the boil.
  2. Keep the wort moving. The worst time for scorching to start is below boiling temperature as you don't have the convection currents keeping the suspended matter moving and stopping it sticking to the element. Either keep stirring as you bring it up to boil our use a pump for recirculation. I use a cheap 12v solar pump and draw wort from the bottom tap and pump back in through silicone tube directed right down over the element, so that there is no static matter to settle on the element.
 

hughjamton

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Thanks for the responses so far.
I do stir the wort until the boil, and as I said, I even change the element at that point but they still both scorch.
I'm quite handy and could turn my hand to most things, but, as soon as electronics are involved somehow the language turns into a cross between Chinese and Russian.
I really want to move on from my bucket, money is an issue, it's just what to do.
 

LisaMC

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I was really sad when I read this as I think I may have scorched my first Brewzilla batch. I have no idea where the elements are on it.

I was trying to make a beer with an EBC of 8.9, but when I put it in the fermenter it was chocolate brown! Really upsetting after the weeks of planning and trying to get all the stuff together that we needed. There is wheat in it and I did notice quite a few floaters in the mash.

It is now a sort of tan colour so a tad lighter and it's nearing the end of fermentation. Does anyone have any input please?

Deja vu from when I made the black Rosemary mead which turned a normal colour in the end!

Edit: Just pre-empting an obvious question - no, I didn't put too many dark malts in! What the dickens is going on?
 
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cushyno

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If you have advertised it you will most likely be able to taste the scorched flavour, it is distinctive ash like taste.

After brewing did you notice burned deposits on the bottom of the boiler? I'm assuming the Brewzilla has an enclosed element in the base. If there was no sign of burning then you may be ok.
 

LisaMC

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There was no visible burning at all no, it just tasted a bit funny, and I was very surprised at the colour. I know the liquid normally looks darker in the fermenter but this is ridiculous! Maybe that's the taste I should expect, not sure what I'm doing yet. Hoping for the best!
 

foxy

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I was really sad when I read this as I think I may have scorched my first Brewzilla batch. I have no idea where the elements are on it.

I was trying to make a beer with an EBC of 8.9, but when I put it in the fermenter it was chocolate brown! Really upsetting after the weeks of planning and trying to get all the stuff together that we needed. There is wheat in it and I did notice quite a few floaters in the mash.

It is now a sort of tan colour so a tad lighter and it's nearing the end of fermentation. Does anyone have any input please?

Deja vu from when I made the black Rosemary mead which turned a normal colour in the end!

Edit: Just pre-empting an obvious question - no, I didn't put too many dark malts in! What the dickens is going on?
I look for 8 in my golden bitters, what was your grain bill.
 

Leon103

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Best way to clean the element is to remove them. Put them in a pot of boiling water and add sodium procarbonate. Leave soak and they will wipe clean.
 

LisaMC

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Panic over guys, the beer is fine. Drawn a bit off to taste and the colour is pretty much ok. Phew! Just on edge a bit as it’s my first go and I want it to be nice. 😝
 

Hazelwood Brewery

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Loads of us use the 30 litre Burco. I’ve seen them recently at prices from about £80 on EBay and Screwfix(!)

The grain basket (search for “hop spider”) is available from about £50 on EBay or something like £70 on Amazon.

My Burco has been seriously hammered for about 3 years and (touch wood) is still going strong. When it does fail I will almost certainly buy another, it’s been a great investment for me.

Best of British whatever you do. 🤞
 

Hazelwood Brewery

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I was trying to make a beer with an EBC of 8.9, but when I put it in the fermenter it was chocolate brown!

It is now a sort of tan colour so a tad lighter and it's nearing the end of fermentation.

What the dickens is going on?
Hi Lisa.

If you boil the wort vigorously and for an extended time you will start to see Maillard reactions which darken (and can flavour) your wort. This *might* be what happened?

The wort will lighten a little at the end of fermentation as suspended gunk falls out of suspension leaving a more clear and brighter looking beer.
 

Philthebrewer

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There was no visible burning at all no, it just tasted a bit funny, and I was very surprised at the colour. I know the liquid normally looks darker in the fermenter but this is ridiculous! Maybe that's the taste I should expect, not sure what I'm doing yet. Hoping for the best!
Hi Lisa, great that your batch is turning out well. Just to confirm that I have been using my 30l Brewzilla for 20 batches in the last year and have used both elements during mashing with zero burnt flavour, no scorch marks on the bottom (above the elements) and good results. The main trick seems to be to keep the liquid flowing through the pump so it does not boil on the bottom. This requires use of rice hulls in the mash and regular stirring (every 20 minutes or so) if it is a heavy grain bill. Good luck
 

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