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assembling brew kettle

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:46 pm
by sdspespo1
I am trying to put together my brewing pot and valve and I am having touble with everything leaking. The seal with the bulkhead leaks... seems the nipple resists threading all the way. It looks tapered with the wider part in the middle. there is a gap between the washers and it does not seal well on the pot... I fear that some one will tell me the pot is to thin...
then there is leaking between the valve and the bulkhead. can I use plumbers tape there?? also between the barb and the valve.. again seems like plumbers tape would do it but not sure it that is supposed to be used in this setting....
I am tying to get set up for my first all grain brew this weekend once the grains come in... HELP!! :?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:49 am
by aleguy
Use teflon tape on all the threaded sections except between the o-ring and the bronze nut. Your pot is not too thin, it always takes a bit of mesing around with the bulkhead fitting before they seal up nicely. If you have time today, give me a call and maybe I can help you out.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:25 pm
by Jerm
+1 on the teflon tape and nipple,
+1 on the seating of the valve being a pain!

PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:06 am
by aleguy
How's the mash tun working out? It should be fairly straightforward with the stainless braid. and what are you using to hold your wort until you have finished sparging? Jimmiec used a standard cooler then poured it into his boil kettle after the sparge water was used up.
You may have it sorted out already, I just don't recall you saying anything about a third vessel. Honestly, even a bucket will do, you'll just have to stop the flow from your mash tun when you put the last of the water in so you don't overflow the bucket.

Mash tun

PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:59 am
by sdspespo1
I had some trouble with the mash tun and the sparging process. I'll run it buy you.. I was going to call but it was Sunday later in the afternoon..
I had 10 lbs of marris otter and 1lb of crystal. I ground the crystal but took the other to Marcello's. I think it was ground to fine. Used 3 gallons of water to mash then drained into a pot. Used 5gal to sparge but about two gallons did not come through. seems the mash mesh clogged. When sparging are you supposed to stir? I needed to stir to get the sparge water to drain then wound up with a lot of sediment in the wort. Would grinding too fine cause that? I collected the wort in my brew kettle but the volume of the mash fluid and sparge fluid almost overflowed so I left about a gallon or so out. My OG was 1040. I was looking for 1055 to 1060. trying to make an IPA. the kettle performed great and the chiller (I used a prechiller in ice) did fantastic...

I didn't get the hop flavor or aroma that I wanted. I remember someone at a store in North Carolina telling me that I could boil 1oz hops in a quart of water and then add small amounts of that solution to the beer to increase bitterness or flavor. Have you ever done that?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:48 am
by Jerm
sounds like a stuck mash, hard to comment without seeing your rig.

However, I have added hop aroma and flavor by using a hop tea, boil water o the stove and steep the hops for about 20 minutes. I suggest using a hop bag to make seperation easier, and preferbly whole hops.

Or you could just dry hop.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:18 am
by alms66
You shouldn't need to stir in order to sparge. It seems that either your braid got clogged by too fine of a crush or that it just might need some internal support - like a copper tube inserted into it.

As for hop flavor, you can add my with a hop tea, dry hopping, adding a larger quantity of "flavor" hops around the 15-10 minute mark (15-10 minutes left to your boil) or do first wort hopping (that is add your "bittering" hops to the kettle before you add your wort). Hell you can do all of that and get some really intense hop flavor.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:34 am
by sdspespo1

I think it was that the grain was ground to fine but the idea of some support internally to the mesh sounds good. Aleguy had recommended something similar stainless steel tube with several cuts made with hack saw to serve as a strainer.
Anything I can do at this point to improve clarity? I forgot to add in Irish moss during the boil.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:20 am
by aleguy
Irish moss is not more effective at improving clarity than cold conditioning, but it does remove a lot of flavor. Two or three weeks under refrigeration will clear your beer just fine. Though I like MY beer fresh and cloudy.
I have PMed you with my response to you message. Frankly I'm surprised you didn't ask for help from a more experienced brewer for you first all-grain brew.That's one of the perks of being in this club. You can usually find someone to help you along until you get enough experience to go it alone. It's also handy to have someone to lend a hand from time-to-time during a brew.
BTW, you most definitely DO need to stir the mash when batch sparging since the grain bed gets compacted every time you drain it dry. you should also vorlauf your first runnings as well as all subsequent batch sparges.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:50 pm
by sdspespo1
I do remember seeing Gene doing that.. vorlauf.. and I did it but just the one time. Because I got such a late start on Sunday (when the honey do list was complete and final things done to get the system ready) I didn't think anyone would be available. Now that I think over everything I probably did need someone with more experience. I read, in the only beer book I have, that you lose 18 degrees temp when grain is added to hot water for mash. I heated water to 168 degrees then mashed for 60 min. That probably meant than I mashed at about 150 to 152 but the table I had said for 60 min and I should have done it for 90 based on your table. I did notice a lot of clumping of the grain and did stir it a lot to break them up and that may have let more heat out. I am ready to transfer it to another carboy. I'll taste it and see if I need to add any hops. I may do the tea thing as an experiment. I dont have the capability to do long term cold storage yet. Another fridge may be in my near future....

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:12 pm
by jimmiec
Keep on brewing and with some practice you will get your system fine tuned and a process that will make beer the way you want it. Careful, brewing does get addictive.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:23 pm
by sdspespo1
I know.. I already want to try another batch but don't have the fermentation capacity or space in the house for all the beer.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:53 am
by aleguy
Sounds like someone needs to bottle some long-term aging beers such as barley wines. Just put a few cases up now and then. If you don't have a spare closet, the I guess we'll just have to have an old fashioned brew-shed raising in your back yard. :wink: