blickman fittings

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blickman fittings

Postby jimmiec » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:49 am

I want to buy a Blickman 15 gallon w/a false bottom. I planned on using the kettle as the mash tun and drain from the kettle to another kettle. What fittings would I need to take advantage of the valve? Do I need the strainer? I think several members mentioned they use the Blickman kettles.
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Postby aleguy » Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:40 pm

If anyone in this club uses Blichman kettles, they have kept it a very closely guarded secret. Most people either use turkey fryers for extract brews or converted kegs for kettles.
Yes, you will need a false bottom for your mash tun. You will need at least two kettles. One for an HLT (Hot Liquor Tank- which is brewspeak for hot water) and one for boiling. That is if you use a converted cooler for a mash tun. If you want to have a direct-fired mash tun, then you will need three kettles.
I strongly recommend you check out as many brew systems in operation as you can before you buy anything.
It sounds like you haven't brewed before, or at least not for very long. Learn from those who have gone before you. You don't need gold-plated equipment to brew awesome beer. In fact. a converted keg is the perfect geometry for homebrew scale beer. % and 10-gallon+ batches have exactly the right boil-off rates and surface to volume ratios. Plus they fit on standard sized propane burners.
Don't be in a huge rush. Take your time and look around before you jump into something that expensive. Most members are happy to have you visit when you brew, so you can learn how each of their systems works before you build your own. Each new system in the club generates new ideas or has better design (usually) that you can run with and make your own system even better.
What I'm trying to say is that brewstands are in a state of fast evolution around here at the moment, so come see what's going on before you buy into something you may want to change soon after.
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Postby jimmiec » Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:15 am

Of coarse, I would love to see other peoples brewing systems before buying anything. I was hoping this could be one reason for joining the club. I did the same before buying my first telescope, except a little easier to setup telescopes during club meetings.

Yes, it has been years since brewing a beer. However, I still remember the mess it would make with the mash, lauter, and wort chiller leaking and of coarse the spills and such. This is the main reasons the equipment got pitched or given away (except glass carboys - always worked great) during all the moves throughout the years. I want to invest in some good equipment this time that hopefully I can use for ever. Also, I wanted to avoid plastics (mash and lauter tun) due to potential dioxins (if there is a hazard) being released when the plastic is heated but then there is always the tubing.

My plan was to have a nice kettle (built in temp., valve, and water gauge) for mash and lauter tun. A cheaper kettle for heating water for the mash and transfer wort into during lauterring. Then transfer the wort back to the cleaned out nice kettle for boiling with hops. Chill in the nice kettle with a immersion chiller (25-50') and use the false bottom as filter for hops and any remaining particles (coming out during the chilling). Of coarse I would rather go with the plate chiller (takes up less storage space).

I'm in an apartment still so I don't have room to go full out system (e.g., RIMS). I was thinking that I would get a system in pieces as needed with the kettle being the beginning. I do see a keg converted kettle on ebay ($250) and Northern Brewer selling slightly cheaper kettles (Mega Kettles) than the Blickman.

I'm needing to brew beer again because I have switched to drinking primarily keg beer (bottles as backups) and I've have found it hard to get different flavors of beer unless I want to drive to TX (SPECS) every other weekend.

Thanks for any help and advice.
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Postby aleguy » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:45 am

Just be patient. There's no reason to spend that kind of money on a converted keg. I will say you need 3 vessels to do all-grain unless you go with the Australian model. (Brew in a bag.)
There are many options out there. I can see a modular RIMS that could be broken down and stacked/nested for easier storage. Your kettles are going to take the most space, though if you go with nesting stainless kettles they could take up far less room.
As far as using your false bottom as a hop catcher, that's definitely a no-go. It will clog up with cold break if you use an immersion chiller. The only way to make it work would be to use a counterflow or plate chiller. Frankly, the cleaning, maintenance and sanitation on those is just too much hassle for me.
Maybe it's time someone designed a RIMS for small spaces.
I'm assuming you have an outdoor space to brew in such as a patio or carport, and wouldn't be trying to do this on an apartment stove.
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Postby jimmiec » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:52 am

Oh yeah, I can set up some burners and table outside.
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Postby aleguy » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:57 am

I've been thinking about your storage problem, and this is what I've come up with so far: A 3-burner RIMS in which each burner section is independent but interlocking when in place. This would form a solid stand while you were brewing but would allow the stand to be broken down and nested vertically for storage. You could outfit your control panel with a screw mount and use a telescoping camera tripod to hold it while you brew. This would require using some features that the rest of us have gotten away from such as having all the valves for each burner located at the burners instead of the control panel and using an ammo box with auxilliary fan as moveable pump housings.
As to your kettles, (this is purely speculative at the moment, but seems a reasonable solution,) Buy three 15-gallon stockpots from different manufacturers with three different diameters. If you weld a tri-clamp fitting just barely far enough from the kettle wall to fit the clamp on you just might be able to get three kettles of the same volume to nest one inside the other. You could then store all your hoses, fittings, wort chiller, etc. inside the inner kettle and set everything on top of your nested stand. There should be enough room under the stand to keep your pumps.
The kettle thing would be a lot easier if we could just walk into a restaurant supply store and see if they actually fit with enough clearance for the fitting, but as we are located in a small town, if you choose to go this route, you'll probably have to rely on measurements supplied by the manufacturers.
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