Welcome to the BrewSculpture™ Page at MoreBeer.com
We have made a lot of improvements to the sculptures to make them not only a better product but to make them easier to order as well. The systems look great and are completely modular so if you want to change batch sizes in the future or add options in the future it is easy to do.This documents contains the following, please click the link to go to the appropriate topic:
Sulpture History and Recent Changes
Who uses our Sculptures
The Frame and Frame Options
The Kettle, Mash Tun, and Hot Liquor Tank
The Connecting Parts (pump, tubing, fittings, sparge arm, etc..)
The Gas Systems Options
Mash and Hot Liquor Temperature Control Options
Wort Chilling Options
Sculpture History (back to top)
In the mid 1990's Beer, Beer & More Beer began designing All-grain BrewSculptures in response to an increasing number of customers who were interested in All-Grain Brewing, but wanted to do it right. Customers talked and we listened. The general theme is that they wanted complete systems that would make All-Grain Brewing easy with consistent results. Certain features came up repeatedly — a welded stand, a single gas system that ran off of one propane tank, three completely modified kettles, and a separate burner under each kettle.
Regan Dillon, a MoreBeer! partner, had been making and welding systems from scrap parts since the early 1980's. Armed with customer input and Regan's experience we introduced a line of three original BrewSculptures. The first Sculpture ever built was a 20 Gallon B3-2000 sold to Dan Funk in Seattle, Washington.
BrewSculptures and related options driven by customer feedback.
As customers from all over the world bought and used BrewSculptures, we continued to listen to their feedback producing 6 new systems and many options. We have continued in the tradition of listening to customers and refining our systems over and over again.
In 2007 we began our latest set of improvements that incorporate many of the best options to the base system, making a great product even better, and ordering a lot easier. Our goal for these changes is to have as many parts interchangeable instead of custom to a particular frame and kettle size, so that customers can upgrade their systems later instead of at the purchase. This starts with the frames; which can accommodate multiple size kettles so you can increase or decrease your batch size from 5 gallons to 20 gallons without purchasing an entire new brewsystem. The frames are set up so that you can also change gas systems later as well. The kettles; the new kettles are a brewers dream, they feature a aluminum core bottom that distributes heat evenly and still keeps the beer only in contact with stainless. Many other items that go onto the kettle such as sparge arms, tubing sets, heat exchangers, etc… are all designed so that you can change kettles sizes in the future.
We hope by going to this type of universal frame, we can improve our build times. We build each system per order and used to have 9 frames that could be ordered in steel or stainless, making so many options that we couldn’t start building ahead of time. Based off customer feed back we have trimmed this down to 3 frames that cover all the current stand designs. This will allow us to precut/weld frames, as well as look further into mass-producing the base stands. Keep in mind the sculptures will still be hand assembled per order.
Who uses our BrewSculptures™ (back to top)
Professional Breweries using as Pilot:
Stone Brewing, Russian River, Santa Barbara Brewing, Rougue Brewing, Brewery Ommagang, Flying Dog Brewery, Hales Ales, EJ Phair, Six-Point Craft Ales, Crystal Springs,
HomeBrewers, Over 700 homebrewers are using our Systems, this includes past Ninkasi winners, such as Jamil Zainasheff, too many great homebrewers.
Over 700 built so far….
Components of Systems:
Every System comes with a Frame, Boil kettle, Mash Tun, Sparge Arm, Hot Liquor Tank, and connectivity to get liquid from one vessel to another. To make a system ready to brew you will need a gas system and a wort chiller. We have a few options for each to best customize this to your brewing needs.
Stand Styles and Features (back to top)
Each frame is built Super Tough! They are over-engineered to be stronger than needed and last a lifetime and more. The frames are universal to accommodate many sized kettles, including kegs too. Designed from customer feedback, our combined brewing knowledge, and Regan’s engineering background, the stands are strong, compact, surprisingly light, have the correct gravity drops from vessel to vessel, and are treated to withstand the elements. Stands are constructed with the smallest footprints possible while retaining maximum stability and strength. We designed the frame height so that you can gravity feed a carboy from any of the boil kettle shelves for easy transfer after cooling.
The frames are built so that upgrades can be ordered for the sculpture at any time in the future. For Example: If you purchase a 1550 now and decide two years from now you want the digital package, the frame is ready and won’t need any modification to handle the control panel or different gas system.
Our base frame is regular steel but we have two upgrades available, stainless, and 304 stainless.
The regular steel frame is a great stand. It is MIG welded ,then excess metal from the weld is ground down for a nice, clean look. We prep the stands post welding, with a metal prep to treat the welds and remove machining grease and then paint with black, 1200 degree heat resistant paint. However, this frame can be scratched and dinged to where the paint is removed and it is vulnerable to rusting, this can be an issue in locations where rusting is more prevalent.
The Stainless Frame This will be a stainless material that’s finish is nice and still meets our high standards, but not built in-house. These will be treated to be able to withstand most elements.
The 304 Stainless Frame with Brushed Finish will be hand welded. These frames are truly works of Art that we TIG welds by hand and can take 4-5 days on our bench in just welding time. These frames look great and work great, as we have been offering this for the last 8 years with many, many satisfied customers. After welding we use a machine that employs electricity and a phosphoric acid based solution to passivate and remove weld stains. Stainless steel stands are not only very beautiful, they are easier to clean, won't rust, and are built to last longer than you.
We offer 3 styles of stands; Gravity, Tippy, and Flat, each having their merits.
The Gravity system is great in that it does not require a pump, so even without electricity, you can still brew. This system is a favorite when we teach classes as it is compact in height and it is the easiest to use. The only limitations are a 10gallon batch is the biggest you can brew and it doesn’t come with a pump so it isn’t ideal for doing recirculation mashes. A huge benefit of this system is it’s size, it’s foot print is basically 2 x 3 foot so it will fit almost anywhere. This frame is designed for our 8-15 gallon heavy duty kettles, however the burner is designed to hold any kettle diameter over 11 inches and height up to 15inches.
The Tippy System is by far our best selling design, and for good reason. It features a mash tun that is in a tippy basket that can be locked in position and then tipped over for ease removal of your grains after mashing (please drain as much hot liquid out first and dump slowly). Also, a huge benefit of it’s design is it has the Hot Liquor (HL) Tank under the mash tun so excess heat shrouds the mash tun as you heat the HL Tank. This makes for very efficient use of energy, as well as a small footprint. This frame now incorporates a built in wheel system as well as a step for getting up to the mash tun. While these frames are light the wheel system gives you the ability to move them easily. This system works like a wheel barrel in a way that it is very stable when in normal position and safe to brew on, then when emptied of liquid’s you can lift one side with a built in handle and wheel the frame around. Since this frame style requires a pump (standard on our tippy sculptures) for moving liquid from the HL tank to the mash tun, this allows for the addition of the SMART and digital options. This frame is designed for our 15 and 26 gallon heavy duty kettles, however the burner designed on the HL tank and boil are able to handle any kettle diameter from 11 to 20” and height up to 20 inches tall, the mash tun baskets only work for our 15 and 26 gallon kettles.
The Flat System is quickly becoming a crowd favorite. Since the kettles are all at one height it is easy to get access into any of the vessels quickly and without any need of a ladder or step. This frame puts all three kettle side by side so it has 2 pumps (standard on our flat Sculptures) to operate it during sparging. This can be tricky at first, but with some practice and experience it becomes very easy. Since you will have pumps with this frame design you can incorporate SMART and digital options to it. This frame also comes with a wheel system built in. While these frames are light the wheel system gives you the ability to move them easily. This system works like a wheel barrel in a way that it is very stable when in normal position and safe to brew on, then when emptied of liquid’s you can lift one side with a built in handle and wheel the frame around. This frame is designed for our 15 and 26 gallon heavy duty kettles. This frame is designed for our 15 and 26 gallon heavy duty kettle, however the burners are to handle any kettle diameter from 11 to 20” with any height.
The Kettles (back to top)
Made for brewing, our MoreBeer! Modified Brewing Kettles are constructed from our super heavy duty kettles. We then weld in two 1/2" threaded couplers. The bottom outlet is a very unique with male threads on the outside (for connecting a ball-valve) and female threads on the inside for connecting whatever you wish.
They Will Last a Lifetime!
Constructed from durable, long-lasting stainless steel, these kettles are virtually dent proof. Over the years, we have heard countless stories from brewers who have ruined their thin-walled kettles by dropping and denting them. This is no longer an issue with these beefy, super-thick kettles. Check out all the features!
Unique Outlet Fitting!
This unique outlet fitting welded directly into the brewing kettle features 1/2" Male Pipe Thread on the outside of kettle and 1/2" Female Pipe Thread on inside. The 1/2" MPT on the outside allows for the easy addition of a stainless ball-valve. The 1/2" internal threads allow you to thread in various options on the inside, including screens, down tubes, or whatever you want! With The top 1/2" coupler has a plug in it so that you can later add a thermometer or thermowell.
Aluminum Core Bottom
Our kettles are built with a tri-clad bottom featuring an aluminum core sandwiched between two layers of stainless steel. The Aluminum is over a ¼” thick, allows for even heat distribution while the food-grade stainless steel is the only metal in contact with your wort. Even heat distribution eliminates hot spots, which prevents scorching of your malt and makes cleanup a breeze!
Seamless - Made from a single piece of metal
Our kettles are drawn, meaning the kettle is made from one piece of stainless steel. No welded seams.
Heavy Duty Handles!
The handles on these kettles are just as heavy duty as the rest of the kettle. This is because they are made from rolled stainless steel, which is strong and easy on your hands.
The cornerstone of a great boil, we use our base kettle with the two fittings, the upper one ships with a ½” Male Plug. Because this kettle has the aluminum core, it will be able to bring your wort up to a boil quickly without risk of excess scorching, and since the kettle is seamless inside, it is a dream to clean afterwards. This kettle can also be used for decoction mashing if you wish as the aluminum core bottom works great for distributing the heat (if you have interest or more questions on decoction brewing please give us a call). This kettle can have more items added to it in the Kettle Options area.
Featuring our Heavy Duty kettle , we also include a few key items to make it work perfectly as a mash tun; a false bottom and a high quality thermometer. The 18-gauge stainless steel false-bottom features a perforation of 3/32 holes on 5/32 centers. This is considered standard commercial sizing. If the perforation is larger, you get too much grain husk material falling through. If the perforation is smaller you risk stuck mashes when using flaked grains or high percentages of wheat – especially when using a pump to recirculate the mash. We use a very high quality stainless thermometer made by Tel-Tru on the mashtun, they feature a dual scale adjustable 3" face and 6" probe to get the reading from near the center of the mash.
Hot Liquor (HL) Tank
Featuring our Heavy Duty kettle , we also include a few key items to make it work perfectly as a Hot Liquor tank; a sight gauge and thermometer. We use a very high quality stainless thermometer made by Tel-Tru on the mashtun, they feature a dual scale adjustable 3" face and 2" probe. Also included is our unique glass sight gauge. The sight gauge is made from 1/2" glass tubing sheathed in a protective chrome plated metal shield. It is mounted separately from the spigot so that you can get an accurate reading while fluid is still moving out of the spigot.
Connecting Pieces (back to top)
We use a translucent, food-grade tubing that is temperature rated to 500F. Odorless, tasteless, and inert Silicone tubing is FDA food-grade approved from -100F to 500F. Translucent natural color allows you to see the flow. The I.D. is 1/2" with a 1/4"wall that makes it kink resistant and will not delaminate. This tubing is not designed to hold pressures above 20psi, however, it is perfect for use with our pump that only creates up to 8psi.
We use our industrial quality, H602 Full Port Stainless Ball Valves on the sculptures. The ball opening inside is full port meaning the flow of liquid is not restricted and allows for fast flow when needed, especially when feeding a pump inlet. The valve has a rubber coated handle as well as a locking mechanism that can be removed (albeit a pain to remove). The valve is a two-piece valve and can be taken apart for thorough cleanings. These valves should last a lifetime in normal brewing use.
QD’s Tubing Quick Disconnects
For years we used Brass and plastic quick disconnects because of the price of Stainless one on the market. The brass was a metal many brewers are trying to avoid and the plastic were vulnerable to breaking and distortion when flames hit them. Finally we decided to just have them made ourselves the way we wanted them. Our new SS QD's are the ultimate home brewing Quick Disconnects. Made from 304 stainless steel, these disconnects feature a full flow through the body, easy to release slide, and a food grade o-ring that ensures a perfect seal and no drips.
The quick disconnect ends are unique and seal up very well in either flow direction, without a lot of work in connecting them. These feature a 1/2" Male National Pipe Thread on the outer ends for easy connectivity to almost anything. We build our tubing sets for the pump systems so that they lines can be ganged together to make longer lines for custom situations.
In the past we used brass fittings on many parts of the brew Sculptures, and had it be an option to upgrade to high temp plastics and stainless. We have acquired all the parts that come in contact with the wort to be stainless, EPDM, Teflon, silicone, or copper. All materials you will find in most professional breweries. All parts that thread are stainless, o-rings are silicone and EPDM, the valves have Teflon in them, the sparge arm is made of copper, and the tubing is made of silicone.
There are two different types of sparge arms used on the Sculptures, one for gravity and one for pump systems.
The gravity frame sparge arm is very simple. It is designed to sit above the mash tun and distribute the water with a 10 inch copper ring with holes drilled in it. This works great for getting and maintaining a 1-2” base of water on the grain bed.
The Pump sparge arm is probably our most re-engineered part of the brew sculptures. The entire assembly attaches to the mash tun when needed and comes off for doughing in and easy cleaning. The assembly clamps to the side of the kettle and is fully adjustable to the point that you can actually have the copper ring be above the top lip of the mash tun for those huge mashes. The caridge that holds the 10” copper sparge ring with holes, can be slid up and down a stainless dowel and is held in place with a simple friction o-ring so it can be adjusted down, even after put into place. The sparge arm also features an Anti-Siphon system so if your ring is in the sparge water, it won’t siphon back to the HL tank when the pump is off. This same arm can be used for mash liquid recirulation if a form of SMART is ordered. This Arm is designed for our 15 and 26 gallon kettles, and it can be used in both with a removable insert for the 15 gallon kettle. This allows you to switch mash tun sizes if you wish in the future without investing in a new sparge arm. We’ve also designed the arm to be upgradable to the Digital package if that is ordered in the future.
Pump (and bracket)
On Systems that use a pump(s) [1550,2050,1100,2100] we use our H315 high temp pump with many modifications. The pump is mounted to our frames via a pump mount bracket that allows you to take the pump on and off the frame without tools. Constructed of polysulfone, a food-grade material, this pump will handle wort at boiling temperature. The magnetic drive acts as a clutch allowing the user to put backpressure on the pump to slow down flow. Since it is magnetic drive, it is not self-priming; we mount the pump under the level of the liquid source and put a bleeder valve for priming. This is a tough little pump with a 1/25 hp, continuous-duty 1.4 Amp motor which can be run non-stop for extended periods. This pump has a maximum flow of 7.2 gpm with a maximum head of 12 feet. The max pressure the pump can produce in a closed system is a little over 5 psi. We outfit the pump with a stainless “T” on the input of the pump that has a stainless male qd for allowing liquid in, and a ball valve on the other side for priming. On the out of the pump we put a ball valve for flow control (to control liquid flow always put restriction of flow after this pump, never before) and a stainless female qd.
Gas Systems – FOR OUTDOOR USE ONLY! (back to top)
MoreBeer! BrewSculptures can be fitted to run on high-pressure propane (most common), low-pressure propane, or natural gas. All gas systems have three burners, one under each kettle, with individual gas ball valves for each burner. With any of the systems, all three burners can be ran at once with only one tank, however you will probably never have more than two burners going at any one time. We use black gas pipe, T’s, elbows, gas ball valves, and bushings to connect everything together.
High-Pressure Propane Option is the most common option as it runs off of standard BBQ propane tanks. These burners produce ~55k btu, but still have excellent flame control and can get a raging boil going on a 20 gallon batch. The three burners are supplied by one regulator and propane tank ,which is REALLY convenient. No switching propane tanks to run different burners. The adjustable, high-pressure regulator (1 to 10psi) is included and will mount to a standard, barbecue-style, propane tank. **Some customers replace this regulator with a 1-20 psi regulator if their water is exceptionally cold or they are in a real hurry. We don’t sell them due to safety reasons but can periodically found on EBay or other web sites. ** FOR OUTDOOR USE ONLY!
Low-Pressure Propane Option is often found in more rural areas and will not run off of portable BBQ propane bottles. Please consult an HVAC or Plumbing professional if you plan on installing this in your home or business as there are various concerns on piping size, elbows, line lengths, etc… to make sure enough flow can get to the brew system. These burners can produce ~92k btu’s each so to run all three at once would be about 276,000BTU’s. These burners work well in the installations we have done on them but lack excellent flame control that the High Pressure burners offer, due to the air/gas jetting being fixed instead of adjustable. This option is handy in that you don’t have to refill propane tanks, nor run out mid batch, however, you usually loose the freedom to move your brewsculpture around, nor take it to an event to brew. FOR OUTDOOR USE ONLY!
Natural Gas Option is found in residential homes in urban areas across the country. Please consult an HVAC or Plumbing professional if you plan on installing this in your home or business as there are various concerns on piping size, elbows, line lengths, etc… to make sure enough flow can get to the brew system. These burners can produce ~92k btu’s each so to run all three at once would be aabout 276,000BTU’s. These burners work well in the installations we have done on them but lack excellent flame control that the High Pressure burners offer, due to the air/gas jetting being fixed instead of adjustable. This option is handy in that you don’t have to refill propane tanks, nor run out mid batch, however, you usually loose the freedom to move your brewsculpture around, nor take it to an event to brew. FOR OUTDOOR USE ONLY!
Digital High-Pressure Propane Option must be ordered instead of the High-Pressure Propane option if you are purchasing the Full Digital package as we replace the HL Tank burner with the special burner that will control the temperature of the HL tank. FOR OUTDOOR USE ONLY!
Digital Low-Pressure Propane Option must be ordered instead of the Low-Pressure Propane Option if you are purchasing the Full Digital package as we replace the HL Tank burner with the special burner that will control the temperature of the HL tank. Please consult an HVAC or Plumbing professional if you plan on installing this in your home or business as there are various concerns on piping size, elbows, line lengths, etc… to make sure enough flow can get to the brew system. These burners can produce ~92k btu’s each so to run all three at once would be about 276,000BTU’s. These burners work well in the installations we have done on them but lack excellent flame control that the High Pressure burners offer, due to the air/gas jetting being fixed instead of adjustable. This option is handy in that you don’t have to refill propane tanks, nor run out mid batch, however, you usually loose the freedom to move your brewsculpture around, nor take it to an event to brew. FOR OUTDOOR USE ONLY!
Digital Natural Gas Option must be ordered instead of the Natural Gas Option if you are purchasing the Full Digital package as we replace the HL Tank burner with the special burner that will control the temperature of the HL tank. Please consult an HVAC or Plumbing professional if you plan on installing this in your home or business as there are various concerns on piping size, elbows, line lengths, etc… to make sure enough flow can get to the brew system. These burners can produce ~92k btu’s each so to run all three at once would be about 276,000BTU’s. These burners work well in the installations we have done on them but lack excellent flame control that the High Pressure burners offer, due to the air/gas jetting being fixed instead of adjustable. This option is handy in that you don’t have to refill propane tanks, nor run out mid batch, however, you usually loose the freedom to move your brewsculpture around, nor take it to an event to brew. FOR OUTDOOR USE ONLY!
SMART Options and Hot Liquor Tank Control(Pump Systems Only) (back to top)
SMART: Step Mash Adjusted Recirculation Temperature. While the acronym is a bit of a stretch, it is a smart way of adjusting your mash temperature without having to directly apply flame or use electric heating elements.
The way it works: By using a pump, we move liquid from the mash tun (under the false bottom) through a heat exchanger (25' of 1/2" copper coil) that is sitting in a hot water bath (HL tank) and returned gently to the top of the grain bed, completing a closed loop. By watching the temperature on the mash tun, you unplug the pump when it gets to the desired mash temp.
This heat exchange is very gentle and will not have any caramelizing effects on the sugar water (wort) that you have produced. You can do temperature maintenance or temperature raises in the mash very easily and safely this way. Depending on your flow rate, your wort temperature going into the coil, and your water bath temperature, to what temperature you will come out of the coil returning to the mash bed. We find typically with this system we get about a .5 degree a minute raise when operating the pump at full flow and the bath water is only 10 degrees F above the wort temperature. You can go faster by upping the bath water temperature, but we don't recommend have the bath water going over 175F unless you are experienced with the system.
Another advantage of SMART systems is wort clarity. When you are doing recirculation you are using the grain bed as a filter to remove par-ticulate from the recirculating wort. This keeps material out of the Boil Kettle which helps to produce beers with less issues later on in the fermentation process.
Analog SMART: Comes with the appropriate tubing and heat exchanger to allow you to utilize your pump system with SMART. Your role in the process will be watching the thermometer in the mash tun and turning off the pump when you hit your target temperature in the mash tun. A quick trick is to turn the pump off at 1 degree below the target temp and let sit 2 minutes, then turn on if it didn't raise to your target temperature.
Digital SMART: All the same components of SMART, however, we add a Temperature Controller and a Thermowell in the mash tun. The set-up is the same as the regular SMART except that all the valves are left open in the recirculation loop. A Digital Temperature Controller monitors mash temperature through a thermowell that we weld into the Mashtun and turns the pump on whenever the mash temperature is below the set-point. This feature can be used to perform hands-off temperature rises, from say a protein rest at 122F to a sugar rest at 150F. It is most commonly used to maintain mash temperature without having to personally watch the temperature dial. The mash temperature can be kept within a degree of your set point.
Full Digital SMART Package: The ultimate bundle of Digital Control for our BrewSculptures. This package contains our Digital SMART, a Digital Hot Liquor System, and a Stainless Control Panel to operate it all.
The Digital SMART option has a bonus of a convoluted coil instead of the standard coil in the Hot Liquor tank. The advantage of the Convoluted Copper is faster temperature rises and the ability to get recirculating wort to within degrees of the Hot-Liquor Tank temperature. This is great for doing Mashouts (raising mash temperature to 168 after the Mashing Process is over.) We find that with the new coil you can get a 1-degree differencial between mash tun and hot liquor tank. Meaning you can mash out at 168F holding your hot liquor tank at 169F, however, it is faster to reach that temp if you go a little higher in the hot liquor tank.
The Digital Hot Liquor system maintains your hot liquor tank within one degree of set temperature. This is extremely handy when running a step mash or sparging. A digital controller monitors temperature through a thermowell that we weld into the Hot-Liquor tank. There is a pilot light that you light before brewing, after that it is fully automated, turning on and off gas to the burner to maintain the desired temperature. There is a safety float switch made of stainless steel in the HL Tank to prevent you from running out of water and damaging your Hot Liquor Tank. The controller turns the burner on and off through an automated gas valve that comes complete with pilot light. One advantage is that you never have to watch the temperature on your hot liquor tank again. The real advantage, however, is when it is used in combination with a SMART system. A SMART system is basically transferring heat from your Hot Liquor to your Mashtun. The Digital Hot Liquor option ensures that even though you are taking heat out of your Hot Liquor during a recirculation your temperature never drops more than a degree below set point.
The Stainless Control Panel competes the package but putting the digital control and displays at your fingertips. The powerhouse of the brewsculpture, you can control mash temperature, sparge temperature, pump's and more with ease. A key component is an integrated 4 way switch that controls power to the pump so that you don’t have to plug and unplug it or switch from a controlled outlet to an always-on outlet. In "off” position the pump does not receive power. In the "Temp Switch" position the pump is controlled by the Digital SMART system to maintain and or raise mash temperatures. In the "Float Switch" position the pump is controlled during sparging by the float switch in the Mashtun. The "On" position the pump is turned on for other duties you might have like pumping wort from Boil Kettle to Fermenter, sanitizing, etc.. As part of this package we incorporate a stainless float switch onto your sparge arm that controls the liquid level during sparging. We incorporate safety lights onto the control panel that let you know when your control panel has electricity, when your pump should be on, and when you’re hot liquor burner should be on. These are handy when brewing to visually see when something is about to happen and to trouble shoot if anything goes wrong. Ultimately, this increases the resemblance of your BrewSculpture to the space ship cockpit of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars.
Wort Chilling Options (back to top)
Immersion Chiller: A very common way to do your chilling. This is a standard immersion chiller that is built for the kettle size. This is usually ½” copper at 25 feet for 5 gallon batches and 50 feet for larger batches. Simply hook up a garden hose in and out and use water to cool your boiled wort. These chillers are very easy to maintain as you boil them for the last 20 minutes of the boil to sanitize them and then just rinse them off and wipe any debris off when your done. These are effective but tend to take a long time and use a lot of cooling water as the wort is relatively stagnate in the kettle. We notch the lid of the kettle if you order this so that you can cool with the lid closed to help keep airborne bacteria out. (tip, use tinfoil around the hole to close it up even more)
On this option we don’t recommend a thermometer in the boil kettle as when chilling you end up with temperature gradients in wort temperature that results in false temperatures readings. This works much like a swimming pools top layer being warm but the pool is much cooler at the bottom.
Pro’s – Safe from Contamination, Effective, Easy to maintain
Con’s – Slow, High Water Usage, Unless going to a carboy, you have to figure out way to move wort around.
Recirculation (Whirlpool) Immersion option: The ultimate in control in chilling fast and easily maintained. The same chiller as used with an immersion chiller but a copper tube is built onto the chiller that is bent in a way to move the liquid in a whirlpool manor. The way it works is that the wort goes from the boil kettle through the pump, and then through the special arm on the chiller, the hot wort is forced right onto the cooled copper of the immersion coil. This movement of the wort really increases the effectiveness of the wort chiller and drastically reduces the chilling time. This is one of our favorite chilling methods as you can clean and sanitize the chiller very easily and you can run the chilling till you get where you want the temperature.
On this option we recommend a thermometer in the boil kettle as the moving wort distributes the actual temperature pretty evenly. Another tip is to have a way of getting cold water after the initial chilling of the wort is done to be able to bring the wort to any temperatures you wish including lager pitching temperatures. A few of our customers who have been doing this for a while use a submersible pump that has a garden hose fitting on it in a bucket of ice and water, they wait till the regular garden hose water gets them to about 80, then they switch over to the ice water and have reported getting as low as 45F.
Pro’s – Easy to maintain Chilling Surface, Fast, Low Water Usage, at the end you can pump to where ever you want the wort, you can keep running till you get your desired temperature.
Con’s – You are moving cooling wort through pump head so you risk contamination (reduced if you run pump with boiling liquid through for 10 minutes at end of boil), must have pump.
Counterflow Chiller Option: Fast Chilling that’s easy to maintain. Counterflow’s operate on the principle of having the wort pass through an inner tube while water passes on the outside of that tube in the opposite direction. This is a very effective form of chilling, and this is enhanced by the inner tube being convoluted tubing so you get very little laminar flow. [ For a quick analogy of what that means, if you are to walk into a river, you feel very little flow near the edges due to more surface drag, where as when you go toward the middle the flow is much faster. When water does this in a pipe the slow area exchanges temperature very quickly but the center core doesn’t, the convolution, creates turbulation to break this up and make it very effective. ]
To use this chilling, you flow your wort from the boil kettle to a pump and then to the counterflow chiller to your fermentor. The counterflow chiller has a wort in and out and a cold water in and out, the wort out and water in should be on the same side of the chiller.
On this option we don’t recommend a thermometer in the boil kettle unless you want one there for reasons other than chilling, as the liquid should be at or near a boil before it gets to the counterflow chiller. [Tip – 1st boil water in the HL tank when boiling your wort, recirculate this through the pump, counterflow chiller, fittings and tubing to sanitize before use, then use same water afterwards to rinse out the sugars that build up (don’t recirc after, just flow one way), tip 2, if you get a bacteria by accident living in it, you can sanitize it by first rmoving all fittings that are not solid metal (orings, etc..) then sticking in room temp oven and setting for 400f??, let it heat and stay there for 30 minutes then turn off heat and let cool slowly overnight]
Pro’s – Fast, Low water use, can be sanitized by starting pump when in the boil in loop
Con’s – One pass through, if you don’t get the temp drop you wanted you don’t have easy options to get it cooler. Getting the chiller clean and sugar free afterwards requires heavy cleaning or boiling water.
Plate Chiller Option: Fastest Chilling, harder to maintain. Plate chillers operate on the principle of getting the wort into very small channels to give big surface areas of stainless to liquid. The flow is very much like a scattergram (right word?) in that there is no forced direction just where ever it can flow . The plates are stacked in layers and you have water, wort, water, wort, etc.. Making a lot of surface area to wort as it passes though cooling it very quickly. The principle is great, and is commonly used in the commercial breweries. However, in the commercial breweries the plate chillers are different in that they can be taken apart and often are every 3-12 months depending on a few factors. Unfortunately, there is not a homebrew sized plate chiller that is affordable and effective that can be taken apart. The problem being that cold brake forms when chilling wort, these can build up in the channels and potentially harbor a bacteria or reduce the effectiveness of the chilling as that is one less channel the wort can pass through.
Pro’s- Very Fast, Low water use, can be sanitized by starting pump when in the boil in loop
Con’s- One pass through, if you don’t get the temp drop you wanted you don’t have easy options to get it cooler. Getting the chiller clean and sugar free afterwards requires heavy cleaning or boiling water.
Kettle options (back to top)
The set of 3 are devises that thread into the inside of the kettle that allow you to maximize how much liquid you pull from a kettle, or divert the flow out of the kettle from the center to the side. One is designed for the Hot Liquor tank and it designed to get as much liquid out of the kettle as possible. One is designed for the mash that both pulls more from the center of the mash as well as more near the bottom of the kettle to maximize collection of your sweet wort. The last is designed for the boil kettle and it is deigned to pull from the side of the kettle instead of the middle to reduce trub that gets to your fermentor. Also, this one allows you to control how much wort you leave behind in the kettle.
If you wish to have a thermometer put in their Boil Kettle (see cooling options for suggestions). This high quality stainless thermometer made by Tel-Tru features a 3” dual scale face and 2” probe.
Boil Kettle Screen
A great option when you plan on using whole hops. A stainless perforated screen with handle that sits on the bottom of the kettle above the valve. Keeps whole hops in the kettle so they don't clog the valve, or keeps bags of pellet hops from hitting the true bottom of the kettle .