Thursday, December 31, 2015

eBIAB - Single Vessel Electric Brewing System

The High Gravity eBIAB Single Vessel Brewing System is a real game changer for the homebrewer who loves to brew indoors. This is one powerful, precision controlled brewing solution in a compact format that is incredibly easy to use. The EBC-SV electric brewery controller delivers unparalleled temperature control throughout the entire brewing process, from dough in to mash out. Keeping up with the demands of a busy brewing schedule was a very positive experience this year, thanks to the High Gravity single vessel brewing system. Brewing on this system will easily turn your most productive brew days into your most enjoyable brew days ever.

Electric Brewery Controller- Single Vessel [EBC-SV]

At the heart of the EBC-SV controller is the ubiquitous Auber PID Temperature Controller. The Auber PID is a high precision controller with features that include 0.02% accuracy, enhanced fuzzy logic stability control and a bright LED display that is easy to see. Programming the temperature could not be any easier to do, just press the up or down arrow buttons to set the target temperature on the lower green LED display. The readout from the temperature probe is then displayed on the upper red LED display. Once setup the PID controller does the rest, it energizes the heating element inside the kettle as needed to accurately maintain the target temperature.

The Auber PID Temperature Controller

The EBC-SV comes in both 110 volt and 220 volt models, making it the perfect brewing solution for every home brewer. Whether you install a new 220 volt 30 amp circuit, or use an existing one, you will have enough power to brew 10 gallon batches with ease. Built from high quality, readily available components, you can expect this eBIAB system to provide you with years of reliable operation. The temperature controller display comes preset to display in degrees Fahrenheit and using the controller to accurately maintain mash temperature is simple. Just press the up and down buttons to set your target temperature, add your mash water to the kettle and then turn on the Chugger pump.

Wort Going To Spray Nozzle And Temperature Probe

The wort is pumped from the bottom of the kettle, where the electric heating element is located, up to the spray nozzle mounted underneath the kettle lid. The threaded end of the spray nozzle screws into a tee fitting where the temperature probe is mounted. As liquid flows around the probe on it's way to the spray nozzle, the temperature data is fed back to and monitored by the controller. The controller then energizes the heating element as needed in order to maintain the mash set point temperature. 

The Round Knob Is Used To Regulate The Power Going To The Heating Element

The round knob on the side of the controller adjusts the power output to the heating element. When turned fully clockwise the heating element receives the most power, this setting is used to quickly raise the temperature of the liquid in the kettle. Once the liquid reaches a boil turning the knob counter clockwise reduces the amount of power sent to the heating element. To prevent boil overs it is a good practice to reduce the power to the heating element, by turning the knob counter-clockwise, until the wort maintains a steady rolling boil.

Gravity Primed Chugger Pump Setup

The Chugger pump is not self-priming, instead the pump uses gravity to prime itself, as long as the inlet to the pump is positioned lower than the kettle valve. The orientation of the pump head can be changed by removing the four screws that mount the front of the pump head to the pump body. With the screws removed, the pump head can then be rotated as needed to position the inlet below the center line of the pump. To use the pump open the kettle valve then turn on the pump switch, the pump will prime and begin pumping almost immediately.  

Disassembling And Cleaning The Pump Impeller Shaft

Chugger pump impellers rotate around a stationary shaft that is mounted to the pump body. The design uses very close tolerances between the shaft and the impeller bushing, for both maximum performance and quiet operation. If too much sticky wort builds up between the shaft and the impeller, the impeller will bind on the shaft stopping the pump. The magnetic drive on the pump motor turns the impeller. The magnetism used is also strong enough to stop the motor from turning when the impeller binds to the shaft. More detailed instructions on how to disassemble and clean a stuck Chugger pump impeller can be found here.

Cleaning The Heating Element Maximizes Efficiency And Life

At the end of the brewday the kettle, tubing, pump, chiller and spray nozzle is easily cleaned by mixing a spoonful of Oxi-Clean Free in 2 gallons of water and heating it to 140F. Add the water to the kettle then mix in the Oxi-Clean Free and run the pump with the controller set point temperature set to 140F. Use a bristle brush and sponge to clean any heavier buildup from the kettle and then empty the kettle and repeat the process using clean water. It is important to remove all debris from the system before it has time to dry and to then flush the system with clean water until it runs clear. Thoroughly clean the system after each use, to prevent the pump impeller from sticking, and to make sure it is always ready to go.   

Clogged Shut Off Type Disconnect (On Right)

The HFC 35 Polysulfide High Flow Quick Disconnects that shipped with the system are easy to use and make connection changes a snap. Unlike metal disconnects that transfer heat quickly after hot wort has been run through them, polysulfide disconnects will not burn your hand when changing connections. The HFC 35s are rated for safe operation with liquid temperatures up to 280F. Their large easy to press thumb latches make them perfect for use in brewing systems, especially when used with high quality 1/2" ID food grade silicone tubing.

Replace Shut Off Connectors With Straight Thru Connectors

The shut off type connectors that came with the system are prone to clogging whenever a large enough piece of grain enters the tubing. With brew in a bag brewing grain can escape through a hole in the grain bag and then get sucked up by the pump. Once enough grain gets lodged inside the shut off valve the tubing will become blocked and wort circulation will stop. Replacing the shut off type connectors with straight thru type connectors will prevent the connectors from becoming blocked. To eliminate any chance of blockage the connectors can be positioned so the interior cross bars are aligned, providing the largest open area inside the connectors.    

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Perlick 630 Series Faucet - Easy Installation

Oh the dull drudgery of bottling! What better catalyst for throwing oneself into the world of beer kegging could there ever be. With kegging those seemingly endless hours spent cleaning, removing labels and sanitizing countless numbers of bottles becomes a thing of the past. A single five gallon keg holds the equivalent of four dozen 12 ounce bottles and a keg is much easier to clean, sanitize and fill than all of those bottles. Kegging also saves a lot of time and that time saved will be much better spent enjoying delicious draft beer at home.

Using little more than a bottle of Co2 and regulator, a short length of beer line and a picnic tap you will be able to pour yourself a draft beer almost anywhere. In time you may want to expand your basic kegging system to include a high quality beer faucet and tap. One easy way to install a beer faucet is to locate it on the side of a refrigerator. But before drilling any holes be sure to check to make sure that there are no wires or refrigeration lines in the way of the drill bit.

I spoke with the General Electric customer support folks and they confirmed that the sides of my Americana model A3316ABSHRWW refrigerator did not contain any hidden wires or tubing. If the side walls of the refrigerator are free of obstructions then installing the beer faucet in the side is your best option. Although door mounted beer faucets are another option the beer lines will need room to move around inside the refrigerator whenever the door is opened and closed.

Having Beer On Tap Is Awesome, Having Two Beers On Tap Is Even Awesomerer

Some homebrewers hold off on kegging until they are no longer devoting all of their free time to brewing beer. If you have never installed a beer faucet before the process may seem overwhelming to you at first. But it is reassuring to know that installing a beer faucet is easy to do once you know how. Once your new beer faucet is installed you will be able to drink fresh draft beer anytime you want without ever having to leave your home. 

What Is Needed To Begin

Before getting started there are a few things you will need. An electric drill with a 7/8 inch hole saw is used to drill the hole through the side wall for the nip shank. A pair of channel lock pliers or a wrench is needed to tighten the flange nut onto the shank end inside the refrigerator. A small screwdriver is needed to tighten the hose clamps that secure the beer line to the barb end connectors. The main parts used in a beer faucet installation are the beer faucet, a nip shank, a tap handle and a drip tray.

Beer faucets can be ordered in several styles and types, I prefer using stainless steel over the chrome or plastic types. Stainless steel faucets are durable and they will never pit, rust or corrode under normal use. The Perlick taps are made using a patented design that uses less internal parts than other beer faucets. This design greatly reduces the chance of any mold, mildew or bacteria from growing inside the faucet and tap. Combined with the benefits of all stainless steel construction the Perlick beer faucets do provide you with years of trouble free use. 

Making Beer Faucets Your Own By Using  Custom Tap Handles

The Tools That Are Needed:

Electric drill
7/8 inch diameter hole saw
Wrench or pliers to fit a 1 1/4 inch nut
Slotted screw driver
1/8 inch drill bit
Utility knife or scissors
It can easily take a day or more to hunt down all of the parts needed for a brewing project. Knowing in advance which parts to order and having the correct parts on hand before starting the installation will actually save you a lot of time. I decided to install a Perlick Forward Sealing Faucet (304 Stainless) model to use in my installation. I had previously installed the stainless steel Perlick Creamer Faucet and wanted the new faucet to match the same look.

The Parts That Are Needed:

1 - Perlick “Forward Sealing” Faucet (304 S/S)
1 - Nip Shank 2 7/8"  with 1/4" Bore (For 1 1/2" Thick Side Wall)
1 - Drip Tray 4" x 4 1/2" with 1" Back
10 feet - 3/16" ID x 7/16" OD FOXX SuperFlex PVC Tubing
2 - Small Stainless Steel hose clamps
1 - Barbed Swivel Nut, 1/4" Flare, 1/4" Barb
1 - 1/4 Inch Threaded Beer Post Connector
2 - Stainless Steel sheet metal screws 1 inch long (for drip tray)

Starting The Installation:

Mark the location and then drill a small diameter hole in the side of the refrigerator where you want to install the faucet. Run the drill bit through both the outer and the inside refrigerator walls. Next use a hole saw to drill through the outer metal wall of the refrigerator, using a medium drill speed while pushing lightly on the drill. Remove the metal circle cutout from the hole and then drill through the foam insulation until the tip of the hole saw pilot bit comes through the inner wall of the refrigerator. Take care not to use too much force when drilling through the plastic inside wall of the refrigerator. The goal is to drill a clean hole through the inside wall without creating any cracks in the plastic.

Using A Hole Saw To Drill The Hole For The Nip Shank

A small vacuum cleaner does a good job of cleaning up any foam particles created during the drilling process. Once the hole has been cleared of foam remove the flange nut from the barbed end of the nip shank. Next align the beer faucet with the collar end of the nip shank and then firmly tighten the collar to connect the faucet. Push the barb end of the shank through the hole and secure the assembly in place by holding the faucet level while tightening the flange nut.

7/8 Inch Nip Shank With 1/4 Inch Barb For Beer Line

With the beer faucet connected to the nip shank and the assembly firmly secured to the refrigerator wall connect a 10 foot long length of 3/16 inch inside diameter beer line to the 1/4 barb end of the nip shank. Using this combination of beer line diameter and line length allows me to carbonate and serve my kegged beer with the Co2 regulator set between 10 to 12 psi. Soaking the 3/16 inch beer line end, in near boiling water for a minute, will soften it enough to slip onto the larger 1/4 inch diameter barb. With the beer line firmly over the barbed end of the nip shank secure it in place using a small stainless steel hose clamp.     

3/16 Inch Beer Line Connection To 1/4 Inch Barb End

To connect the beer faucet to a keg you must first attach the barb end of a 1/4 inch swivel nut to the end of the beer line and secure it with a small stainless steel hose clamp. With the beer line attached to the nip shank and the swivel nut and both hose clamps tightened, the swivel nut can be tightened onto a beer out post connector. Snap the beer out post connector onto a keg of carbonated beer and then pour a cold one to enjoy as you check and make sure there are no leaks.

Let Your Creative Side Show With Custom Tap Handles

The drip tray is mounted to the side of the refrigerator using two short stainless steel sheet metal screws. Before drilling the holes make sure that your tallest beer glass will fit between the top of the tray and the bottom of the beer faucet. Then center the beer tray underneath the beer faucet, while holding the tray level, then mark the tops of the slotted mounting holes on the wall using a pencil. Locate the pencil marks and then use a 1/8 inch drill bit to drill through just the metal outer wall of the refrigerator.

Having Two Beers On Tap Is Twice As Rewarding As One

Loosely thread the screws into the side of the refrigerator and then slip the drip tray mounting slots over the screw heads. With the drip tray hanging from the two screws tighten the screws, leaving a 1/8 inch space between the wall and the screw head. When it comes time to clean the drip tray you should be able to lift it off the mounting screws without having to use a screw driver. In less time than it took to write this article I was able to install a second Perlick beer faucet in my refrigerator and by following these instructions so can you.