Brewzilla 35

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Craigerrr, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I have done 4 batches on my new machine, and am still struggling to hit numbers consistently.

    To the Brewzilla, and Grainfather users here, could I get some help?

    I like to brew beer in the 6% neighborhood, and therefore have grainbills in the 13 to 13.5 pound range. Is this exceeding what the machine is capable of?
     
  2. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    My last brew
    13 lb 8oz grain
    7.9 abv
    84% brew house efficiency.

    What helped me most:
    Grain crush. I took several batches and some stuck mash circulations and sparges, but eventually I started dialing it in. I'm to the point now where I want to loosen up the grind just a hair.
    Stirring the mash every 15 minutes or so. I really think that even though you have a circulating mash, getting in there with a big stir spoon and breaking things up every 15-20 minutes really helps with a good conversion.
    Since my Grainfather has a step for it, and I can set it up in the brew steps, I do do a 10 minute mash out. I think it helps in these all in ones. I do my last stir a little before mash out step just to help with a nice clean, clear running wort before sparge.
    And finding a Facebook group specific to my Grainfather. I hate Facebook but being in an equipment specific group helped greatly. I found all kinds of set up tips specific to my system and the brewing software that I'm using. In my opinion, having a good baseline setup for these systems really helps. I've found just a little tweaking has got me dialed in perfectly.
    Painful part: Left Brewer's Friend software for Brewfather. Probably sounds silly but Brewfather is a better fit for me and my brewing. After awhile I struggled with Brewer's Friend trying to make it work with my equipment and brew style. I found the equipment profiles for my system to be very close for my set up and the users group on Facebook is also a great resource.
     
  3. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, could you tell me about your mash water volume, and water to grain ratio? The GF30 profile on Brewfather shows 3.5 liters dead space, the Brewzilla is 6.75 liters.
    What was your batch size on the 7.9% brew?
     
  4. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    I've done a 13 litre 8% stout batch, with full volume mashing. I assume you're doing around a 20 litre batch with sparging, so I'd have thought it'd be comparable, mash capacity wise. This is a session of about your size -
    Mash capacity looks fine, the boil is certainly close to the edge.

    Any part of the session more of a problem than others? Is it pre-boil? Conversion or both? I've had a few problems with boil gravity, but none with conversion. It's been a few batches to get the various water requirements right.

    First three batches with the malt pipe and the screens. Two with a bag, the malt pipe and just the bottom screen and the last with just a bag, no malt pipe. Conversion hasn't been obviously better on any of these permutations. I'm still using my original BIAB fine crush.
     
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  5. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    Typical water volume is right around 8 gallons give or take a cup or two:cool: and depending on grain volume.
    Batch size for me it's 5.75 gallons.
    Mash water was 5.29 gallons
    Sparge 2.79
    Typically I round out so 5 gallons mash and 3 gallons sparge.
    Mash tun deadspace is .9 which is "recoverable" but I typically leave what my pump can't get to with my Grainfather tilted to get most. So I do have a bit of a loss that is basically hops and whatever else settles out to the bottom which is not much.
     
  6. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Your recoverable dead space in the grainfather appears to be a lot less, it is listed as 1.75 in the BZ.
    As these machines are essentially fancy BIAB units, it seems to me that the 9.25G capacity (actually 7.25G useable) isn't enough for my comfort.
     
  7. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    20200913_084850.jpg
    My most recent (fourth) brew. Original gravity was 10 points low, I added approximately 2# (0.9kg) DME to get to expected OG of 1056. I had to have left a lot of sugar in the grist…
    5.28G batch size (20L)
    13.65# (6.19kg) grist including 1# (0.46kg) rice hulls
    6.08G mash water (23L) Mash at 155F (68C)
    1.60G (6.06L) sparge water
    Efficiency set at 69.5 (Brewfather Default)

    I used both bottom screens, installed as per instructions. Stirred the mash real good, let it rest for 15 minutes with recirc running, gave it another stir as best as I could after 15 minutes (it was super thick). I then installed the top screen and mashed for 90 minutes. Mash temperature 155F.


    With the mash tun dead space being 1.75G (6.75L), it looks like mash thickness in the malt pipe was 1.25Q/lb (2.65L/kg), but it seemed a lot thicker than that so I wonder if the dead space volume is literally the volume below the malt pipe, and does not include the water around the malt pipe.
     
  8. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I recall watching these videos, but will watch them again, thanks Mark.
     
  9. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    On my first two brews I used my old BIAB bag in the malt pipe with just the bottom screen. Stirring was a PITA. I missed on gravity on both batches, but not as much as the most recent batch. Crush on the first two batches was with mill set at 0.031".
    On the batch referenced in my post above I opened the mill up to 0.042", and wet conditioned the grains. Maybe I need to close the mill up a bit?
     
  10. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure the numbers vary some system to system. I focus on crush and how slow of a sparge you can live with. Speaking of sparge, are you getting a good sparge through the grains bed or is your sparge water going to the sides of the malt pipe and running down quickly? I'm a half hour+ sparge.
     
  11. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Grain crush - what do you have your gap set at? - Do you wet condition
    Stirring - sounds like I shouldn't bother with the top screen any more...
    Mashout - I can do that with the BZ, I would need to set two different timers, one to get to mashout temp, another to hold it, easy enough
    Facebook - I was on a BZ group, too many experts that had no clue what they were talking about, ask a question: get all kinds of static and very little constructive information, you see a noobie asking a question: he gets smart ass answers that could only confuse.....
    Brewfather - I too use Brewfather (sorry Brewer's Friend), it is just so much more intuitive, simple, and straight forward. I paid my fee for this year, not sure if I will or won't next year, probably will, this is still an amazing resource.
     
  12. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    As far as I can tell the sparge is flowing evenly through the grain bed, but it is hard to tell with the top screen in there, maybe another reason not to use it.
     
  13. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    I know on my Grainfather I'd rather use the top screen it ensure even flow over the grain bed. I also keep it covered with about a quarter inch of my sparge water. If your sparge is happening quickly, chances are your crush is to coarse and or you're channeling during sparge.
     
  14. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Do you then only place the top screen in place after mash out?
     
  15. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Watching the mash in on Gavin's first video, mash looks a good thickness, not too thick, not too thin. Odd that mine was so thick, I used 23 liters (Gavin used 20), my grain bill was 6.19kg (included 25% flaked, and 460g of rice hulls), Gavin's grain bill was 5.5kg (15% flaked, no rice hulls). Maybe on this batch it was the 25% flaked that effed me up.
     
  16. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    Leave that top plate in the whole mash. I turn off my pump, remove stir, back in place, pump back on. I leave heat on the entire time.
    I'd say 25% flake could have been part of it.
    What are you having the most issues with?
     
  17. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Two main issues are gravity, and mash thickness. Last batch mash was stupid thick, but maybe 25% flaked was a factor. Batch before that gravity was low, but I was over volume by 1 gallon. No flaked anything in the grist on this one. Gravity being low made sense as I was over volume. With a 60 minute bittering edition already added I didn't want to extend the boil and make it too bitter to enjoy.
     
  18. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    I've been trimming my grain absorption back, even to the extent of going well below the value I calculate from the measurements. I can always just add water to the boil if I've overshot the adjustment. I had 3-4 batches in a row where the extraction was low 90% and efficiency at least 75% but I kept undershooting my boil gravity by 10 points or so.
     
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  19. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    One thing I also do that I forgot to mention, I do a 90 minute boil. I don't calculate this in my software because I don't want it adjusting water amounts. I boil 30 minutes and add my 60 min hop additions. I realize I am doing this wrong and should adjust the software to match what I'm doing, but this works the easiest for me. With the 110v unit and my altitude being over 5000 above sea level, I have to adjust the boil point of my GF as it knows when it reaches a boil (about 203) and will never reach the 212 boil point. Thus, it reduces power. So I've manipulated my boil point to 208 to maintain full power boil. Works for me.
    I also had a bunch of trial and error getting my GF dialed in and I maintain that these aren't necessarily beginner brewer friendly. Some good background knowledge on the brewing process is for sure helpful. But I thoroughly enjoy my brew days much more now and my consistency is hands down better. Once you're dialed in, I don't think you'll look back or be disappointed. Just gotta find those sweet spots.
     
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  20. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for all of the input.
    Hopefully I can get this thing dialed in soon.
     

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