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Getting the best from the Brewzilla 3.1 (35l) ?????

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1 week 3 days ago #5088 by GeoffN
Hi All (from Stockport in the UK),
I’m new to this forum, but I’ve been brewing (with varying degrees of success) for >40 years, so I’m reasonably familiar with the basics.
Earlier this year I decided to upgrade my kit to something with better/easier temperature control, and convenience. So, I bought a Robobrew Brewzilla 3.1 (35l UK model). So far I’ve brewed 6 batches of various beers, e.g. US style IPAs, a Porter, a Belgian Pale Ale, a Weizen and most recently a traditional English Bitter. All of the beers have turned out well, BUT I have struggled to get the measure of the ‘machine’. I blocked the pump once whilst mashing the Porter, but managed to work my way around the problem, and complete the brew. This was my own fault because I allowed some of the grist to flow down the central tube. I now put an upturned stainless steel teapot strainer/ sieve over the top of the pipe to prevent any stray grist from getting to the pump.
However, the ongoing problem has been the very slow circulation of the wort during the mash. This means that I have to watch it constantly and turn the pump on and off to prevent too much wort building up on top of the grain bed, which can eventually starve the pump. It also starts cooling down so the mash temperature drops – not exactly the easy and convenient level of control and automation I was hoping for :-(
I normally mash-in with between 16 and 18l of water, depending on the quantity of grist in the recipe. I’ve tried mashing with and without the second malt tube screen, and also with and without rice hulls (nominally ~200g in a 23l batch). The inclusion of rice hulls improved things a bit, but the flow of the wort through the grain bed during mashing was still very slow.
I then bought a 2 roller malt mill in the hope that having some control of the crush by milling my own grain might help. I’ve only used it once so far (for the English Bitter). I set the roller gap to 0.8mm. The total grist was ~4.2kg (no rice hulls), and the result looked good i.e. not too fine or dusty, but the wort flow through the grain bed was just as bad. So, has anybody with more experience of the ‘beast’ got any bright ideas please?

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1 week 3 days ago - 1 week 3 days ago #5089 by Finnroo
Gladfield Malt recommend a gap of 1.45 mm. You could try that. Heres a link to their web site. Youll have to scroll down. Its quite a good article .
I m sure Gash said in one of his videos about setting the mill to the grain rather than a measurement. Having said that 0.8mm seems very tight. Maybe take it up to 1.45mm and mill a little and have a look.Good luck i hope this sends you in the right direction. Good post, cheers .JUst had a look through one of Gashs videos and he has set just over 1mm
www.gladfieldmalt.co.nz/mill-gap/



Last edit: 1 week 3 days ago by Finnroo.

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1 week 2 days ago #5090 by GeoffN
Hi,
First of all thank you very much for taking the trouble to reply. I appologise that it was such a very long and detailed post, but as you (and others) probably realised I was starting to loose faith in the "beast", and was seriously wondering if I had wasted ~£350.
I've just read the Gladfield Malt article, and it's very interesting. I've previously searched the web for information and recommendations on mill gap settings, and there is a wide variation. This is the biggest gap suggested so far, but its certainly worth a try - even allowing for the fact that my malt may not be as plump as the Gladfield's malt claims to be.
I've also had a look at Gash's video, and yes, he appears to favour a gap >1.0mm. I've watched a few of his other videos before, and I really like his easy going style. He also brews on a Robobrew Brewzilla, so clearly has a lot of experience of how to get the best out of it.
Once again thanks for the feedback :-)

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1 week 2 days ago #5091 by Finnroo
Thanks Geoff, no need to apologize ,always keen to hear other peoples brewing issues etc. I just reread your post and I think if you can get that crush right it will make the brew day a lot smoother . Remember to keep a log book of every brew day noting everything down, mill gap mash temp, boil time etc, and adjust until your getting better results. Also try and brew the same brew a half dozen times in a row so you can compare the results easily. Early days of brewing can be a frustrating but it will soon all fall into place, Cheers look forward to hearing how you get on.
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1 week 2 days ago #5092 by Gash
My Gap is quite small, I dont measure it though, I just go by the grain crush.

First I'll say, ditch the fine screen if you are using it.
I dont mash in with less than 17L , its 95% of the time in between 18-20L, 22L for 7kg batches.
Rice Hulls are good yes.
I usually wet condition, this isnt needed but it helps.
My pump runs usually maybe a 1/3 on, sometimes more depending
After mashing in leave for 5mins before turning on pump.
Always remove the recirc tube from the grain bed when ever you turn the pump off otherwise it will suck grain down into the pump, like a siphon.
Ummm watch my vids for other tips, but thats all I can think of off the top of my head.

Cheers!
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1 week 2 days ago #5093 by Gash
I did try and measure the gap on my mill, but I cant, its a 3 roller and I cant get the feeler gauges in there. Sorry about that.
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1 week 2 days ago #5094 by Cherry1
G'day Geoff,
Firstly I am originally from beautiful Wythenshawe but now in Adelaide. I used to attend Stockport College of Technology.
I have the same set up as yours. My 2 roller mill is set at the width of a credit card (dont have a feeler gauge).
I had issues in the past with slow or no recirculation, especially when using wheat or oats.
I ditched the fine screen as Gash noted which helps without anything really getting through the main screen. As rice hulls are so cheap I use in nearly all brews now.
Again as Gash notes, I leave the pump off for the first 10 mins to let things settle, then start off slowly and usually after 20 mins have a very good flow going.
Cheers
Chris
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1 week 1 day ago #5095 by GeoffN
G'day All,
Thanks to everybody for your ideas and suggestions. I'll be working my way through these over the next few brews, and I'll report back on how it goes :-)
I've been home-brewing a long time, and have always tried to be both systematic and scientific about my approach to problem solving (and I also keep good notes on all of my brews). However, I'm now starting to realise that much of the cause of these problems might well be down to the grain crush. Up until recently I have been buying my malts precrushed, and they are frequently fine and quite dusty. I had not appreciated that this might be the cause of the problems. This was mainly because I had not suffered any stuck mashes (even with the Weizen, but I did use the rice hulls in this one), although the sparges were always painfully slow. . . . . . You live and learn ;-)
Anyway, there's plenty of time for brewing at the moment because of the lock-down sh1t, so yesterday I placed an order for more ingredients. Hopefully these will arrive sometime next week. Not sure yet whether to brew a Koelsch or a Belgian Pale. I've got suitable yeasts and hops for both in the fridge . . . . . . perhaps I'll make both :-)
Cheers
Geoff

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Drunken Ramblings

Finnroo's Avatar Finnroo - Wed 25 Nov - 16:43

Feel free to ask questions in the forums and not in the drunken ramblings. Its all good and thanks for taking time to join in and ask questions. Cheers keep em coming. Cheers :D

Finnroo's Avatar Finnroo - Wed 25 Nov - 16:38

Hi BeerRay, great question ,but we need to post in the Forum so we can be notified about your question. Ill post it now for you, no worries. Go to forums. cheers.

BeerRay1986 - Sat 21 Nov - 12:44

Hi all does anyone had a set amount of priming sugar they use to bottling? i use online calculators and its always under carbed!!! cheers guys

Finnroo's Avatar Finnroo - Thu 29 Oct - 12:27

Great brew day today. The over night mash is really working well. Cheers everyone

ozdevil1 - Mon 21 Sep - 14:46

this could be dangerous my druken ramblings might not make sense ...didnt even this fuction was here

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