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Robobrew - First go

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1 year 2 months ago #2141 by Dredd
Dredd created the topic: Robobrew - First go
Yesterday I crossed over from Extract/Mini-Mash to full grain with the Robobrew.

I picked this up from Keg King and had the guys mill up a batch of grain for a Pilsener.

After watching Gash's youtube clips, I styled a cover from a reflective mat from Daiso and a Yoga mat from Target held in place with luggage and freight straps which held very well. Daiso also sell non-scratch toilet brushes which I find great for cleaning kegs/fermenters etc.

Setup was very straightforward, After cleaning the kit for first use, I heated up 15l of sparge water for later use and proceeded to heat up my mash water.

I measured the dead space and found that there is 1.65l between the base and the spout and started by filling the chamber up to the 20l mark with a strike temp of 71.

Grain addition was straightforward, the temp was reset to 65, but found the temp in the mash was between 63 and 64. I found the mash was quite loose and while it was in the mash stage, I found a few articles showing that while this is not a problem, a longer mash may produce a better result, so I mashed for 1.5 hours. I heated the system up to 75 for the mash out (If anyone can answer - does the grain bed need to get to 75? or just the wort?)

Sparging was straightforward. The pre-heated water was up to 75 degrees after a minute on the stove and sparged up to 27l for the boil.

Another lager article I read recommended a boil time of 90 minutes to reduce Dimethyl Sulfide impacts ( beersmith.com/blog/2012/04/10/dimethyl-s...in-home-brewed-beer/ ) so went for 90 minutes boil with a few grams of Saaz added to minimise boil over.

The boil was straightforward and went with a 50g @60min, 25 @ 30min and the balance in the last 10 minutes. Worfloc added with 20 minutes to go.

The much derided Robobrew immersion chiller did a very good job. I connected this up to my spa which is not in use, so recirculating the water with a submersible pump got the wort down to pitch temp of 15 degrees in about 25-30 minutes, possibly sooner since I broke my probe thermometer during the boil stage.

At the end, I produced about 18l of Wort with an OG of 1.054. Probably higher than I was aiming at, I did consider adding a bit more water to hit 1.048, but decided to suck it and see. The wort tasted great, so it is a promising sign, I went with S23 yeast and activated it during the chill stage. If is already bubbling slowly in the fermenter 12 hours on which is again what I was aiming for.

So my estimate of efficiency is around 67% which isn't bad for a first effort.

So my final takeaways from the Robobrew

- At 1/3 the price of a Grainfather and 1/5 the Braumeister, it is a good toe in the water for those that want to go from extract to mash
- The unit is remarkably small and compact
- The niggles that other have pointed to such as the stand for sparging and the chiller are not as bad as what they make out, I coped with both fine
- The sensor doesn't seem to deal with low range temperatures too well. But I will look in to this later once I have a new probe thermometer.
- Emptying the hop spider made me question the effectiveness of extracting maximum from the hops. The colour was mostly uniform with pockets of lighter and darker colour.

Questions
Mash - At 20l water to 5kg of grain for mash - Is this too much water? Other reports indicate a ratio of 2.5l per kg?
Hop Spider - Instead of submersing thisin the boil, why not add the hops straight to the boil water and use this to strain at the end through the spout in to the fermenter?

Now I need to consider my next beer, a Bock is the frontrunner.
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1 year 2 months ago #2145 by Gash
Gash replied the topic: Robobrew - First go
Sounds like it went great for a first brew! I wouldn't worry too mash about the mash ratio, a lot of the ratios are so the mash isnt too thick or too thin (of course) but out of the 20L its maybe 15L is in play as in inside the tube with the grain, its really up to you though, the first brew I did was just too thick with the 16L so I upped it maybe try 18L next time see how you go. There seems to be a lot of info around now from full volume BIABs that say they have fine mash eff with mashing in umm what would that be close to 40L?

Hop spider I regularly jiggle through the boil, some times the proteins block the mesh a little, I use a bag for the late hops, and think the bag is probably better but the basket is easy.

I dont worry too much about mash out anymore with the robobrew, its a fairly quick sparge and the fact its going straight into the boil vessel which you can turn up immediately so the liquid gets mashed out fast, doesn't have the half hour to hour and a half sparge times of some systems, which is why they mash out. Its all over in the robobrew fast.

Cheers mate!

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1 year 2 months ago #2146 by Dredd
Dredd replied the topic: Robobrew - First go
Thanks Gash - It is interesting going back to being a beginner. I was able to make extract/mini mash on autopilot. Full mash adds a whole new level series of processes and variables. Of course with this comes lots of opinions.

Overall though, I am very happy with the aroma and colour of the beer. I never made an extract lager I was truly happy with.

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1 year 1 month ago #2176 by Robobrewer
Robobrewer replied the topic: Robobrew - First go
Ive done 5 brews in mine now. I use the grainfather app for water calculations and every brew has turned out beautifully. I also bought a pump so I can recirculate during the mash. Very happy with the machine.
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1 year 4 weeks ago #2184 by Dredd
Dredd replied the topic: Robobrew - First go
nice - i haven't bothered with a pump. I hit over 70% efficiency on my third batch so relatively happy.

The pump just seems like another thing to clean and prep.

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1 year 4 weeks ago #2185 by Dredd
Dredd replied the topic: Robobrew - First go
Quick Question - what is the biggest grain bill you have used in the robobrew?

I've been eyeing off some Imperial stouts which are getting upwards of 8-9kg. Looking at the system, I think grain bills over 7 will be a challenge.

The other option is to scale down which is a lot of effort for little beer.

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1 year 4 weeks ago #2186 by Robobrewer
Robobrewer replied the topic: Robobrew - First go
Sorry mate, can't help with feedback on that size grain bill. I've only gotten up to 6.5kg so far. I've heard people saying they have done 8-9kg on the Grainfather so I can't see why not on the Robobrew. Efficiency will probably drop a little though.

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1 year 3 weeks ago #2187 by Sieve182
Sieve182 replied the topic: Robobrew - First go
Hi All,
Sorry, I'm not trying to hijack this thread, but I am in the process(WAITING for it to arrive here in NZ :( ) of getting a Robobrew. This will be my first attempt at All grain but I am looking at some of peoples' setups regarding RBs and pumps and just wondering first off if anyone could give me ideas on what the length of Silicone tubing I might need if my pump(MK2) is about 50cm below my RB and I want to continue recirculating during sparging with the malt pipe on the stand. Also I am looking at adding quick connects to the pump and from the pump/valve setup back to the RB and just leave the silicone tubing against the malt pipe wall as many have done.
A good mate of mine will be helping me on my first time to help figure out efficiency and what not, as he has a good few years of All grain under his belt, and I think he's quite interested to have a play with the RB as well :woohoo: .
Thanks for everyone's help and I look forward to seeing how everyone continues on with their brewing and hope to have great news going forwards for everyone else.
Cheers guys

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1 year 3 weeks ago #2188 by Robobrewer
Robobrewer replied the topic: Robobrew - First go
You will have fun with the Robobrew, I've done approx 10 brews on mine now and it's great.

my silicone tube is long enough to reach the malt pipe when it's in the sparge position. The tube is 110cm long. I sit the pump approx 35cm below the Roborew so you may want to go a bit longer if you sit your pump 50cm below.
I don't recirculate whilst sparging though. I hook up the inlet tube of the pump to my sparge water heater and use the pump to transfer the sparge water through my grain bed. Make sure you have a tap on the outlet side of the pump so you can control the flow.
Good luck.
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1 year 3 weeks ago #2201 by Gash
Gash replied the topic: Robobrew - First go
I did a 9% beer in the robobrew, but I did a 2 hour boil and I was only making a 15L batch it had about 6.4kg in it. I did lose some eff.

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Drunken Ramblings

Finnroo's Avatar Finnroo - Thu 21 Sep - 13:55

Wigram Brewery APA in the glass, Thin Lizzy on the platter. It does nt get any better, Cheers all lol

Gash's Avatar Gash - Thu 21 Sep - 07:52

That sounds sensational!

Finnroo's Avatar Finnroo - Wed 20 Sep - 12:02

Enjoying a wigram brewery Harvard Honey Ale. Outstanding with a bit of Savatage streets on the platter. Cheers, out there brewing it. lol

Finnroo's Avatar Finnroo - Mon 18 Sep - 19:29

Bottling day tomorrow, should be good :D

Beef's Avatar Beef - Sat 16 Sep - 13:53

Hey Gash, got a quick question, was thinking about putting 2 All INN citra wort kits in the fermentersaurus, 30L, Then after ferment, adding the 5L cooled boiled water with priming Dex to each keg and filling, What do you think?

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