An Introduction to 3V Brewing: The Beginners Guide.

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An Introduction to 3V Brewing: The Beginners Guide.

Postby Kyle_T » Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:40

An Introduction to 3V Brewing: The Beginners Guide: Part 1.

Hello brewers and brewessess,

This will be my second attempt at a 'How-To' guide (The first being a kit one) on brewing with a new 3V system, it will include the recipe I made on the day, what I ended up with and a couple of the mistakes made along the way.

To begin with, there is more than one way you can brew with a 3V system, it doesn't have to be a 3 Tier Gravity system, as you will see by mine and my mates, we use a hybrid 2 Tier, part gravity and part pump/manual labour system.

Admittedly most of the system we put together was store bought...in fact all of it was I think so we did virtually no work on it at all apart from drilling a few holes and screwing some bits together, it was more to showcase what you can buy from the growing number of homebrew suppliers.

I shall include a list of all the suppliers I used and a special thanks goes to all of them for their brilliant delivery service and customer satisfaction.

But anyway, time to get on with the show, as you can see from the picture below this is the completed system we made, it has a 50L Hot Liquor Tank with a sight glass and 2.3Kw kettle element, powered by a STC-1000 Temperature Control Unit, a 38.5L Insulated Thermopot Mash Tun with Rotating Sparge Arm and a 50L Boiler on a 7.5Kw Propane gas burner, it also has a 12V DC Solar pump but we didn't actually use this on the Brewday:

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Note: On the day we changed the way the HLT was standing on the plastic crate by using a wooden set of steps, a quick and effective temporary method.

The other equipment involved on the day was:

2 x 25L Fermenting Buckets.
2 x 25L Wine Fermenters.
2 x 2L Plastic Measuring Jugs.
1 x Plastic Mash Paddle.
1 x Plastic Trial Jar.
1 x Beer Hydrometer.
1 x Digital Thermometer.

So, onto Step 1: The recipe.

As some of you will know I have a special place in my brew calendar for Milds and that was the chosen brew for this day, I had the recipe ready to go and I will condense the timeline to remove some of the problems we had on our day, this was the recipe chosen for the day and how it should of come out:

'Big Brute Mild'

All Grain - 23 Litres.
Style: Mild
OG: 1.041
FG: 1.009
IBU: 16
SRM: 18
ABV: 4.2%
Balance: 0.38

Grain Bill:

3.0kg Mild Ale Malt (75.7%)
0.38kg Crystal Malt - Dark (9.6%)
0.34kg Invert Sugar (8.6%)
0.15kg Flaked Maize (3.8%)
88g Chocolate Malt (2.2%)

68 deg/c mash for 90 minutes.
60 minute boil time.

Hop Bill:

20g Fuggles Leaf 6.2% AA @ 60 minutes: IBU: 12
15g Goldings (EK) Leaf 6.5% AA @ 10 minutes: IBU: 4

Misc:

3g Irish Moss @ 10 minutes.

Yeast:

Gervin GV-12 English Ale Yeast 11g

Note: Didn't have 400g of crystal only 382g so upped the chocolate malt from 75g to 88g to compensate.

One little piece of advice that I was given recently is to weight your grains out the day before along with the hops and if possible, fix your HLT to a timer and fill it the night before so it is pre heated for the brewing day, so, using a little brewers licence we shall go for that method.

Step 2: 12 Hours before B-Day, 19:00.

I didn't sterilise anything this time, just made sure it was well rinsed, dried and cleaned.

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Filled up to 45 Litres and set on a timer for 05:30, the picture below is the STC-1000 heating the HLT to 76deg/c for my strike temp on Brewday:

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Step 3: B-Day, 07:00.

By some simple calculations and testing you will have worked out the dead space in your mash tun, the loss left behind at the end and the mash liquor you will need for your ratio, I went with 2.5L/Kg, so by some simple maths, 3.63 x 2.5 = 9.07 + 4.1 = 13.17 or 13.2L rounded up (Because I am lazy) and heated to my chosen strike temp it was time to get going.

The chosen method for this task today was a new one to me called under letting, this involves filling the mash tun from the bottom up with the grain already in the tun, compared to the more traditional manner of filling the tun with your mash liquor and then pouring the grain mix in and stirring.

My tun has the added benefit of a false bottom so what I did was drain my mash liquor until it reached the false bottom, let it sit for 5 minutes or so to preheat, poured in the grain mix and then carried on draining the remainder of the mash liquor and stirring the grain until I was happy with the mash thickness.

In hindsight I should have preheated the tun for longer as it affected my mash temp closer to the end.

This is during the under let:

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Step 3: The Mash, 07:10

The beginning of the mash, mash temp was 0.5deg higher but that really isn't an issue:

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Left sealed and undisturbed for 90 minutes.

Step 4: End of mash and the Sparge, 08:40.

As you can see the temp had lost a fair bit during the mash and I reckon this is my fault through not preheating it enough beforehand and this was followed by the beginning of the sparge with the liquor heated up to 80deg/c, this is the point where you collect your first runnings and refilled them through the tun during the sparge, this is due to it being full of loose bits of grain, usually a few litres will do and then it should run clear:

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The benefit of the way our system works is once you match your flow rates, it pretty much controls itself, with the HLT up high enough, the sparge arm span all the way to nothing, herein lies my second mistake, I got distracted whilst during the sparge and before I knew it, the sight glass was completely empty.

Step 5: The Pre-Boil Begins, 09:00.

As I massively over sparged it pushed my boil to the limits, ended up with 46L, but in a normal case, I just sparge until I collect 30L in my fermenting buckets for a 90 minute boil, my boil took me 2.5 hours all told:

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The next photo is the hot break, my understanding of this (being a bit thick) is it's all the crap and bad stuff that floats up just before the boil begins and drops back into the wort, at this point I like to skim as much as I can off as I think it gives you a clearer beer at the end:

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Step 6: The Boil, 09:45.

The following photographs are the actual boil, 90 minute hops and 10 minute hop additions, at the 10 minute mark I also throw in 1 teaspoon of Irish Moss and my Immersion Coil Chiller:

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Step 7: Gas off, 20 minute rest and chill, 11:15:

This part is pretty straight forward, the 20 minute rest is for what I believe is called the cold break, all the proteins raise to the surface, clump together and then settle in a mass at the bottom of the boiler along with the spent hops, on average it take about 35 minutes to chill a standard 23L brew:

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I forgot to take a photo of the cold break but I will try and get one next time.

Step 8: Transfer to Primary Fermenter and Hydrometer Reading, 12:10:

This is the time when your wort has been chilled to around an even 20deg/c that you can begin to transfer to your fermenter, I usually drain off a litre or so just to let the trub at the bottom settle and begin to filter, the litre I drain off is gently returned to the boiler to be filtered again, I also collect a 100ml sample and test it with my hydrometer:

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After this last step is done I clean down the equipment and move the fermenter to a stable temperature area and pitch the yeast, this time I did my first 200ml yeast starter but didn't photograph that either, after 7 days a couple of further hydrometer tests I will transfer it to my polypin ready for conditioning.

All done and dusted by 13:00.

This was what I collected after my mistakes and took home, as I mentioned before, I have taken out the added time in the guide to give a rough timeline of events for a standard 23L Brewday without the mistakes I made and you should end up with the original recipe figures at the top of the page if all goes well:

'Big Brute Mild'

All Grain - 30 Litres.
Style: Mild
OG: 1.036
FG: 1.008
IBU: 13
SRM: 15
ABV: 3.7%
Balance: 0.37

Grain Bill:

3.0kg Mild Ale Malt (75.7%)
0.38kg Crystal Malt - Dark (9.6%)
0.34kg Invert Sugar (8.6%)
0.15kg Flaked Maize (3.8%)
88g Chocolate Malt (2.2%)


68 deg/c mash for 90 minutes.
90 minute boil time.

Hop Bill:

20g Fuggles Leaf 6.2% AA @ 90 minutes: IBU: 11
15g Goldings (EK) Leaf 6.5% AA @ 10 minutes: IBU: 3

Misc:

3g Irish Moss @ 10 minutes.

Yeast:

Gervin GV-12 English Ale Yeast Starter 200ml.

My list of suppliers for the equipment:

http://www.homebrewbuilder.co.uk/
http://powellbrewing.co.uk/
http://www.the-home-brew-shop.co.uk/
http://www.themaltmiller.co.uk/

An Introduction to 3V Brewing: The Beginners Guide: Part 2.

Well, after 7 days fermenting it is now time to transfer into whatever you shall be using to condition your beer, this time I have gone for the Dennis King approach and I will condition this batch in a polypin for 3 weeks before priming to server from my beer engine, its a simple and straight forward process so lets crack on:

The equipment for this is a sort list:

1 x Fermenter full of beer.
1 x Syphon.
1 x Bucket Clip.
1 x Steriliser.
1 x Polypin.
1 x Trial Jar.
1 x Hydrometer.
1 x Spare Fermenting Bucket.

The day previous I took a reading and took another for the transfer, both came in with readings of 1.010 giving me an ABV of 3.4%, a little under what I was aiming for but still beer none the less, so:

Step 1: Sterilise Everything!

This is all the bits I shall be using for this job, not a lot and takes less than 20 minutes to do:

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I start by rinsing out all my gear just to make sure before adding half a cap of bleach to 5 Litres of warm water, this is my chosen steriliser of choice:

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Add half a cap of that to the spare fermenter with warm water and chuck in the other bits, I like to break down my syphon to stop it bowing in the middle, also add half a cap to 5 Litres for the polypin.

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Give it all a good swirl around, let stand for around 10 minutes and then swirl every 2 minutes for 6 minutes, this seems to do the trick for me, then rinse generously. Particular attention was made to making sure the polypin and tap were well bleached and rinsed:

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Here is a picture of the hydrometer reading:

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Step 2: Transfering the beer.

Now you have sterilised your equipment for the task at hand, next is to actually get it going and stored away, first bit is to pop the lid off whichever type of fermenter you've decided to use:

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This stage can also be a heartache to discover your latest batch of beer is ruined, luckily, mine is okay despite the heat:

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Next, take your spyhon with the bucket clip and drop it into the beer and use the clip to fasten it to the lip of the fermenter, get as close to the opening of the conditioning vessle as possible and give a gentle suck to start the beer flowing, as soon as it starts to flow drop the syphon tube into the vessel and try to loop around the inside so it makes a circular flow on the inside, I think this helps to avoid oxidising the beer.

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You may have to tilt and lift your fermenter a little towards the end to transfer as much beer as possible but I usually leave half a litre to a litre behind to avoid syphoning any of the trub or other bits into the polypin. Once the beer has run dry, burp the remaining air from the polypin as much as possible and seal it with the cap.

Find a suitable storage area with a good ambient temperature and leave for 3 weeks.

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That is it, it really is that easy and simple, if I can do it, anyone should be able to. I will check back in 3 weeks to continue with Part 3.

I apologise for waffling on somewhat but I have tried to include as much detail as possible but I'm sure I have forgotten a few bits along the way, I hope you have enjoyed reading it despite its length and it will have been of some use to people either looking at a 3V system or someone just starting out on one.

Many Thanks

Kyle

Last edited by Kyle_T on Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:58, edited 2 times in total.

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
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Re: An Introduction to 3V Brewing: From a layman's perspecti

Postby LeeH » Fri Jul 18, 2014 18:47

Nice one Kyle, well done.

This will help me and others.

To monitor my latest fermentation click here Black IPA
To view my new AG build click here
Keg 1: Berliner Weisse
Keg 2: APA
Keg 3: Stout (Nitro)
Keg 4: Empty
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Re: An Introduction to 3V Brewing: From a layman's perspecti

Postby Kyle_T » Fri Jul 18, 2014 19:41

Cheers Lee, been keeping up to date with your build and noticed you were building a similar layout system, if you get stuck just fire us a PM and I'll do my best to help.

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
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Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 14:27
Location: Chelmsford, Essex.

Re: An Introduction to 3V Brewing: From a layman's perspecti

Postby Maldon John » Fri Jul 18, 2014 23:24

Hi Kyle. Interested in your set up as I'm just in the process of changing from 3V plastic to a larger SS set up. Was there any reason why you opted for gravity feed from the HLT as opposed to a pump? Regards John
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Re: An Introduction to 3V Brewing: From a layman's perspecti

Postby Kyle_T » Sat Jul 19, 2014 00:02

To be honest mate, cost. But also as I mentioned, once the sparge arm and mash tun valve are opened it takes care of itself.

Having a pump driven sparge arm on our system creates too much of a down force and the idea of a sparge is to gain as much contact between the grain as possible to get the best extraction.

Last edited by Kyle_T on Sat Jul 19, 2014 13:32, edited 1 time in total.

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
User avatar
Kyle_T
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Posts: 2489
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 14:27
Location: Chelmsford, Essex.

Re: An Introduction to 3V Brewing: From a layman's perspecti

Postby Hairybiker » Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:36

Hmm I sparge with an arm driven by my solar pump, I have the HLT on the ground and the MT on the counter ;-) I then gravity feed into the boiler. I control the speed of the sparge arm with an LED controller, never noticed it having too much "down force".
I don't have the height available for a standard 3V layout so the compromise of the HLT & boiler on the floor and the MT raised after mashing. All done in the kitchen BTW.

I am interested in your stike temp for the mash, what did you underlet at? I ask as I also have one of the thermopots now and have yet to use it. With my cool box MT I used to use 74 (summer up to 76 winter) to get 66. Not sure what the thermal differences are.

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Re: An Introduction to 3V Brewing: From a layman's perspecti

Postby bobsbeer » Sat Jul 19, 2014 13:06

Nice one Kyle. :thumb:
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Re: An Introduction to 3V Brewing: From a layman's perspecti

Postby Kyle_T » Sat Jul 19, 2014 13:30

Aye, with our HLT being near the ceiling and adding a pump, it just seems to push more water through the sparge arm shaft instead of the spinny bit with the holes.

If I remember correctly it was a 78 deg strike temp and that gave me 68.5 for the mash.

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
User avatar
Kyle_T
The Essex Brewer
 
Posts: 2489
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 14:27
Location: Chelmsford, Essex.

Re: An Introduction to 3V Brewing: From a layman's perspecti

Postby Kyle_T » Tue Jul 22, 2014 23:14

If my hydrometer reading is the same tomorrow I will rack into the polypin for a 3 week conditioning and add Part 2 of the how-to.

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
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Kyle_T
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Posts: 2489
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 14:27
Location: Chelmsford, Essex.

Re: An Introduction to 3V Brewing: The Beginners Guide.

Postby xCamel xSlayer » Thu Mar 10, 2016 17:42

Just out of curiosity, why do you syphon from the top of the FV rather than use the tap?
Is it a more accurate way of reducing the risk of bringing through any unwanted content from the bottom of the bucket?
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Re: An Introduction to 3V Brewing: The Beginners Guide.

Postby Kyle_T » Thu Mar 10, 2016 18:16

I had a syphon tube with a sediment trap on the bottom that went all the way down. These days for casking and kegging I just use 1/2" silicone tubing and go from the top down.

Next Brew: AG#63.

Beer Brewed (2015): 136.4 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2016): 90.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2017): 20.0 Gallons
Beer Brewed (2018): 0.0 Gallons

First AG Brewed: 11.4.2013.
https://theessexbrewer.wordpress.com
User avatar
Kyle_T
The Essex Brewer
 
Posts: 2489
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 14:27
Location: Chelmsford, Essex.

Re: An Introduction to 3V Brewing: The Beginners Guide.

Postby aamcle » Thu Mar 10, 2016 22:01

Sorry this should have gone elseware.

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