Universal Hassle

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Universal Hassle

Postby Hooky » Tue Jun 05, 2018 16:25

Ever had one of those days when your think the universe is against you? Yesterday’s brew day was like that. Its only my second time using the Grainfather so wasn’t expecting to be slick but nor was I expecting to struggle quite so much.

I was doing Greg Hughes’ Weizen as I love a wheat beer and want to brew to save buying...

I spent some considerable time looking for the stainless steel flanged nut that secures the Overflow Pipe to the mesh disc in the bottom of the grain bucket. In the end I decided I must have tipped it out, when cleaning sundry items, onto the gravelled garden. So I shifted gravel onto the path and sorted it back onto the garden. No nut. The neighbours must have thought I was crazy.

Then I got a Stud Finder which has a metal detector function and spent some time on my knees looking but to no avail. In the end I settled on a bodge with a SS Jubilee clip as per photo. This worked. I didn’t treat the pipe too rough and was delighted I got the mash and sparge done.

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However, the messing around put me hours behind. Then it was time for the boil. 70 minutes of it. At the end Grainfather recommend a whirlpool.

No problem there as I’ve watched the videos and have the paddle to go into the cordless drill.

So how as I to know the force of the whirlpool would whip the filters off the pump? I think I saw it surface at one point. It dismissed the thought and thought positive. Of course the pump blocked immediately I tried to cool the wort.

After a bit of a tantrum I decided I’d nothing to lose and quickly cleaned a car washing bucket and unused my 4 litre jug to empty as much as I could of the boiling wort. I used some equally hastily cleaned barbecue tongs to fish out the filter. Then cleaned it and puzzled how I might clear the pump and refit the filter.

So I took the ball valve off the upright pipe that the no return valve also fits on. I managed to not burn my lips whilst blowing furiously agains the pump and hop blockage. I was rewarded with pooping ears and a sudden burst of bubbles up through the wort!! :D

Brilliant. All that was needed now was to get the filter back on..... :hmm:

After a bit I remembered I had some heavy rubber gloves from drain cleaning and fence painting. To be honest I really was getting past it by now. A cursory Star San and an inner latex glove later I was pulling away hops in 2 second bursts and then stole myself for trying to fit the filter.

Amazingly It went on easily even though I couldn’t see the actual pipe.

So I poured the bucket of wort I’d taken out back and set up the chiller. It was slower than the first time but, by tipping the remainder of the batch to the pump side in a precarious tower (as pictured) i think I got most of the wort into my fermenter.

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I pitched to yeast straight away as the stick on thermometer showed 20 degrees C

To my delight, this morning, there was a healthy blupping from the airlock even though the garage has cooled to 16 Deg C overnight!

Those are the edited highlights but it hasn’t put me off another go. I do like a Barley Wine. That might be next.

I rewarded myself with a bottle of TT Landlord Clone that’s a bit green yet but was nice enough (bottled 24/5/18 at 1006)

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Onwards and, er, onwards.
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Re: Universal Hassle

Postby Hooky » Tue Jun 05, 2018 16:32

As a footnote, I also like my coffee and I generate a fair amount of 'pucks' from the espresso machine. I tip these over my wall to compost in the shelter belt next to me. No, its not fly tipping, its compost feeding he trees!

Whilst doing that this morning, I saw a glint in the undergrowth.

It was this!

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I won't be cancelling the order I placed last night as I think it will be worthwhile having a spare!

I'm also going to be modifying the filter with a couple of jubilee clips. One on the attachment to the pump pipe and the other on the end cover of the filter.
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Re: Universal Hassle

Postby Oldstunty » Tue Jun 05, 2018 21:15

Sounds like you earned that beer! :drunk: :cheers: :cheers1:

Cheers,
Jon.

I enjoy a glass of wine each night for its health benefits. The other glasses are for my witty comebacks and flawless dance moves.
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Re: Universal Hassle

Postby Hooky » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:48

Footnote to this is that the green weizen tastes gorgeous. I’ve bottled it today. I’ve gone ‘light’ on the priming as it’s stopped at 1020 (recipe said 1018 so it might just be the calibration of the cheap hydrometer).

In order to prevent mess if I get bottle bombs, the whole batch is stacked in a bin I used for bottle soaking. ...... Fingers are crossed.

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Re: Universal Hassle

Postby Steviebobs1983 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 08:54

I find that a brew often tastes just that little bit better knowing you've been through hell to make it.

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Re: Universal Hassle

Postby Hooky » Fri Jun 22, 2018 09:53

Steviebobs1983 wrote:I find that a brew often tastes just that little bit better knowing you've been through hell to make it.

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Well that’s a ratio I’m hoping not to test too many times

I’m less hopeful about yesterday’s Barley Wine fiasco. The pump blocked with the finer elements of the crush and it was a nightmare to get into the FV. I ended up losing about 3l of wort. Even after removing the ball valve in the uplift pipe (blocked solid in the spring behind it) and back blowing the pump with my airline more times than I could count.

Maybe I’m running before I can walk with the Grainfather but I’m learning all the while.


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Re: Universal Hassle

Postby Steviebobs1983 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:45

I've been there a few times myself with the pump. The hop filter came off a couple of times and sucked everything in with disastrous consequences. Luckily I've kept my BIAB setup so was able to chill with a copper chiller and pour through a mesh bag into the FV.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Grainfather but it's far from perfect. Anyone who thinks it takes all the stress out of brewing is mistaken.

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