Variable Floating Lid for Kettle, Sous Vide Balls?

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caedus
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Variable Floating Lid for Kettle, Sous Vide Balls?

Postby caedus » Mon May 08, 2017 6:16 pm

Hey guys

So I have been trying to find a way to cap the runoff from the mash as it rolls into the kettle. I have made a floating lid but it has some distinct disadvantages:

*Gets in the way of whirlpool arm, dip tube, etc.
*Can't go all the way to the bottom because of the dip tube (I built little stilts for this exact reason)
*Cake pans and pizza pans have troubles floating, you are left either building a float device or trapping air underneath the device

So I have been thinking about trying to get some stainless floating balls to sit on top of the mash and the kettle, so as it fills I can rest easy knowing that they will float happily on top and get out of the way of any dip tubes or other systems in place, and can be easily removed from the boil by grabbing them or even keeping them in a nylon bag. But I recently found these sous vide balls. They are designed for the temps we are using them in, and they insulate and float!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06VY ... MH2U11V469

Thoughts?
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lupulus
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Re: Variable Floating Lid for Kettle, Sous Vide Balls?

Postby lupulus » Mon May 08, 2017 6:27 pm

Check Amazon.com
Concord Cookware 3-Piece Stainless Steel Cake Baking Pan
I am sure they float.
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Bilsch
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Re: Variable Floating Lid for Kettle, Sous Vide Balls?

Postby Bilsch » Mon May 08, 2017 9:54 pm

Those balls work good for insulation but I wonder that with the increased surface area they have, relative to a flat liquid surface, you may actually make it easier for oxygen to get in. Think about any little motion and the wort could wet more of the surface of the balls and provide greater atmospheric contact area. Just a thought.
caedus
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Re: Variable Floating Lid for Kettle, Sous Vide Balls?

Postby caedus » Tue May 09, 2017 1:46 am

I have read a little (very little to be precise) about using floating balls to reduce surface area. People use it in many different applications to reduce evaporation and area. Some of the commercial systems I was seeing online quote up to 90% reduction in surface area with a single layer of floating balls.

I am curious to use them because I am at 45 ppm of dosage currently, and I just put the lid on my mash tun (~10G of mash inside a 10.7G kettle). If I were to use a single layer of balls, then use the lid then it should reduce the uptake significantly.

If I were to design an experiment to test these, would you have any suggestions?

I am thinking about doing a set of preboiled water solutions. Dosing in with 100 ppm sulfite. Then test with just a lid, then just the balls, then together and pull samples at intervals to test Sulfite concentrations.
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Bilsch
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Re: Variable Floating Lid for Kettle, Sous Vide Balls?

Postby Bilsch » Tue May 09, 2017 11:46 am

What I like about this idea is not only is it flexible and conforms to the kettle area it should also provide heat insulation (which I'm having to do with double caps, one floating and one on pot). You could also add things through the ball cap like sauergut, minerals, later dark grains etc. Sampling, taking measurements or the like 'through ball' should be easy without disturbing the whole liquid surface as is required when removing a solid mash cap.
The down side though, could be with any turbulence of the liquid surface, such as that from recirculation, will jostle the balls making them pick up a film of your wort, roll around and expose it to atmosphere. In that case your surface area to oxygen exposure could effectively be many times that of just the uncapped wort.

But as you mentioned no way to know without testing. In my mind the way to proceed would be to run your system just like you currently mash, but without any grain. Simply starting with preboiled DO water, chilled to strike temp but without metabisulfites. Take an initial DO reading then add your balls. Turn on your recirc pump, if you use one, and begin taking DO readings over the course of 2 hours or however long you typically mash for. This will give you a direct and accurate picture of how much DO your system will pick up over the duration of a mash. Then you would need to repeat the process with your old mashcap to really know which is best.
caedus
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Re: Variable Floating Lid for Kettle, Sous Vide Balls?

Postby caedus » Tue May 09, 2017 12:33 pm

I tend to have a gallon or two of liquid above my recirc manifold, and the water seems to be very still when I open the lid.

I use silicon caulking (100% pure silicone) to make random gaskets and things for other applications (like kettle lids, makes them very quiet when setting them on the kettle). I would imagine you could get some SS pellets or bb's and "glue" them on to one side of the sous vide balls, weighing it down and preventing excess movement, but to be honest I was thinking about using these in conjunction with some sort of lid. Who knows? I will run a test and let you guys know, I got a pack of 250 for 15 bucks shipped, came with a washing bag even. This is a helluva lot cheaper and easier than trying to design and manufacture a lid.
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Re: Variable Floating Lid for Kettle, Sous Vide Balls?

Postby Techbrau » Wed May 10, 2017 9:20 am

What material are the sous vide balls, and are they hollow?

I ask because silicone has a very high oxygen permeability, hundreds of times higher than most other plastics/rubbers. It is often used in medical applications where oxygen diffusion/aeration is actually desired.

It will still probably be better than nothing, but in theory a floating stainless steel cap is better.
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Weizenberg
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Re: Variable Floating Lid for Kettle, Sous Vide Balls?

Postby Weizenberg » Wed May 10, 2017 9:32 am

why not use the stainless steel floating fermentation lids? They come in all sizes.
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caedus
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Re: Variable Floating Lid for Kettle, Sous Vide Balls?

Postby caedus » Wed May 10, 2017 11:47 am

Floating lids aren't exactly cheap, and floating lids have a variety of issues, like interference with dip tubes and whirlpool arms. One size does not fit all. For 15 bucks I'm glad to experiment with something that could, potentially, solve multiple problems in one, and it's a one size fits all.

I do plan on using a floating lid. on a professional system with a grant, however.

The balls are polypropylene, with some sort of fluid in them to insulate them. I would imagine some sort of glycol solution or maybe a salt solution? Who knows, I will contact the company.
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Weizenberg
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Re: Variable Floating Lid for Kettle, Sous Vide Balls?

Postby Weizenberg » Wed May 10, 2017 12:41 pm

On a professional system I would opt for decent agitators and a gas blanket over HERMS any day. Much easier on the wort.
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