Low O2 System Planning

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Big Monk
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Low O2 System Planning

Postby Big Monk » Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:55 am

Looking for feedback on the following setup I am planning:

i.) BACKGROUND:

I brew small batches (1.2 gallons targeted in packaging) but will likely up this to around 1.5 to fill the 1.5 gal torpedo keg I plan on getting.

I am planning on brewing mostly Belgian Ales, with an emphasis on a series of original Trappist inspired recipes consisting of a Single, Dubbel, Tripel and Dark Strong.

I would like to keep the system simple with a small footprint.

1.) HEAT SOURCE:

I use a 12 qt. stainless kettle and my planed heat source is the Waring Pro SB30. It's a single plate burner with a diameter large enough for my small pot. It will be PID controlled with a switch for going between the PID and a boil control (VR with an SSR). Pump will be a small 12v solar pump capable of handling 100C.

2.) MLT/BK:

I'd like this to be a combined unit. Ideally I could have an outlet valve installed in conjunction with a false bottom. I like using leaf hops so the false bottom would be advantageous. Mashing can be done in a bag and a mash cap will be fashioned with a return in the top. I could pre-boil/pre-treat the water in this vessel, mash on this vessel and boil in this vessel, with the only transfer occurring from this vessel to the fermentor. I like the idea of installing the chiller in the lid.

Any thoughts?

3.) FERMENTATION:

I had originally thought about installing keg posts on one of my 2 gallon buckets and then having that feed my serving keg. I don't think this will be feasible so I'll likely have to get a 2.5 gallon keg for fermentation and 1.5 gallon keg for serving/conditioning. I'm still reading up on Spunding Valves and the use/purpose. I am currently spec'ing parts for a modified SoFC for use in lieu of a ferm fridge but will likely adapt a mini fridge for fermentation and serving.

4.) TEST EQUIPMENT:

Here is where I could use some advice. I don't currently have any of the major test equipment: DO meter, pH meter, etc. What units are necessary? I use Brun Water and have been comfortable this far with the predictions after measuring a few times with borrowed equipment and it seems that following the GBF procedure for Low O2 would get me in the DO ballpark.

Any thoughts?
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Brew4Fun
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Re: Low O2 System Planning

Postby Brew4Fun » Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:38 pm

I think your outline is well thought out and a reasonable place to start. I don't think a pH or DO meter is necessary if you are able to implement all avenues of oxygen reduction that the PDF suggests. Keep us posted on your batches.
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Big Monk
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Re: Low O2 System Planning

Postby Big Monk » Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:11 pm

I will. I'm going to try and do a mini mash for a Belgian Tripel grain bill coming up soon. Hopefully the Low O2 process doesn't change drastically by the time I get my gear together!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

"Messieurs, c’est les microbes qui auront le dernier mot." Louis Pasteur

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Kit_B
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Re: Low O2 System Planning

Postby Kit_B » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:21 am

A problem that I would anticipate with a single-vessel system is the oxygen exposure/splashing/dripping that happens, upon removal of the grain bag.
But, this is only a guess, on my part.

The DO meter is not absolutely necessary, but it's a great tool to find the problematic areas of your brewing system/process.

Personally, I feel like a pH meter is a must.
One reason for this has recently hammered home, when Bryan purchased grain at our local supplier.
The pH of the grain was incredibly high & forced adjustments that he wouldn't have normally needed to make.
The Brunwater spreadsheet has no inputs for actual malt pH & assumes a pH, by the color listed.
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Big Monk
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Low O2 System Planning

Postby Big Monk » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:45 am

Kit_B wrote:A problem that I would anticipate with a single-vessel system is the oxygen exposure/splashing/dripping that happens, upon removal of the grain bag.
But, this is only a guess, on my part.

The DO meter is not absolutely necessary, but it's a great tool to find the problematic areas of your brewing system/process.

Personally, I feel like a pH meter is a must.
One reason for this has recently hammered home, when Bryan purchased grain at our local supplier.
The pH of the grain was incredibly high & forced adjustments that he wouldn't have normally needed to make.
The Brunwater spreadsheet has no inputs for actual malt pH & assumes a pH, by the color listed.


I didn't consider the bag removal. I wonder how it would compare to the transfer from MLT to BK. I'm honestly still reading through the forum material so I don't have any tangible experience to say whether the difference is negligible or not.

I assume that you guys are using Brunwater as a baseline and adjusting based on maltster, malt analysis, etc?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

"Messieurs, c’est les microbes qui auront le dernier mot." Louis Pasteur

Check us out at www.lowoxygenbrewing.com
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Brandon
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Re: Low O2 System Planning

Postby Brandon » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:51 am

Big Monk wrote:
Kit_B wrote:A problem that I would anticipate with a single-vessel system is the oxygen exposure/splashing/dripping that happens, upon removal of the grain bag.
But, this is only a guess, on my part.

The DO meter is not absolutely necessary, but it's a great tool to find the problematic areas of your brewing system/process.

Personally, I feel like a pH meter is a must.
One reason for this has recently hammered home, when Bryan purchased grain at our local supplier.
The pH of the grain was incredibly high & forced adjustments that he wouldn't have normally needed to make.
The Brunwater spreadsheet has no inputs for actual malt pH & assumes a pH, by the color listed.


I didn't consider the bag removal. I wonder how it would compare to the transfer from MLT to BK. I'm honestly still reading through the forum material so I don't have any tangible experience to say whether the difference is negligible or not.

As far as water, what are you guys using to predict pH?


I/most of us use Martin's Bru'n water, along with a pH meter to measure pH throughout the process. As a result of what Kit says, you have to calculate as best you can, then measure and adjust accordingly in the mash.

We have also found that SMB will drop the pH about .03 (please correct me if that is wrong...it's what I recall to be the case), so you need to account for that.
Bryan R
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Re: Low O2 System Planning

Postby Bryan R » Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:55 am

Brandon wrote:
We have also found that SMB will drop the pH about .03 (please correct me if that is wrong...it's what I recall to be the case), so you need to account for that.


.1 for me.
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Big Monk
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Low O2 System Planning

Postby Big Monk » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:46 am

I'm wondering if a simplified spreadsheet in the Brun Water style could be produced that ditches the color based estimation for a typical analysis approach and adds SMB input as well.

I may go to a separate MLT and BK setup to stay within the bounds of the PDF. I don't have the $ to spend on a DO meter. pH meter is definitely feasible but I can't justify a DO meter and per Kit's suggestions, the grain bag would be a variable here.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

"Messieurs, c’est les microbes qui auront le dernier mot." Louis Pasteur

Check us out at www.lowoxygenbrewing.com
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Brandon
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Re: Low O2 System Planning

Postby Brandon » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:00 am

Big Monk wrote:I'm wondering if a simplified spreadsheet in the Brun Water style could be produced that ditches the color based estimation for a typical analysis approach and adds SMB input as well.

I may go to a separate MLT and BK setup to stay within the bounds of the PDF. I don't have the $ to spend on a DO meter. pH meter is definitely feasible but I can't justify a DO meter and per Kit's suggestions, the grain bag would be a variable here.


I just sent a note to Martin to chime in on this if he has a moment.

pH meter will provide more immediate and overall bang for the buck proper pH management is key. With low O2, you know you need to minimize it. Folks can run experiments for you if you need something (just let me know), or if it is totally worthwhile, I can send you mine to use to run tests.
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Big Monk
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Re: Low O2 System Planning

Postby Big Monk » Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:02 pm

Ok. Because I'd like to try Low O2 before I die and purchasing a ton of fittings, extra equipment, etc is out of the question $$ wise at this moment, I have amended my original plan considering that my main focus is Belgian Trappist style ales. Here's goes it:

1.) MLT - I will maintain the use of my 2 gallon Coleman stacker for the time being. I'll do single infusion mashes with the no sparge approach in a bag to start out. I'll fashion a simple mash cap and perform all other mashing criteria from the PDF as written.

2.) COOLING OF STRIKE WATER - for now, in lieu of a SS IC, I will ice bath chill my strike water. I do 1.2 gallon batches so this should still provide me with quick cool down times.

3.) TRANSFERS - I will carefully gravity feed from MLT to BK.

4.) BK - my current kettle will stay the same but I am still going to throw a false bottom in.

5.) PACKAGING - I am going to try my ferm bucket to 1.5 gallon torpedo keg scenario using the closed transfer procedures I've seen employed by the members here. I am going to incorporate the use of a Spunding valve on the keg.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

"Messieurs, c’est les microbes qui auront le dernier mot." Louis Pasteur

Check us out at www.lowoxygenbrewing.com

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