Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

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Hogarth
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Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by Hogarth » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:32 pm

I’ve always wanted a little one-gallon system to go alongside my main brewery, partly for more variation and partly for experiments.

People always say that small-batch brewing is a lot of faff for not much beer, and they’re probably right, so I made ease of use and a quick brewday my top priorities. A one-pot recirculating system, like the Grainfather but smaller, seemed like the best solution.

And so the Grainbaby was born!


THE BUILD

To begin with, a ten-litre, 3kW Buffalo tea urn, on sale at Nisbets:
ImageIMG_0121 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

Punching a hole for the steam to exit.
ImageIMG_0138 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

Grinding the tap hole into a circle.
ImageIMG_0148 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

A 15mm x ½” elbow goes into the tap hole, with a back nut inside. The o-ring from the original tap sits between the flange and the vessel wall.
ImageIMG_0177 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

Hop filter, 10mm copper pipe, and a ‘street’ elbow which wedges into the back of the elbow with the help of some silicone tube:
ImageIMG_0565 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

On the outside, a Topsflo TS5 pump and a Quick Disconnect:
ImageIMG_0577 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

Back inside, a PT100 probe for the mash. It seemed neater to go in through the base:
ImageIMG_0562 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

I wanted all the leads to be detachable, so added an XLR socket for the PT100:
ImageIMG_0514 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0570 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

… and a kettle socket for the power cable:
ImageIMG_0517 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

… and banana sockets for the pump. Here it is with everything plugged in and ready to roll:
ImageIMG_0528 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

The underside …

1) pre-tinkering:
ImageIMG_0147 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

2) Post-tinkering, with the thermostat removed and PT100 added:
ImageIMG_0521 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

I tried and failed to find a right-sized saucepan for the malt-pipe, so had to make one from a sheet of stainless wrapped around a piece of plastic chopping board, secured with stainless screws and bolts. It’s what you might call a bit agricultural but it works:
ImageIMG_0505 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0541 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0561 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

The finished Grainbaby slots into the existing five-gallon brewery, replacing the boiler (which you can see here relegated to the third division) and using the same chimney:
ImageIMG_0592 (1) by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

I mash at full-volume:
ImageIMG_0532 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr


During the mash, the element is switched by the PID/SSR combo which in the five-gallon brewery controls the HERMS system. I should probably reprogramme the PID but apart from an initial overshoot it keeps the temp fine as it is.
ImageIMG_0610 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr


During the boil, the chimney comes down…
ImageIMG_0543 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

... and the Phase Angle Controller takes over:
ImageIMG_0606 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

4.5 Amps for a nice rolling boil.
ImageIMG_0582 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

Mini-chiller:
ImageIMG_0556 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

I made a Jamil-style whirlpool return, but I’m not sure it’ll work at this scale:
ImageIMG_0550 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

Before you know it, there’s a gallon of freshly-made wort put to bed in a £1.20 fermenter:
ImageIMG_0555 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

Verdict so far: It’s amazing how quick and easy this thing is! Even during the trial run I was twiddling my thumbs and wondering why I didn’t have more to do. The only downside so far is lousy efficiency — 54% yesterday — but I may be able to improve that. If not, it’s only a few pence of grain.

Yup, definitely pleased with my baby so far!

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Jim
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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by Jim » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:58 pm

Nice build! 8)

And very shiny indeed. :=P
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chris2012
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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by chris2012 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:00 pm

Wow, awesome :)

The controller especially looks 'steampunk' :)

Also I love the big copper pipe used for the steam extraction.

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Hogarth
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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by Hogarth » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:02 pm

chris2012 wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:00 pm
Wow, awesome :)

The controller especially looks 'steampunk' :)

Also I love the big copper pipe used for the steam extraction.
I've a bit of a brass fetish, I can't deny it.

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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by chris2012 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:03 pm

Haha :) How did you engrave/mark the brass out of interest?

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Hogarth
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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by Hogarth » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:10 pm

chris2012 wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:03 pm
Haha :) How did you engrave/mark the brass out of interest?
I designed it on my computer, printed it out with a laser printer, transferred the toner onto the brass, and etched it with ferric chloride.

Here's a thread I wrote about it. Unfortunately, thanks to F!$£***! photobucket, the pictures have disappeared, so it's of limited interest now. :(

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=76292&p=795367&hili ... ng#p795367

chris2012
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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by chris2012 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:32 pm

Cheers, I've done PCB etching a long time ago, so that does make sense to me.

Pity about stupid photobucket though.

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Hogarth
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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by Hogarth » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:42 pm

Jim wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:58 pm
Nice build! 8)

And very shiny indeed. :=P
I gave it an extra polish just for you, Jim. :D

BarnBrian

Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by BarnBrian » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:42 pm

A very professional job!!!

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Wonkydonkey
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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by Wonkydonkey » Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:09 pm

I don't mean to be a pooper on your build, (it looks very nice) but shouldn't you have a drip thingy on you steam pipe so the condensate don't run back into you kettle .?.?

But I'd be very happy to own it,,,show it off to everyone

Cheers
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Fil
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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by Fil » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:56 am

Lurvely ;)
ist update for months n months..
Fermnting: not a lot..
Conditioning: nowt
Maturing: Challenger smash, and a kit lager
Drinking: dry one minikeg left in the store
Coming Soon Lots planned for the near future nowt for the immediate :(

dbambrick996
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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by dbambrick996 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:20 pm

Excellent build

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Hogarth
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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by Hogarth » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:04 pm

Wonkydonkey wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:09 pm
I don't mean to be a pooper on your build, (it looks very nice) but shouldn't you have a drip thingy on you steam pipe so the condensate don't run back into you kettle .?.?
Actually, there are two. One’s in the box that allows the chimney to rise and fall. It’s the little pipe on the left.
ImageIMG_0620 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

The other is in the horizontal section between the two elbows. The short length of pipe connecting them has a V-shaped notch which catches and channels away the condensate. In the photo I’ve pulled them apart and angled it so you can see it. Usually the notch is at the bottom, and only the very tip of it is exposed.
ImageIMG_0636 by Luke Vinten, on Flickr

Furthermore, the top of the boiler is cupped, and the hole in it is slightly smaller than the diameter of the chimney, so any condensate that makes it that far will pool in the lid.

Not that I’m complacent. A recent brew I did on my main system had an unpleasant taste to it, and I’m wondering if it’s because the condensate was returning to the boiler.

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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by vacant » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:10 pm

Hogarth wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:04 pm
Wonkydonkey wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:09 pm
I don't mean to be a pooper on your build, (it looks very nice) but shouldn't you have a drip thingy on you steam pipe so the condensate don't run back into you kettle .?.?
Actually, there are two.
@Wonkeydonkey
Get yer black plastic bag out, scoop it up and take it home :wink:

@Hogarth
Very, very nice.
I brew therefore I ... I .... forget

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Wonkydonkey
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Re: Grainbaby Build -- pics! pics! pics!

Post by Wonkydonkey » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:55 pm

Mr vacant, I was polite , you are a joker, if the build pics don't show it that well, I was just asking/pointing out.

Cheers
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