On 2019-12-17 05:58, Baloonon wrote:
> The Digiboil 110 KW kettle arrived and I"ve done a first test run.
> The steel is fairly thin gauge. I suspect if I tried hard I could
> crumple it pretty well by hand, although it's not truly flimsy -- there
> doesn't seem to be any bulging or stressing when it has a lot of water,
> or dings from incidental contact.
That's also a problem with my two Chapman fermenters. The build quality
was never that great to begin with and they are easily dented. However.
cleaning is so much easier than plastic and they've gone through more
than 60 brews each by now.
> ... The entire unit also seems quite
> stable, even when mostly full of water. I admit I had a little bit of
> worry that it might be tipsy -- I've seen a bunch of videos of unstable
> turkey fryers.
I think every fire department has horror stories about turkey frying
> I washed and rinsed it well to get any residual oil from assembly or
> manufacture off. The spigot doesn't seem to have any gaskets, so I may
> get a couple of silicone gaskets for peace of mind, although it doesn't
> seem to leak.
In a brew kettle any gap will soon "crud-seal" itself :-)
> ... The flow through the spigot isn't as vigorous as I might
> like, so at some point I may look into replacing the spigot, although it
> will be fine for now.
I wouldn't mind it being slow. Currently I use the racking cane and hose
which can easily take 10mins to transfer five gallons into a fermenter.
I take that time to scrub the cooling coil and other items I used during
> I put seven gallons of water in and turned it on. The starting temp of
> the water was 53F. I haven't insulated it yet, so the only attempt to
> contain heat was putting a pillow on top of the lid.
> It took 65 minutes to go up to 161F, so that means 108F in 65 minutes,
> or 1.6F per minute. At that rate, I can imagine that a decent job of
> insulation should improve to closer to 2F per minute.
That is pretty good for 1.5kW!
> One caveat is that I didn't think to stir the water, and the temperature
> on the digital readout was 156F. I don't know if that was due to the
> digital readout being inaccurate, or a temperature difference between
> the top (where the thermometer was measuring) and the bottom, or both.
> When I mash, I will definitely stir more often to ensure even temps.
That will almost surely extend the time because the temperature of a
liquid heated from the bottom isn't evenly distrubuted. Even without
heat it isn't. I notice that in summer when diving into the pool which
does not have a heater. For some strange reason the water is often
warmer towards the bottom of the deep end.
> When it reached 161F, I turned the unit off and put a couple of blankets
> over it. After 45 minutes, the temperature had only dropped to 158. I
> assume that is partly due to residual heat in the heating unit. Normally
> I mash for 60 minutes, but I figure there won't be a lot more change in
> the remaining 15 minutes.
Hopefully the unit can do short-cycling at least on the 500W setting and
not just on-off thermostat. Although even the latter works. That is what
I do on cold days when the steeping temp can't be held by the kettle. I
use two cheap 1kW burners underneath a very wide pot which straddles
them. Those have simple on-off thermostats. During steeping I turn the
one closest to the bag off and the other to slightly above "1" which
keeps it at 156-158F.
> Turning the heat back on, it took 35 minutes to get up to 212, a bit
> slower rate than the earlier session. Since the period was shorter, it's
> possible there's a ramp up time for the heating element and there is a
> curve that the heating follows -- I hadn't looked at how it was doing in
> smaller increments. (Or it could always be measurement error.)
> I'd read some accounts saying the boil wasn't very strong, but this
> seemed like a vigorous boil. But then it was water only, and it's
> possible it will boil wort more weakly.
Still, overall a very good performance. Just make sure there is nothing
else on that circuit while brewing and that the wall outlet does not
heat up too much. 1.5kW is close to the limit of a standard 15A circuit.
> Since I brew in a bag, part 2 is only going to be an approximation.
> Adding grain will drop the temp of the mash water by about 10F, so the
> starting point will be lower, and the sugars etc. coming out into the
> solution will slow the boil somewhat. On the other hand, a fair amount
> of water will be absorbed by the grain, so the amount of liquid being
> raised to a boil will be smaller.
> Still, I think this gives a pretty good picture of what kind of times
> are involved. At some point after the new year I'll give it a test run
> and see how it goes with actual mashing and boil, plus the cleanup.
Yes, please let us know here in the newsgroup.
> By the way, the box says it can be customized for distilling, although
> that is something that doesn't interest me at all. In theory it would be
> great to have a house whiskey, although to make it worthwhile I'd want
> to age it for at least six years, and that's an extremely long time to
> wait just to find out of it is passable. I can't see it making more
> sense than just buying the legal stuff.
I saw that in the web link, and also the warning that the sheriff might
come after people doing this.
It could be interesting for raising the ABV of legally purchased vodka.
My wife makes a very good Limoncello but the nanny state (California)
does not allow the sale of strong enough Everclear. Limoncello is best
when it can be stored in the freezer and that requires 190-proof which
is not legal to sell here. The resulting product will only be around
60-proof or so but you can't get there when having to start with
120-proof Everclear. It just does not work.