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Homebrew Steam Condenser
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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
Posts: 746
Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri


PostLink    Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


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these are instock while they last, a custom version

https://www.brewhardware.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=SteamSlayer

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perogi



Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 843
Location: NH

Drinking: Perogi Pale, NEIPA, Nutter's Crossing Nut Brown Ale, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter Clone

Working on: Max's Maibock


PostLink    Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had a water test tonight. Went pretty well except for a few hiccups.

One thing that seemed like it wasn't working is keeping a boil going at low %. I could keep the temp reading around 213 degrees (this is the temp where it boils without the lid on) but I could only hear the water boil when the element was on. I finally had to turn it up to a manual setting of 50% to keep a constant roiling boil but that seemed to be going too strong.

I saw on one of BrunDog's posts about turning down the duty cycle - anyone know what PID setting that is? Is it the % value for the manual setting?


Edit: oh and one thing, when that vacuum effect kicks in, you can really hear it. At least in my tests - can anyone confirm?
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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
Posts: 746
Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri


PostLink    Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes you need you run your boil in manual mode only and turn the % down to what works for you
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perogi



Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 843
Location: NH

Drinking: Perogi Pale, NEIPA, Nutter's Crossing Nut Brown Ale, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter Clone

Working on: Max's Maibock


PostLink    Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Ozarks. I usually boil off 2 gallons (start at 15.5 gal). Last night it looked like it boiled off 1.5 gallons. From other posts I was expecting ~1 gallon.

Seems like even if it doesn't *sound* like it's boiling, it probably is and me cranking it up to 50% (from a norm of 84%) was too vigorous. Going to do another test today.

Thanks for any feedback you can provide from your tests/observations.

edit: Did another test. Boiled off 1 gallon @ 42-50%.
Also looked inside the tube as the spray was on to get a better idea of what it sounded like when it was fully spraying. Found a leak which may have been limiting the pressure to make a good spray.

Still trying to figure out if I can reduce the duty cycle. It looks like it's using 12 seconds between cycles (set it to 50% and counted the time that it was on vs. off - 6 secs on, 6 secs off). I'd like to get it to be more like 6 seconds to keep the boiling consistent. Anyone know if the standard pids can do this? EDIT2: Found the answer. It's under the "t" setting on the PID. Mine was set to 12 but I don't recall ever setting that myself. Maybe it was set during auto-tuning?
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GozzieBoy



Joined: 27 Apr 2018
Posts: 8
Location: Carolina


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ozarks Mountain Brew wrote:
the height of the spray adapter is going to be different based on the water pressure, I just guessed on the nipple, that could be wrong for some people
m

Have you been able to measure this? I'm curious because intuitively I would think that the spray profile would be about the same regardless of pressure, but that the velocity and volume of water throughput would change. Thus, the geometry (nipple length/placement of the nozzle) should be the same regardless of pressure (i.e. flow) of water. I'll try to test this when I get my condenser built soon, as it is obviously an important parameter in the design.

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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
Posts: 746
Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you are correct I don't really know for sure I was just guessing, my real point was the height of the nipple in the picture not anything else, I probably should have stopped there
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alphakry



Joined: 27 Oct 2018
Posts: 60



PostLink    Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How has this been working for everyone these last months?

If anyone sees this come back in stock, or knows when to expect that - please let us know! I'd really like to try this setup over the hood given my current brewing bedroom Smile

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siestakey



Joined: 10 Mar 2017
Posts: 49



PostLink    Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alphakry wrote:
How has this been working for everyone these last months?

If anyone sees this come back in stock, or knows when to expect that - please let us know! I'd really like to try this setup over the hood given my current brewing bedroom Smile



I'm still loving mine, very happy with how things turned out. A few other folks in my home brew club have started doing it as well.
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perogi



Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 843
Location: NH

Drinking: Perogi Pale, NEIPA, Nutter's Crossing Nut Brown Ale, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter Clone

Working on: Max's Maibock


PostLink    Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the update siestakey!
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alphakry



Joined: 27 Oct 2018
Posts: 60



PostLink    Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also btw, these are back in stock at brew hardware! They had 6 when i bought mine - looks like only 1 left now.

Very excited! Need to come up with some creative ways of reusing the water!

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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10675
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steam condensers seem to be picking up "steam" (ha! pardon the pun). One thing that a lot of people don't seem to realize how hot your brew room may get when using one. This would be a big concern for me and never seems to be mentioned.

Remember that kettles running hot create a lot of heat, even if there's no steam entering the room anywhere. The kettles are like giant radiators giving off heat.

One of the things I like about having a vent system in my basement brewery is that it I'm bringing in air from the outside to replace the steam I'm venting out. The air coming in will always be cooler than the air you're evacuating and this helps keep the room temp down. How much this helps of course depends on where you live. In my case it's cold 6+ months of the year and gets to -20C (-4F) in the winters here. This sort of cold weather is actually PERFECT for vent system brewing as the cold air coming in completely offsets the temperature of the kettles and my brew room is around 65F on the coldest winter days. Some people in colder climates setting up breweries inside the home have been concerned with the room getting too cold during the colder months of the year, but it's just not possible - brewing with a vent system in the frigid north is perfect and comfortable!

Now if I was to use a steam condenser, much of that heat would be in the room and would make the room uncomfortably all hot year round in addition to wasting a lot of water.

Keep this lack of heat removal in mind if considering a steam condenser. You could also use a vent but that seems to defeat the whole purpose.

This is all completely aside the fact that steam condenser systems do not remove as much DMS from the beer since you're boiling with the cover on and only boiling off a very little amount. Depending on who you believe, this can have flavour impacts (more obvious short term) as well as long term stability impacts (less immediately obvious).

Some argue that ventilation system are expensive, but factor in the cost of all that water (plus the environmental impact) of using a steam condenser when considering what you plan on doing. Even if a vent system is more expensive up front in terms of equipment, there's a point where over time the additional water costs will cross what you paid for the vent system and overtake it. Vent systems do use electricity (steam condensers do not) but most ventilation fans are relatively low current and will cost only a few pennies to run on a typical 60-90 min boil. The amount of water used during that time can be significant.

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:33 pm; edited 3 times in total
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alphakry



Joined: 27 Oct 2018
Posts: 60



PostLink    Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

great post Kal! A lot of good things to consider!

For me, the steam condenser makes sense on the cost side of things because any increase in cost from water use (I don't pay separate for this anyhow as part of my rent) is offset by the savings of running the 4 elements at a significantly lower percentage of power. I pay a pretty high power fee (~$0.40USD/kW) so anything that reduces electricity consumption is considered a big money saver.

Environmental considerations are something that not nearly enough people factor into their daily lives. So hats off to you for this point as well. As a scuba diving instructor, ocean defender and environmental enthusiast (don't dare use single use plastic around me... my rants are long and strong...), this matters a lot to me. That's why my design includes routing all steam runoff into a large reservoir for reuse. This combined with the RO waste water makes for some good general purpose water like toilet, laundry and garden water!

Not to mention, it's a nice bonus to have less boil-off - leaving more beer for me!

While I do brew in a tropical climate with an average ambient temp of about 85-90F, I have not noticed any significant increases in my room temp when using the condenser vs allowing the steam to vent. But I do not have a quality ventilation system installed - merely a pair of box fans mounted to the window that sits right behind the kettles. So a hot brew room is something I've become accustom to... it pulls double duty as my sauna room as well.

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Last edited by alphakry on Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mjo2125



Joined: 27 Feb 2017
Posts: 243
Location: Dayton, OH

Drinking: Pale Ale, Yorkshire Bitter, Mango Blonde Ale

Working on: Retro American Lager


PostLink    Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've decided to go with a hood. There are less-expensive hood options - you can buy pre-fabricated steel hood shells for less than $50 - downside is they won't cover all three kettles... at that price, get two. I also like the idea of visually monitoring the boil to make adjustments on the fly. I recently bought a house and the basement inspection failed due to high humidity and mold growth on the rafters - the seller spent a few $k on mitigation - I now monitor the humidity and dew point temp - the inspector told me to try to keep the humidity at 50% and no more than 70%. I'd feel more comfortable venting the steam vapors out.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10675
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep in mind too that you don't really need a hood that covers all 3 kettles - just the boil will do. I did 3 mostly for looks.

Kal

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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10675
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was talking steam condensers with on HomeBrewTalk and had someone running a brewpub had this to say:

Quote:
"I agree, you end up with a lot of warm humid smelly air. I have helped brew on a stout 3bbl system with the stout condenser and we ended up opening all the doors for this reason.
At my brewpub, even with out sealed lid and vented exhaust pipe on the boil kettle we get a lot of steam and humidity in our brewery. I honestly preferred the hood on my home brewing system."


More food for thought.

Kal

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Our new shop with over 150 new products: shop.TheElectricBrewery.com
We ship worldwide and support our products and customers for life.
Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!
My basement/bar/brewery build 2.0
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mjo2125



Joined: 27 Feb 2017
Posts: 243
Location: Dayton, OH

Drinking: Pale Ale, Yorkshire Bitter, Mango Blonde Ale

Working on: Retro American Lager


PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monitored brew room humidity - set point is 60%, above that the dehumidifier turns on.


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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10675
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are you showing us here exactly? Im afraid Im not following the context. 60% RH is high too (at least in the home). Not sure of your setup or what the basement is used for.

Kal

_________________
Our new shop with over 150 new products: shop.TheElectricBrewery.com
We ship worldwide and support our products and customers for life.
Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!
My basement/bar/brewery build 2.0
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View user's photo album (21 photos)
mjo2125



Joined: 27 Feb 2017
Posts: 243
Location: Dayton, OH

Drinking: Pale Ale, Yorkshire Bitter, Mango Blonde Ale

Working on: Retro American Lager


PostLink    Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry for the confusion- This is an output from a sensor in the basement brewery. 50% RH is a target but cycles the dehumidifier too much. I settled for 60% RH as reasonably achievable for the brewery. Hopefully I can keep the brewery RH close to 50% by using a vent hood.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10675
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This graph show humidity over a 3 day period. Was there a brew day in there?

Kal

_________________
Our new shop with over 150 new products: shop.TheElectricBrewery.com
We ship worldwide and support our products and customers for life.
Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!
My basement/bar/brewery build 2.0
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mjo2125



Joined: 27 Feb 2017
Posts: 243
Location: Dayton, OH

Drinking: Pale Ale, Yorkshire Bitter, Mango Blonde Ale

Working on: Retro American Lager


PostLink    Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kal, no brew day yet. Can upload one on next brew day. 6 Exhaust fan rated at 460 cfm, but will probably have a 4 wall penetration to the outside.
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