If you watched one of our recent live brew days, I use the Claw hammer supply system in that brew day. And it really wasn’t all that successful.
To be honest with you had issues with the controller maintaining temperature, had issues with the controller, actually maintaining a consistent boil. Uh, the controller has since been replaced by claw hammer supply.
And in today’s video, we’re going to find out, does this new controller work better or are we still having issues? We’re going to find out.
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Digital, 240V Electric, Semi-automated, BIAB, All Grain, Extract Home brewing.
So we’ve got the 240 volt claw hammer supply system, uh, going to be using it today to do a October Fest. And that might seem like kind of a funny beer right now to be doing at this time of year. However, traditionally, they were brewed at this time of the year and then let, to sit all the way until September.
We’re going to do one today. We probably won’t let it sit till September, but that’s what we’re doing today. It’d be the first time I have brewed that type of beer. And, uh, so we’re going to do that.
Let me get going. I’m going to go ahead and crank on the water and fill up the kettle, uh, using 8.31 gallons of water today. And, uh, we’ll be back to get the brewday started.
All right. So we reached our mash temperature as you saw there kind of overshot just a little bit, but not, not too big of a deal in my opinion. So I have auto tuned and adjusted the temperature offset per the recommendations of claw hammer supply.
Let me grab my spoon and I’m going to kick off the pump here and the heat, just so we don’t have any overheating in the bottom down there. Go ahead and get this hose unhooked.
I’m going to turn on the fan. So it’ll suck all the dust out
And we’ll get mashed in here.
We are pretty full to the top here with grain, so that should absorb some liquid and settle right down I would think. Get it all stirred up here. All right. Looks like we’ve got everything all taken care of there. Put the lid back on there.
Let’s Ccrank, open the valve again. And our temperature that we’re going is 148F. So we’ll go ahead and put it to 148F. Let’s set that, turn the heat back on and turn the pump back on and we’ll get a nice little spray over top of the grain here.
Let this mash for an hour and, uh, we’ll be back shortly.
So we have done a 75 minute mash. I was incorrect earlier when I said 60 minute mash, we’ve done a 75 minute mash. That was a recommendation from beer Smith. So I took a couple of gravity readings throughout the mash.
Something that I changed from the last time that I brewed on the system was I did a double crush the previous time and had a pretty good result of about 70% even though the temperatures were all over the place, I was able to control it manually and keep it within a decent range.
This time it seemed like maybe I’m not quite getting that much efficiency. So hopefully we’re going to get somewhere near at least maybe five or six points below where we were supposed to be or five or six tenths below, but I’m going to go ahead and actually turn off the pump and turn off the heating element.
And we’re going to pull the basket out and get ready to let this thing drain.
Now I will tell you that this is a little bit tricky by yourself if you don’t have a wench. So I highly recommend if you’re going to do this, I should have pulled this table out and hook it up to my wench that I have up in the ceiling out there in the, out there in this part of the brewery.
But I’m going to go ahead and pull this basket up. And generally you can get one of these feet underneath there or whatever you want to call these hanger things here. Um, the trick to it is just letting it, letting it kind of drain as you’re pulling it up. So you’re not trying to lift all of that water along with all that grain.
You can usually get it up there.
I’m strong enough to do it myself, and then I can let it hang off to the side like that with just one of them really. I mean, you can put more than one in and I probably will, but you can actually just let it sit there and hang off of one. And then, uh, get the other one up, set it on there.
And two works fine. So, you know, it could be one or two. If you have a bigger grain bill, you probably want to do three of them, but with what I’ve got going on there two is fine.
So it looks like we had a fairly good, fairly good crush on there. So I’m kind of curious as to why the gravity is a little lower. I did take a pH reading whenever I detected that I thought I might have a little bit less conversion. And it seemed as though the pH was a little bit high.
My calculations in Bruin water were 5.3 is what the calculator was. And then about 45 minutes in is when I checked the gravity. And then I checked the pH and it was about 5.5. So I’m not sure if maybe some of the dark grains that Bruin water was saying was going to add some acidity to the, to the mash did not do that. And I needed to add more lactic acid. I don’t know for sure. So a little bit of a mystery on that. We’ll find out for sure what our pre boil gravity is once all this stuff drains out.
I’m going to let this drain a little bit more and once it gets drained out, we’ll be back. I’ll take some readings and we’ll see where we are and see what the plan of attack is from there.
I want to touch on cleaning real quick. Uh, one of the things that I had kind of wondered about myself was the best grain basket, how fine the mesh was, if grain would get stuck in there and everything.
But thankfully, I mean, it’s, it’s really super easy to clean, scoop all the grain out, rinse everything down the sides and then flip it over and rinse the bottom out. And I mean, it pretty much is clean after that.
Uh, you know, if you want to let it dry out and then just kind of pat the sides, all the grain, dust and everything’s going to fall out. So, you know, I was one of those things where I thought it might be a problem, but it wasn’t. So just wanted to let you know that as well.
All right. So we’re coming up to a boil now and one of the nice things about, uh, electric systems such as this one is that you can control the element on it. So if this thing starts to get where it’s going to boil over, I can just reach over and turn the element off, and then everything will just calm right down, turn the element back on and it’ll start to boil again.
Now I got to set to 100% to bring it up to a boil really quickly. And it was probably less than 15 minutes to bring it up to a boil from that mash out temperature of 170F. So I’m gonna actually turn, turn it down to about 50%. So I’m happy with that. And I think that’ll work really well for us.
Incidentally, the gravity on this thing was about 1.040, and I needed to be, or supposed to be 1.047.
So I’m going to wait until we get closer to the end of the boil to see where we are, but I have some pale malt, uh, one pound of dry malt extract. I can always add that. And that’s not a bad thing. I mean, for experienced brewers or even, you know, brewers that are starting out, have a little bit of dry malt extract on hand.
And if you need to adjust your gravity a little bit, there’s nothing wrong with putting this in there at all, nothing wrong at all. I mean, it’s, it’s malt, it’s the same thing as what you’re using. So if you’re way out, I’m not really far out on this one, but I’d like to hit my target gravity on this.
So I may sub some, uh, real malt for some extract. So we’ll see how it goes. When we get closer to the end of the boil, cause you don’t need to add this in until the last 15 minutes of the boil. Then you can adjust your gravity with this to kind of get where you want to be at. So I’ll be back in a minute.
All right. So we are like 15 minutes from the end of the boil and I decided I am going to go ahead and add the DME dry malt extract because I’m tracking about 0.1 off. So my original gravity supposed to be 10 57 or 10 59. And it’s going to look like it’s going to wind up about 10 47.
So if I add a pound that should bring it up about 0.1. So put us right at our targets. I’m actually gonna go ahead and turn the element off and put my DME in. And then I was stirred up really well, make sure none of it’s going to get caramelized on the element.
I’m just gonna go ahead and give it a good stir. And then also we’ve got our whirlfloc tablet to toss in there. So I’m gonna go ahead and toss that in pick up the counterflow chiller and I’ll turn the pump on, run some water through there real quick and get that all sanitized.
We’ll leave that wart in the counterflow chiller, the plate chiller while we’re boiling the rest of the way and we should be good. So I’ll go ahead and stir this a little bit more. I cranked the element back on again. We’ll come back here and just a little bit, so almost done.
All right. So we’re at the end of the boil. I’ve already kicked off the element. I’m going to go and crank on the cold water and start recirculating back into the kettle. And as I said before, this is a lager. So we’re going to need to chill this thing down quite a ways. Hopefully my groundwater temperature is going to be cold enough that we’ll get it down there.
I am also going to be doing a pressurized fermentation with this. So more on that later, I’ve got another device here down below that I’m going to be doing a review on. I’m sure a lot of you are going to want to see. So probably the cheapest way to get into pressure fermentation.
So, uh, it looks like we wound up with about six gallons, right at 60 gallons of wort there. I think, um, maybe just a little bit below. The recipe said it was going to be 5.89, and we’ll be back with the final results in my final thoughts on the first actual brew day with all the components working properly.
So I’ll be back then real quickly before I forget if this video was helpful to you and you’re interested in the system, Emmett and Kyle were nice enough to hook me up with a affiliate link and I’ll put that down in the description below. It’ll be one of the first links down there.
All right. So here’s how we wound up. We had about just a little over five gallons of beer in the fermenter, uh, came in at a gravity about 10 53, 10 54, which was a little bit off of what my target was, but I kinda knew that going into it.
So there were a few things I will tell you about this brew day. Uh, there were probably three factors that factored into the results that I had. Uh, all of them were pretty much my fault.
Number one was the grind. I didn’t do a double crush like I had done previously. I’ve used the basket actually twice, once in their system. And then once in a system that I DIY’ed myself on our live brew day. So that was one of the things that contributed to it.
The second thing that contributed to it was the pH. I think somehow Bruin water didn’t give me the correct number based on the grains and everything. I don’t know if there was an acidity issue with the grains or whatever. I should have taken a reading earlier in the mash so that I could have corrected for that.
It was 5.5. So I mean, I think it was still okay, but I think I could have gotten a little better conversion had, I’ve been down a little bit lower.
The third thing is that really, it was kind of an untried untested recipe. Uh, didn’t really know how it was going to react and, and, you know, because of that number two, which was the pH was an issue for me.
So, you know, overall I think the system performed pretty well as far as the brew day goes. There are a couple of things that I do want to kind of let you know that maybe they don’t exactly say in their videos.
Number one, the outlet to the spigot or the outlet to the ball valve that goes out is sitting up pretty high in the kettle. And you’re going to need to tip the kettle back quite a ways in order to capture all the beer out of there or all the wort out of there.
I think that if you don’t tip it back, you’re probably going to wind up with leaving behind maybe a little bit more than a half a gallon, maybe three quarters of a gallon, something like that. There’s quite a bit left behind.
The other thing that that contributes to an issue with that is that they have the bazooka tube and that bazooka tube actually gets pretty clogged up with trub and stuff, even using the super fine mesh hop filter, the hops brighter that they have. There are some issues with that.
So you know that there’s a couple of things there that you just need to know with regards to the system. As far as how everything went, the controller performed just fine. It didn’t have any issues with it. As far as all the rest of the gear, everything went fine with it.
One thing I also wanted to add too, was the basket. Recently claw hammer supply had done a milkshake IPA and use the basket of the grain basket as a hop back. Don’t do that. I tried it on a live brew day and I’m telling you what, and you can kind of see it in their video too, but it completely stops up with hops. I mean, you can’t get the word out there.
Actually it, it clogged up so much that I was re circulating in the basket and it actually wound up almost running the element dry. So don’t use the grain basket as a hop strainer. It just does not work that well.
The wort turned out a beautiful color. This won’t be the last brew that I do on this system. I certainly want to try to put in some more brew days on it and see if I can kind of dial in that efficiency.
There’s definitely, uh, one of the things that is also critical and I kind of hit on it just a little bit ago, is that water profile or water composition is very, very important on these systems that are a complete volume brew in a bag.
So my thoughts after a first brew day with all the equipment working, the thing is a rocket ship. I mean, from 65 degrees up to mash in temperature was a snap. From mash out temperature of like 168 to boil was just really super fast.
So, I mean, it’s definitely definitely a worthy system.
I haven’t had any issues with using it other than a couple of little things that I talked about. And then the first controller was, was obviously had an issue, but they were quick to get that taken care of and got me taken care of right away on that.
Digital, 240V Electric, Semi-automated, BIAB, All Grain, Extract Home brewing.
So we certainly appreciate you watching, if you watched all the way to the end, you’re a trooper, give us a thumbs up, share it. If you’re a, if someone’s interested in this system, let them know that I’ve done a review on it.
This has been Brian for short-circuited brewers.
Lead marketer, brewer, dad, and husband. Pretty much an all-round awesome guy.