Friday 30 April 2021

BrewZilla 3.1.1 - Brew Day Step by Step Instructions

The Kegland Brewzilla is an excellent piece of brewing hardware but is missing some detailed instructions on how to actually use it. I've compiled this post as a follow up to my Getting Started & FAQ, to give an easy to follow step by step guide on actually completing a brew using the Brewzilla.

35L Brewzilla with neoprene jacket
  1. Ensure you have all the required ingredients for your recipe.

  2. Enter your ingredients into an app such as Brewfather to calculate the amount of water required for the mash and sparge.

  3. Assemble your Brewzilla as per the Kegland instructions.

  4. Fill the Brewzilla with the required amount of mash water. Make sure the malt pipe is removed when filling with water so you can see the volume markings (and that they are accurate as the malt pipe being present will displace some water and make the markings inaccurate!). Put the malt pipe back in once the desired water volume is reached.

  5. Power on the Brewzilla and set your target mash temperature. It is generally a good idea to set the temperature 2-3 degrees (C) higher than your target temperature. Because of the design of the Brewzilla, with the heating elements located at the bottom (near the temperature) probe, the temperature at the top of your malt pipe (where the grain is) will generally be a few degrees colder than what the unit itself is reading. Setting the target temperature a couple of degrees higher accounts for this. Use a separate thermometer in your mash to see how much variation there is.

  6. Switch on both heating elements (1900W and 500W) to begin heating the water.
  7. Fit the recirculation arm (if not already on) and put the hose into the top of the BrewZilla. Switch on the pump and begin recirculating water - this will help the water to heat faster as the water at the bottom (where the heating elements are) is pumped and transferred back to the top via the recirculation arm. Ensure the flow is fully open using the blue control valve.

  8. Ensure the grain plug is in place over the top of the overflow pipe

  9. While waiting for the mash water to heat up, begin heating your sparge water as well - I do mine in a separate pot on the stove, or you can use a separate vessel such as a Digiboil.

  10. Once your target mash temperature has been reached, switch off the 500W heating element (so only the 1900W is on)

  11. Begin pouring your grain into the malt pipe. Take care to not spill grain in the gap between the malt pipe and the edge of the Brewzilla.
    This part should be done slowly, there's no need to rush this step. It is preferable to stir the grain as it's being poured into the water to try and prevent clumping/dough balls from forming. This is easier to do with two people, but if you're on your own pour in some grain then stir and repeat.
    Once all the grain is in, continue to give it a good stir with your mash paddle to ensure there are no clumps/dough balls.

    Stirring the mash before adding top screen

  12. Place the top screen on top of the grain bed (don't press it down) and place the lid on - no need to clamp the lid down. Start a timer for 10 minutes (we'll leave it to rest for 10 minutes before starting the pump/recirculation)

  13. Once 10 minutes has elapsed, connect your recirculation arm (if not done already) and place the silicone outlet tube through the hole in the glass lid and onto the top screen

  14. Adjust the flow control of the recirculation arm so it is fully closed/off

  15. Turn on the pump via the switch

  16. Slowly open/adjust the flow control of the recirculation arm so there is a slow/steady flow of wort coming out

  17. Monitor the water level in relation to the top screen or top of the overflow pipe. Aim to maintain about 1-2cm of water above the top screen. If the water level is rising, slow down the flow of water coming out of the recirculation arm. If the water level is falling, increase the flow.

  18. Once you've got your recirculation going, start a timer for 50 minutes (or even 60). Recommended mash time is 60 minutes for most recipes - we've already let it rest for 10 minutes so 50 minutes should be all that is required, but you can't "over-mash" by going for longer.

  19. Some people recommend/suggest stirring the mash every 20 minutes or so to help improve efficiency (ie. how much sugar is extracted from the grains). To do this you'll need to turn off the pump, remove the lid and top screen, then stir, and then add the lid/screen and switch the pump back on.

  20. After your mash is complete (minimum 60 minutes), if your recipe calls for a mash out then you can adjust/raise the temperature to your mash out temperature

  21. Once your mash out temperature is reached, start another timer for your mash-out period

  22. When the mash out time is completed, stop the pump, unlock the camlock fitting for the recirculation arm and remove the arm, or rotate it so it is not hanging over the Brewzilla - otherwise it will get in the way when removing the malt pipe

  23. Fit the malt pipe handle and slowly/carefully lift the malt pipe out. Once lifted out, rotate the malt pipe so the small feet of the malt pipe come to rest on the wire supports at the top of the BrewZilla

    BrewZilla with the malt pipe lifted for sparging

  24. Set the target temperature of the Brewzilla to HH (highest setting) and ensure both heating elements are switched ON. This will begin heating the water for the boil while we are sparging

  25. Using the sparge water (as arranged in Step 8) - begin pouring the sparge water into the top of the malt pipe (over the top screen). You should be able to hear the water dripping out the bottom of the malt pipe into the Brewzilla

  26. Continue sparging until your desired pre-boil volume is reached - generally 30L. You can shine a torch between the malt pipe and BrewZilla to see the current level in relation to the markings on the inside

  27. Once the required pre-boil volume is reached, remove the malt pipe.- the grain is no longer required and can be discarded

  28. Wait for the wort to reach boiling temperature. Use the wait time to empty/clean the malt pipe, make sure your fermenter is cleaned/sanitised etc.

    Tip: You can also run the pump and recirculation hose through a  hop spider (if you have one) to help filter out any grain that has escaped the malt pipe.

  29. Once the wort is boiling, you can switch off the 500W element. Add your 60 minute hop addition and begin your 60 minute boil timer

    Adding the hops. I use a hop spider to reduce the amount of trub left at the end

  30. Keep watching for boilovers - especially at the beginning when the water volume is highest, and especially when adding hops. You can help prevent (or reduce) boilovers by stirring the wort, spraying with a water bottle and/or switching off the heating elements

  31. Add any additional hops at the required intervals during the boil.

  32. With 5-10 minutes left in the boil, I briefly run the boiling wort through the recirculation arm to sanitise it, and also through the whirlpool arm attachment (if you have one)

  33. If you're using the immersion chiller, put it into the boil now to sanitise it as well

  34. Once your boil time is completed, switch off both heating elements and begin flowing water through the immersion chiller

    Immersion chiller hooked up to cool the wort. Rags over the connections to minimise leakage

  35. The immersion chiller will cool the wort down - how much will depend on the temperature of the water going through it. I generally get the temperature down to under 30 degrees before stopping and transferring the wort to the fermenter

  36. You can transfer the wort using the pump or the tap. I personally use the pump, and hold the silicone tube high above the fermenter to allow the wort to bubble/foam and pickup oxygen when splashing into the fermenter

    Transferring wort into the fermenter (Fermzilla 30L) using the Brewzilla pump

  37. Stop the pump once you hear it begin sucking in air and/or trub from the bottom. (If you run the pump for too long whilst dry you can damage it)

  38. Let the cleanup begin! Disassemble and clean all parts of the Brewzilla using sodium percarbonate or PBW. Be careful not to submerge or spray the display of the Brewzilla directly with water as this can damage it.

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