Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Today I spent a long day organising the workshop. Its still not completely functional, but its getting there.  Organising is really an evolution, and is something that you have to give a bit of throughout to and learn to use if you want to be functional not just look pretty. At the moment we have more space than we know what to do with but I am sure that will change once we get used to working in a bigger area. Its strange having to walk for a good 20m to wash your hands.

I am still working on the sparging setup. I have moved from a comum made of PVC to a hot water urn, and now to a stainless keg.  Last night I thought I had everything ready for a first batch using the urn. The setup was working well with water, with no impurities in the water after a few runs. I cleaned everything then added a small amount of peroxide to the urn which started fizing immediately from one section of the heating element (while it was off). I think that the element must be braised with something containing a incompatible material (silver?). I also found out that the heating element was not stainless but copper coated in stainless when a bit of the coating flaked off. I am running some tests with a 19L keg now. The heating always a issue. At the moment I am heating the sparging air with a air conditioning condenser in the urn, as well as the keg with another electric heater. One thing I learnt from the PVC tube is that you want the number of things in contact with the peroxide to be kept to a minimum, so you really need to heat from the outside. I am thinking of immersing the keg in a water bath but that seems a little messy. Heating the air is a more elegant solution but even with the air piping hot it barely warms the solution, and it takes quite a while to heat up.

I plan to do a compatability test with the keg wendesday and if everything goes well I will line the clean area with plastic and concentrate the first batch. I would like to set everything up so that I don't have to transfer any peroxide between vessels  myself while sparging. The great thing about using a keg is that it is concentrated in the same vessel it will be stored in. I haven't figured out how I will transfer the peroxide out  of the keg for use. It has two connections on it, one for liquid out (has a tube going to the bottom of the vessel) and one for gas in. I will probably have a small hand pump to pump air in to the keg once I close the lid which will push liquid out of the liquid fitting. Usually carbon dioxide is pumped into the vessel from a cylinder.

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