Once we had the extract test done, the next step was to move forward with a full blown all grain kit. We have done 10 gallon all grain kits before, but never with the electric brewery and never with the brewtroller. We elected to use the brewtroller in Brew Monitor mode so that we wouldn’t be fighting with unknowns on our first all grain/electric endeavor.
First: It takes a LONG time to heat 18 gallons of water from 55°F to 170°F. If we say we are going to start at 11am, we should immediately start boiling water before we do anything else. If we wait to start heating the water until 12:30, the water won’t be hot until 1:30.
The SPEC Pak connectors worked very well. They provided a nice water proof connection and are easy to wire up. I highly recommend them.
1-wire is a great interface, but it does not respond well to certain network topologies. The star topology we were using did not effectively support more than 2 temperature probes simultaneously. This is not a difficult problem to solve, but it is not a problem you want to be solving on brew day. Essentially, we either need to make our topology serial, or add 100 Ohm resistors on the 1-wire signal line to reduce reflections. Moral of the story: Do a full dry run test before you do a wet run test.
Mashing in went really well, until the recirculating pump seized. Initially, we thought it was a stuck sparge, but cycling the pump on and off a few times got it going again. Moral of the story: Get a standby pump that you can swap out in an emergency.
The last major problem we had was the heating element on the boil kettle. Even though we were applying power to the element, it was not getting hot. This is a 240V element, and each leg of the element was reading 120V to ground. However, when measured against each other, it read 0V. This seemed to imply that the 120V legs were in phase, but once I disconnected the heater, I read 240V across those leads. To confuse things even more, the heater did provide 10 Ohms of resistance. After disconnecting and reconnecting it about a dozen times, it finally started working. Moral of the story: before you put wort into you boil kettle, test the heating element.
Despite these setback, we actually had a good brew day. The OG came in at 1.049 vs an expected 1.047. The color of the wort looked awesome and we had a sub-4 hour lag time.