From the HBD Archive
Subject: Phil's Mash System; Filtering your water
Date: 1992-03-27 21:23:00 GMT

Recently, someone posted asking if anyone had had any experience with the
"Phil's Mashing System" lately advertised in _Zymurgy_ by the Listermann
Mfg. Co. I recently bought one of these for about $35 from The Home Brewery
in San Bernardino, Calif.

The bulk of the system consists of a pair of food-grade plastic buckets,
each with a quarter-inch hole drilled into the side at the bottom. Other
components include a pair of PVC hoses with hose clamps; a drilled, formed
plastic plate for a false bottom; and a very clever brass sparging
apparatus mounted on a rigid PVC frame.

To set the system up, you put your brew kettle on the floor, the lauter
bucket on a chair or other low support, and the other bucket (for sparge
water) up on a counter or other high support. You set the sparge apparatus
atop the lauter bucket, and connect the hose from the water bucket to it.
When you open the hose clamp, the sparge arm spins, sprinkling the sparge
water gently over the grain. The other hose clamp controls the outflow of
sweet extract into your kettle.

The only problem I had was using the two hose clamps to control the inflow
and outflow. The effective range of the clamps is only wide-open to two
stops. Closing the clamps any more effectively halts the flow. Also, I need
to set the water supply atop a case of bottles to have sufficient water
pressure to drive the sparge arm after half the water is used.

This was my first attempt at all-grain brewing. All the books say you need
at least 8 to 10 gallons of boiling capacity, but I am limited to my
6-gallon kettle. So, I just compensated by using extra grain. From 10
pounds of Klages malt, I got about 5 1/2 gallons of 1050 wort.

To those extract brewers who are scared of all-grain brewing (as I was), I
say: FEAR NOT! It is *MUCH* easier than I thought it would be, and it adds
only a couple of hours to the brewing process. I have two batches of
all-grain pale ale in the other room happily fermenting away. I can harldy
wait to taste and compare with my extract brews!

Someone was asking about the iodine test. The iodine-starch reaction is
very fast, almost instantaneous. If you don't get a blue-black result
within 1 second, that's a negative test. If you let the test sit around for
a few minutes, you will get some small black particles. With Klages malt, I
got conversion after a half hour.

It was an almost magical feeling to see and taste the mash turn from bland
and starchy to golden and sweet.


Brian Davis asked about filtering water. I always filter my water with one
of those small Water Pik filters to get rid of the chlorine. I've never
brewed with unfiltered water, so I can't make a comparison, but it
definitely improves coffee.

Fred Condo, Ph.D. | condof@clargrad.bitnet |

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