Having spent some time considering and justifying this purchase to myself I thought a record and run through of the unboxing and my first impressions was in order. So with it ordered and delivered promptly by the Malt Miller I delved into the package of shiny delight…
Boxed and beautiful and full of stainless promise.
…but it’s a good one with the contents nicely illustrated on the side. I really like the quality of the SS Brewtech packaging, it gives you that quality product feel before you’ve even unboxed the contents. I always hide these away from the children and keep them for my own
The lid is thick, again unlike the usual SS Brewtech ones and it’s heavy, obviously wedged full of insulation (unlike the Wilkinsons coolbox that I bought the other week with it’s cost-cut-too-far empty lid that just makes it bloody inefficient …. ggrrrhhhh).
With the lid and packaging removed we get to the tun itself which is suitably smooth and shiny, although the drain hole looks a little ragged (but that might just be reflection and shine fooling me, it’s hard to tell).
There are a number of extra’s in a small triangular cardboard box stowed in one corner of the box that contains the tun. There a seal for the false bottom – more on that later – the tap, thermowell and a digital thermometer.
It’s a hefty old unit to lift out of the box – the heavier the better to keep the heat in. There are two holes in the tun, the higher one for the thermowell is recessed back into body and the lower one is a threaded nozzle from which the wort will drain.
The thermowell hole is recessed, I guess to stop the insulation from interfering with the temperature reading. The thermowell installation itself is pretty standard with the thermowell placed inside the tun and the threaded section passed through the hole to the outside then fastened with a rubber washer on the inside and a nut on the outside.
Getting the tap onto the threaded lower nozzle is a bit more fiddly. With the tap simply screwed onto the thread the tap is way off being straight. On mine when screwed on tightly it was about one third of a turn off centre. This was quite quickly remedied by applying seven or eight turns of PTFE tape to the thread then rescrewing the tap on.
The base of the tun has four solid rubber feet. One of mine had come off in the packaging and I nearly threw it away with the rest of the plastic wrapping so I’m glad I checked. The loose foot was easy to reattach with a push and twist.
I must admit that the false bottom eluded me for a while but I eventually found it hiding away in the bottom of the box underneath the plastic packaging that supports the base of the tun.
To attach the seal (or gasket) slide one small area onto the rim of the false bottom, then retaining a grip in the same place feed the rest of the seal on working around in a clock-wise direction.
I think the smooth side of the seal, rather than the stepped one, should be placed face upwards (although I may well be wrong in that).
The false bottom then fits neatly and securely into the bottom of the tun. The only knack that is necessary is to ensure that you push edge of the false bottom under the thermowell first before push the handle side down (like in the photo to the left).
So there we are job done.
I’ll be deassembling the tun and giving it a proper clean before first use.
First impressions are very good. Very solid and well made with a slightly different ‘feel’ to other SS Brewtech products which I put down to the different nature of this product – it’s not just stainless steel but a more complex assembly of several materials. There are a few slightly messy welds on the base and where the threaded tap connects to the body, but then I’m being really picky commenting on those.
Looking forward to getting my first mash on in this shortly.
An sparge arm assembly came as a part of the package, I’ll be assembling and testing that out another time.
After a recent tragic brew-in-a-bag that stopped fermenting at 1.036 and resolutely refused to go any lower, my autopsy concluded that most likely my mash temperature was too high.
But what should my mash temperature have been and what variables are at play? My findings in summary…
Mix rate for dried isinglass given by Brupaks is 6g per litre.
Apply 4-5 days before racking or bottling.
Dry hip then apply finings although the finings may strip some of the hop aroma.