Frequently Asked Questions
TIG and MIG welding are both an electronic arc welding process. In MIG welding, wire is fed through a machine at a preset amperage and voltage. The wire is then fed through a whip (rubber insulated hose) with a gun that the operator holds and is deposited to the welding surface with the push of a trigger. Once the trigger is pulled and the MIG welding process begins, the operator can no longer change the heat or wire speed of the weld. This welding process is used in the production industry where quantity overshadows quality. MIG welds contain much more oxygen and porosity, making them far more vulnerable to cracking and failure.
The TIG welding process utilizes a power source that supplies electricity to a small hand-held torch that contains a tungsten electrode that is shielded from oxygen and contaminates by a shielding gas once the arc has been established. The operator uses a foot peddle to establish the arc and to increase or decrease voltage and current while welding. The filler material (wire rod that is the same material as the metal being welded) is deposited by hand into the puddle of molten metal as it is needed. This gives the operator superior control of the welding process by allowing changes in heat to be made on the fly. This is crucial to welding stainless steel and aluminum as too much heat will warp the metal or cause the oxygen to impregnate the molten metal and ruin it. It takes almost twice as long to TIG weld a product compared to MIG welding, but it is almost twice as strong. NASA utilizes the TIG welding process exclusively for these reasons and you should too! If you look at the welds on a bicycle, 95 percent of bicycle manufactures use the TIG welding process for strength appearance and safety. Everything we build is carefully TIG welded by hand to hold up to a lifetime of use and abuse.
Cleaning and sanitizing a plate chiller is a bit more involved than a normal immersion chiller, due to the tiny pockets created by the channels in the plates. These pockets can harbor cold break material, hop remains, or any other solid, and if not removed can cause infection in subsequent batches. The best way to clean is to recirculate a solution of hot water and Powder Brewery Wash (PBW) through the chiller as normal, then back flush the chiller. Pushing cleaning solution into the "Wort Out" side and out of the "Wort In" side. This will remove any particles that may have gotten trapped by the ridges on the plates. You can also circulate boiling water through the unit to sanitize. Wort outlet flow/ temp should be controlled by restricting the outlet valve of the pump. Never restrict the inlet of the pump as it will cavitate (run dry) and ruin your pump!After every use it is crucial to flow clean water through the unit to remove any cleaning agents from the unit before storage.
Heat exchangers operate on the principle that there is a hot side and a cold side of the unit. Whichever side your incoming cooling water is plumbed into (usually the side that has the 3/4" Female garden hose fitting), is the same side that your cooled down wort is to come out of and into your fermenter. Your outgoing and now heated water is the same side that your incoming hot wort needs to be plumbed to, thus creating a hot and a cold side of the unit.The fluids are essentially touching each other through the plates and heat is transferred from the hot fluid to the cold fluid. (but the fluids do not mix) In order to optimize the efficiency of the unit make sure that your incoming and outgoing cooling water hose are not kinked or restricted. If you are using a multiple outlet water splitter it must be full port. Most makes are not full port and have very small passages which will make your wort take a very long time to chill. Gilmour hose and water products Company makes full port, multiple outlet adapters that work very well and allow you to have multiple hoses connected to one water inlet so you can have a water filter, wash down sprayer and wort chiller all hooked up to one water supply with out having to constantly switch hoses for different tasks.Plate heat exchangers have significantly good heat transfer rates because they use metal plates which have high heat conductivity rates and the plates are extremely thin. The plate heat exchangers also achieve high amounts of heat transfer through convective forces with both working fluids. With large temperature differentials, great amounts of heat transfer can be achieved using a plate heat exchanger. The heat exchanger can also be used to heat incoming wort for step mashing/ recirculating,RIMS or a HERMS by pumping hot or boiling water through the water side of the unit while recirculating wort through the wort side of the unit.
Stainless steel requires special cleaning and care to keep its luster and resistance to corrosion. Stainless steels are corrosion-resistant by nature, which might suggest that passivating them would be unnecessary. However, stainless steels are not completely impervious to rusting. One common mode of corrosion in corrosion-resistant steels is when small spots on the surface begin to rust because grain boundaries or embedded bits of foreign matter (such as iron from tooling or from a manufacturing process) or excess carbon build of from high-heat exposure allowing water molecules to oxidize some of the iron in those spots despite the alloying chromium.
WHAT IS PASSIVATION?
Passivation is "the removal of exogenous iron or iron compounds from the surface of stainless steel by means of a silicon cleaning pad (S.O.S or Scoth brite), a stainless steel wire brush or a chemical dissolution, most typically by a treatment with an acid solution that will remove the surface contamination, but will not significantly affect the stainless steel itself." In addition, it also describes passivation as "the chemical treatment of stainless steel with a mild oxidant, such as a nitric acid solution, for the purpose of enhancing the spontaneous formation of the protective passive film."
In lay terms, the passivation process removes "free iron" contamination left behind on the surface of the stainless steel from machining and fabricating. These contaminants are potential corrosion sites that result in premature corrosion and ultimately result in deterioration of the component if not removed. In addition, the passivation process facilitates the formation of a thin, transparent oxide film that protects the stainless steel from selective oxidation (corrosion). So what is passivation? Is it cleaning? Is it a protective coating? It is a combination of both.
HOW IS PASSIVATION PERFORMED?
The process typically begins with a thorough cleaning cycle. It removes oils, greases, forming compounds, lubricants, coolants, cutting fluids and other undesirable organic and metallic residue left behind because of fabrication and machining processes. General degreasing and cleaning can be accomplished many ways, including degreasing, solvent cleaning and alkaline soaking. Then a course scotch brite pad or stainless wire brush is used to remove the contaminates and restore the stainless to its original form which allows the surface to repassivate.
One of the best ways to keep a stable mash temp is to pre heat the tun by adding a few gallons of hot striking water into the tun and allowing it to sit with the lid closed for 5 minutes. This water should then be drained out prior to doughing in (mixing crushed grains with hot water into the mash tun) This allows for less of a initial temp drop as the kettle becomes warm from the steam. The pre heating water drained from the mash tun can be used for cleaning water. Temperature corrections and changes can be made by adding cold or hot water to the tun and stirring or recirculating during the starch conversion process. Step or cereal mashing can be accomplished by pulling runnings from the mash tun into the boil kettle, heating and returning back into the mash tun to make the desired temp change.
When using a third burner under the mash (HERMS & RIMS) it is very important to start recirculating the mash before adding heat to the bottom of the tun. The temp of the runnings coming out of the tun must be closely monitored to ensure that the mash does not get too hot and scorch. This can be done with the included portable thermometer by placing the probe in the stream of the runnings coming back in to the top of the mash. In order for the mash tun thermometer to read accurately the mash must be stirred, so that the probe can read the temp changes more accurately The mash can read different temps in different parts of the mash so it is always a good idea to use a manual thermometer and take readings from different spots in the mash and average them together to get a better snap shot of what is going on in the mash.
If you have ever wondered what the best home brewing system in the world is, then you should take a good look at our Pro Pilot Series beer brewing systems. Our fully loaded Pro Pilot Series brewing systems are designed to hold up to a lifetime of everyday use & abuse, mashing, smashing, cooking, canning, burning and stirring. Our tried and true, bomb-proof brewing systems feature all of the necessary top-of-the-line components you need, and none of the unnecessary gimmicks,gadgets or automation that can (and will) inevitably fail (usually at the worst possible time). We use 100% sanitary stainless steel construction throughout all of our stands,kettles and components, unlike many of the other brewing systems available that use painted mild-steel stands which off-gas poisonous paint fumes and eventually rust and fall apart.
Our mash tun false bottoms are built out of stainless steel and feature laser cut slots that are much more efficient and easier to clean compared to "perforated steel" false bottoms which often have problems with stuck sparges, clogging, sliced hands and snagging cleaning pads. Our sanitary drain fitting outlets are professionally welded and located at the bottom of the vessels which eliminates the need for problematic pick-up tubes and threaded bulkhead/washer combinations found in most other brewing systems. We have seen a lot of different styles of brewing systems in our time which is why we have always strived to provide the cleanest, most reliable, best bang for your buck brewing system on the market.
We have seen brewing systems that resemble old coat hanger racks, a modified BBQ with kegs perched on top complete with a series of automated electronic features, a red flyer wagon meets wheelbarrow design, the electric crock pot design, and the push button, all-in-one, walk away, fish-tank-looking brewing system. We could never feel good about selling a system that was built out of anything but stainless steel or contained unnecessary components that would inevitably fail, or cause the customer issues. We have had many customers DIY hot-rod and automate their Synergy Systems to various degrees with great success. Most of these people like modifying and working on their systems, just as much (or more) than actually brewing on them. This is the same theory as the race car driver who spends an hour actually racing and the next two months working on the car and getting it ready for the next race, and loving every second of it. We're cool with that, but we do not assume that everybody is a mechanic or wants to be one.
Our system will still have the ability to function when the power goes out, or when you're off the grid. Even if you found yourself without any access to propane such as during an emergency, natural disaster, living off the grid, or even during a zombie apocalypse, you could still utilize the system to brew,cook,can, or sterilize by removing the burners, pumps and wheels and lighting a wood fire underneath the stand. We take pride in building the best home brewing systems along with high quality brewing products that empower our customers by giving them options to become more self sustainable, no matter what life throws at them.
All shipping and handling charges are calculated on our checkout page with the shipping information you provide. We ship all products under 150 pounds via FedEx ground service. We ship all complete brewing systems and brewing stands via FedEx Freight Service to your provided business or commercial address. For customers that do not have a commercial location that is willing to accept a freight shipment we can also ship to your nearest FedEx Freight Will Call terminal where they will hold your shipment for up to 30 days and allow you pick it up at your leisure during normal business hours.
FedEx charges an additional $104.00 for residential delivery, in addition to standard freight charges that must be paid before we ship if residential delivery is requested. Please remember that all Fed Ex Freight shipments are delivered via a large semi truck and trailer. If they can not easily get in and out of your residential location they will not deliver and you will be responsible for picking up the shipment at the nearest will call terminal.All brewing systems are shipped on a 4' * 6' pallet weighing 300 pounds so be prepared to have a forklift, loading dock, or an extra hand ready to help receive the shipment upon arrival. You will also need to have a knife and a pair of cutters handy in order to remove the system off of the pallet and hand lift piece by piece out of the freight truck with out a forklift or loading dock. Please be sure to double check all shipping info provided to us as we cut and paste this info directly from the order form provided to us by the customer into our FedEx shipping system. We do this to eliminate shipping mistakes, and will not be held liable for errors provided to us by the customer.