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The steam condenser is a great solution to the problem we all face when brewing indoors: what to do with the steam? The steam condenser is a simple solution that mounts to your brew kettle. Connect a water supply to the condenser, cover your kettle, and turn on the condenser when boiling. The cold water induces a phase change in the steam coming out of the kettle and the now heated water is drained out the exit hose. A complete explanation of the concept can be found in this blog article.
The steam condenser includes a name brand stainless steel (316) spray nozzle that can be disassembled to clean. It is a high quality precision spray nozzle that emits a very fine hollow cone of mist into the mixing chamber. It is selected to maximize the performance of the steam condenser. The nozzle is screwed into the adapter using Teflon tape to seal.
You can choose your nozzle size in the dropdown above. For 38L and 57L kettles use the standard size nozzle. For 83L kettles the standard nozzle will work in most situations, but if you have low water pressure or warmer cooling water, you should choose the higher flow nozzle. For kettles larger than 83L or 45cm diameter, contact us for additional solutions. The table below can be used as a guideline for kettles of other manufacturers. You will need to know your boil-off rate without steam condenser as well as your water pressure. Note that warmer cooling water temperatures reduce the performance of the nozzle. If you are not sure, please contact us.
|Maximum Boil off Rate without steam condenser, using 12C cooling water|
|Nozzle||water consumption @ 4 bar||max boil off rate @ 3 bar||max boil off rate @ 4 bar|
|Standard||35 l/hr||5.5 l/hr||6.5 l/hr|
|Higher Flow||45 l/hr||7.5 l/hr||8.5 l/hr|
The condenser mounts to either a 1.5" Tri-Clamp port on the top side of your kettle (included in all our 2/1 and 3/1 kettles), or alternatively to the lid of your kettle using our lid mount kit. Keep in mind the reduced boil volume if you install the condenser in the kettle wall! You will need to keep the boil volume well enough under the condenser port to prevent boiling wort from overflowing into the condenser port. In our 2/1 and 3/1 kettles with condenser port we install the top port centered 5 cm from the top of the kettle. For the 57L kettle the bottom opening of the port is at the 51L level, I recommend a maximum boil volume of 42L. For the 38L kettle the bottom opening of the port is at 33L, I recommend a maximum boil volume of 26L. For the 83L kettle the bottom opening of the port is at 74L, I recommend a maximum boil volume of 60L. To maximize your boil volume you should install the port in the lid.
To connect your water supply, choose a tubing that is rated to withstand your maximum water pressure. Longer supply lines will require larger tubing sizes to prevent pressure loss. You can connect a 1/2" garden hose quick disconnect or other 1/2" BSP threaded fitting of your choice to the condenser input. Or, with the John Guest straight connector (sold separately), you can use the 12x1.5mm polyethylene tubing that we sell in the shop. In this case you will need a 12 mm adapter for the supply side connection.
Please pay attention to the following design considerations when planning your steam condenser:
- The nozzle is designed for water pressures between 3-4 bar. Lower water pressure will reduce the steam condenser power. Higher water pressure is not a problem.
- You will need to drain to a sink or into a bucket. The bucket may need to be emptied during the boil.
- You will need to purchase the necessary tubing and fittings to connect to your water supply. We sell a few parts in the shop.
- Make sure your tubing ID is >4mm to prevent flow restriction to the nozzle. Longer feed lines will require larger tubing ID.
- Well pumps do not work well with the condenser unless they can provide constant and sufficient supply pressure.
- The ability to reduce your heating element power is critical when using a steam condenser. Brewing systems from other manufacturers may not allow for proper power regulation. The temperature-based regulation found on the Braumeister BM brewing systems is not compatible with the steam condenser.
- Hop spiders may interfere with the proper function of the condenser. I may be able to modify your hop spider to work. Contact me for further information if you use a hop spider!
- You will need to reduce the boil power to prevent a boil over. With the 3.2 kW heating element, I have found that the 57L kettles require only 60-65% power, the 38L kettles 45-50%.
- The drain tube must remain open to atmosphere at the outlet. If you submerge the tube in water the condenser will no longer work.
- If the drain tube has a low spot for water to collect (a trap), the condenser will stop working when it fills with water.
- The lid must rest completely on the kettle during the boil, with no holes or gaps between the lid and the kettle. A silicone seal is not required.
- Your boil-off rate will be reduced when using the steam condenser. I found a 25% reduction during testing. Plan your recipe accordingly.
- When using the steam condenser be very careful when removing the lid during boiling. Hot steam will be released very quickly and you risk a steam burn if you are not careful! Best practice is to always open the lid away from you!