FAQS

Shipping methods, prices and policies?

Where do I mail my payment?

How to prime & operate the March pump.

How do you keep mash temperatures stable?

How do I care for and clean the stainless steel?

What striking water temperature should I use?

What is the current turnaround time on orders?

What are the heat exchanger instructions for cleaning and care?

What kind of sanitizer should I use on my system for cleaning?

What is the difference between TIG and MIG welding?

Why use a converted keg for fermenting?


Shipping methods, prices and policies?

All shipping and handling charges will be calculated at the time of cart checkout with the 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. If we are provided with a residential shipping address or if you do not have a commercial ship to address, we can ship to your nearest FedEx terminal where they will hold your shipment for up to 30 days and allow you to come and pick it up in person for no charge. FedEx charges an additional $97.00 residential delivery fee in addition to standard freight charges that must be paid before we ship if residential delivery is requested.

If you would like to see if your residential address qualifies for local freight delivery, please send us your shipping address and we will determine whether it is eligible. If so, we will send out an additional invoice for the residential delivery fee. Please be sure to double-check all shipping info provided to us as we cut and paste this information 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.

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Where do I mail my payment?

If you are mailing in your payment please make your check or money order payable to: Synergy Metalworking

Our mailing address is: PO Box 786  Veneta, Oregon 97487

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How to prime & operate the March pump.

Always make sure all pumps are connected to a G.F.C.I box or outlet. Pumps must be filled with liquid prior to turning on power to the pump as they are not self priming and must be filled with water at all times. Slowing down outlet flow of the pump for cooling, sparging, etc. must be done by closing a valve on the outlet only side of the pump. Do not restrict the inlet side of the pump as it will cause cavitation of the pump and can damage it. Always use a slight amount of pump outlet valve restriction when using the pump.Opening the outlet valve on the pump all the way open can cause the pump to lose its prime and it will fail to flow.

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How do you keep mash temperatures stable?

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 a 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.

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How do I care for and clean the stainless steel?

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.

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What striking water temperature should I use?

Striking water temperatures will very different due to the fact that different recipes and beer styles call for different resting temperature and procedures. Whatever the desired temperature may be, it is always a good idea to have your striking water a little hotter than what you would need by calculation, as it is a lot easier and quicker to simply add cool water to the mash or hot liquor tank to cool it down versus having to wait while your water heats up because your striking temperature was too low. For example, we recommend having your striking water at 175 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve a resting temperature of 152 degrees on a single-infusion mash.

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What is the current turnaround time on orders?

Our current turnaround time on all orders placed is anywhere from one-to-three weeks from date of cleared payment.

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What are the heat exchanger instructions for cleaning and care?

Our heat exchanger is made of 304 stainless steel that is brazed together with 99.9 percent pure copper in an oxygen-free furnace.  The heat exchanger features small ripples up and down each plate. This creates more surface area for the wort to travel over and more time for the water to cool the wort down. More importantly, the ripples on each plate create a turbulent flow, eliminating laminar flow to ensure the wort cools fast.

Plate style counter flow chillers use much less water than conventional immersion or counterflow chillers. They are a scaled down version of the heat exchangers used in almost all commercial breweries. These chillers have very low flow restriction, making them ideal for reducing the risk of plugging from hot break and hop fragments. Wort may be pumped or gravity fed through the chiller however more stable results come from using the constant pressure from a pump.

CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS

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.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

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.

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What kind of sanitizer should I use on my system for cleaning?

We recommend using PBW (Professional Brewers Wash) mixed with hot water for general cleaning, scrubbing and soaking as it is non-caustic and non-toxic. One-step sanitizer also works in the same manner as PBW, but rinses out with greater ease. We recommend using this as a sanitizer after heavy cleaning has been done with PBW or an acid-based sanitizer. Star San acid based sanitizer works very well and can be used with hot or cold water. Special care must be taken to ensure that this solution is diluted with the correct amount of water as it is a very strong food grade-type acid. This type of sanitizer must be rinsed out of all brewing equipment with clean water before storage as it can corrode all types of metals, even stainless steel. The wort chiller must be flushed with clean water and drained before storage. You can also use clean boiling water as a sanitizer.

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What is the difference between TIG and MIG welding?

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.

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Why use a converted keg for fermenting?

We build our uni-fermenters out of brand new converted kegs for many reasons. Kegs do not break unlike glass carboys. They are also the only fermenters on the market that are truly pressure capable, meaning you can actually force carbonate and transfer your beer with carbon dioxide pressure. This means no more hand pumping, lifting or dumping when it is time to tranfer your beer. Our uni-fermenters are built to exactly replicate the features of commercial fermenter and bright tank that are in use in practically every brewery in the world.

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