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Old 06-17-2013, 04:32 PM   #11
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with a temp probe sitting at one spot in grain how do you know what the temp is in the rest of the mash? maybe it doesn't matter.

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Old 06-17-2013, 04:46 PM   #12
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with a temp probe sitting at one spot in grain how do you know what the temp is in the rest of the mash? maybe it doesn't matter.
With recirculation, you measure at some point in the recirculation, usually at the valve. That will give you a solid idea of the average temperature of the mash. This picture below is how I measure temperature of the mash. it's a tee with a compression fitting holding a thermometer and quick disconnects. I just put it inline wherever I need to know temperature flowing through (mash recirculation or chill output as in the pic below).

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Old 06-17-2013, 05:14 PM   #13
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With recirculation, you measure at some point in the recirculation, usually at the valve. That will give you a solid idea of the average temperature of the mash. This picture below is how I measure temperature of the mash. it's a tee with a compression fitting holding a thermometer and quick disconnects. I just put it inline wherever I need to know temperature flowing through (mash recirculation or chill output as in the pic below).

that's what i was getting at, i use a similar recirculating system. the OP was tending toward a rake system with a static probe in the grain which seems to be less precise.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:16 PM   #14
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I would imagine with a rake system, a static probe will still give you a pretty decent average. Otherwise what would be the point of the rake?

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Old 06-17-2013, 09:43 PM   #15
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I would imagine with a rake system, a static probe will still give you a pretty decent average. Otherwise what would be the point of the rake?
I am planning on a gravity fed system and this is part of my rationale for the rake. It's not a money issue at all. I'm a little concerned with the pumps because I don't want to have to worry about oxidation or anything that could potentially occur from using a pump. I also don't want all the additional hoses and such to clean up or have loss due to the hose system.
I was thinking that since the rake would be creating movement in the mash with an upward force that the average over the static probe would be a better measurement of the mash as opposed to no movement at all, plus it would eliminate the need for manual stirring. I'm a DYI nut, so the rake system is a little more appealing to me and if it increases my efficiency then it'll give me bragging rights with my homebrew club.
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:46 AM   #16
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I am planning on a gravity fed system and this is part of my rationale for the rake. It's not a money issue at all. I'm a little concerned with the pumps because I don't want to have to worry about oxidation or anything that could potentially occur from using a pump. I also don't want all the additional hoses and such to clean up or have loss due to the hose system.
I was thinking that since the rake would be creating movement in the mash with an upward force that the average over the static probe would be a better measurement of the mash as opposed to no movement at all, plus it would eliminate the need for manual stirring. I'm a DYI nut, so the rake system is a little more appealing to me and if it increases my efficiency then it'll give me bragging rights with my homebrew club.
unless you are pumping your finished beer i don't see where you would have oxidation issues with a pump.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:39 PM   #17
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So I'm not actively trying to dissuade you from taking on a fun DIY project, but I am just advocating for simplicity where simplicity makes sense.

Efficiency is not worth your time to chase. It just isn't. It very certainly won't make better beer, and it won't save you any money worth saving. You're going to invest much more in equipment and time then you will in grain over most of your brewing life I'd imagine, so grain is the cheapest cost in your operation next to water.

Don't try to save on cheap.

Deadspace and system loss are similar problems, once you learn your system you can account for them so you have repeatable beer - not cheap beer. The amount of sugars stuck in hoses is not worth worrying about at any scale at or above 5 gallons, you're talking about a couple of 12 oz bottles at most.

Similarly, HSA is not something you really need to worry about with using a pump (if you did change your mind to use one).

Just my opinion, but if you want to build a rake system because it's a fun DIY project then you should go for it. You should not build one if your reasons are oxidation and efficiency. Your money and time would be better spent on other variables that would actually make better beer (ie-fermentation).

I'm not super knowledgeable on commercial brewing, but it's my understanding that most commercial operations with a rake would also have a lauter tun which you wouldn't be using. I'd be concerned about using a rake, then using that same vessel to setup a nice grain bed so you can actually lauter and sparge well. Not saying that it can't be done, I just haven't read about any setup like that yet so it's a big grey area.

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Old 06-19-2013, 09:56 AM   #18
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Thanks for all the replies. You've all given be food for thought. I plan on doing several batches without a pump or rake to get a feel for my system, once complete. I will continue to look at information regarding both the rake and pump before making any moves.
Continued debate is still welcome. Thanks again.

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