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Old 11-07-2009, 07:30 AM   #1
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Default Help Me Understand the Process (2 burner setup BK & HLT, MLT insulated no burner)

We're working on designing our brewery and have looked at several designs. We're trying to figure out the best method for us that reduces the # of burners and cost associated with burning propane for several hours.

So it's been a long day and my brain just isn't functioning. Can someone assist in explaining how a setup like those from Synergy Metalworking (burners for HLT and BK, but insulated keggle for MLT) functions - i.e. walk me through the brewing process with this type of setup.

And what are the cons of this type of setup? If it's just efficiencies - the cost of grain, etc might be cheaper than that of propane for a 3rd burner running.

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Old 11-07-2009, 10:22 AM   #2
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We're trying to figure out the best method for us that reduces the # of burners and cost associated with burning propane for several hours.
Go electric my friend. If not totally, an electric HLT is very simple to build, a $10 dollar element, wire, and plug into a GFI circuit. If you don't have much power available, even a small 1500w element will heat enough water for huge batches given enough time. Put it on a timer, and it will be waiting for you, rather than vice versa.

An insulated non heated MLTworks great for holding one temp for conversion. You can also do step mashes by infusing hotter water, or by decoction.

The advantage of a "fired" mash tun is that you can vary the temp of the mash, or do a step mash. IMO this is not needed w/ today's modern malt.

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Old 11-07-2009, 01:41 PM   #3
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Thanks wilserbrewer - I probably should have added a note about our desires to not go electric. We're really just wanting to stay with NG or LP. (actually posted a link about a dual purpose setup that we're considering so we can switch between the two gas sources).

Still curious though how well a non burner MLT works.

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Old 11-07-2009, 02:02 PM   #4
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Pretty much everyone starts with the igloo/rubbermaid cooler when they go all grain. It wouldn't be the defacto MLT in any all grain kit you can buy if it didn't work well. Heat water up hotter than you need, dump it in and stir until it drops to temp.

For example, just heated strike water to 162 and dumped into the cooler with the grist. Settled at my mash temp of 150 easy as pie.

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Old 11-07-2009, 02:06 PM   #5
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Thanks MMB - it looked like just a typical AG setup (no HERMs/RIMs) - so they're just using higher temp strike water then with that kind of setup?

We will be using 3 sanke keggles for 10 gal. batches. does this work out OK?

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Old 11-07-2009, 02:21 PM   #6
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Sanke keg doesn't hold temp as well as a insulated cooler, of course. You may need to heat that and recirculate to keep your mash temp constant.

You can always use two sankes and a cooler if you don't want to build out the temperature control on the sanke MLT.

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Old 11-07-2009, 03:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mplutodh1 View Post
We're working on designing our brewery and have looked at several designs. We're trying to figure out the best method for us that reduces the # of burners and cost associated with burning propane for several hours.

So it's been a long day and my brain just isn't functioning. Can someone assist in explaining how a setup like those from Synergy Metalworking (burners for HLT and BK, but insulated keggle for MLT) functions - i.e. walk me through the brewing process with this type of setup.

And what are the cons of this type of setup? If it's just efficiencies - the cost of grain, etc might be cheaper than that of propane for a 3rd burner running.
It is very simple. There are alot of brewers using either RIMS or HERMS systems to control the temperature of the mash without using a burner under the Mash Tun. Look at it this way. You need to heat strike and sparge water so you need to have a burner under your HLT. You will also need to boil the wort collected from the Mash Tun so you need a burner underneath the BK.

The mash tun can be set up as a RIMS where the temperature of the mash is controlled by recirculating it through a tube which is heated by a heating element that is controlled by a PID.

The other way of maintaining the temperature of the mash is by using a HERMS setup that recirculates the mash through a copper or stainless steel coil that sits in the HLT. The mash is kept at a constant temperature by controlling the flow of mash through the coil sitting in the HLT with a pump that is controlled with a PID.

Both methods negate the need for a burner under the mash tun.
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:24 PM   #8
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We will be using 3 sanke keggles for 10 gal. batches. does this work out OK?
Sanke kegs will no doubt make a nice brew rig, I would imagine that as far as being fuel efficient, perhaps not the best choice?

IMO, the sanke keg is to homebrewing, what the V8 is to the auto industry.
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:54 PM   #9
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It's easy to get hypnotized by all the shiny metal with the kegs. The trouble with the metal mash tun is that you absolutely have to integrate a way to get heat into it from day one. There's direct fire, RIMS, and HERMS. In all cases you'll benefit from insulating the tun. The trick with direct fire is selecting an insulation that can take the heat or that can be removed during heating. While I know Lonnie has pretty much set the standard on direct fired RIMS heat control, I haven't had such luck with constant recirculation and I'd never walk away from a system that cycles the flame on and off just in case the wort stops flowing.

Once you discount direct fire, the utility of a metal tun starts to diminish. It's durable, but coolers are already insulated.

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Old 11-08-2009, 05:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
It's easy to get hypnotized by all the shiny metal with the kegs. The trouble with the metal mash tun is that you absolutely have to integrate a way to get heat into it from day one. There's direct fire, RIMS, and HERMS. In all cases you'll benefit from insulating the tun. The trick with direct fire is selecting an insulation that can take the heat or that can be removed during heating. While I know Lonnie has pretty much set the standard on direct fired RIMS heat control, I haven't had such luck with constant recirculation and I'd never walk away from a system that cycles the flame on and off just in case the wort stops flowing.

Once you discount direct fire, the utility of a metal tun starts to diminish. It's durable, but coolers are already insulated.
If he chooses a RIMS or HERMS no direct heating is necessary so he can insulate the living heck out of it. I just wish coolers came with some sort of sturdier valves molded in.
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