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Old 01-28-2013, 01:48 PM   #1
hanson95
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Default Switching from cooler to Brewpot/MLT?

So I've made several 5g batches with a 10 gal cooler with false bottom. Once the temp settles, the cooler maintains temp easily for an hour, and I usually hit about 65-70% efficiency.

I'm happy with the setup, but for various reasons (the biggest being that I just can't leave "well enough" alone) I'm thinking about getting rid of the cooler and getting a 9g Mash Tun/Brewpot instead and using one of Chad's screens to remove the grain after the mash (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/my-o...system-380656/) - kind of a stainless BIAB. Then I'll just boil in the same vessel.

My biggest concern is how difficult it will be to maintain constant mash temps on top of my gas stove. I'm sure it will be harder that just putting the mash into a cooler and leaving it for an hour, but I wonder how much fiddling I'll have to do? I'm also wondering how much the stainless BIAB system will affect efficiency?

Thoughts?

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Old 01-31-2013, 07:20 PM   #2
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No thoughts, anyone?

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Old 01-31-2013, 10:12 PM   #3
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I tried BIAB for the first time a couple weeks ago, mashing in a brew pot on top of a stand alone propane burner.

Even with the burner on the lowest setting we had a hard time keeping it below 160F. Eventually we had to resort to turning the burner off all together for a while, then on for a while, and repeating that.

Another problem we had was measuring the temperature. The mash was a lot higher near the edge of the pot than it was in the middle, even though we stirred it almost constantly.

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Old 01-31-2013, 10:18 PM   #4
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I kind of pictured I'd run into problems like that.

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Old 01-31-2013, 10:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanson95 View Post
So I've made several 5g batches with a 10 gal cooler with false bottom. Once the temp settles, the cooler maintains temp easily for an hour, and I usually hit about 65-70% efficiency.

I'm happy with the setup, but for various reasons (the biggest being that I just can't leave "well enough" alone) I'm thinking about getting rid of the cooler and getting a 9g Mash Tun/Brewpot instead and using one of Chad's screens to remove the grain after the mash (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/my-o...system-380656/) - kind of a stainless BIAB. Then I'll just boil in the same vessel.

My biggest concern is how difficult it will be to maintain constant mash temps on top of my gas stove. I'm sure it will be harder that just putting the mash into a cooler and leaving it for an hour, but I wonder how much fiddling I'll have to do? I'm also wondering how much the stainless BIAB system will affect efficiency?

Thoughts?
You could always turn off the burner and wrap your kettle in some heavy Bath Towels, Blankets, or Sleeping Bag. I have used heavy towels once when doing a partial mash and it worked pretty well. Doing this way, however, you will want to have the gas off so as to not catch the towel, blanket on fire. I would bet that you could maintain a pretty good temperature -- at least through the first 20 minutes or so when most of the conversion is going to occur.

Mark
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:40 PM   #6
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Unless you are going to upgrade to a batch size that is larger than your BK can currently handle, I would stick with the cooler. There's no real benefit unless you plan to direct fire it for step mashing or something. Just my opinion.

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Old 02-01-2013, 09:52 AM   #7
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agree w bbl

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Old 02-01-2013, 10:49 AM   #8
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I BIAB almost exclusively in an aluminum BK outside on a propane burner in 30 degree weather and can maintain temps using a sleeping bag to cover the BK. I mashed in a lager 2 weeks ago at 152 turned off the burner and covered with the sleeping bag. After an hour my temps only dropped to 149 and that was with stirring several times which required me to remove the bag and lid. Again this was with ambient temps in the 30s. It can be done.

I have a 10 gallon cooler with false bottom as well but find I use it much less than BIAB because I actually get better efficiency doing BIAB. I consistently hit around 82 percent vs low to mid 70s with the cooler. Now it gets used only on big beers when I don't want to have to BIAB more than 15 pounds of total grains.

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