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Old 07-12-2014, 10:35 PM   #21
Ohbsolutely
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Trust the TOP. it will be what it will be! No worries!


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Old 07-13-2014, 03:38 AM   #22
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Well, I came in low... 70% efficiency instead of a planned 80%. I don't think that's too bad. I let the mash go for 90 minutes, and then fly sparged. This was my first herms, first 20 gallon on a brand new system, and the first batch in my new conical. There were several catastrophes:
First, the ToP and the mash tun thermometer didn't agree by almost 15 degrees. I tried my thermometer in the boil and it was spot on 212. It is, however, only a 2" thermowell in a 21" diameter mash tun.
Second, my kettle screen got smashed by my chiller, and clogged up with the 30 oz of hops I put in there... Yeah... I know. Should have see. That one coming a mile away. Wound up siphoning through a strainer.
Third, as I had been at assembling my stand, cleaning, sanitizing, blah blah blah all day, at 10:30 I called it quits at trying to cool the wort and I pitched at 79 degrees (gasp).
It seems to me that my problems can all be solved. Blichmann hopblocker, prechilling. The one thing that's getting away from me is this stupid ToP. Maybe a March pump isn't enough for 20 gallons? Maybe I need to insulate? Maybe the ToP needs to be hooked up differently. Any input would be appreciated.
Sorry for the long post. I'm tired, tipsy, and presumably just made 20 gallons of beer. Cheers!

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Old 07-13-2014, 03:48 AM   #23
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:24 AM   #24
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So where is the control mod. temp probe in your recirculation set up? Also, how fast do you recirculate?


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Old 07-15-2014, 12:33 AM   #25
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I'm recirculating fill bore with a chugger pump, and the temp is at the inlet to the mash tun, at the wort return

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Old 07-15-2014, 12:42 AM   #26
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Yea that is what I do.

Well... I guess - personally - I would trust the temp prob rather than the top two inches of a mash (for a 20 gal. batch that's balancing 30 oz. of hops no less!).

That is just my thoughts - and I realize you had a lot going on the last time - so I guess you will just need to keep brewing to dial it it. Could be worse things to do!

Let me know if other details on my set up (which does seem similar to yours) can help you out.


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Old 07-15-2014, 12:58 PM   #27
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Is your mash tun insulated?

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Old 07-17-2014, 12:07 AM   #28
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It is not. 15 gal Blichmann


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Old 07-19-2014, 01:46 PM   #29
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When did you check the mash temp? There's going to be a little lag between your mash and the wort passing through the heat exchanger. How are you returning the wort to the mash? I have a flexible line that returns the wort to the bed and causes a slow whirlpooling action of the wort over the bed. It gets it mixed up well and the temperature of the mash settles in pretty soon after the over/under cycling settles in on the TOP.

I'm doing 10 gallon batches, mashing in a 20 gallon uninsulated kettle (except for the lid because I was too lazy to remove the insulation from it). Direct fired rims.

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Old 07-28-2014, 11:49 AM   #30
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I'm getting more interested in the TOP myself for HERMS. My thoughts involve using the TOP to heat the HLT to a few degrees over desired mash temp. Then just recirc the mash to maintain the temp. Might take a few brews to find the perfect temp discrepancy to maintain. Any major flaws in this design? Or would I be better off adjusting based off the herms exit temp like others are describing?


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