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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Where is your thermowell?
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:01 PM   #11
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Does anyone with Direct Fire Mash know how accurate the thermowell on the MLT exit is vis-a-vis grain bed temperature? I would think that CRDFM would be the most accurate way of insuring a consistent bed temperature.

Also, has it been confirmed that in a HERMS setup, there is no good way to get a precise measurement of grain bed temperature into your controller? It seems that there has to be some on the fly adjustments if done on coil exit, and severe stratification if done on MLT exit (assuming you are using hotter water than mash).

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Old 03-18-2008, 04:03 PM   #12
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I haven't, but I think having a temp reading on both would be very nice. Mine is installed in the lower part of the grain bed. I have to be careful when direct-firing the mash not to overshoot my target because it takes a while for the heated wort to work its way down to my probe.

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Old 03-22-2008, 07:58 PM   #13
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Well, after speaking to an experienced HERMSer at my LHBC, I have decided that termowell in the mash is the best location. He has a bypass solenoid that recirculates the wort when the exchanger coil kicks off. I have two pumps, so I can do the same thing basically. As long as you are recirculating, I suppose the center of the grain bed would be the best place for a HERMS probe.

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Old 03-22-2008, 10:07 PM   #14
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Hey korndog, im not planning on adding the heat exchanger to my single tier, but i would curious as to how and where you are placing it to make it a HERMS. Any pics yet?

I purchased two short thermowells that i am putting in the output of the kettles; HLT and MT that will house the probes from the Love switches.

I guess in my mind if I'm recirculating, albeit slowly, the output temp isnt going to vary from the entirety of the mash by much at all..if any. And when i go to sparge, the output temp is the temp going into my brew kettle, so thats the most accurate...again..in my mind. Especially in a direct fire. I dont see how the grain bed is going to to hotter when it is further away from the heat source than the probe measuring the temp.

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Old 03-22-2008, 11:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNBugeater
Hey korndog, im not planning on adding the heat exchanger to my single tier, but i would curious as to how and where you are placing it to make it a HERMS. Any pics yet?

I purchased two short thermowells that i am putting in the output of the kettles; HLT and MT that will house the probes from the Love switches.

I guess in my mind if I'm recirculating, albeit slowly, the output temp isnt going to vary from the entirety of the mash by much at all..if any. And when i go to sparge, the output temp is the temp going into my brew kettle, so thats the most accurate...again..in my mind. Especially in a direct fire. I dont see how the grain bed is going to to hotter when it is further away from the heat source than the probe measuring the temp.
no pics yet. I am planning to install a convoluted coil to the HLT lid, and another port for recirculation. When the controller kicks on, it would pump the wort through the coil and back into the MLT. Since i would like to have wort recirculating while the exchanger is idle, I am thinking about installing a 3 way solenoid valve that would divert to the appropriate hose for recirculation.

As to DFM;

If I am thinking this through correctly, you will be recirculating your wort at the strike temperature initially. Once it dips below your set point, your valve will kick on. At this point, your grain bed should be pretty consistent as to temperature. I would think the water in the deadspace would heat up rather quickly, turning off your burner prior to heating your entire mash to set point. It would then recycle often until you hit your temp, which should take a bit longer to ramp. Many people do it that way for HERMS and DFM, concerned with overheating. I'm not sure what's best really, but am pretty sure that with HERMS, I will get more consistent grainbed temps with the probe in the mash while recirculating.
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:55 PM   #16
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Upon further research, i will have to use two two way valves. I can't find suitable three ways with 0 psi rating. The setup will be something like this on Jackie Boy brewery (Nate). The output of the pump feeds the tee between the valves. One valve is connected to the NO terminal and the other to the NC terminal of the controller I believe. I am still planning to use hoses with QD's however.

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Old 03-26-2008, 06:34 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by korndog
Does anyone with Direct Fire Mash know how accurate the thermowell on the MLT exit is vis-a-vis grain bed temperature? I would think that CRDFM would be the most accurate way of insuring a consistent bed temperature.

Also, has it been confirmed that in a HERMS setup, there is no good way to get a precise measurement of grain bed temperature into your controller? It seems that there has to be some on the fly adjustments if done on coil exit, and severe stratification if done on MLT exit (assuming you are using hotter water than mash).

Thanks
KD
I can only comment on the time it takes to ramp up temps. I don't use a thermowell, but I do occasionally do a direct fire. It took me approx 15 mins to make a 10 degree jump (acceptable IMHO), and I was going very modestly on my flame. I noticed absolutely NO burnt/off flavors I could attribute to flaming the bottom of the MLT....and I actually tasted the wort several times after it was heated and returned to the top of the mash.

BEGIN RANT: Those were all good beers... BUT! I realized....I had made just as good and better beers with a single step infusion and no mash-out! Let's face it, guys: The grains we buy are so well modified, that batch sparging at a single temp will put you in the 80's for efficiency! The only reason why we do temperature steps is to activate different enzymes to create more sugars and/or affect mouthfeel....and the truth is that you can activate several different enzymes at a temperature that happens to fall within each respective enzyme's range. 150F is where B-Amylase stops and 154F is where A-Amylase begins. Hit your mash at 152F and you'll still be reaping the benefits of both, as these ranges are vague indicators of when the enzyme will become active. Most people will NEVER do a B-Glucanase rest at 95-113F in their entire homebrewing career, so the idea of temp stepping (except for decoction) is kind of a waste of time. HERMS/RIMS/Etc. are kind of just gadgets that will take up more of your brew day but may or may not make beer that is any different from the next guys. RANT OFF
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Old 05-10-2008, 04:22 AM   #18
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the probe sits right in the male side of the QD. So its getting the temp reading as soon as it comes out of the MT and HLT
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimone View Post


the probe sits right in the male side of the QD. So its getting the temp reading as soon as it comes out of the MT and HLT
Chimone--

Have you used this setup yet? I brewed with my stand for the first time this past weekend. I have VERY similar T fittings with the thermowell quite a distance from the exiting mash. I noticed the thermometer I have in the mash tun differed quite a bit from the probe temp in the thermowell.

I did have them calibrated to each other when I started and noticed that the temp exiting was lower than the mash temps. I dont have an answer as to why other than the ambient temperature could have been lowering the temp readings. The LOVE switch probes arent the quickest to respond.

I going with a different design this weekend so I'll report back.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:59 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by MNBugeater View Post
Chimone--

Have you used this setup yet?

No but I will soon. Im not expecting the temps to match up with my very accurate glass lab thermometer Ive always used, but I will be able to tell very quickly where I am and adjust accordingly. If I need to bump up the LOVE controllers two degrees or whatever to compensate well so be it.

I figure after a few runs with nothing but water I will know where I stand with them. On a side note, the thermowells were rather long, and I had to cut them down and re weld them so they would fit in the T fitting. Not sure how that is going to come into play yet either.
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