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Old 09-11-2013, 01:21 PM   #11
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Nice job. I have an electric brewery and tried BIAB for the first time a week ago. What do you do to keep the mash at temp? Are you heating with the element while mashing? What about the bag touching the element? I wrapped the pot in a blanket, but still lost several degrees. I had to raise the bag, heat the liquid, then drop the bag back in. Just looking for a better way to maintain mash temp. Thanks!

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Old 09-11-2013, 11:08 PM   #12
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I have been using a round steamer rack for years, with no problems regarding sharp edges and the bag. I don't recirculate however, so perhaps I would have had a different experience if the suction was forcing the bag against the rack.

The one I have is similar to these. http://www.webstaurantstore.com/3189/steamer-racks.html

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Old 09-12-2013, 12:37 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by chutracheese View Post
Nice job. I have an electric brewery and tried BIAB for the first time a week ago. What do you do to keep the mash at temp? Are you heating with the element while mashing? What about the bag touching the element? I wrapped the pot in a blanket, but still lost several degrees. I had to raise the bag, heat the liquid, then drop the bag back in. Just looking for a better way to maintain mash temp. Thanks!
Well, the PID is suppose to keep the mash at temperature, using the element, but that's where the difficulty has been, with the uneven temperatures between the pot and grain. That's why we've been sloshing and stirring, which seems to work well, but it is not the set it and forget it solution I was hoping for when I designed the system. The bag versus the element is not an issue for me. I read a bunch of posts and got the impression that the bag would not scorch, especially with a ULWD element (wavy Camco). This has proven to be the case, the bag floats around the element and the element doesn't get that hot anyway. I'd say leave the bag in and see how it goes. My experience is that getting an even temperature is more of a worry than scorching the bag.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:41 AM   #14
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I have been using a round steamer rack for years, with no problems regarding sharp edges and the bag. I don't recirculate however, so perhaps I would have had a different experience if the suction was forcing the bag against the rack.

The one I have is similar to these. http://www.webstaurantstore.com/3189/steamer-racks.html
Thanks, Jeffmeh. These are very similar to what I tried, but in retrospect, mine had very obvious sharp edges. The shredding problem wasn't the recirculation, but the aggressive sloshing. I think I have the bag-suck issue figured out with the strainer--now just gotta figure out how to get even temps.
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:25 AM   #15
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I do find it strange that you are having temperature stratification issues recirculating from the bottom to the top and through the mash. You will certainly lose some heat in the tube, so if you have it any longer than necessary you should probably shorten it. You could also wrap it in some pipe insulation. If the bag is too fine and not draining, then I would expect it to be obvious with vacuum issues with the pump, and that you would see a rise in the water level close to the volume not contained in the bag. You could experiment more with the flow rates as well.

Is the temperature uniform inside the bag, but different from the temperature below it, or is the temperature not uniform inside the bag? If the former, you can adjust the PID to account for the difference. If the latter, I would expect the issues to be from side to side, so you might want to try using some type of manifold for the return, like the loc line circle nozzle http://www.amazon.com/Loc-Line-Coola.../dp/B00065UDB0. If the issues are from top to bottom, then I'm stumped if you are recirculating wide open and getting good flow.

By all means keep us posted as you work through this.

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Old 09-12-2013, 11:01 AM   #16
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Also, having the lid on during recirculation should certainly reduce heat loss.

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Old 09-12-2013, 11:12 AM   #17
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jeffmeh
I too was having large temp differences in my biab recirculating system.My temp probe was in the return tee in the lid,I then moved it to the pot wall under the cake rack false bottom and it was better .I know have it in a tee at the valve out of the pot and find that the mash gets about 1.5 degrees celcius(sorry about metric but i am in greece)lower than the temp under the bag.
I still dont know what is correct having the temp under the bag at the required temp and the grain bed slightly lower or the grain bed correct and the wort near the element higher
any suggestions appreciated ,sorry to highjack the thread
Paul

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Old 09-13-2013, 05:22 PM   #18
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I think the problem has to be where your temp probe is located. Try changing it to a T on the output of your kettle and you shouldnt have any issues. This way it is taking the temp of the hottest liquid which is then recirc to the top of your mash.

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Old 09-13-2013, 07:10 PM   #19
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Schwartz - Wow. You have put the bag on the element? I have the same wavy Camco element, but it scares me. Was it a 5500 on full?
Didn't burn, huh. Might try it, just a little scared.

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Old 09-13-2013, 11:55 PM   #20
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Schwartz - Wow. You have put the bag on the element? I have the same wavy Camco element, but it scares me. Was it a 5500 on full?
Didn't burn, huh. Might try it, just a little scared.
Yeah, we haven't had any problems with the bag on the element. When I first started planning the build, I thought a false bottom was a requirement, but later I read several posts that said it wasn't an issue. I'm not sure if this logic is 100% accurate, but the element is not on full blast for very long when mashing. You heat your strike water without the bag in the pot. After that, while the bag is in, the element is only on for brief periods of time to keep the wort at temperature. And there is a lot of water to protect the bag. I think I've read that the ULWD nature of the element is helpful in protecting the bag, but there are others here who can explain that better than I can.
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