Originally Posted by Aplikowski
... how did we get this far without asking about the insulated pot!
Aluminum flashing from Home Depot/Lowes and 2000+F thermal blanket inside. The blanket is left over from a bronze foundry oven I built a while back. It took forever to get it done for various reasons. Made from 4 flashing panels, about 200 rivets, 2 hinges, 2 catches and 3 tries to get the 4 panels cut, bent and punched for rivets correctly. I wrapped the top edge with aluminum tape to seal it against drips/spills. Yeah, I'm kinda committed to this pot for now.
Flashing - $28 (would have been $14 if I bent it right the first time.)
Rivets - $10
Hinges & catches - $5
Thermal blanket - $3
Misc aluminum rectangular tubing saved from a patio umbrella repair. This is inside where the hinges and catches attach as the flashing is too thin by itself.
I only take it off for cooling & washing. During the mash I throw a blanket over the pot to minimize losses from the top, and generally lose less than 1 degree for the hour, including 3 stir cycles. I should try without to see what the difference is. I'm hoping to do a Maibock in the next week or so for a March competition, so maybe then is a good time to try.
I will say it is fragile due to the thin flashing. Almost ruined it by stepping on a corner after I took it off when I was headed for the sink to cool. That's why it stays on all the time otherwise. It's quite safe on the pot.
Regarding the points ODI3 made:
Some problems with using a basket are:
-creates temperature stratification zones, hard to stir well
No different from the bag in the pot.
-more stuff to clean
Yes, could add a minute to cleanup.
-doesnt drain as well as bag
Maybe, but the objective is to get the water to drain THROUGH the bag. Without the basket this does not happen. It drains off the tops, sides, etc.
-takes up volume in kettle
Yes, but I'm trying to find one that is a close fit so this not an issue. That is the #1 reason I mentioned the plastic bucket. The bottling bucket is almost a perfect fit in my pot. Less than 1" at bottom, and less than 1/2" on the sides at the bottom, less than 1/8" at top. Probably adds up to about 1/2 gallon, and similar to false bottoms. I had fully planned to buy one when I was at the LHBS until he suggested otherwise for the reasons well debated already.
I really don't see how some folks think this is over complicating things. Throw in the basket, bag and grains then mash. Pull the whole thing up, pour the additional water (that I need anyway) through it, let it drain, done. For me this is easier (and cleaner) than handling the wet bag of grain - once I find the right vessel for the basket.
The first time I did this 'rinse' in a separate pot the runoff was about 1.030, enough to justify the minimal effort for me. And besides, I get to play with my beer stuff more while figuring it out.