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Old 12-08-2007, 11:49 PM   #1
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Default Brutus 20 Constant Recirculation Direct Fired Mash Process Review

I said I was going to try it out, and I did today. I posted a bunch of pics here, and the process is explained in detail here.

Overview
I used my 3-tier stand, but since CRDFM only requires 2 vessels I only used the bottom 2 tiers. I placed the MLT on the top and the BK/HLT on the bottom. The Brutus 20 uses a single tier design with 2 pumps, I just let the MLT gravity drain to the BK and used a pump to recirculate back up to the MLT.

I brewed a hefeweizen with pre-crushed grains from AHS (the BC is still under the tree!) I usually get ~ 65% effeciency. Today I got 58% efficiency, but I was also 1/2 gal short, and sometimes I'm a little lower on wheat beers anyway. More total sparge water might have helped a little.

I recirculated for ~ 35 mins. That was enough to reach specific gravity equilibrium between the MLT and BK.

Evaluation
The overall work involved was slightly less than batch sparging. Once the sparge started, you just let it recirculate until you're done. I didn't have to fiddle with the flow rates much - only 2 or 3 adjustments. I just tried to keep the BK within a qt of where it started, which was easy with my thermosights.

It DOES require at least one pump (2 for single tier setups), but makes up for that by eliminating the HLT and its associated burner and plumbing.

It required slightly more time vs batch sparging, maybe an extra 10-20 mins, but was still less than or equal to fly sparging.

I probably lost a little efficiency, but it's hard to tell how much. You really need to do identical brews to see for sure. I've never been a super high efficiency brewer anyway, but those of you who are probably won't like that fact. I'll do it again after I incorporate my Barley Crusher and see how things turn out with an all-barley grain bill.


Overall, I think this is a fairly simple, sound, viable process. For those who may be considering a stand with a small footprint, this may be something you want to think about.


Comments welcome. I know colplink (Brutus 10/20 creator) lurks here. Maybe he'll chime in.



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Old 12-09-2007, 02:11 AM   #2
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I'm glad you posted this - I have been considering giving this a try. After reading the article in the latest BYO about doing multiple mashes using wort as the mash liquid, I wondered if this would be similarly able to give high grav wort without needing massive sparge volumes or crappy efficiency (undersparging on purpose to keep grav high).



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Old 12-10-2007, 12:15 PM   #3
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Actually, I think with this process, you would need more sparge water to avoid crappy efficiency for big beers.

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Old 12-10-2007, 01:08 PM   #4
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Very interesting. I'm getting ready to set up my system (pump is under the tree) and I have 2 kegs to convert. But, it looks like this would add a lot of time. Based on his explaination, he mashes for an hour, then sparges for an hour, then boils. That sparge hour is something you don't do when batch sparging. So it adds time and reduces your efficiency. I think I'll stick to a traditional 3 pot 2 teir system.

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Old 12-10-2007, 02:07 PM   #5
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This is an interesting technique because it would allow you to make a very compact and less expensive brew structure. 2 burners, and pots vs 3. Time required would not be considerably more than a batch sparge but efficiency would suffer a little. Something to think about when I build a brew structure. With a pair of wheels even a 10gal structure would be very portable.

As for reiterative mashing, I'm not seeing how it would work any better in this environment. you would still have to drain every thing into the grainless pot so you could replace the grain in the MLT. If you are thinking of running two mashes in parallel, it is not the same as reiterative mashing. It is equivalent to a single mash with twice the grain. You will still have to drain both MLTs into the brew pot.

Craig

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Old 12-10-2007, 03:12 PM   #6
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JnJ - it doesn't add as much time as you might think. Batch sparging usually takes me 25-30 mins (if I do 1st runnings + 2 batch sparges). I had SG equilibrium in 35 mins, and from the brutus 20 page - remember, he's doing larger batches, too:

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In my system, 45 minutes is plenty of time to accomplish equilibrium and planet alignment.
The real trade-off I see is efficiency vs size+equipment. I would say there's also slightly less work than batch sparge.

I'm not trying to convince anybody that this is the way to go. I was curious and decided to gave it a try and report on how I thought things went. I'll be building a single tier stand soon and am still trying to decide if I want a 2 or 3 vessel system. I want to repeat things after I incorporate my barley crusher and see how the efficiency comes out. If I'm mid 70's, I may go with this.

I'd also really like to hear others thoughts if you decide to try this, too.
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBBaron
As for reiterative mashing, I'm not seeing how it would work any better in this environment. you would still have to drain every thing into the grainless pot so you could replace the grain in the MLT. If you are thinking of running two mashes in parallel, it is not the same as reiterative mashing. It is equivalent to a single mash with twice the grain. You will still have to drain both MLTs into the brew pot.

Craig
What I meant was not that the Brutus 20 setup would be good for doing reiterative mashing, but that perhaps it would be an alternative way to get to a high gravity wort without having excessive boil times or undersparged grains.
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:44 PM   #8
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OK, I think I see what you're saying. Is this kind of what you were thinking?

Process: mash 1/2 the grains normally. Recirculate the sparge from the BK, ending up back in the BK. Empty grains, add other 1/2 of grains. Pump hot liquor from BK back to 2nd mash. After mash is complete, recirculate again with the rest of the wort already in the BK.

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Old 12-10-2007, 04:12 PM   #9
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Sorry - not explaining myself well (nothing new!)

Mash full grain bill, but rather than drain and sparge in the normal fashion (which would result in a LOT of wort to boil for a really big beer) sparge using the recirc method.

The reiterative method lets you get lots of sugar out without excessive volumes, but you have to do multiple mashes. I was just thinking that the (brutus 20) recirculated mash would let you do one big mash, while still extracting the sugars without excess spage volume.

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Old 12-10-2007, 04:44 PM   #10
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What you're explaining is the (Brutus 20) process. The problem is, it really results in slightly lower efficiency, possibly worse with large grain bills. I think you can compensate with more sparge volume, but that's what you're trying to avoid.



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