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Old 10-02-2007, 04:25 PM   #1
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Default First brew using March pump + a few pics

Yesterday, Reid S. and I brewed up a good old-fashioned amber. It was the first time I used my march pump, so I thought I'd give a report and get some feedback.

We hit our mash in temp, 152', and the temps stuck for 40 mins. At that point we hooked up the pump to a southern engineered sparge ring, turned the MLT burner on low and started recirculating. The goal was to bring the mash up to 168', but the temps started dropping. Hmmm. So we stuck the lid on the mash and turned the burner up just a little. That did the trick - temps started rising and in a few minutes we were up to 168'. We also used the pump to recirculate after each of the 2 batch sparges.

Here's a few pics of that part. Notice the valve to the MLT burner barely opened while the HLT is fully open. Just one of the beauties of the brew stand - love it!



Simple, ugly (I would say I hired BM, but it's not that ugly), functional.



And a pic of the ring while it was recirculating.



I also used the pump during cooling. I meant to take pictures, but forgot. We recirculated through the CFC with 85' hose water to bring the entire kettle down to around 120', and then switched over to ice water from a submersible pump. I used a bucket that was too small and didn't recycle the cooling water so we kept having to add more ice and water. Next time I'll use a big cooler full of ice water and recycle the cooling water. That should make things a little easier.

Now the bad. My efficiency sucked - 60%. I'm usually only around 70%, so it's not such a big drop. I usually do an iodine test for conversion but forgot yesterday. I can't see how recirculating the mash at the end would make any difference, but if you guys can see any reason why it would, I'd appreciate some feedback. I'd love to get a grain mill - I know that could help, but I really don't drink/brew enough to justify it and buying 55 lb sacks of grain. I wish I did.

All in all, I thought the pump worked great. It's not always easy to get it primed, but once it is, it works great. Thankfully Reid has a lot of experience with pumps and was able to give me some pointers there. I'm really considering buying another one a building a single tier stand. Should I?

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Old 10-02-2007, 05:03 PM   #2
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Did you use the burner on the MLT to come up to mash out/sparge temps of 168F before you started draining? That could help.

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Old 10-02-2007, 05:04 PM   #3
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Did you use the burner on the MLT to come up to mash out/sparge temps of 168F before you started draining? That could help.
Yes, that's what we were doing in those pics.
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Old 10-02-2007, 05:51 PM   #4
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Well, you can do single tier on one pump if you batch sparge if you don't mind playing musical quick disconnects. After your mash recirc and mashout, you switch the input of the pump over from the MLT drain to the HLT drain and pump your sparge in. Then move it back to pump vorlauf.

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Old 10-02-2007, 06:15 PM   #5
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Right. I'd also like change over to a plate chiller and use it for stepping mash temps and chilling the wort with ice water from the HLT, so I'd need the 2nd pump for that. I'm not sure if there are any real benefits of using a heat exchanger vs direct fire, but if I had the heat exchanger, why not.

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