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Old 01-20-2012, 09:04 PM   #1
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Default Copper tubing to control mash temperature

We're going pro in a few months and are having a 3 bbl system custom built for us, pretty much what Hess in SD has but bigger. I understand that with all that thermal mass in the mash tun, it wont lose much heat through the process, but I still want a way to control it, I'm thinking of wrapping 100' of copper tubing around the mash tun and circulating hot water through it to keep the temperatures constant, has anyone seen this done? Any reasons why it wouldn't work?

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Old 01-20-2012, 09:11 PM   #2
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It appears the mash tun for a 3bbl system would have a diameter around 31". 100' of tubing would give you 12 turns around the tun. I'm thinking you'd need much more tubing than that to be effective...

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Old 01-20-2012, 09:32 PM   #3
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Copper tubing is relatively cheap so I wouldn't mind if I had to buy 300', it would still be much cheaper than buying a used 3bbl system.. would it work though?

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Old 01-20-2012, 09:38 PM   #4
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Good question. I expect the thermal resistance would go through the roof unless you find some way to keep the tubing in consistent contact with the tun. Even then there's darn little contact area between the two, unless they were soldered together (I have no idea if that's even possible never mind practical) so efficiency - even with a healthy insulation covering the works - doesn't seem likely to be very good.

All of that is probably why steam jackets are popular in that space...

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Old 01-20-2012, 10:29 PM   #5
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When I read your title, I actually thought of a reverse Immersion chiller.

Could you place the copper coil inside your mash tun, then run temperature controlled water through the coils, to impart heat into the mash?

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Old 01-20-2012, 10:55 PM   #6
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I think it could work. I thought about doing this myself with left over tubing I had from a failed chiller i made. I would also add a thermometer to the exit end of the tubing as a way to gauge if you are losing heat or what is happening to the temp at it runs through that much tubing.

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Old 01-20-2012, 11:14 PM   #7
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Sorry I don't have much to add as far as your question but do you have anymore info on your going pro journey?

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Old 01-20-2012, 11:50 PM   #8
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Coil in mash sounds interesting, has it been done before?

Mr Pear: We've been polishing our brewing abilities for a year with the intention of selling our beer, we'll open a tasting room in august which is why we're building a new system. I'm in Mexico and the craft beer scene here is just starting to pick up.

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Old 01-20-2012, 11:56 PM   #9
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I've seen large scale water jackets like the one you are describing in power plants. Maximize surface area contact and insulate the outside and it can work, especially if you are using it just to offset ambient losses.

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Old 01-20-2012, 11:58 PM   #10
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Seems like rims or herms would be more efficient and more stable in the long run.

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