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Old 01-03-2008, 07:54 PM   #1
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Default My Mash Tun and Hot Liquor Tun Revamping Project

OK, I have been needing to do this for a while and finally have the time, so I thought I'd share as I go along. If you find this helpful or entertaining, please Prost This Thread. I have had to swap my burner for years under my HLT and kettle and never get the right temperature water for dough-in or step infusions. So........ I added a 240V 5500W water heating element to the bottom of my HLT and will be controlling it via a Ranco 111000 ETC. The element will be ran on 120V so the wattage will go down to 1/4 of its wattage to 1,375 Watts. I will be making another lid like in this project I did earlier that will have a fan type stirrer built in to keep the temperature even inside the tun. I will also be insulating and then beautifying/protecting the insulation with Rhino-liner from a local shop. So far here is the progress and I will provide more pictures as the project continues.

This is what my HLT looks like now. I will be replacing the gauge style thermometer with a thermowell for my Ranco unit.



Here is the element installed, but the only thing you can't see is the 1-1/4" hole I had to put in the bottom of the keg with a bi-metal hole saw to fit the element. Read here to see how my trip to HomeDepot went, lol.



Notice the element fits very nicely in the flattened bottom of the keg.



Here is a better shot of it centered in the bottom of the keg HLT.



I just did a leak test and it holds its own so I can move on to wiring up the Ranco 111000 ETC. Until next post...... hope you enjoy the visuals, lol.

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Old 01-03-2008, 08:52 PM   #2
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Looks great.

I would have mounted the element horizontal and close to the bottom. You do not want to expose it to air while it is on.
Its hard to tell how long the element is. If it is fairly short I wouldnt worry about it.

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Old 01-03-2008, 09:12 PM   #4
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I will post with every bit of info I can. I know how we all are

As for going horizontal, this element is supposed to be horizontal, but I couldn't find a vertical one so I will just have to be careful. I like how it fits in the flat bottom as opposed to having to worry about the curve of the side. The element is around 9.5" long and would be below the 7 gallon mark on my site glass. Right now in order to mash-in I use around 5 gallons, then another 5ish to get me to my sacch rest, then I always have to refill and sparge with around 7ish gallons so I should always be above the element. Plus my site glass starts to read at 3 gallons so I always have to have my water to use plus 3 gallons to know what I am adding, lol. All, the infusions/sparge depend of course on what I am making, but I shouldn't have a problem. Good to point out to others though, as this would suck to burn your element out halfway through a beer.

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Old 01-12-2008, 07:59 PM   #5
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Default Update

Ok, I finished a little more of the project and wanted to post some pics for everyone following. Here you go.

Here's how I attached the Reflectix Insulation to the keg. I made a couple of Duct tape attachment points all the way around the keg as I moved around it.




Ok, so I made it where the valve comes through the Ranco. This was a bear to do, but it allows me for a cleaner looking install for the temperature sensor and the power cords below the unit as well.



There is only one layer of Reflectix behind the Ranco and I duct taped the insulation so it would be a clean transition to the Ranco. I will later cover all the insulation with either Rhino-liner or Plasti-Dip to complete the project and make it look great.

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Old 01-12-2008, 10:18 PM   #6
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Is there a technical reason why the valve goes through the Ranco, or is it just for a cool/compact factor? Looks awesome

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Old 01-12-2008, 10:25 PM   #7
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Very nice! Can't wait to hear how it performs.

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Old 01-12-2008, 10:44 PM   #8
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It goes through the Ranco because it makes for a clean install of the temperature sensor, and it gets the electrical cords closer to the bottom where they look better. I drilled two 3/8" holes in the skirt of the keg below the Ranco so they can be hidden in the bottom dome of the keg once I insulate and seal it up you won't even see the element, just a power cord going to the outlet (I am going to rig my tree up for 110V with outlets so my cords are short on all my tuns)

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Old 01-12-2008, 10:57 PM   #9
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Ok, so far no leaks. I have the weld-less sight glass and everything but the temperature sensor hooked up, that is another whole job as now I have to thread the inside of the stupid coupler they welded on the keg. I will wait to put any more pictures up until it is finished, or at least finished other than the rhino-liner/Plasti-Dip for beauty and protection of the insulation. Whew, I am so glad I don't have any leaks.

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Old 01-31-2008, 03:58 PM   #10
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Default Update, Finally I have a thermowell

OK, it took forever to track down copper tubing that wasn't from a 25' roll. I was happy that my LPG company where I buy my propane cut me a 12" piece for $3. There was only one problem. I asked the lady (a tank refiller/secratary) for 5/8" OD tubing. I go the next day to get a refill and it turns out to be 3/8" OD. Ok, that's gotta work because I am not waiting even another day for this part of the project to come to completion. I have a 3/8" end cap at home and a 1/2" threaded fitting to get me attached to the tun. Another problem, the coupler on my HLT is only threaded from the outside in. No problem, I just had to make everything go in backwards. Ok, after a ton of soldering and hand sanding the pieces fit in one another so I could solder them together for the final time. I fluxed the end tip of the thermowell and bent it together and soldered it shut.

Here's a pic of the outside or the thermowell.





And, here's one of the inside. I had more room than this around my old thermometer so I'm all good.






After I taped and threaded the new thermowell through the HLT I bent the themowell slowly and evenly so the temperature sensor could be inserted and removed easily. Man, those are water stains from the test water. That is why I have to pre boil and settle out the junk before brew day. Hard, hard water here.

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