So, I'm a fairly new all grain brewer working in batches of 5 gallons or less. I don't really have much interest in scaling up to larger brews, but I do have interest in making better beer. One thing I've been thinking about recently is a relatively inexpensive way to easily recirculate my mash while still hitting my temperatures. Now, I'm out in Fargo, so I'm very interested in staying warm (indoors) during my Winter brews. I also am renting and don't have easy access to 220V or high amp 110V.
With that said, I think I have a pretty good solution, but I'd love to know if this has already been attempted. I'm using my stove for the strike water, and a 5G Home Depot water cooler for my MLT.
I was thinking I could pick up a smaller (2.6GPM) pump with an inline block heater connected to a controller and a temp sensor to maintain temperatures.
I doubt a 600 watt heater is going to be able to step mash, but I'd think this would allow me to recirculate my mash on the countertop in a really neat lil' package. I'd just get my water up to temperature on the stovetop, but this would let me fine tune my temps once it gets in the MLT.
Any thoughts on the plan, the pump, or the block heater idea? What would you do for the controller?
(Alternatively, they have a 1500W tank heater, but I'm thinking that the plastic would be safer than using whatever metals the tank might be made out of and easier to clean too)
EDIT: Removed 'Food Grade' designation, I made an assumption there. Ooops!