Originally Posted by jpalarchio
Is this sort of a Brutus 20 type setup or are you all out no-sparge?
Please explain your process if you could; I'm almost done building something very similar and I'm curious how my efficiencies might be. Not so much that I care about the efficiency as much as I'd like to know how big of a beer and how big of a batch I can make. Fallback plan is to go back to 3 vessels.
No, not quite a Brutus 20, I've only got one pump. I may go to no sparge at some point, but I have yet to experiment with that. I heat strike water in the BK, since 5500W heats water faster than 1500W, and pump it over to the mash tun. Add grain, stir, get mash recirculating, set my mash temp and walk away for a while. When there is 20mins or so left in the mash, I fill the BK/HLT with sparge water and heat to temp.
For the sparge I use a 5gal pot to transfer sparge water from the BK/HLT. For smaller batches, I usually have around 5gal give or take of sparge water, so I just fill the 5gal pot, pump over the first runnings to the BK, dump the sparge water into the mash tun, recirc for a minute, and pump over to the BK. For 10gal batches (haven't done any on this system yet), I plan on adding as much sparge water as will fit in the mash tun before collecting first runnings, and likely using additional pots from the kitchen for transferring sparge water as with the 5gal batch. Depending on how big of a PITA it is, I may get another 10gal cooler and mount it above the current MT and use it as a temporary HLT. For 5gal, my current system works great.