I've brewed 5 batches on this new setup and everything works great. I had some documented issues, but now that I understand the systems I need to follow to get good results I feel good about everything. My consistency is a bit wacky so far, hitting 70%, 82% and 93% efficiency ver the last three brews. Hopefully I'll be able to dial it in to around 80% soon. Kal's panel design is awesome.
Filling up the HLT with water. Tubing set for the mash.
Heating up the Mash and HLT together to 160. My mash for this beer was 154. I've found that a water to grist ratio of 1.5 qts/lb is equal to around a 7-8 degree drop in the mash. I heat up the HLT and mash at the same time by recirculating the mash water through the coil as the HLT heats up. Wen it's time to dough in I set the HLT temp to my actual Mash temp and pour in the grains. I leave the mash recirculating while i dough in and for this batch I hit my mash temp in 3 minutes.
Close up of the HLT. This would be a downside of the kettles I chose. No preset markers for the gallon increments. I placed zip ties at each gallon marker and will eventually put more permanent markings on the glass tube. I've just been more focused on brewing ever since this thing was operational.
Setting the sparge temps
Runoff into the BK.
Tubing setup for sparge and runoff. I run the output of the HLT back through the coil to clear out the wort. I also fill the BK from bottom to top. I use the bleeder valve on the output of the pump to take gravity samples as the wort is filling up the kettle.
Freshly tapped keg of Pale Ale. This was a batch that hit 70% mash efficiency and as such came out darker than I would have liked. I entered it in NHC as both an Amber and APA.
Cleaning out the mash tun. We scoop out the spent grains first, remove the false bottom and hose it out. Works amazingly well.