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Old 08-02-2007, 07:52 AM   #1
AGBrewer
 
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Is it worth it. I aquired another keg today(legal). So I am thinking about doing away with the 10 gal rubbermaid. I would like some input from people who use this method. Obviously stirring while heating is a must. I would rather build a mash stirrer than a pump. Chime in with opinions please

 
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:42 AM   #2
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I don't use this method, but am in the process of building a HERMS. I considered direct-fire but decided against it when I though about the unreachable space below the false bottom. Even if you stir religiously, you will still probably burn the wort/mash. You probably oughta stick with a pump. Pumps may be costly, but can be used for many different things in the process....from vorlaufing to whirlpooling cold break, to handling finished wort and sending it to a fermentor.

 
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Old 08-02-2007, 03:49 PM   #3
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I've got a direct-fired keg MLT with a false bottom (very little dead space). I've used it for step mashes with no problem. I just keep the burner turned down low and stir constantly so that the temp changes gradually at ~ 2 deg / min. There's no burning or scorching. I'll add a pump soon to recirculate during the steps. This should eliminate the need for stirring.

FYI - Brutus 10 uses a direct-fired MLT. http://www.alenuts.com/brutus.htm

 
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Old 08-02-2007, 03:59 PM   #4
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Good input, Brutha. I may have to take this into account. A direct fired MLT makes for a MUCH more simple plumbing setup.

 
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Old 08-02-2007, 04:00 PM   #5
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I have a direct fired MT and love it. I do step mashing and mashouts with no scorching at all. I would recommend low heat and constant recirculation to assure no burning or hot spots. I use a march pump and recirculate through my sparge arm.

I will say that direct heat requires some attention, it's certainly not a set it and forget method unless you have mad skills ala Alenut of Brutus10 fame. I keep the heat down low, recirculate, and watch the temperature rise. When I get 1-2 degrees shy of my target temp I turn the gas off and allow the mash to creep to where I want it. This method suits my style, and keeps me hands on, I like it.

HERMS is a great alternative too, especially if you have an electric heating element in your HLT with a digi controller. No scorching, no babysitting, and assured consistent mash temps. Personally, I just like being more involved - but there a many ways to skin a cat.
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Old 08-02-2007, 04:13 PM   #6
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One thing I forgot to mention is that I also really like being able to heat the strike water in the MLT. No preheating of cooler and lifting/pouring/transferring hot water from another pot.

It took me a while to dial in the strike temps as the keg holds a lot of heat, but now that I have it works great.

 
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Old 08-02-2007, 05:25 PM   #7
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Ok, so just recirculating wort through the mlt keeps scorching away, right? Does it not make any difference to move the grains as well? Maybe I'll break down and buy a pump


 
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Old 08-03-2007, 06:14 PM   #8
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I'm in the process of building my rig, and intend to go the direct fired route with a march pump, largely because i want to go all gas without electrical elements (ironic considering i'm an electrical engineer )

It'll be an custom electronic control system with a 25,000btu burner salvaged from an old old furnace

 
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Old 08-04-2007, 05:51 AM   #9
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Good info on the direct fire. I recently got a good score on someone selling their gear, and have a spare 50' of 1/2" copper with 2 march pumps. My kegs are pretty much coupled already. I do like the mash arm though! I'm trying to come up with an acceptable method to return the wort to the top of the grainbed gently and without losing too much heat.

 
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Old 08-09-2007, 02:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaSteve
Good info on the direct fire. I recently got a good score on someone selling their gear, and have a spare 50' of 1/2" copper with 2 march pumps. My kegs are pretty much coupled already. I do like the mash arm though! I'm trying to come up with an acceptable method to return the wort to the top of the grainbed gently and without losing too much heat.
The UPS Gods just delivered these from McMaster:

Material Polypropylene
Polypropylene Material Polypropylene
Backing Plain Back
Shape Balls
Ball Type Hollow
Diameter .787"
Translucent Translucent with White Tint
Highest Temperature +100° to +200° F
Operating Temperature Range Up to +190° F
Tolerance Standard
Specifications Met Not Rated

Quantity
150 | 2000

Quantity
150 3748K31 $15.71 per Pack of 150

2000 3748K21 182.18 per Pack of 2000

Sorry, McMaster's website makes it difficult to post a direct link that works. I plan on floating these on top of the mash to both insulate and provide a gentle path for the sparge water to return to the grain bed. Haven't tried them yet, hopefully next week, but I've got a LOT of balls.

edit: BTW, 300 of the 20mm balls provide a good cover in a 10 gallon round cooler.
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