Yesterday, Reid S. and I brewed up a good old-fashioned amber. It was the first time I used my march pump, so I thought I'd give a report and get some feedback.
We hit our mash in temp, 152', and the temps stuck for 40 mins. At that point we hooked up the pump to a southern engineered sparge ring, turned the MLT burner on low and started recirculating. The goal was to bring the mash up to 168', but the temps started dropping
. Hmmm. So we stuck the lid on the mash and turned the burner up just a little. That did the trick - temps started rising and in a few minutes we were up to 168'. We also used the pump to recirculate after each of the 2 batch sparges.
Here's a few pics of that part. Notice the valve to the MLT burner barely opened while the HLT is fully open. Just one of the beauties of the brew stand - love it!
Simple, ugly (I would say I hired BM, but it's not that
And a pic of the ring while it was recirculating.
I also used the pump during cooling. I meant to take pictures, but forgot. We recirculated through the CFC with 85' hose water to bring the entire kettle down to around 120', and then switched over to ice water from a submersible pump. I used a bucket that was too small and didn't recycle the cooling water so we kept having to add more ice and water. Next time I'll use a big cooler full of ice water and recycle the cooling water. That should make things a little easier.
Now the bad. My efficiency sucked - 60%. I'm usually only around 70%, so it's not such a big drop. I usually do an iodine test for conversion but forgot yesterday. I can't see how recirculating the mash at the end would make any difference, but if you guys can see any reason why it would, I'd appreciate some feedback. I'd love to get a grain mill - I know that could help, but I really don't drink/brew enough to justify it and buying 55 lb sacks of grain. I wish I did.
All in all, I thought the pump worked great. It's not always easy to get it primed, but once it is, it works great. Thankfully Reid has a lot of experience with pumps and was able to give me some pointers there. I'm really considering buying another one a building a single tier stand. Should I?