Recirculating Mash With Pump vs. Pitcher - Home Brew Forums

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Old 05-11-2013, 04:22 AM   #1
Jan 2012
Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 23
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I have an insulated mash tun that I use to perform a single infusion mash for 5.5 gallon batches. Currently my approximate mash schedule is as follows:

1. Mash in.
2. Mash for designated time.
3. Mashout w/ boiling water infusion.
4. Let rest for ten minutes.
5. Recirculate/vorlauf
6. Fly Sparge

My question lies in the recirculation/vorlauf step. I know a lot of people use a pitcher for recirculating by draining off, and pouring carefully back on top. However, I feel the pump has the advantage of less labour, as well as a decreased risk of Hot Side Aeration. So, what words of warning would you have for using a pump to recirculate without a HERMS or RIMS setup? What kind of temperature loss should I expect? Worse than using a pitcher? Any help is much appreciated.


Keep in mind that I will only recirculate after a mashout is performed, I will not recirculate during the actual saccharification rest.

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Old 05-11-2013, 04:56 AM   #2
helibrewer's Avatar
Nov 2011
Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 3,709
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You will have heat loss but I don't think it's an issue. You might consider rice hulls if you crush on the fine side, the pump can pull a suction under the false bottom if the bed gets too compact.

I recirc the entire rest period (I use a copper coil in the mash tun that circulates HLT water to maintain temps). You should only need to recirc about 10 minutes so any heat loss is not a bi9g deal since you will be boiling it shortly there after....

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Old 05-11-2013, 05:20 AM   #3
May 2011
Stow, MA
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I think most of the heat lost would be to bringing the circulation loop up to mash temperature. Otoh, if you had a way to run hot water through the pump and recirculation tubing before you switched in the mash liquor you could cut that loss out of the equation...


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Old 05-12-2013, 01:50 AM   #4
Oct 2010
Madison, Alabama
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:54 AM   #5
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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If you're using a pump to sparge, I see no reason to not use it to vorlauf. If you're not, I'm of the mind that it's "one more thing to clean" and would just use the pitcher. But, I'm lazy.

One thing that is just about time savings, and not technique- there is no reason to rest at mashout temps. If you're at mash out temps, you can just vorlauf and sparge- there isn't any reason to rest for 10 minutes first.
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:46 AM   #6
Jan 2012
Bozeman, Montana
Posts: 23
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Thanks for the feedback! The reason I like to rest for ten minutes is to allow the grain bed to settle a little before I start recirculating. This usually allows me to achieve a good filter during a shorter recirculation period.

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Old 05-12-2013, 02:38 PM   #7
Mar 2013
Harrisburg, PA
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Yup. That's the reason for the rest. Most people disturb the grain bed with the pitcher method. If your careful, you don't need the rest.
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