I can FINALLY see the end of the freakin' tunnel on my rig build after that damn Pol told me to rip out all of my plumbing and do it a different way!!
I've been thinking about decoctions and step mashes and wanted to get some general thoughts if anyone had them since I THINK (famous last words) I'll have a pretty easy way to do either/both if I wanted to.
Very quickly my set-up will be a single tier system with:
- a temp controlled 25 gal HLT with a 20 foot copper coil mounted in the center
- a well-insulated 20 gal MT with a pump that will either pump from the MT, through the coil in the HLT, and back to the MT or straight from the MT to the boil kettle
- a temp controlled 25 gal boil kettle with a pump that will either directly into the MT or through a plate chiller
All flows are controlled through a control panel, a series of solenoids and two March 809's.
When I brew:
- I'll connect a garden hose to one end and click open two solenoids... water will flow through a large filter and the HLT and boil kettle will fill
- punch in my first temp for a dough-in on the HLT and then the same temp (plus a degree or two) into the BK. The temp controls will automatically click on the burners and they'll come up to temp.
- When ready to dough-in, I'll flip a switch and the BK pump will pump the water into the MT and I can add my grains
- I'll then click another switch and the pump on the MT will constantly circulate my mash through the coil in the HLT, maintaining whatever temp I have in the HLT, and back into my MT. I wanted to do it this way so I never have any direct heat or heat that is above my target temp being applied to my mash (Pol's suggestion which I thought was a good one)
- When I'm done mashing, click another switch and it'll all be pumped into the BK for hops and boiling.
- Once my boil is done, I'll pump through a plate chiller to cool
Here are my questions...
- Decoctions... do folks just use a muslin bag or something when they're doing a separate boil? Since I can temp control my BK and then pump it back into my MT, I'm thinking this would be a really easy thing to do. Just not sure if folks have entirely separate MT's, use grain bags or something else.
- Step Mashes or infusions... And maybe this is a question for after I test out my rig. For step mashing, I was thinking I would simply turn off the constant circulating mash for a few minutes, jack up my HTL to my next step target, and then flip the pump back on. Problem is I have no idea how long it would take to make that step since I don't know how efficient my set-up is going to be.
How important is it to hit that next step as quickly as possible? Should I consider just bringing a predetermined amount of water (I think Pro-mash etc would calc this??) up to a boil in my BK and then dump that in to achieve the step (or would this simply be a decoction)??