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Heating a heating element to a cooler mashtun

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scsjohn

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Hello,

I have a few questions about adding a heating element to a cooler:
1. Has anyone done this?
2. If so, do you use a heating stick?
3. Or did you drill a hole in the cooler? If so, do you have any pictures?

Thanks for any help,

JA
 

Bobby_M

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You really don't want an element in direct contact with thick mash. I could see maybe using a very low watt density element and stirring the mash with it very carefully, but back up and explain what you're trying to achieve.
 
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scsjohn

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I'm switching to electric (in the basement). I was thinking I'd use the kettle to heat water, then transfer the 155deg water to a cooler to mash for 60-90 minutes, but some have said it'll get cool, so I thought I'd add some heat to the cooler to keep it up to 149-150 mash temp. I am planning on adding a pid controller to the heat source to keep things warm.

I'm a biaber, so the grain will be in a bag. I thought I could either use a heatstick (premade like this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BDB4UG/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20 )

or installing a heating element below the falsebottom.

Then i'd transfer the back to the kettle--where I have another heating element.
 
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processhead

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The usual solution for what you are wanting to do is to add a circulating pump and a RIMS tube (electric) or HERMS coil (in the HLT). These two methods add heat to the mash liquid externally and then add it back to the mash grains in the cooler.

An element in a plastic cooler with the mash could go bad in multiple directions. Perhaps not impossible, but it would be challenging from the heat control aspect.
 

chefmike

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If you account for the mass of the cooler either by preheating or adjusting the temp of the addition, i would be surprised if you had significant temperature loss. Mine are very stable, even doing 5 gallon batches in a 10 gallon cooler.

YMMv, i guess, but why do "they" say it will get cool?
 

dyqik

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Yeah, the round 5 and 10 gallon Rubbermaid/Home Depot coolers don't lose more than a couple of degrees over 90 minutes with a typical 5 gallon batch mash, even outside in <50F. This really doesn't matter, and there's no need to add heat for a single infusion mash.

If you do want to step mash, or do a mash out step without adding near boiling water, then a RIMS tube or HERMS setup is the best bet.

If you are using a mash tun, then you aren't doing BIAB in the usual sense, using a single vessel for mashing, lifting the grains out and then boiling the wort left behind. The people doing this with electric heat do the mash in the kettle, using elements below the false bottom, and recirculate the wort to keep it at a uniform temperature.

If you are adding heat to the mash, then you need to be able to stir it well, or recirculate the wort to redistribute the heat.
 

Jwin

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i have started heating my sparge water in a cooler with a brewhardware hotrod. works great and fast.
 
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