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Kettle as mash tun questions

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robodeath

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I currently use a cooler as a mash tun and it works great. I'm step my step upgrading my equipment until I eventually build a brutus stand so I will be, at that time, using a kettle with false bottom as a mash tun. Here are my questions:

1.) Is it ok to just use a burner under the mash tun (kettle w/false bottom) to regulate the heat? I know a lot of people recirculate wort through tubing in the HLT (it think thats called HERMS?) but would just a burner under the mash tun work?

2.) Would recirculating the wort from the bottom and back into the top of the mash tun work (I can do this as i'll have 2 pumps at that point)?
 

OneImpBrewery

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Hey Robo,
The burner under the MT would be great for heating strike water. However I would think that if you applied heat during the mash it would be very easy to scorch your grains. It appears possible but looks like it requires some practice.
Found a thread here:
http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=14145

You can always remove water, heat, and replace. But that is labor and time consuming.

Recirculating the wort through a heat source like a coil through hotter water is a HERMS system. That works great for maintaining temp.

Kal has a really nice step my step process of his brewday on an EHERMS system.

http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/brew-day-step-by-step

Hope this helps, sounds like your headed in the right direction.

-Imp
 
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robodeath

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Having looked at RIMs systems for the past few minutes, I think that might be the way I go. Didn't know they existed honestly.
 

fearwig

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I mash on the stove in a 7-gallon kettle-tun and I fine-tune temperature with the burners. The risk of the burner during mash is not so much scorching as just uneven heat--i.e. early mash out, denaturing of diastatic enzymes. I have not had that problem but others have. Temperature readings from the bottom and top vary by 40 degrees or more (I use a waterproof corded probe, though I'd rather have one of those 24" stick probes for this).

In a mash, convection doesn't do squat. You will need to stir from the bottom or, as you say, use recirculation. If you are stirring quite a lot or recirculating effectively and you are not running your burner like you're trying to get a full boil, you'll be fine. But this is really best for fine-tuning temperature after strike, I would not do it for unattended pump recirculation or anything crazy like that.
 

acidrain

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I mash in a keggle, and have scorched wort with direct heat (small bursts of heat throughout the mash).

I went to RIMS, and that controlled the temps very well... even was able to do step mashes easily BUT, if the circulation stopped for any reason (stuck grainbed, cavitation, lost coupling)it scorched wort.

Ended up with a HERMS. Much "softer" heat, and I've never scorched a batch. Not enough oomph to do step mashes though.

I kind of wish I would have just started with a cooler.
 

fearwig

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Man, this hobby has put you out some bucks. Send me some of your failed rigs, why don't you? :)

I boil over two gas burners inside and get plenty of BTUs for the boil, but for adjusting mash temp I don't use more than one burner at half blast with lots of stirring. A LP burner at full would seem like a lot of heat, and I think you wouldn't want to stand right next to it paddling your mash around while it burns, so that sounds like a recipe for scorching to me.
 
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robodeath

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It's funny, every penny I spend after this point (I have a fully usable brew setup) is just to make my life easier!
 

brew2enjoy

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As long as you recirculate while the flame is on you will be fine. I am ditching my cooler and building a direct fire keggle MLT right now. Lots of good information out there on these setups.
 

acidrain

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It's funny, every penny I spend after this point (I have a fully usable brew setup) is just to make my life easier!
Yep, last week was probably my easiest day ever... 5 hours including cleanup and hit all the numbers!

As long as you recirculate while the flame is on you will be fine. I am ditching my cooler and building a direct fire keggle MLT right now. Lots of good information out there on these setups.
Yes, as long as you keep the circulation going... that's the problem. It takes literally seconds to scorch the wort. Whether direct fired or running a 1375W RIMS, stopping the circulation for even a few seconds and you've got smoked wort (yuk).
 

brew2enjoy

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Yes, as long as you keep the circulation going... that's the problem. It takes literally seconds to scorch the wort. Whether direct fired or running a 1375W RIMS, stopping the circulation for even a few seconds and you've got smoked wort (yuk).
Do you use a full (15" ) false bottom in your keggle?
 

CoolZone

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We have had good results with the HERMS system we built. 30 gallon kettles with 75K BTU burners under each kettle. We circulate the wort constantly. While mashing, the Mash burner is used for short time frames. I have done step mashes without any issues. You do have to be mindful of when to start heating the HLT to the next rest temperature, and how long you have the Mash Burner on.

As others have stated, using only a Mash burner would be difficult to do.
 
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