mash tun with reflectix wrap

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Komocabo

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Hi all! I guess I'm just proud of my new shiny toy and wanted to share it with my fellow HBTers. It's a standard keg with false bottom, dip tube, valve, and thermometer (all weldless from Bargain Fittings, except for the false bottom). I have had some temp control issues lately, sometimes dropping up to 5° during an hour mash...yikes!

So, I did some looking around on the site and decided to go with the reflectix wrap. 20 feet later, and I've got it wrapped on all surfaces with 3 layers (5 on the top). I used duct tape to hold it all together. I'm going brew this weekend, and I can't wait to see what (if any) difference it makes.

I have to imagine that it will reduce my temp fluctuations. I'm going to call it my keg-ooler...

Cheers! :mug:

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Komocabo

Komocabo

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One more pic for now.

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ekjohns

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Hope it is not direct fire. That stuff melts pretty easy with a flame. Would hate to see that nice work ruined
 

rajun50

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Looks good! My question to you or others who have done this: How will the Reflectix react to being direct-fired? I still use a cooler, but am considering getting a larger boil pot and using my 15 gallon SS kettle as a mash tun. I'd like to be able to direct-fire it, but it seems like the Reflectix would get burned by all the heat coming from my Blichmann burner. The first time I used the Blichmann it was so hot that the rubber coating on my ball valve handle started to melt, and I had to use some aluminum foil as a heat shield.
 

ColoHox

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Looks good! My question to you or others who have done this: How will the Reflectix react to being direct-fired? I still use a cooler, but am considering getting a larger boil pot and using my 15 gallon SS kettle as a mash tun. I'd like to be able to direct-fire it, but it seems like the Reflectix would get burned by all the heat coming from my Blichmann burner. The first time I used the Blichmann it was so hot that the rubber coating on my ball valve handle started to melt, and I had to use some aluminum foil as a heat shield.
It melts, like ekjohns said. Although if you are direct firing, you can always take it off while the flame is up. Some velcro makes removal and attachment pretty easy.
 

Bobby_M

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Do not direct fire with that on. I can see you were trying to make it as neat as possible by making holes for the accessories but you'll have to put some slots under the holes to easily remove it.
 
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Komocabo

Komocabo

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I've also heard this. Right now I do not direct fire - I do a single stage mash for an hour. I have a single tier stand (3 kegs) and I just move the MT off to the side when I'm heating my strike and sparge water. I plan to move to a HERMS system sometime (the investment is out of the question for now), so basically, I will never have flame on it. Right now I don't have pumps, but I built the stand so I can still sparge by using gravity. It'll have to do for a while, but I've done 20 or so batches with this system. At some point I will incorporate a heat shield so I can avoid messing with it. Thanks for the heads up!
 
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Komocabo

Komocabo

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Good suggestions (slots and velcro)! I will likely do that in the near future
 

Epimetheus

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Reflectix is plastic bubble wrap with some silvering. It melts like any other bubble wrap. On my kettle I ended the wrap 2" above the bottom and that was for on top of an electric range.

Very neat job, much better than mine. The tape looks to be the fabric type. Some people use aluminum duct tape. I'm not criticizing, it is just an option if the heat causes problems with the fabric tape and adhesive.
 
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Komocabo

Komocabo

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I was wondering about that myself... Would it be beneficial to take of the duct tape (fabric stuff) and replace with the aluminum stuff? As I was building it tonight, I had that damn lightbulb go off in my head, thinking, "Wait... shouldn't this be metal to reflect more heat?" But I tried to use as little as possible, so I hope it'll be alright.
 

DPBISME

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One more pic for now.
You wrap and tape well, I am bringing my Christmas presents over this year for help.

Ideas for heating if you miss your temp or a stepped mash.

  1. Use a low heat.
  2. Try shielding.
  3. Remove the insulation from the first 6 inches on the bottom.

or any combination of the three.

I like number three because you have already significantly improved the insulation, I can't see a little bit missing from the bottom being a real issue.

I look forward for the results of your next brewing session...
 

rekoob

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First, great job on wrapping that keg. Looks great.
But, I think I might have missed something. You direct fire and your loosing heat?
Are you recirculating? Do you have temp/PID control? Or are you bringing water up to temp adding grain and turning off heat?
I am thinking if you direct fire even manually you should be able to keep it closer then 5*.
I don't know, maybe my lack of sleep and the fact its Friday and again have to work this weekend that has me confused.
 
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Komocabo

Komocabo

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No direct fire and no pump for recirculating. I heat my strike water, add tthe grains, stir stir stir, then cover. I usually recirculate about 1/2 gallon after the first 15 mins to set the grain bed, and then vorlauf onelce the hour is over.
 

rekoob

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No direct fire and no pump for recirculating. I heat my strike water, add tthe grains, stir stir stir, then cover. I usually recirculate about 1/2 gallon after the first 15 mins to set the grain bed, and then vorlauf onelce the hour is over.
Thank you for clearing that up, I am no longer confused about this. :mug:

Great job, let us know how it works.
 
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Komocabo

Komocabo

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Well, today was a success! Hit my temps on the dot and only lots about 1/2 of a degree. Yay!

Too much homebrew has been flowing today, so, good day to all and Cheers!
 

JPHussey

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To resurrect an old thread, is that lid literally just reflectix? or is there something framing it out underneath?
 

mongoose33

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I've been thinking about some sort of insulation jacket for my mash tun (a 12 gallon cool cube cooler), and something like this would be just perfect.
 

Boar Beer

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I have run many batches and controlling the temperature of the MLT is always important from a technical point. but in practice consistency is number one in my book. If you always loose 5 degrees thats ok. All the gadgetry required to control your MLT is just not worth the effort.
I must say that a 5 gallon MLT will loose double the heat of a 10 Gallon unit (or theirs about) Stainless steel looses a more than plastic and the bubble wrap is a great idea. For my 10 gallon batches we just used the cooler system. At 40 gallons we went to a Rubbermaid garbage can and lost only 1 or 2 degrees. for the 3 bbl system its all ss and the loss is about 1 degree.
In a nut shell dont bother controlling your MLT temp.
 
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