My SS Brewtech Mash Tun Review

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beerme70

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I pulled the trigger and purchased a 20 gal mash tun from SS Brewtech, and it was one of the best purchases I've made. I dumped the digital thermometer that comes with it and used my ALLA Digital Thermometer in the thermowell with a bit of thermal grease. I lost less than half of a degree over the hour long mash of my 25 pound grain bill. The false bottom worked great. The manometer is an awesome visual tool to ensure that you don't compress your grain bed. Vorlauf-ing is simple. Cleaning it is a breeze. So, after my first batch with this tun, I have no complaints whatsoever.
 

ajr628

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Thank you for the review. I was wondering if you could use a different thermometer in the thermowell. Saving up to the pull the trigger myself.
 

dthompson79

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Can't speak for OP but in mine 25# of grain at a 1.25 qt/lb mash ratio is roughly half. I am doing a RIS 11G batch this weekend. Beersmith says it will be 19.5 ish gallons total volume with 48# of grain
 

tjosborne

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Let us know how it goes. That is exactly what I'm thinking about, 10 g stout with around 50 lbs grain.
 

MidAtlanticBrew

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I love mine, but few points to get the most out of it. It's a lot of stainless to bring to temp so be sure to up your strike temp or better yet, preheat with 170 F water.

I've mashed as little as 15 pounds of grain at 1.25 qts and your temp lost is greater at these lower masses. At grain bills similar to OP, my MT thermometer stays pegged within a degree for 1 hour on my unit. But checking around with a thermpen, the edges lose about 4 degrees while the center about 1. I'd estimate the average temp lost at 2 to 3 degrees.

My efficiencies are 85 to 88% fly sparged, with a crush that is probably a little too fine, from a particles in wort perspective, not stuck lauter. I'm at .034 or .035 on a barley crusher. With just barley malt, I think it would be difficult to get stuck

I've replaced the stock thermometer with a dial thermometer that I can calibrate. I had to enlarge the hole in the MT in order to do this.

Overall I'm sold, mostly because I like shiney though it functions well enough.

My first winter use is around the corner. I expect temperature losses to be greater. If they are not to my liking, it's insulated well enough that I think I can get away with a manual HERMS, recirculating for a few minutes mid way through the mash
 

davidgaines

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I love mine, but few points to get the most out of it. It's a lot of stainless to bring to temp so be sure to up your strike temp or better yet, preheat with 170 F water.

I've mashed as little as 15 pounds of grain at 1.25 qts and your temp lost is greater at these lower masses. At grain bills similar to OP, my MT thermometer stays pegged within a degree for 1 hour on my unit. But checking around with a thermpen, the edges lose about 4 degrees while the center about 1. I'd estimate the average temp lost at 2 to 3 degrees.

My efficiencies are 85 to 88% fly sparged, with a crush that is probably a little too fine, from a particles in wort perspective, not stuck lauter. I'm at .034 or .035 on a barley crusher. With just barley malt, I think it would be difficult to get stuck

I've replaced the stock thermometer with a dial thermometer that I can calibrate. I had to enlarge the hole in the MT in order to do this.

Overall I'm sold, mostly because I like shiney though it functions well enough.

My first winter use is around the corner. I expect temperature losses to be greater. If they are not to my liking, it's insulated well enough that I think I can get away with a manual HERMS, recirculating for a few minutes mid way through the mash
How often are you stirring? I'm wondering if more stirring would help with the temp difference at the wall versus the center?
 

wyowolf

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I pulled the trigger and purchased a 20 gal mash tun from SS Brewtech, and it was one of the best purchases I've made. I dumped the digital thermometer that comes with it and used my ALLA Digital Thermometer in the thermowell with a bit of thermal grease. I lost less than half of a degree over the hour long mash of my 25 pound grain bill. The false bottom worked great. The manometer is an awesome visual tool to ensure that you don't compress your grain bed. Vorlauf-ing is simple. Cleaning it is a breeze. So, after my first batch with this tun, I have no complaints whatsoever.
So how do you clean it? seems pretty heavy to move it...
 
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beerme70

beerme70

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So how do you clean it? seems pretty heavy to move it...
I just hose the inside with the ball valve open. The tubes for the manometer come out easily and are reinserted easily. You can turn it on it's side for a final rinse, then tip it up to drain the rest of the water.
 

wyowolf

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I just hose the inside with the ball valve open. The tubes for the manometer come out easily and are reinserted easily. You can turn it on it's side for a final rinse, then tip it up to drain the rest of the water.
sorry, I meant how do you get all the grain out? just scoup it out? or vac it out?
 
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beerme70

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I scoop it out using an empty butter tub (Country Crock :) )until I can pull out the false bottom.
 

Carlscan26

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I just hose the inside with the ball valve open. The tubes for the manometer come out easily and are reinserted easily. You can turn it on it's side for a final rinse, then tip it up to drain the rest of the water.

So is the manometer basically just two sight gauges with one above and one below the false bottom?
 

dthompson79

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Let us know how it goes. That is exactly what I'm thinking about, 10 g stout with around 50 lbs grain.
Mashed a RIS @ 1.25 qts/lb. #48.5 lbs of grain total. Recirculation was slow even with .5 lbs of rice hull, though this was expected with the depth of the grain bed. Everything went great until I wasn't paying attention to my fly sparge and the tun overflowed a little. Ended up with 14.5 G preboil in the BK @ 1.090. Estimated mash efficiency of about 70%

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augiedoggy

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So how do you clean it? seems pretty heavy to move it...
This would be the main question on my mind as well... No more just carrying it outside to dump and clean... So more containers to scoop into and clean as well as another vessel to CIP. Tradeoff I guess to not having a herms or rims to clean or maintain either..
 

dthompson79

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This would be the main question on my mind as well... No more just carrying it outside to dump and clean... So more containers to scoop into and clean as well as another vessel to CIP. Tradeoff I guess to not having a herms or rims to clean or maintain either..
I definitely wouldn't recommend trying to move this even half full of grain. you will just end up denting it or throwing out your back.

My brew day clean ups have been. Use an old pitcher to clean out spent grain into a trash can with the heavy duty contractor bags from HD as much as possible (2-3min) pull false bottom and clean and rinse in my sink (2-3 minutes), Then hose out and scrub in place letting everything wash down the output collecting in a bucket (2-3 minutes).

I could see someone fabricating some kind of hold down or cradle for a tippy dumpy set up though
 

augiedoggy

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I definitely wouldn't recommend trying to move this even half full of grain. you will just end up denting it or throwing out your back.

My brew day clean ups have been. Use an old pitcher to clean out spent grain into a trash can with the heavy duty contractor bags from HD as much as possible (2-3min) pull false bottom and clean and rinse in my sink (2-3 minutes), Then hose out and scrub in place letting everything wash down the output collecting in a bucket (2-3 minutes).

I could see someone fabricating some kind of hold down or cradle for a tippy dumpy set up though
Tippy dump of some sort is one of the options im considering for the 6 barrel electric brewery Im planning if we every find a building.
 
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beerme70

beerme70

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I definitely wouldn't recommend trying to move this even half full of grain. you will just end up denting it or throwing out your back.

My brew day clean ups have been. Use an old pitcher to clean out spent grain into a trash can with the heavy duty contractor bags from HD as much as possible (2-3min) pull false bottom and clean and rinse in my sink (2-3 minutes), Then hose out and scrub in place letting everything wash down the output collecting in a bucket (2-3 minutes).

I could see someone fabricating some kind of hold down or cradle for a tippy dumpy set up though
Like I said, an empty butter tub works great. I just scoop ot out into a bucket and dump it into my garden beds to till in later. Makes great compost.
 

MidAtlanticBrew

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not LOL, but cry out loud, for those who might try to lift the 20 gallon MT with grain in it. I use a 2.5 cup Pyrex measuring cup, google for images, to scoop into a bucket 5 gallon bucket. it's glass, but tough and I like the handle to keep my hand out of the 150F grain. Once I get down to to about a 1/2 gallon of spent grin, I lift the false bottom (FB) out and the grain seems to stay with the FB.
 

ingchr1

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So how do you clean it? seems pretty heavy to move it...
I'm doing 5 gallon batches in a 15 gallon Thermobarrel and have the same issue of weight and concern of damage during movement. So I had a bag made for it by Wilser. I pully the bag out and swing it over into a bucket. This also keeps the tun free of grain for easier cleaning and no need to move it. I electric brew in my garage.
 

augiedoggy

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not LOL, but cry out loud, for those who might try to lift the 20 gallon MT with grain in it. I use a 2.5 cup Pyrex measuring cup, google for images, to scoop into a bucket 5 gallon bucket. it's glass, but tough and I like the handle to keep my hand out of the 150F grain. Once I get down to to about a 1/2 gallon of spent grin, I lift the false bottom (FB) out and the grain seems to stay with the FB.
Ive no issues lifting and carrying my 16 gallon MT downstairs and outside and dumping directly into the compost and hosing it out? and no im not an athletic or big guy. For some the scooping and cleaning in place is a time consuming pain compared to that, for others this may already be how they do it....
I know people use all sorts of methods like vacuming it out with a shop vac (Which then needs to be cleaned and rinsed to prevent mold). I think the point is some like to weight the positives and negatives of a large insulated stainless tun to worry about moving and dinging up when full... so they might have to change what they currently find to be easier with a lighter and more durable cooler or kettle tun... I think its a valid point to bring up and recognize. Even more so if the insulation will serve no actual appreciable benefit when used in a herms or rims setup.
 

Lanky94

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Mashed a RIS @ 1.25 qts/lb. #48.5 lbs of grain total. Recirculation was slow even with .5 lbs of rice hull, though this was expected with the depth of the grain bed. Everything went great until I wasn't paying attention to my fly sparge and the tun overflowed a little. Ended up with 14.5 G preboil in the BK @ 1.090. Estimated mash efficiency of about 70%

How are you using the RIMS tube there? Looks interesting
 

dthompson79

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How are you using the RIMS tube there? Looks interesting
Recirculated the mash while holding a steady mash temp. Not necessary with this mash tun, but I was converting to an all electric set up and just added it. I can also easily do step mashes. Just finished doing one for a spelt saison today.
 

brandonnys

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I'm also using this in conjunction with a RIMS. I'm having a substantial amount of issues with trub passing from the MT to the BK. Do you have any issues with this? I'm just curious if it's an issue with my grind or just the nature of the beast.
 

dthompson79

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None carry over whatsoever, but I don't use Ss's false bottom. IMHO it was the one failing of this piece of equipment. I switched to a Blichmann FB which fits perfectly. My crush is .045 through a MM3 monster mill. My Mash eff is usually in the mid 80's for up to a 1.070 ish beer
 

brandonnys

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It seems like trub is slipping down between the silicone seal and the wall of the tun, but I'm not totally sure.

My LHBS was in the practice of double-milling all of our grain because their mill was less than great, but I recently bought an MM3 as well, so I'll just make sure to set it to .045 and test the tun again.
 

brandonnys

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Does your Blichmann FB have a seal around it as well, or did you use the SS seal? I know, at least for mine, that seal continuously wants to roll off the FB, which means anywhere from 2 to 30 attempts at putting the FB in.
 

dthompson79

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Does your Blichmann FB have a seal around it as well, or did you use the SS seal? I know, at least for mine, that seal continuously wants to roll off the FB, which means anywhere from 2 to 30 attempts at putting the FB in.

I used their seal. It fits great, possibly better. Goes on easier too since the blichmann has a smooth edge around their FB. Just spray a little diluted star san in my tun to lubricate and slide it in

Edited: pics or it didn't happen

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