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Recirculation temp for direct fire mash

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alexnphillips

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We've been using our direct fire mash for 6 or so brew days now and we're having trouble maintaining a good temp. The temp in the keggle will read one temp, a thermometer going through the lid will read another, and a digital ready at the top will read a another.

Right now were just using a hose for recirculating on top of the grain bed so I think we need to build a little sparge arm for next time.

I'm looking for a good way to get a temp reading coming out of this sparge arm. I was thinking that the thrumometer would work but I now see they can't go over 140 degrees. Any suggestions? Maybe a put an inline T with a thermometer in it?
 

eric19312

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I put a T on the back side of my pump and am using these from Brewhardware.

https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/cdndttc.htm
https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/pcomp1.htm

This gives me the temp of the wort coming off the flame on its way back to the top of the kettle. I run the recirc continuously during the mash and assume that the bulk of the mash will approximate that temp. In reality my guess is is it s a degree or two lower but I think consistency is more important than the actual value.
 
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alexnphillips

alexnphillips

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So you built a T in and then the digital thermometer you posted fits through that compression fitting? Sounds like a perfect solution.
 

eric19312

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Don't have close up but here is how I do it. Left to right the kettles are HLT, MLT, BK.



This is obviously in sparge mode, during mash the output from the pump is flowing back to the MLT and not to the BK. Temp is reading on outflow of the chugger. At some point I will automate this with a temp controller or PID and a solenoid valve with pilot light system on the mash tun burner but so far this is working pretty well.
 

Horseshoot

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I use the thermo compression fitting as well (in a HERMS setup.) I'm very happy with it.
 

Horseshoot

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And I agree that it is consistency that is important. I've given a great deal of thought to burner automation. But, I know that would give me at least a +/- 1 to 2 F swing. My buddy and I have the HLT/ HERMS coil tuned to the point that we can set the flame under the HLT and nail the temp for the entire mash after about 5 minutes. So, it just seems silly to move to automation.
 

jbaysurfer

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I put a T on the back side of my pump and am using these from Brewhardware.

https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/cdndttc.htm
https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/pcomp1.htm

This gives me the temp of the wort coming off the flame on its way back to the top of the kettle. I run the recirc continuously during the mash and assume that the bulk of the mash will approximate that temp. In reality my guess is is it s a degree or two lower but I think consistency is more important than the actual value.
This is what I do. (although I only recirc when adding heat and/or vorlaufing).

I try to overshoot by 2F and then shut off the gas and the pump. Recover and wrap (I built an insulating wrap for my mashtun to use when the gas is off). Usually I only have to step it up once at the 30 minute mark of the mash or so.

Edit, I just put a stainless T on the outlet of my pump with a 1/2" threaded thermometer threaded into one branch of the T. Didn't need the compression fitting, but if you ever wanted to go automated, that might be a solution that allows for it...
 

jbaysurfer

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Don't have close up but here is how I do it. Left to right the kettles are HLT, MLT, BK.



This is obviously in sparge mode, during mash the output from the pump is flowing back to the MLT and not to the BK. Temp is reading on outflow of the chugger. At some point I will automate this with a temp controller or PID and a solenoid valve with pilot light system on the mash tun burner but so far this is working pretty well.
Is your stand custom built Eric? If you bought it who made it?

(sorry for OT question)
 

Horseshoot

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For the record, my T fitting and thermometer is right where the recirculate reenters the mash tun.
 
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alexnphillips

alexnphillips

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I use the thermo compression fitting as well (in a HERMS setup.) I'm very happy with it.
You don't happen to remember where you got the compression fitting do you? I'm not finding it locally so I might order from that brewhardware site until someone has a better option.
 

eric19312

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For the record, my T fitting and thermometer is right where the recirculate reenters the mash tun.
I understand people might do this over concern about the possible drop in temperature between the pump and the return arm. I have measured the wort coming out of the return with my CDN probe thermometer and find I get the same reading as I am getting at the pump. My lines are not very long and silicon hose probably pretty good insulator so YMMV.


An advantage of having the probe immediately behind the pump like I did is it allows me to monitor temperature of whirlpool during chilling. If it was up near the MLT return I would need another way to monitor chilling.
 
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alexnphillips

alexnphillips

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Alright, I'm pulling the trigger. I think I'm going to get this digital thermometer.
 
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eric19312

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Alright, I'm pulling the trigger. I think I'm going to get this digital thermometer.
The similar CDN DTTC unit has a braided stainless steel cord on the probe. Looks like Taylor is plastic. Not sure either would survive accidentally getting blasted by a hurricane burner but I have been so happy with my other CDN probes I had to go with it.
 
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jstofer

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I run a recirculating mash. I have a thermometer on a t coming out of the tun and then I have a thermowell going into the grain bed. What I have found is there will be a temp difference between the tun and the grain bed while you are heating. When you fire your heat up, you are going to have to stir your grain bed to get consistent heat. It works well for me. Also, if you're worried about filtering after you've reached mash out temps, it's not that big off an issue. The recirculation for 10 minutes should compact the grain bed enough for a good filter
 

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