RIMS / HERMS: needed with insulated MLT?

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mwill07

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Thinking lately about upgrading my equipment. Assuming I do 10 gal batches at the most (or 5 gal of high strength) and found a 10 gal igloo cooler sufficient, is there a reason to recirculate the mash?

My understanding is that recirculating is needed for a multi-rest mash profile and/or for use with an un-insulated MLT. Is that accurate?

Ultimately, I'd like my mash process to be a little better automated. I struggle with getting my strike and sparge temps right, mostly due to a lack of precision of a propane burner and poor thermocouples.

An electric heating element controlled with a PID could really help me dial that in. IMO, adding water to the HLT, setting the desired temp and not having to monitor that would save a lot of time and frustration. There would be no circulation required, and therefore no pumps. The entire system could be gravity fed (would probably require me manually raising and lowering full vessels).

Basically, the process would work like this:

1. on brew day, fill HLT with target volume of water. Set temp to 170 or whatever the strike temp should be.

2. when temp is hit, gravity feed into MLT, doughing in at the same time. MLT is a 10 gallon igloo cooler.

3. monitor temp of MLT, adjust with infusion of boiling water or ice if necessary.

4. heat sparge water in HLT to 170, transfer into secondary igloo cooler when temp is hit. My old 5 gal igloo cooler could be used here.

5. vorlauf and lauter MLT into HLT, begin the boil using the HLT as a brew-kettle.

Thoughts? what am I missing here?

Thanks!
 
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mwill07

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so the equipment advantage here is thus:

  • only one PID
  • only one heating element
  • only one SSR
  • no pumps
  • simplified control panel
  • if I did want to upgrade to a full blown HERMS later, I'd be 1/2 way there already; scalable
 

AnOldUR

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Here's what I use. It's a $5.99 135 RPM gearmotor in a Home Depot enclosure. The paddle was made from stuff I had in the shop. The gearmotor is under powered for the job, but has worked fine for a couple of years. (Keep saying I'm going to replace it, but never get around to it.)

stirrer4.jpg
 
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mwill07

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Here's what I use. It's a $5.99 135 RPM gearmotor in a Home Depot inclosure. The paddle was made from stuff I had in the shop. The gearmotor is under powered for the job, but has worked fine for a couple of years. (Keep saying I'm going to replace it, but never get around to it.)
That's pretty cool, thanks.

Unrelated - I've been thinking about something like this to continually stir the mash without taking the lid off, to try to better regulate temp in the MLT. If the above is underpowered for water, I'm sure it would be underpowered for the mash as well, it just reminded me of that.
 

Cajun_McChicken

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I used to use a setup just like you describe above but I did it even cheaper by using only 120v and the ranco temp controller I had for my fermentation chamber. It worked great with only an occasional stir of the hlt with my big spoon.

Of corse it took an hour to heat my strike water for a 5 gallon batch (at least) but my mash temps were almost always right on.
 
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