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RIMS set ups ?

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slnies

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Ladies, gentlemen and fellow brewers! This thread is to explore possible RIMS set ups and there successes or failures. I am in the phase of collecting parts for a RIMS set up, and want to hear feed back from the more experienced practitioners of this semi automated medium of brewing. Please feel free to post pictures, give advice, or brag about your prize equipment. Some of my questions are as follows:

1. Will direct heating of wort in a manifold with a low density element scorch or carmelize wort if used in combination with a PID?
2. What are your preferred methods of RIMS?
3. This is not a question. Yes I like to tinker.

Thanks in advance for your time and effort. S.:)
 
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Let me also state that I have searched the web on the subject, and in general read everything I can get my greedy little paws on. And as this thread grows I will still be reading current threads elsewhere on this forum. I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression. LOL. S.
 

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I have a 2kw direct heated PID controlled RIMS about half way done. I'd say, sure you can tune a PID controlled (electrical) direct heat system to scorch a high gravity wort, but properly tuned, it shouldn't.

I picked a farly simple PID controller that has a thermocouple/resistive/alien technology temperature probe input and a SSR (solid state relay) output. It has a programmable duty cycle length that is in a range where I am pretty sure I will be able to obtain a fairly long duty cycle but that is still short enough to provide a reasonably smooth heat from the element during the duty cycle (mine is selectable between 2-250 seconds). The SSR is designed for the load and control application (it's basically a zero crossing switching SSR for resistive AC loads).

The main danger for scorching will be when doing temperature step-ups because a simple PID controller will basically just push as much energy as possible into the worth to raise the temperature to the new target. Just to be sure I won't run into that situation I choose a controller that can do temperature ramps, ie I have some control over how fast the temperature transitions will be.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

H
 
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That sounds cool. I have acquired a Watlow SD type PID. I am certain I can ramp temp.s, but I don't think I can do soak times with it. So ramping is a key. Very cool. S
 

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Here are some formulas that will help in the RIMS design:
Btu's needed for a step= Gallons x 8.35 x temperature rise (rough calc as ignored mash heating)
Btu's per minute per KW = (KW x 3413)/60
Temperature rise across heat source = Btu's minute/(Gpm x 8.35)
Step time = Btu's needed/Btu's minute

Some of the observed limits in past RIMS design have been approximately 1 Gpm flow limit through mash to limit compaction, surface temperatures of > 1kw elements with low velocity flow across element. The faster you can move the liquid past the element the lower the surface temperature will be, the less likely to have scorching. A better design would have 5+ gpm over element and 1 gpm diverted to mash circulation.
 

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Henrik said:
The main danger for scorching will be when doing temperature step-ups because a simple PID controller will basically just push as much energy as possible into the worth to raise the temperature to the new target. Just to be sure I won't run into that situation I choose a controller that can do temperature ramps, ie I have some control over how fast the temperature transitions will be.
Nah, you can 'detune' a pid for slow reactions. Moderate porportion, low integral, low derivative. Ought to make for a nice slow curve with little overshoot.
 
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kladue said:
Here are some formulas that will help in the RIMS design:
Btu's needed for a step= Gallons x 8.35 x temperature rise (rough calc as ignored mash heating)
Btu's per minute per KW = (KW x 3413)/60
Temperature rise across heat source = Btu's minute/(Gpm x 8.35)
Step time = Btu's needed/Btu's minute

Some of the observed limits in past RIMS design have been approximately 1 Gpm flow limit through mash to limit compaction, surface temperatures of > 1kw elements with low velocity flow across element. The faster you can move the liquid past the element the lower the surface temperature will be, the less likely to have scorching. A better design would have 5+ gpm over element and 1 gpm diverted to mash circulation.
Would this still be true if you were under powering the element, so that your total wattage would be some fraction of its total, if it were fully powered? I am just thinking that the intensity of heat would also be a fraction. I realize that then my heating efficiency would go down in temp. rise/time, but would that work, or would the surface temperature of the element be the same no matter what? Thanks for the Calc.'s those will be helpful. S,
 

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slnies said:
Would this still be true if you were under powering the element, so that your total wattage would be some fraction of its total, if it were fully powered?
Yes, Wattage is just the amount of energy being used by the element. just about 100% of that energy is being directly converted to heat.
 
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I think I may have answered my own question. According to Kladue's calc.s BTU's are a function of wattage. So a 3500w element at 220v would produce 199.03 BTU's per minute, and the same element powered at 120v would have a wattage of 1056w, so now the BTU's per minute would be 60.1. If I am using this calculation correctly, that would mean that the surface heat is not as intense at a lower wattage. So maybe the element has the ability to get to the same surface temperature, but it will not be able as fast. This would also mean that your flow rate would not have to be as much either. Does this sound correct? S.
 

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The trick we worked out over a decade ago was to put a tee in the pump suction and after the heating chamber with a ball valve to control flow. In operation you adjusted bypass valve closed until the flow to the sparge ring in the mashtun was adequate. This greatly increased the flow through the chamber and reduced the surface temperature on the element, but required user adjustment at startup. The traditional method of all flow through the chamber with no bypass is what everyone seems to use as it is tamper proof. The biggest problem with the RIMS system is need to keep wattage/element surface temp down which makes it difficult to make protien-conversion steps in a reasonable time, hence burners under the mashtun for direct fire.
 
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kladue said:
The biggest problem with the RIMS system is need to keep wattage/element surface temp down which makes it difficult to make protien-conversion steps in a reasonable time, hence burners under the mashtun for direct fire.
What is considered a reasonable time to go from protein rest to starch conversion temps? I guess I have never considered that variable. I step mash with either decoction or the addition of more water right now, so the temperature change is more or less automatic. S.
 

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Nah, you can 'detune' a pid for slow reactions. Moderate porportion, low integral, low derivative. Ought to make for a nice slow curve with little overshoot.
Ah yes, that's true -you'll be able to get away with that.

Not that I know if it matters in this application, but a controller with setpoint ramping will be a lot easier to tune and it'll be able to do faster, more accurate transitions with less overshoot than with a undertuned stepped setpoint PID.

H
 

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Currently using 10 minutes @ 130 F for beta glucan rest for wheat beers, then it takes about 10-11 minutes to raise mash to 154 F. With steam injection to the circulating wort, the wort temperature leaving the mixer is maintained at 154 F from the start of the step heating cycle.
 
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kladue said:
Currently using 10 minutes @ 130 F for beta glucan rest for wheat beers, then it takes about 10-11 minutes to raise mash to 154 F. With steam injection to the circulating wort, the wort temperature leaving the mixer is maintained at 154 F from the start of the step heating cycle.
Do you have pictures of your set up, or are they posted some where on the site. I am interested to see another steam set up. Yuri's is nice but I would like to see another version. I am pretty steam illiterate. S.
 

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Here is a picture of the old system http://picasaweb.google.com/kevin.ladue/OldBrewingSystem, water tank on ground left, mash tun and CFC on left, boil pot on right, boiler and pumps behind, water control panel middle, control panel and temperature indicators on top. Entire system can be dissasembled with a 6" crescent wrench in 10 minutes and hung on garage wall.
 
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kladue said:
Here is a picture of the old system http://picasaweb.google.com/kevin.ladue/OldBrewingSystem, water tank on ground left, mash tun and CFC on left, boil pot on right, boiler and pumps behind, water control panel middle, control panel and temperature indicators on top. Entire system can be dissasembled with a 6" crescent wrench in 10 minutes and hung on garage wall.
That is quit the system. I take it, it worked well. Did you build other systems before getting to steam, or was that the first? I looks pretty cool. How many gallons? I like the fast take down aspect. Is the new system steam as well? I am sorry i have a lot of questions, but you have to admit that was a nice bit of technical know how. S
 
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So Kladue, you have been working with steam for some 30+ years, this explains your love of steam. I was boning up on steam infusion tonight and read through a couple of threads. There is a lot of information to sift through. However, I do like what I am seeing. I am trying to find something I can transport easily and use indoors with out blowing my home to kingdom come. So I like the electric route. I have a 22qt pressure canner, do you think this would be sufficient for a trial run in a five gallon rubbermaid mash tun? I am looking at a five gallon batch and 10 to 11 pounds of grain. Fairly average by all accounts. Let me know. In the mean time I am going to sift through some of those calculations in Brewman's threads and see if I can understand how to apply them. Thanks. S.
 

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I started out with a 5 gallon gott cooler with a screened outlet, 5 gallon bucket as hlt, a 7-1/2 enamelware pot for full boils, and a 20' 3/8 ss tube cfc. Went from gott cooler to ss pot with false bottom and ss pot for boil, built stand and burners in picture. Last step in that system was to build a boiler out of 1/4" ss tube to heat strike/sparge water and generate steam, and add wort circulation pump and water pump to feed boiler. Steam mixer is the cluster of 1/2" swagelok fittings on backside of panel, wort flows over1/4"od ss screen wire and steam passes through screen which lets steam mix quietly. You could use same mixer with a pressure cooker with a needle valve in steam flow to inside of screen to get same results. Have helped others do the steam into mash efforts about a dozen years ago with the same results that the others are finding out now. Copied the industrial starch cooking process that does not require mechanical effort and runs on a continous basis rather than a batch process in an effort to get repeatable results.
 
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Let me see if I have your concept here. I was looking at the photo of your boil kettle and I did not see a manifold so I am thinking that the screen needle valve combo must be the tube that sticks out into the center from the left side of the photo? Not to sound stupid, but what exactly does the needle valve at the screen do. Does this disburse the steam into the tube more evenly or is it more of a control valve? Or am I way off base and it is somewhere else completely? S.
 

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Here is a different set of pictures of the old system showing the mixing manifold and boiler components. http://picasaweb.google.com/kevin.ladue/SteamRimsBrewingEquipment/photo#5042307368146252114
The mixer manifold is the combination of tee's with temperature probe wire in the end connection and the 3/8" tubing in the top. Steam enters on right side, wort in middle, heated wort out left side tube. In the picture of the front of the control panel are the flow meters showing water flow to boiler and wort flow through pump wwith boiler water and gas flow needle valves below flow meters.
 
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So the steam infusion is happening out side of the mash tun up on the control panel. That was unexpected. That is very cool. So the steam is fed straight to the manifold and injected there? I like that, a lot. Now looking at the pic. do you also do the same thing with the boil kettle, or is that best done the old fashion way? S.
 

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The boiler output is fed through the mixer and then to the sparge ring in the mash tun without any valving to cause back pressure so it wont blow up, the only valving in the heater system is water flow to boiler and wort flow to mixer from pump. With the boiler you start out with a higher water flow rate and control gas to burner to heat strike water from tap water temp to 165 F. at about a 20 GPH flow rate. When you need to generate steam you reduce water flow to 2 GPH and control gas to burner for temperature control. When you reach sparge stage you turn up water flow to match flow of wort into boil kettle and control gas to boiler to maintain 175 F. to mash tun. Boil kettle has it's own burner because boiler output is roughly equal to 6 KW at max firing rate, and the home made burner under boil pot is 100+k btu's. With all needed water in water tank you use water until gone during brewing without having to worry about final volume in boil. Boiler only holds a couple of ounces of water so response to flow and heat are quick, you can raise steam in under 60 seconds from cold start. For clean up you only have sparge and drain connections on mash tun, and fill and drain connections on boil kettle to disconnect, the mixer is self cleaning during sparge cycle.
 
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So the steam just feeds straight to the manifold and when the wort isn't flowing it just comes out the sparge ring. Then when you need heat in the tun, wort flow through the mixer starts, and the wort is infused with said steam. So if I wasn't concerned about start up time, I could build an electric boiler with a good water volume and control heating it with something like a love temp control or a PID and then pipe that to a mixer and in the same fashion infuse wort, controling the wort temp through a solinoid valve and another temp control. This being the mostly automatic unit. I could also do the same thing mostly manualy. I think I would automate part of it anyway. Mostly because I have some of the controls already. I think your manifold idea is pretty slick. Now you were talking about a needle valve and a ss screen in one of your posts, is that for a "straight canner to mashtun" design, and the needle valve is just the control for the ss screen? S.
 

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You will need to use a needle valve or small globe valve to control amount of steam entering mixer, and will have to adjust flow downward as wort temperature coming to mixer rises. It might be possible to use a PID controller and solenoid valve and pulse the steam flow to control heating by longer/shorter on cycles for solenoid, i have not gone that route so i dont have test results to share. I will disassemble the mixer tees this weekend and post photo's if you need a better understanding of the parts.
 
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kladue said:
You will need to use a needle valve or small globe valve to control amount of steam entering mixer, and will have to adjust flow downward as wort temperature coming to mixer rises. It might be possible to use a PID controller and solenoid valve and pulse the steam flow to control heating by longer/shorter on cycles for solenoid, i have not gone that route so i dont have test results to share. I will disassemble the mixer tees this weekend and post photo's if you need a better understanding of the parts.

That would be excellent. Please post the pictures. Thank you ahead of time. I am not familiar with parts used in steam. So I will take all the examples I can get. I realize some of this is invention, I just need a little direction so I don't accidently create a bomb. I am good with electrical stuff as this is my stock in trade, but some thing are best researched first. So thank you for letting me pick your brain. The info is great. One of my Navy buddies is also becoming very interested in the concept. So this may end up being a two-for deal. We will see. I think mine will end up being a prototype. S.
 

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Hi, I just picked up on this thread, so apologies for barging in.
I built my RIMS a couple of years ago, and it uses most of the concepts that a lot of other folks have done before.
Rather than get into a lengthy narrative on my set up, I thought I would post some pictures of the MLT, pump, inline heater, controller, false bottom, and manifold.



I had fun building it and have been happy with it's performance.

http://s200.photobucket.com/pbwidge...com/albums/aa97/processhead/RIMS/919fe2cc.pbw
 

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kladue said:
Here is a picture of the steam/wort mixer for the new automated system, steam enters through check valve on right and exits through screen mounted on 1/4" tube. Wort enters from right hand tee and flows over screen and through 1/2" teflon tubing then to left hand tee with thermocouple in top connection. here is disassembled mixer http://picasaweb.google.com/kevin.ladue/NewSystemSteamMixer/photo#5156297767550785986
That rocks! What material is the tubing? Where did you get the fittings? One more question; did you make the screen mechanism? That is a compact little set up. I lied I have one more question. The RTD I am assuming that it is hooked up to temp control; are you controlling the circulation motor? Wow. That sure is pretty. S
 
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processhead said:
Hi, I just picked up on this thread, so apologies for barging in.
I built my RIMS a couple of years ago, and it uses most of the concepts that a lot of other folks have done before.
Rather than get into a lengthy narrative on my set up, I thought I would post some pictures of the MLT, pump, inline heater, controller, false bottom, and manifold.



I had fun building it and have been happy with it's performance.

http://s200.photobucket.com/pbwidge...com/albums/aa97/processhead/RIMS/919fe2cc.pbw

Thank you for posting your set up. I set the thread up for anyone with a RIMS to post, so don't feel like you are intruding. Since you were nice enough to show off your pride and joy, I have couple of questions for you.
1. How long does it take you to get from one step tmp to the next?
2. Do you have any problems with carmelization of the wort?
3. What does your typical brewday look like?
4. What wattage element are you using?

By the way, nice set up. You executed an organized lay out. I am not surprised that it works well for you. S.
 

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The steam mixer screen was rolled around a 5/32 welding rod and silver soldered to a 1/4" SS tube. The tube fittings are all swagelok leftovers from various jobs that i have done, typically go through $50K-$100K swagelok and tubing a year on projects so there is plenty of leftovers. Control of the new system will be a bit more complicated than a single controller as PLC hardware will control everything but hop addition to boil kettle. Here is a few pictures of panels and components in construction phase http://picasaweb.google.com/kevin.ladue/Phase2BrewingPanel/photo#5144799706307697042
 
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I'm thinking that a six inch cresent wrench, 10 min, and some labor, does not disassemlbe that rig for storage on the garage wall. That looks like a two case operation just for the first few hours of set up. How long before you are programed and brewing? S.

Very Nice!!
 

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Have to finish the inside of the new 8' x 16' building for my brewery before installing the equipment. Hope to build and test larger boiler this weekend to see how fast it will heat strike water from 50F to 165F, old boiler was capable of 22GPH (.3 GPM). Programming is just beginning with a donated software package (Delphi) which includes programming help, should be able to complete in a weekend session. Currently am able to control equipment for checkout with a utility program from Opto 22 over ethernet connection to rs422 interface with plc boards.
 

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Here's my HERMS set-up - just to give you some ideas: (link).

I hope I can explain it properly... I use a PID to control a bucket heater that is placed in the middle of a round cooler (blue cooler in picture). The HERMS coil also sits in the cooler. I have the thermocouple (blue wire) on the exit of the coil using a "T". Last, I use an aquarium pump to bubble air from the bottom to keep the water moving around.

I built the system more to maintain mash temps and make small adjustments. I can increase the mash temps about 1 degree every 3 minutes (guesstimage) - so again, works well for maintaining temps. I've brewed 15 batches with it and it works great.

Edit: here's a better picture.
 
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caskconditioned said:
Here's my HERMS set-up - just to give you some ideas: (link).

I hope I can explain it properly... I use a PID to control a bucket heater that is placed in the middle of a round cooler (blue cooler in picture). The HERMS coil also sits in the cooler. I have the thermocouple (blue wire) on the exit of the coil using a "T". Last, I use an aquarium pump to bubble air from the bottom to keep the water moving around.

I built the system more to maintain mash temps and make small adjustments. I can increase the mash temps about 1 degree every 3 minutes (guesstimage) - so again, works well for maintaining temps. I've brewed 15 batches with it and it works great.

Edit: here's a better picture.
So do you direct fire then, to go from step to step, add boiling water, or decoct?

Nice set up by the way. I like the stand. I don't know that I will go that big for this system yet, but it is on the wish list to find some 15.5 gallon keggles for the future. S
 
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kladue said:
Have to finish the inside of the new 8' x 16' building for my brewery before installing the equipment. Hope to build and test larger boiler this weekend to see how fast it will heat strike water from 50F to 165F, old boiler was capable of 22GPH (.3 GPM). Programming is just beginning with a donated software package (Delphi) which includes programming help, should be able to complete in a weekend session. Currently am able to control equipment for checkout with a utility program from Opto 22 over ethernet connection to rs422 interface with plc boards.
That my freind is very cool. So what is the base plan for set ups operation? Is this everything is automated except the hops addtion, or are you still keeping some aspects for yourself? I am excited to here how well everything works when you finish. S.
 

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Plan is to measure grain bill, dump in hopper of auger that feeds mill above mash tun, input quantities and schedule on computer, place sanitized carboy at chilled wort connection and add hops as needed during boil. All the water, wort, combustion, and temperature control aspects are automated. Wort chilling will be from the glycol cooling system used to individualy cool carboys on shelving instead of in refrigerator in phase 3 of system development. Glycol cooling is by two remote water fountain cooling units circulated through a 50L keg . I have the hardware just need time to assemble everything and put it into service. Here is a picture of the planned layout in new brew house http://picasaweb.google.com/kevin.ladue/NewBrewHouse/photo#5156529047244708322
 

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slnies said:
So do you direct fire then, to go from step to step, add boiling water, or decoct?
I only brew ales using well modified malt, so step mashes were not a design requirement when I put the HERMS together. I don't even worry about mashing-out. I just sparge with 170F water. However, if I do in the future I would probably go with decoction mashing and/or add another burner to do direct heat. Since it's constantly recirculating, I don't think having a low flame would scorch the wort.
 

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slnies said:
Thank you for posting your set up. I set the thread up for anyone with a RIMS to post, so don't feel like you are intruding. Since you were nice enough to show off your pride and joy, I have couple of questions for you.
1. How long does it take you to get from one step tmp to the next?
2. Do you have any problems with carmelization of the wort?
3. What does your typical brewday look like?
4. What wattage element are you using?

By the way, nice set up. You executed an organized lay out. I am not surprised that it works well for you. S.
1) When I step mash my 5 gallon batches using a 9-10 lb. grain bill, it takes 10 minutes to go from 130 degree protein rest to the 150 degree sacrification rest. I raise the mash up to 168 degrees at mash out and that takes right at 10 minutes as well.
So the temperature rise-time is right around 2 degrees per minute across the scale.

2) I have done some very pale wheat beers and pilsners and have not experienced carmalization. My heater element is one of the 220 volt, 4500 watt folded elements and I operate it on 120 volts like a lot of the references recommend. I think the low heat density concept helps avoid carmalization.

I also have my heating element circuit interlocked to the circulating pump, so I don't accidently over-heat any wort that is not being recirculated through the system.

My typical brew day looks like a big mess... just kidding.

My typical brew day starts with a hot cup of coffee to get me motivated enough to grind my grain. Actually, I rigged up my corona mill to my Milwaukee drill recently to take the hard work out of grinding the grist.

I also have filled the MLT with water and have it set to heat up to my brewing liquor to the desired strike temperature.

By the time I am done grinding and have finished my coffee, I am ready to mash in.

Depending on the style, mashing will take from 60 to 90 minutes.

While I am mashing grain, I have my sparge water heating on a propane burner set up on the work bench to the left of the MLT that you saw in the photo.

At the end of the mash, I ramp up the setpoint to mash out temperature and begin sparging. It was not pictured, but my sparge arm is just a 1/4 inch copper tubing ring with holes drilled in that just sits on top of the grist in the MLT.

I am pretty conservative with my run-off time and don't push it too fast, 45-60 minutes tops.

I runoff directly into my keggle which is sitting on the floor below the MLT. Then I hoist the keggle up on to another raised burner for the boil.

I drain off the wort at the end of a 60-90 min. boil through a home-made CFC into a 1/4 barrel keg that I use for a fermenter.
After aeration and pitching yeast, I tear everythingdown and do the dishes.

If I start at 7 am I can have everything cleaned and stowed by 1pm.

Thanks for your kind words regarding my system. As I said, it is one of the more fun and rewarding projects I have undertaken over the years.
 
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slnies

slnies

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kladue said:
Wait until you try a 60% wheat weizinbock recipe with an OG of 1.060+ and have a stuck mash, 130 F protien rest works wonders for this problem.
You speak like a man who has had this trouble. Thanks for the tip. I did my last protein rest at 122 F and I now wish I would have experimented at a higher temp. Thanks for the tip. S.
 
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