stainless steel mash tuns

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Oventoasted

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i want to know anyone else experience with them and hopefully take away some tips.

so, i bought one of those spike brewing kettles with the false bottom and all the other bells and whistles. used it for a few brews and i love the thing but im having trouble with temp control.

unlike my old 7 gal igloo cooler im not just pouring 165ºf into it and then pouring in my grains. since it isnt insulated (yet) the temp will slowly die off and i just add a little heat to bring it back up... or so i thought that was what i was doing!

little did i know the temp near the outside of the kettle was almost 20ºf lower then the center of the kettle!:mad: so, when i read my temp was 148 and dropping my center temp was still at 168 and rising when i put the burner on. i always stirred the mash when i put on heat but, when using another thermometer for the center of the kettle no matter how much i stirred i couldn't evenly distribute the heat!

it was like a battle today between the two thermometers (which i tested both at boiling before using). the cool outside of the pot temp vs the molten hot center.

please tell me im just being paranoid with my temps or there is an easier way to manage them. hate to think i made a poor investment in a stainless steel mash tun cuz i really like it.

also i ended up with a stuck sparge to top it all off, haha.
 

blizz81

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I noticed quite a bit of stratification in temps between the outside walls of my keggle and the inside portions of the mash when I did a benchmarking, pre-recirculation run. This was with a 3-layer reflectix jacket. I think that's the nature of stainless.


I would think if you stirred well enough you might be able to avoid the stratification part, but would have to kind of dial that in as to strike temps, and with enough stirring / having the vessel open, you're going to lose some temp. There's always RIMS, HERMS, and potentially direct fire as temp-maintaining options.


Why did you ditch the cooler?
 
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Oventoasted

Oventoasted

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I noticed quite a bit of stratification in temps between the outside walls of my keggle and the inside portions of the mash when I did a benchmarking, pre-recirculation run. This was with a 3-layer reflectix jacket. I think that's the nature of stainless.


I would think if you stirred well enough you might be able to avoid the stratification part, but would have to kind of dial that in as to strike temps, and with enough stirring / having the vessel open, you're going to lose some temp. There's always RIMS, HERMS, and potentially direct fire as temp-maintaining options.


Why did you ditch the cooler?
well i ditched it cuz i could never reach a mashout temps with it due to its size but instead of getting a larger cooler i just thought to myself "hey, why not get a stainless steel mash tun and you will have complete control of your temps at all times by using the burner!".

im thinking if i got some insulation around the sides it may help a lot but im not sure at this point. its a really nice pot.
 

madscientist451

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well i ditched it cuz i could never reach a mashout temps with it due to its size but instead of getting a larger cooler i just thought to myself "hey, why not get a stainless steel mash tun and you will have complete control of your temps at all times by using the burner!".

im thinking if i got some insulation around the sides it may help a lot but im not sure at this point. its a really nice pot.
I don't understand what the size of the cooler has to do with reaching a mashout temperature? The easiest thing to do is use the stainless steel kettle as a kettle and go back to the cooler as a mash tun. Put a BIAB bag in the cooler and if you ever have a stuck sparge just pull up on the bag a little bit. Using bottom heat for maintaining an even mash temperature in a metal vessel just isn't going to work, unless you stir a lot and/or recirculate. I like adding my strike water and grain to my cooler, add a layer of foil to the top of the grain/water, putting the lid on then go do something else for an hour.
 
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Oventoasted

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I don't understand what the size of the cooler has to do with reaching a mashout temperature? The easiest thing to do is use the stainless steel kettle as a kettle and go back to the cooler as a mash tun. Put a BIAB bag in the cooler and if you ever have a stuck sparge just pull up on the bag a little bit. Using bottom heat for maintaining an even mash temperature in a metal vessel just isn't going to work, unless you stir a lot and/or recirculate. I like adding my strike water and grain to my cooler, add a layer of foil to the top of the grain/water, putting the lid on then go do something else for an hour.
i may still try to work it out before i say i blew $300 for nothing. but with the 7 gal mash tun i could only get to 165ºf tops before i ran out of space for mash out. and that was me adding boiling water to the mash tun. real pain im my ass. but honestly even with the new stainless mash tun i still dont mash out cuz i keep forgetting and go right to lautering and sparging.

all of my beers except my first have come out great. all big hits among my friends.
 

blizz81

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I don't know how I totally spaced the fact that yes, you are direct-fire heating.


Yeah, you could consider recirculating. Or just stirring. Should be able to manage something, although it might be more of a manual effort with direct fire and stirring, esp with a false bottom keeping you from being able to directly mix the part closest to the flame. Though if your only problem with the cooler was not being able to mash out, I'da prolly stuck with that guy.
 

griffi

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It's a really nice piece of gear so don't get disappointed- I'm right there with you. I think you have to recirc if you want to direct fire your tun. I've done one batch with mine but it was the first time I'd done a step mash and it was a little stressful but I think once I get used to it it'll be great.
 

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