Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: klickitat jim on November 05, 2013, 09:32:54 PM

Title: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: klickitat jim on November 05, 2013, 09:32:54 PM
I'm still considering getting rid of my little 3/8"x25' IC and stepping up to the 1/2"x50' with whirlpool and March pump. I'm wondering about making that pump serve more purposes. What are the benefits of a direct heat recirculation mash tun compared to just old fashioned mashing?
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: thebigbaker on November 05, 2013, 10:02:27 PM
Jim, you and I seem to be on the same path in our brewing "careers".  Every time you post about moving your process in a certain direction, I always seem to be thinking the same thing!

I'm by far and expert on this subject, but from what I gathered, recirculating mashes allow mash temp to be dialed in and controlled easier, can make a clearer wort, better heat distribution throughout the wort and easier to do multi-step mashes. 

I'm just now looking into it and this it what I gathered from people I know that brew on RIMS systems.  Just this weekend I was at my LHBS for learn to brew day and they were brewing w/ a Blichmann Tower of Power.  It was their first time using this device to control the recirculating mash w/ direct fire and they said it was the easiest brew session they've ever had...although that Tower of Power is not cheap.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: klickitat jim on November 05, 2013, 11:09:15 PM
Right on. I'm not sure I'll ever get into automation. But I mash in a stainless 8gal or 14 gal tun. If I had a March pump already, it wouldn't be much of a leap to DHRM.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: thebigbaker on November 05, 2013, 11:38:44 PM
Sounds like you may have everything you need. IIRC, I think you had a two burner set up in one of your pics.  I only have one burner and a second one would come in real handy if I went direct fire controlled. 

Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: klickitat jim on November 05, 2013, 11:57:25 PM
Yup two burner. Ought to be enough cuz I batch sparge. But if I wanted to eliminate lifting it would take 3
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: factory on November 06, 2013, 02:30:39 PM
I have a Blichmann Top Tier system, but no Tower of Power.  I still recirculate and jockey the burner manually.  It's relatively easy to do and I can maintin the mash temp to within 1 or 2 degrees.  It makes a big difference for me in wort clarity.  Plus, I can do a step mash and keep the temps evenly distributed throughout the mash.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: denny on November 06, 2013, 04:22:00 PM
I'm still considering getting rid of my little 3/8"x25' IC and stepping up to the 1/2"x50' with whirlpool and March pump. I'm wondering about making that pump serve more purposes. What are the benefits of a direct heat recirculation mash tun compared to just old fashioned mashing?

None that I've found.  You can do a step mash more easily, but I have trouble calling that a "benefit" since I've found it makes little to no difference.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: micsager on November 06, 2013, 04:42:25 PM
I'm still considering getting rid of my little 3/8"x25' IC and stepping up to the 1/2"x50' with whirlpool and March pump. I'm wondering about making that pump serve more purposes. What are the benefits of a direct heat recirculation mash tun compared to just old fashioned mashing?

None that I've found.  You can do a step mash more easily, but I have trouble calling that a "benefit" since I've found it makes little to no difference.

When I first started all grain, I had a home made RIMS system.  And I liked it.  I built a flat system and needed two pumps to do all the transfers.  I got sick of the pumps, and got the Top Tier.  Stopped the RIMS, and even took Denny's advice on batch sparging.  And that's the system we went pro with.  However, we recently upgrading to a 1bbl system, with five 1bbl fermenters.  And, another recent change was the purchase of the Tower of Power.  I've only done three beers with it so far, but the first one was our flagship brand (an Amber) As Denny states, not all that much different.  The beer is a little more clear, but until I get good repeatable results, who knows what the reason for that was. 

Our main reason in going back to RIMS is better temperature control.  For us, it helps.  And since you can't use the Top Tier with 55 gallon pots, we had to go with a pump anyway. 
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: klickitat jim on November 06, 2013, 05:10:08 PM
Ya, I didn't think it would make much difference especially in five or ten gallon batches. Once I get my recirculation chill setup, I might recirculate my mash on really cold days when it hard to maintain temps but not routinely.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: denny on November 06, 2013, 05:53:26 PM
Ya, I didn't think it would make much difference especially in five or ten gallon batches. Once I get my recirculation chill setup, I might recirculate my mash on really cold days when it hard to maintain temps but not routinely.

Or you could use a cooler for a mash tun.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: Alewyfe on November 06, 2013, 05:56:18 PM
FWIW. I batch sparge, but since I started using a pump for chilling, I also use it to recirculate the mash, both 1st and 2nd runnings. I'll maybe recirculate for the last 10 min. of the initial mash and then for about 10 on the sparge. No heat, just wort recirc. Result was of course clearer wort, but also increased efficiency by 3%.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: denny on November 06, 2013, 06:33:53 PM
FWIW. I batch sparge, but since I started using a pump for chilling, I also use it to recirculate the mash, both 1st and 2nd runnings. I'll maybe recirculate for the last 10 min. of the initial mash and then for about 10 on the sparge. No heat, just wort recirc. Result was of course clearer wort, but also increased efficiency by 3%.

I tried it for a while, but I didn't see any change in efficiency on my system.  And although I got clearer wort, it didn't make for clearer beer.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: Alewyfe on November 06, 2013, 06:59:41 PM
It would be hard for you, Denny, to increase efficiency. Where does one go from 100%? ;)

Agreed on the clearer wort, but not clearer beer. When I have to recirc through the chiller because the river is too warm I actually end up with very turbid liquid to the fermenter. Simply can't keep a lot of the trub from getting homogenized in the process.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on November 06, 2013, 07:36:32 PM
I went to the larger IC and pump recirc a few years ago. It cut my chilling time in (at least) half. I was dirt poor when I made the change, otherwise I would've went with a pump, hop rocket, therminator.

I also use the pump to transfer from mash tun to kettle so I don't have to rig up a gravity flow - a huge improvement from the previous setup (lifting a heavy mash tun and setting it on a cheap fold-up table).
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: klickitat jim on November 06, 2013, 07:41:38 PM
That's the part I was certainly going to do. Get rid of lifting the boil kettle that way. Quick disconnects, so why not?

I guess once I scrape up the money I'll just have to give it a shot and see.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on November 06, 2013, 07:47:10 PM
http://www.bargainfittings.com/

GREAT deals on fittings, QDs, tubing, etc. etc. Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: klickitat jim on November 06, 2013, 08:16:22 PM
Thanks!
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: Jeff M on November 07, 2013, 12:55:51 PM
Maybe you should contact a club that is near your area and ask them if anyone has the system you are thinking about that would mind walking you threw a brewday.  at least it will dispel some of your fears, and you just might get a few homebrews of a style you dont brew yourself while hanging out:)
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: Jimmy K on November 07, 2013, 02:40:13 PM
Even without a RIMS or something, you can transfer liquids without needing height, so vessels can be lower. Less lifting, easier stirring, etc.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: AleForce on November 07, 2013, 02:44:08 PM
I'm still considering getting rid of my little 3/8"x25' IC and stepping up to the 1/2"x50' with whirlpool and March pump. I'm wondering about making that pump serve more purposes. What are the benefits of a direct heat recirculation mash tun compared to just old fashioned mashing?

You could introduce a RIMS module into your system, like one from Glacier Tanks http://www.glaciertanks.com/TriClamp_Product_304_316-Rims_Tube_Kit.html (http://www.glaciertanks.com/TriClamp_Product_304_316-Rims_Tube_Kit.html) .  Put the march pump between the RIMS module and mashtun spigot.  Put in a hot water heating element into the RIMS module, and control the temp in the RIMS module using a Johnson Digital controller.  With the pump on and the johnson controller turning on/off with your temps dialed in, you can recirculate your wort and keep the mashtun heated.   I've been using a BCS 460 system for over 3 years, but before I had that I used a RIMS module w/temp controlled by a johnson controller.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: klickitat jim on November 07, 2013, 04:07:17 PM
Maybe you should contact a club that is near your area and ask them if anyone has the system you are thinking about that would mind walking you threw a brewday.  at least it will dispel some of your fears, and you just might get a few homebrews of a style you dont brew yourself while hanging out:)

Great idea but the nearest club is an hour away. I don't think its very active anymore.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: klickitat jim on November 07, 2013, 04:16:38 PM
I'm still considering getting rid of my little 3/8"x25' IC and stepping up to the 1/2"x50' with whirlpool and March pump. I'm wondering about making that pump serve more purposes. What are the benefits of a direct heat recirculation mash tun compared to just old fashioned mashing?

You could introduce a RIMS module into your system, like one from Glacier Tanks http://www.glaciertanks.com/TriClamp_Product_304_316-Rims_Tube_Kit.html (http://www.glaciertanks.com/TriClamp_Product_304_316-Rims_Tube_Kit.html) .  Put the march pump between the RIMS module and mashtun spigot.  Put in a hot water heating element into the RIMS module, and control the temp in the RIMS module using a Johnson Digital controller.  With the pump on and the johnson controller turning on/off with your temps dialed in, you can recirculate your wort and keep the mashtun heated.   I've been using a BCS 460 system for over 3 years, but before I had that I used a RIMS module w/temp controlled by a johnson controller.

This might be in the distant future. Especially if I went to 10-15 gallon batches. Some day around retirement I might build a shop dedicated to brewing and a fixed somewhat automated system would be fun.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: AleForce on November 07, 2013, 04:56:23 PM
You could also use a bucket heater http://morebeer.com/ct/?idx=1500723&i=28584&u=/products/electric-heater-1000w.html (http://morebeer.com/ct/?idx=1500723&i=28584&u=/products/electric-heater-1000w.html) in your mashtun - of course hooked up to something like a Johnson controller and use your pump to recirculate...  The bucket heater can get a bit messy - especially compared to using a RIMS module which is much easier to clean.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: micsager on November 07, 2013, 05:09:42 PM
Maybe you should contact a club that is near your area and ask them if anyone has the system you are thinking about that would mind walking you threw a brewday.  at least it will dispel some of your fears, and you just might get a few homebrews of a style you dont brew yourself while hanging out:)

Great idea but the nearest club is an hour away. I don't think its very active anymore.

Well Jim, if you ever get to Port Angeles, I'll have a cold one for you. 
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: tschmidlin on November 07, 2013, 05:10:51 PM
Maybe you should contact a club that is near your area and ask them if anyone has the system you are thinking about that would mind walking you threw a brewday.  at least it will dispel some of your fears, and you just might get a few homebrews of a style you dont brew yourself while hanging out:)

Great idea but the nearest club is an hour away. I don't think its very active anymore.
Are you talking about the Yakima club or Brewer's of the Gorge (BOG)?  I know some of the BOG guys live in White Salmon and Bingen, that is a lot closer than Yakima.  Then again some of the Yakima folks may live closer to you, who knows how far they travel for meetings.

Here is some info for BOG
http://www.wahomebrewers.org/community/105?task=view
Here is a link to the Yakima club
http://www.wahomebrewers.org/community/115?task=view

Either way, I think it is worth getting in touch with a club.  Even if they are too far to visit on a regular basis, they may know someone closer to you.  You're about 4 hours for me though . . .
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: ibru on November 07, 2013, 05:30:03 PM
Jim,
I sent you a PM.

Bruce
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: klickitat jim on November 07, 2013, 05:44:30 PM
Thanks a ton guys. Next year might provide a few opportunities to visit a club function. Part of the problem is distance, the other is schedule. I rotate day swing and night, and it's been over a year since I've had weekends off.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: thatgeekguy on November 07, 2013, 07:25:20 PM
Here's a picture of my recently built recirc system, awaiting its maiden voyage. It's basically a clone of the plumbing portion of the Blichmann ToP, I'll add the Blichmann controller somewhere down the road for hands-off burner control and programmable mash schedules.

(http://i1079.photobucket.com/albums/w511/ThatGeekGuy/20130928_212504.jpg)
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: klickitat jim on November 07, 2013, 08:38:29 PM
Wow!  I'll have to start with whirlpool IC first and probably use the pump for vorlauf and wort transfer, but I think RIMS is a couple years out for me.
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: thebigbaker on November 07, 2013, 08:42:54 PM

Here's a picture of my recently built recirc system, awaiting its maiden voyage. It's basically a clone of the plumbing portion of the Blichmann ToP, I'll add the Blichmann controller somewhere down the road for hands-off burner control and programmable mash schedules.

(http://i1079.photobucket.com/albums/w511/ThatGeekGuy/20130928_212504.jpg)

Wow, looks great!  May I ask how much you spent to put this plumbing together and do you have a parts list ?
Title: Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
Post by: Jeff M on November 08, 2013, 12:09:52 AM
Im currently in the process of building http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/ system.  man i cant wait to have a nice control system for repeatable testing on beers.  its gonna be great!  If you are ever in MA jim and i have my setup up and running you are more then welcome. im about 20min north of boston