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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: akr71 on July 20, 2010, 01:57:59 PM

Title: Anybody use steam?
Post by: akr71 on July 20, 2010, 01:57:59 PM
After reading this article ( http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue2.4/jones.html ), I've been thinking that a steam injection system would be a nice addition to my setup.

It sounds like a good way to gain greater control over mash temps and an easy way to conduct step mashes.  At low pressures it sounds relatively safe.

Does anyone use a steam system?  If so, do you use something similar to the article?
Title: Re: Anybody use steam?
Post by: weithman5 on July 20, 2010, 04:25:00 PM
i have thought about doing something similar.  as long as you keep the pressure low should be reasonably safe.  the enthalpy of steam (heat energy) really goes up fas with pressure.  incidentaly, i see a lot of people seem to hacksaw or drill in their copper.  i think using a pipe cutter and just using it through a fraction of the circumference gives a little cleaner result. 
Title: Re: Anybody use steam?
Post by: enso on July 20, 2010, 04:40:03 PM
I do not personally but I recall some folks who have.  I apologize for promoting another forum here but this might help you gain some more insight into what you seek.  Here is a tutorial on such a setup with pictures.  http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/easy-steam-infusion-mash-system-25974/ (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/easy-steam-infusion-mash-system-25974/)

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: Anybody use steam?
Post by: akr71 on July 20, 2010, 04:57:32 PM
Thanks for the link.  So far I've been pretty happy with single infusion mashes, but if I were inclinded to do step mashes, this seems the way to go if I want to avoid scortching.

I'm more likely to start playing with decoctions sooner than steam injections, but it can't hurt to get my in-laws to keep an eye out for a pressure cooker when they hit the yard-sales.
Title: Re: Anybody use steam?
Post by: dhacker on July 20, 2010, 05:51:56 PM
I've built a steam infusion system, but have yet to finish the project to the point of testing it. I'm using a cornie keg with a 5500w element mounted in the bottom to produce the steam. I've removed both keg posts and on one side replaced with threaded fittings going to the steam manifold in the mash tun, and the other side couplings that contain a safety pressure relief valve, a steam siphon and a pressure gauge. I'll try to take a pic and post it so you can see how it's put together.
Title: Re: Anybody use steam?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 21, 2010, 03:50:57 AM
I've built a steam infusion system, but have yet to finish the project to the point of testing it. I'm using a cornie keg with a 5500w element mounted in the bottom to produce the steam. I've removed both keg posts and on one side replaced with threaded fittings going to the steam manifold in the mash tun, and the other side couplings that contain a safety pressure relief valve, a steam siphon and a pressure gauge. I'll try to take a pic and post it so you can see how it's put together.
I would like to see that.
Title: Re: Anybody use steam?
Post by: dhacker on July 21, 2010, 04:15:02 PM
Okay . . here's the rig as it sits today . .

The converted cornie key with braided High pressure SS hose to the mash tun on one side and the relief valve, siphon and gauge on the other . . .

(http://i1013.photobucket.com/albums/af255/dhacker50/Staem3.jpg)


A close view . . .

(http://i1013.photobucket.com/albums/af255/dhacker50/Steam2.jpg)


Even closer . . .

(http://i1013.photobucket.com/albums/af255/dhacker50/Steam4a.jpg)


The Coleman Extreme 70 tun with the SS wort braid on the bottom and the copper steam manifold just above . . .

(http://i1013.photobucket.com/albums/af255/dhacker50/Tun1-1.jpg)



The 5500w element mounted in the bottom of the cornie . . . (note the silicone gasket and locknut attaching it)

(http://i1013.photobucket.com/albums/af255/dhacker50/Steam1.jpg)



The "Tool" for tightening the lock nut. Unless you have spaghetti sized arms 4 ft. long, you ain't reaching the bottom of the cornie, even then there is no tool to tighten the nut in the confines of the cornie. So I melted the lock nut into a piece of 1-1/2" SCH 40 pvc, let it cool, and voila! a makeshift tightening tool that slides over the element and works perfectly!  :D

(http://i1013.photobucket.com/albums/af255/dhacker50/Tool1.jpg)





Title: Re: Anybody use steam?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on July 22, 2010, 01:13:32 AM
Cool.
I have two more questions.
How do you know how much steam to release to raise temp from let say 150 to 170F?
Does the steam manafold have a return and where it goes.
Title: Re: Anybody use steam?
Post by: beerocd on July 22, 2010, 01:55:46 AM
Cool.
I have two more questions.
How do you know how much steam to release to raise temp from let say 150 to 170F?
Does the steam manafold have a return and where it goes.

How much water do you start with, how much steam is lost during a typical brew, the element has to be at least a foot long - right so how do you know to stop to keep it from dry firing? I know, lots of Q's answer any or none at all. Cool setup. :)

Oh yeah, PID? How do you control power to the element?
Title: Re: Anybody use steam?
Post by: dhacker on July 22, 2010, 02:35:52 AM
The answers to the questions are . . I don't know, I've not used the system yet!

Actually, I can answer a couple of questions. There is no return loop in the system, per se. Steam enters the manifold at one end, and what doesn't inject directly into the tun will be allowed to escape into the atmosphere on the output side of the manifold through a ball valve. That same valve will also determine the pressure in the system. As far as keeping the water level above the element to preclude dry firing, not too concerned with that as there should be plenty of water above the element during the course of a mash regimen that uses this contraption, and still have enough area for the steam to build in the head space. I'll be sure to run a few tests before putting it into operation though, to confirm all of that. I already have a propane/ electric hybrid system and built a pair of triac controlled voltage controllers for the 240v elements in my HLT and BK. I can dial in whatever voltage I need after heating the water to the correct output of steam not having to "chase" the voltage output with a duty cycled solid state relay arrangement.

After my initial tests, the first thing I will do is set it up to perfectly maintain the mash temp for the 60-90 minutes of the mash without losing a single degree on the thermometer. After that, I'll go to the next phase of doing a fairly basic step mash and see how it performs. Then I'll be able to report back the results.
Title: Re: Anybody use steam?
Post by: denny on July 22, 2010, 03:35:53 PM
Won't it require a lot of (maybe continual) stirring the way you plan to use it?
Title: Re: Anybody use steam?
Post by: dhacker on July 22, 2010, 05:05:14 PM
Won't it require a lot of (maybe continual) stirring the way you plan to use it?

Don't forget, you're talking to "Propellor Man" here!  :D

The tun lid has twin 63 RPM motors with SS shafts and big blades to stir it as much as I need from top to bottom . .
Title: Re: Anybody use steam?
Post by: denny on July 22, 2010, 05:20:13 PM
Don't forget, you're talking to "Propellor Man" here!  :D

The tun lid has twin 63 RPM motors with SS shafts and big blades to stir it as much as I need from top to bottom . .

You're right, I forgot!  Looks like you're covered!  Other people thinking about steam need to take this into account, though.