Author Topic: Direct heat recirculation mash tun  (Read 2471 times)

Offline klickitat jim

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3058
    • View Profile
Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« on: November 05, 2013, 02:32:54 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?

Offline thebigbaker

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 702
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2013, 03:02:27 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.
Jeremy Baker

"An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You should never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience." - Mitch Hedberg

Offline klickitat jim

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3058
    • View Profile
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2013, 04:09:15 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.

Offline thebigbaker

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 702
  • Denver, CO
    • View Profile
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2013, 04:38:44 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. 

Jeremy Baker

"An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You should never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience." - Mitch Hedberg

Offline klickitat jim

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3058
    • View Profile
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2013, 04:57:25 PM »
Yup two burner. Ought to be enough cuz I batch sparge. But if I wanted to eliminate lifting it would take 3

Offline factory

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 105
  • Virginia Beach, VA
    • View Profile
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2013, 07:30:39 AM »
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.

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 12091
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2013, 09:22:00 AM »
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.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline micsager

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1048
    • View Profile
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2013, 09:42:25 AM »
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. 

Offline klickitat jim

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3058
    • View Profile
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2013, 10:10:08 AM »
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.

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 12091
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2013, 10:53:26 AM »
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.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline Alewyfe

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 356
  • Fighting for Truth, Justice & Home Brew
    • View Profile
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2013, 10:56:18 AM »
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%.
Diane
Roseburg, Oregon
Member: Umpqua Valley Brewers Guild
             Cascade Brewers Society
             AHA

"Growing old is mandatory. Growing up? Definitely optional!"

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 12091
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2013, 11:33:53 AM »
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.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline Alewyfe

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 356
  • Fighting for Truth, Justice & Home Brew
    • View Profile
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2013, 11:59:41 AM »
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.
Diane
Roseburg, Oregon
Member: Umpqua Valley Brewers Guild
             Cascade Brewers Society
             AHA

"Growing old is mandatory. Growing up? Definitely optional!"

Offline kylekohlmorgen

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1205
  • St. Louis, MO
    • View Profile
    • The South House Pilot Brewery
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2013, 12:36:32 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).
@southhousebrew

Recipes, Brett/Bacteria Experiments:
http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/

STLHops Homebrew Club:
http://STLHops.com/

Offline klickitat jim

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3058
    • View Profile
Re: Direct heat recirculation mash tun
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2013, 12:41:38 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.