Author Topic: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?  (Read 3740 times)

Offline shoptoylife

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Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« on: September 10, 2014, 06:30:03 PM »
After dealing with trying to keep a constant temp going while steeping the grains for the (eventual) wort I kept on thinking doing this on the stove wasn't the best way.  Sansaire makes an immersion circulator primarily for vacuum bag sous-vide cooking =



you basically hit the temp you want in the water, dial it into the circulator then it'll keep the water moving gently and at whatever temp you set it at.  I had planned on picking one up anyway since Sous-Vide is the way to go for most proteins / veg and I'm hoping to do double-duty with this!

Any thoughts on possible issues?

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2014, 06:34:29 PM »
How much can it hold?  What is its cost?  Not to be snarky, but aren't there easier ways to hold temp on the stove when brewing indoors - like using  the oven.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 06:38:32 PM by ynotbrusum »
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2014, 06:37:16 PM »
if all you are doing is steeping character grains keeping a constant temp doesn't really make that much difference. Put them in cold water and take them out when the temp kits ~169. easy peasy. Partial mash/full mash you will need an awful big immersion circulator. They do make brew setups that essentially do the same time. computer controlled, circulates your wort either through the hot liqour tank or across a heating element to maintain temp.

I just use a coleman cooler though. cheaper, less prone to error/failure.
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Offline shoptoylife

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2014, 06:53:19 PM »
This is an immersion circulator - you can use any container you want, this can be attached to the side or hung into the water.  So I'll just slide this down into the large pot I currently use to hold 1.5-2 gallons of water.  Keeping a constant temp of, say, 155 degrees for an hour was a constant struggle, temp would either keep climbing or drop too much.  with this guy I can set up my pot + bag + circulator then take off for an hour.

Offline shoptoylife

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2014, 06:56:55 PM »
Plus I plan on using this for cooking so (possible) dual purposes  :D

Thanks!

Offline erockrph

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2014, 07:20:53 PM »
Let us know how it works if you try it out. Right now I am doing my BIAB mashes in a cooler so I don't have to worry about temp control. This sounds like a cool idea, although the price point obviously doesn't make sense if you're using it solely for homebrewing purposes.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2014, 08:33:56 PM »
In addition to sous vide cooking and mashing, this could be used for fermentation control in a water bath instead of an aquarium heater.  What I found with aquarium heaters is that their low end is too high, e.g., I can't use them to control fermentation temps below 67 F (when basement is cold).  I could probably also use my new Johnson controller with the aquarium heater or the crockpot, but this is a lot more elegant.  Let me know how it works out for you.

Offline 69franx

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2014, 08:41:12 PM »
I guess I'm confused. Will this immersion circulator be circulating wort to keep it at the correct temp or is it more like a heating element placed into the wort? If it's circulating wort rather than cooking water, is it built to withstand circulating hot sugar water? Will it require extensive cleaning due the the sugary content of the wort? Just some thoughts, not criticisms...


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Offline shoptoylife

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2014, 09:05:30 PM »
oh yeah, this is more for the 'steeping' portion versus the full on boil.  the boil wasn't an issue but maintaining any form of constant temp while all of my ingredients were in a fine mesh bag was a total pain, sitting there with an instant read thermometer and turning the heat up, down, off.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2014, 09:42:34 PM »
Ease of cleaning would be a concern.  The Anova looks like it would be more useful than the Sansaire as you can program temperature profiles if you wanted to do step mashing.  The Anova can be opened up so it would be better for cleaning. 

http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/12/sous-vide-circulator-review-sansaire-nomiku-anova.html

Mod: there is a cheaper circulator in the Anova line.

Offline mchrispen

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2014, 09:58:03 PM »
So I have done this with the earlier Anova immersion circulator. It worked well (mash wise) and provided some agitation to the mash... the problem is that it burned wort onto the element. This took repeated soaking in PBW (which screws up the electronics - so don't try to turn it on) and a good deal of scrubbing with brass brush. The burned wort did leave some scorched flavors in the beer.


http://accidentalis.com/archives/544



The good news is that circulator is working fine... but I will not try it again. I can see it being a very good way to heat up strike and sparge water with some real accuracy. And holding sparge water at temp as well. The new versions will not be as accessible for cleaning - at least not at this level. The machine will NOT operate in PBW solution.


Also - Anova was very clear when I called customer support that this was not an approved usage of the device, which was to be expected. Was hoping for some tips on cleaning that crap off the elements.


FYI - these are really good tools for Sous Vide and durable. I have two more on order.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2014, 10:06:29 PM »
oh yeah, this is more for the 'steeping' portion versus the full on boil.  the boil wasn't an issue but maintaining any form of constant temp while all of my ingredients were in a fine mesh bag was a total pain, sitting there with an instant read thermometer and turning the heat up, down, off.

the sugar is still a concern as what you are doing by steeping is extracting sugars from the steeping grains. Mostly just color but sugar as well especially with crystal malt.

again, if you are just steeping temp control is not that big a deal. if you are mini mashing, check out a small cooler and grain bag as an option.
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Offline shoptoylife

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2014, 02:35:42 PM »
One thought that popped into my head this morning after a double-espresso was to build an Arduino-controlled cooling system and it turns out someone already beat me too that. Check out the post on Make Magazine

http://makezine.com/2014/03/28/arduino-controlled-tec-coolingheating-system-for-beer-fermentation/

Offline majorvices

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2014, 03:34:30 PM »
Buy it if you want but it's major overkill when a cooler will work perfectly well.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Immersion Circulator for initial steeping of grains?
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2014, 04:08:53 PM »
Buy it if you want but it's major overkill when a cooler will work perfectly well.

+1.  And double as an eventual mash tun.
Jon H.