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Cooler Heater

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Has anyone ever added or attempted to add some sort of heater directly to a Coleman/ Gott/ Rubbermaid type mashtun? I really love my 60 quart Gott and thought I'd make a HERMS unit for it to do more step mashes or have absolute heat control through HERMS recirculation, but now I really think I'd rather try to modify my Gott if there is a practicle way of accomplishing the install. Whatever type of heater element is used will obviously need to be electric and it WILL be controlled by a PID w/ SSR. Part of the criteria is for the lid to remain closed for the duration of the mash, so heat sticks are out . . .   

I'll entertain any ideas or happily look at pics!  :)

When I was still brewing in a cooler I added a pump with an immersion chiller in the HLT tank and recirculated the wort through the chiller and back on top of the grain bed.  It didn't take long to dial in the required HLT temp to maintain mash temp.  It also allowed me to do a more advanced step mash that water infusion wouldn't allow.  You could certainly add a temp controller, probe and thermowell to the design to automate the process.  This, however, is more of a Herms system, which uses a heat exchange method vs a Rims system that usually has an electric heating element integral to the recirculating wort loop.  Hope this helps.

You could check this post on HomebrewTalk:

I build similar contraption but I used old Turkey Fryer as a HLT.
It works pretty good.

Yeah . . what you both describe is a HERMS system which is what I'm trying to avoid. If I conclude that I'll have to do a HERMS, I'll make a separate heat vessel for the coil rather than using my HLT which will be stabilizing the water temp for the sparge during the mash.

To be clear, I'm interested in mounting the heaters directly into the Gott cooler . . if possible.  :)

Any way you go I do not think you will avoid getting a pump and temp controller.
You could go with external heat stick but I think this is more for maintaining temp then doing step mashing:


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