Kind of long for a first, post sorry if this offends. I have searched here and on the interwebs and haven't seen anything similar to what I want to try. (Of course after I post this the local gurus will probably link to a dozen threads and web sites
) Anyway here goes.
I am on the threshold of getting into all grain brewing, I am also stepping down my brew sizes due to a lifting restriction. I bottled my first small batch of "almost" all grain last weekend and, other than for special occasions, don't see myself going back to 5 gallon batches. I like small batch so much better. For all the positive reasons mentioned on this forum and elsewhere.
For the above small batch I used a 2 gallon round drink cooler for a mash tun. The efficiency was dismal and I had to add some DME to get the pre boil gravity high enough for the style I was brewing (hence "almost" all grain). My thought is that there just isn't enough mass to retain heat long enough for proper conversion.
Sooooo. I am thinking I will use the BIAB method. I will probably do a batch after Christmas as a straight up BIAB. I picked up a smaller kettle at the restaurant supply place on sale and a big grain bag at the local Home brew store, so not much more equipment to buy.
However, I do love to tinker and would like to add a mash system.
The idea I have been toying with is a hybrid of the HERMS and RIMS systems. I don't really like the idea of a straight up RIMS, it just seems like the chance of scorching is pretty good. Plus I would have to mess around with making holes and installing a heater in an already small pot. HERMS complicates my set up by adding a HLT.
So what I have in mind is using my wort chiller, a pump and a RIMS tube during mash in and mash out to maintain temps. Water would circulate through the RIMS tube and wort chiller coil, a thermocouple and PID controller would regulate the RIMS tube heater based on the mash temp. The entire boil volume would be in the brew kettle along with the wort chiller coil and bag 'o grain. The stove burner would get the kettle to the strike temp then temp would be maintained by hot water circulating through the coil. Depending on how efficient the heat transfer is the RIMS tube might be able to bring the temp up to mash out fast enough. The coil could stay in place during boil then be valved over to recirculate water through a cooler full of ice jugs.
I think this would make a nice system that would take a minimum of equipment while still maintaining a high degree of process control. I definitely have the skill to build the RIMS tube and associated electronics.
I welcome comments, opinions and suggestions. Since I cannot find anything like this either it is a stupid idea or just something never done or not publicised.
Thanks in advance for your comments.