I experienced compaction on recirc (Herms) so I simply crushed a bit coarser and run off a bit slower, until the problem was solved. My system works with a mill gap of .030” and the outlet valve on the pump at half way open initially, then after the first mash step (Hochkurz), I run wide open. I can run it half open for the whole mash, but my ramp times suffer, especially getting to mash out.
That’s interesting. I mill at what would probably be considered course grits (I don’t have sieves to measure) and recirculate throughout a Hochkurz mash (RIMS). But if at any point during the mash or lauter I set the pump output valve wide open the suction will compact the grain bed, flow will stop and I’ll cavitate the pump.
In lieu of a manometer, over several brews through some educated guesswork, I found a sweet spot for my system which includes a grist mill, water to grist ratio (1.75 qts/lb) and setting for the MLT pump output linear flow valve. I measured the valve gap and now set the pump to it each time I brew. These combined constants allow good flow across the element but not so strong as to compact the grain bed.
There were several points of frustration (one ‘interesting’ 8 hr brew day comes to mind) until I came to this particular combination. The frustration made me dig in to the available information to determine why I was having trouble. Basically, I had to understand my system. I decided I can’t control variability of agricultural products but what I can control I will. My results lately have been pleasurably consistent.
Edit: the pump output valve is set at 5/16” which I measured at .7 gpm.
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