Lets talk Insulated SS Mash Tuns

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Group W, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    There are good discussions here recently about insulating your mash tun. When I look at my system, the weak link is my mash tun (mostly poor efficiency). I use a 10 gallon Igloo cooler (round) with a false bottom. I like the idea of insulating a kettle with a sight glass, but given it would require the purchase of another kettle, an alternative could be going with an insulated SS mash tun. I'm thinking stainless steel, insulated, easy to clean and more efficient. A water heater wrap or some other type of insulation could still be added during the mash. Back in the day I used an old sleeping bag.

    What about these Infusion Mash Tuns by Ss Brewtech? Has anyone tried one? Not cheap, but neither is a good kettle. The down side is that they can't be used on heat as a boil kettle. What are your thoughts?

    https://www.ssbrewtech.com/products/infussion-mash-tun
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I gained a lot of efficiency ground when I started recirculating and doing a true sparge, if you recirculate the temperature never drops but the real issue is washing the sugar off the grain, most people don't do enough of it, how ever you can manage batch, fly, dunk, you need to wash the sugar off otherwise your wasting grain so to speak
     
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  3. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Good point! But my mash tun ends up with about quart of wart in it that doesn't make it to the boil kettle because of the way the false bottom has to lift the wart out (dead space and soaked grain in the lower part of the grain bed). I like the idea of a drain in the bottom of the mash tun and getting away from plastic.
     
  4. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    my brewing partner owns one , great bit of kit and holds temp very very well and would make a great RIMS / HERMS system avoiding applying heat to kettle .
    The sparge sprinkler is pretty awesome too
     

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  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I have dead space too and its about 2 inches and that’s where the gunk ends up so its ok, I just call it a loss and adjust my recipe to lose that amount, a lot of loss in my system but it’s for a good reason, that’s where i deposit all of the unwanted crap, I'm fine with it so my 10 gallon batch is really a 12, I lose 2 gallons in various places but I end up with perfect clear beer, you have to wage your battles on the final product not the journey to get there ;)
     
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  6. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info! But I don’t think my wife will appreciate it $$$ :oops:
     
  7. Aksarben

    Aksarben Member

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    I have 2 mash tuns I built. One round one, a orange cooler, and the other one a 52 quart cooler that I used to make a mash tun. Now the thing about the bigger cooler, is it is long and rectangle, BUT it has a groove in the very bottom toward the drain and I don't think you'd see very much loss of wort sitting around in it. The Coleman cooler here: http://tinyurl.com/y8clalzd the valve I used here; http://tinyurl.com/y86jgcoz, and the piece I used to connect it to my SS drain screen here: http://tinyurl.com/y7pfw2j3 I bought a short length of 3/4 in washer hose at Menard's that has the SS outside protection and cut it to pretty much the length of the cooler. Has a plug and hold C hold down on the far end and I used a SS hose clamp to attach it to the barb on the inside of the cooler. That barb end and screen fit nicely in the depression in the bottom for good draining. The lid is even insulated. You can get a piece of thin styrofoam to lay on the mash if you have a smallish batch to help insulate it.

    I can get pictures if you want....

    The hot water is added to the Coleman cooler/mash tun at 170 and when it cools to around 160 I added the grains. Good stir and set the insulated lid down then and leave it alone. At 1 hour I check to see if all converted from starch to sugar and if not, a temp boost by dishing out a portion into a nice pot and bringing to boil and boiling for just a bit, then return added extra temp to the mash.

    I personally don't think for me it would be worth it to invest in a stainless steel insulated mash tun when this works so very well. If you need to check temps along the way I don't see why you could not just drill a very small hole in the lid and insert a long thermometer into the mash to monitor temperature.

    Wife will like the low cost and it does work well for a cooler for ice and such. When cleaning rinse out and attach one of those garden hose tube attachments that I have for me SS immersion chiller to the valve, open, and gently turn on water to back flush the SS screen filter.
     
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  8. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Aksarben! I’m familiar with both of the systems as you have described them. I have the 10 gal round type now. If I convert another cooler for use in the brewhouse, I will likely land in the doghouse. :eek:Good feedback and much appreciated.
     
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  9. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    I should add that the rectangular coolers are also shorter and give a little more flexibility when tiering components.
     
  10. Mark D Pirate

    Mark D Pirate Well-Known Member

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    If staying married and not being killed in your sleep is a plan have you thought about BIAB ?
    At home I run a simple EBIAB setup and run a 3V set up with friends and get very similar results from both .
     
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  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    This hobby is a rabbit hole, right? See ^^^, although I do have the advantage of SWAMBO suggesting I start following consumption of a wonderful Schwarzbier in Germany that we can't get here....
     
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  12. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys! I figure if I’m going out, I’m going out big with that shiny new mash tun in my hands, and a growler of my latest brew. :D

    I would still like to here from brewers that have tried that SS Brewtech mash tun.
     
  13. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I use a Sabco mash tun. I can’t imagine anything better, I think it’s the best on the market. It’s pretty pricey, $500. But it’s nearly flawless. The tri-clamp setup makes setup and tear downs super fast.
     
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  14. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I use a 10-gallon Igloo cooler with a false bottom. The sous vide cooker was an upgrade first tested last weekend.
     
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  15. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Those are really nice! Do you run it RIMS, HERMS or what?
     
  16. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    That’s an interesting idea! No scorching and no RIMS pump and hose to clean. So many ways to achieve the same goal.

    Thanks!
     
  17. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    RIMS with a Watlow PID as a controller.

    RIMS has better temperature control for 15 gallons or less. Once you tune the PID, you can hold temps at +/- .2 degrees or better during the mash. Once you get above 15, HERMS is better because the heating element on a RIMS get too big (wattage).

    I use a 207 volt 6000 watt element and run it on a 120 volt 20 amp circuit. It comes out to @ 1800 watts and is about the maximum sized element you can run on a 20 amp circuit. A 5 gallon batch ramps up +2 degrees a minute. I haven’t done a 10 gallon in years, but it works well for 10 gallon batches too.
     
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  18. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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  19. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Thanks OMB! I assume you are doing ~ 10 gallon batches.
     
  20. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    yes but I can do 5 just fine, they have all the sizes from 10 to 25 gallon at amazon in concord brand
     

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