Want to insulate your mash tun?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by BasslineBrewers, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. Bassline Brewers

    Bassline Brewers New Member

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    We used Reflectix and it is working really well! In the interest of giving back, here's how we did it!

    Our mash tun is a 30 gallon BrewBuilt kettle with a thermometer and a ball valve, both on the same vertical line. You could certainly adapt this method for a smaller kettle or one with a different configuration.

    We wrapped our kettle with 2 layers of Reflectix, and it holds within 1 degree for well over an hour, and the temperature of the mash during the sparge held better than before as well. (We were using a different jacket, made out of older hot water heater insulation.) One could easily add a third layer if they wanted to using the same methods - we didn't think it was necessary.

    1) Cut the Reflectix to height. The beauty of this stuff is that it is essentially very dense, strong, bubble wrap, with a metallic coating. So once you have marked it, you can put your staight-edge down parallel to the line of bubbles and you will be assured of making a cut that is parallel to the factory edge!

    2) Starting from the back, wrap your kettle so that one edge butts up against where the ball valve comes out. (Wrap it in the same direction that it was rolled in. That will tend to keep it snug.) Mark the material so that it will butt up against that edge once you allow for the cut-outs. In other words, one side will stop at the ball valve, and the other side will go past the ball valve (w/ cutouts) to meet the first side.

    3) Measure down from the lid to where the handles are. Make a single utility knife cut from the edge of each side back to the beginning of where the handles will be. Measure the handles and remove just enough of the material that the handles will fit through. This will create a long flap on each side.

    4) Make your cuts so this first layer fits well, cutting out small semi-circles for the ball valve and thermometer ports.

    5) With the first layer in place (hold it with blue painter's tape) wrap the second layer the same way. Or, if you'd like (we did) you can butt the material to the opposite side of the ports so that the two layers will overlap. Mark and cut as you did for the first layer, including for the handles.





    6) Dry fit it all so that you are happy with the fit.

    7) Remove the second layer. With the first layer still in place, apply adhesive to the outside of the first layer. (We used the adhesive that you use for sealing the glass around oven doors, so it is good for high heat. Probably overkill, but for $9.99 a tube, why not!) Wrap the second layer around the first, applying a little pressure here and there to assure adhesion. Hold again with blue painter's tape until the adhesive is dry.

    8) We thought of a lot of fancy ways to hold this on (buttons, velcro, etc.), but opted in the end for the blue tape! It goes on and off without hurting anything, and since the only times the jacket is ever off the pot are during the initial heating to strike temp, and during cleanup, it clings beautifully with only the slightest bit of tape needed.

    9) With the remaining Reflectix, cut out a couple layers for the lid, remove a little material for the handle to stick through, and glue them together. That's the easy part - we used scissors.
     

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  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    nice job, all of my 3 kettles are using 2 layers but the mash has an extra 1 inch of bluejeans insulation in between, not nearly as clean looking as yours but I have many miles on mine, Im also electric so I insulated my bottom too
     
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  3. LittleCrittersBrewing

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    Thanks for the info! I have some left over from a keezer build. I was thinking about doing the same thing.
     
  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    This works great. I made a 2-layer sleeve for mine but I use my boil pot for a tun and I couldn't get it off when the pot heated up with the mash when I wanted to add heat. I ended up cutting it open and wrapping like you have and then making another 1-layer wrap to go around that. I can pull it off at the end of the mash and add heat for mash-out if I have trouble hitting temp (and I usually do, for some reason). At the end of mash-out I transfer my bag to a spigoted bucket for vorlauf/sparge, empty the wort into the bucket and an overflow container and catch the runnings back into my big pot for boiling.
     
  5. Gledison

    Gledison Active Member

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    I've just made a 2layers Reflectix for my mash tun and im not satisfied. Im loosing 6 deg C in one hour.
    Shall I add an extra 3rd layer?
     
  6. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    can you feel heat after touching the outside? if not its probably the top or bottom not the sides
     
  7. Gledison

    Gledison Active Member

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    Yes. Its warm on the outside. Im wonderimg if only 3 layers will do the job or if i wiƱl need even more. I might wrap an extra layer and just attqch with tape and test it. How many layers do you have?
    Thanks
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I have one on the inside then shredded blue jeans, then 2 layers on the outside taped tight with foil tape, the thickness is the same as 5 layers of reflex now that tape does not stay stuck over time it melts the glue some but I also have the lid and bottom insulated

    WP_20171028_13_09_11_Pro.jpg
     
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  9. Gledison

    Gledison Active Member

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    This is what i call Adiabatic cosy :p
    I will do something similar, but with rockwool. I have already the double layer, than a layer of rockwool and another double Reflectix. I think it will be fine :p
    thanks again.
     
  10. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    yes I get a very even temperature with that, it also has a bottom port right in the center so it gets a true recirculation from top to bottom

    WP_20160329_001.jpg
     
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  11. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yep I'm gunna try this reflectix looks like the goods sick of wrapping the old blanket around the kettle at mash time.
     
  12. Gledison

    Gledison Active Member

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    Maaan. Mine ended up looking a little like that. how did you do with the handles? im loosing temperature through the handles. I've cut a stripe to fit the handles and a tip fitting everything as tight as possible. It didn't work, I could feel a lot of heat escaping . will post a pic soon. I had to use it to isolate my fermenter against cold temp...(another story):p
     
  13. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    Unless it's on a flame or other heat source, just wrap it up in an old blanket.
     
  14. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    Since I reticulate constantly I don't lose any heat, but I can turn it off and do a temp rest but I can't get a temperature reading unless I'm recalculating, I don't think it would lose more than a couple of degrees through an hour unless its very cold out, I insulated around the handles the best I could
     

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