Author Topic: mash tun  (Read 10145 times)

Offline arctic78

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mash tun
« on: May 12, 2015, 06:44:58 AM »
Hi everyone,
                   Just after some more advise or opinions from you regarding mash tuns.
Have been looking at and reading a lot about them and my biggest question is, what is the better way to go , stainless steal or the plastic cooler type???
I have been reading about maintaining the right temp. and was after some peoples experience on what they have found.

Thanks for all your help last time on boil pot size. I went with a 55Litre or 14.5 gallon This should hold more than enough for what I intend.

Your advice is much appreciated

Offline drb1215

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2015, 09:56:29 AM »
Hi,

They both work well.  I started with a 10 gal. igloo cooler and transitioned to a 15 gallon, stainless mashtun with a false bottom.  For me the benefits that I picked up moving to stainless is a) more capacity (I could have also achieved this by using a bigger cooler), b) longevity (a plastic cooler will eventually breakdown due to the heat it is being exposed to), and most of all c) the ability to direct fire my mashtun to bring strike water up to temp and to make temp adjustments.

Going stainless is a larger investment, but I feel worth it.  Size based on batch sizes you plan on making, to avoiding by bigger/upgrading in the near future.

-Dan

Offline arctic78

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2015, 05:14:23 PM »
 Thanks Dan,
                    I thought temperature control would be easier with the stainless but read a few things saying otherwise.
I guess it is all what people prefer in the end but it is good to get peoples reasons as to why.

Thanks.

Offline twhitaker

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2015, 10:34:07 AM »
The stainless mash tun will  provide you with many more options for brewing (which you may appreciate later) including temperature step mashes without having to add heated water.  They do lose a bit of temperature in cold weather so I find a small burner fired up on low when needed helps maintain heat with gentle stirring. I don't heat strike water in mine but I could.
I find a 10 gallon capacity S.S. mash Tun with 10 to 12" bazooka screen (cheap) works well for 12 gallon batches of 5% a.b.v,  or 6 gallons of  up to 10% a.b.v. beer.  It is easy to buy just a pot and add your own thermometer, 1/2" drain valve, and other options to keep cost down.
With this size of mash tun you need a separate H.L.T. of at least 8 gallon capacity for fly sparge water.  CHEERS!
On tap: 1/2keg cream ale with corn grits
             1/4 keg-  Trappist Quad Ale w/ oak
Day 10 primary: West Coast I.P.A. with homegrown columbus hops 46 liters

Offline arctic78

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2015, 05:53:00 PM »
   So what you mentioned about more options later is great to know also about the temp. loss I live in a cold part of Australia so that was helpful also.
I do have one question, When you say bazooka screen are you talking about the false bottom screen.

Thanks for your advise twhitaker very helpful.

Offline twhitaker

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2015, 06:34:33 PM »
http://www.ontariobeerkegs.com/Bazooka_Screen_Homebrew_Straining_p/12-bazooka.htm

bazooka screen is a tubular screen that threads into the inside of your weldless bulkhead at the outlet valve inside the mash tun or boil kettle.  I have a 3/8" by 12" one in my mash tun, and a 1/2" X 6"  one in my boil kettle. Used  with irish moss (carageenan) in the boil last 15 minutes, and with whirpooling my wort comes out of the boil kettle clear and trub free. Glad you could use some of my ideas. I live in ontario Canada, I brew in winter when the temperature is about 32 F, (or 0 C). No fruit flies or other bugs to worry about. And an insulated garage with radiant heater on a thermostat makes for a fine lagering / brewing environment at 45F ( 7 C).

Bazooka screens work great, easy to install and clean, no mash tun dead space, no stuck run-offs (yet) in over 15 batches. You have to be careful when stirring though.  If the binding clamp comes loose, just use some copper wire or another s.s. gear clamp
Cheers
« Last Edit: May 13, 2015, 06:44:36 PM by twhitaker »
On tap: 1/2keg cream ale with corn grits
             1/4 keg-  Trappist Quad Ale w/ oak
Day 10 primary: West Coast I.P.A. with homegrown columbus hops 46 liters

Offline arctic78

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2015, 03:18:17 AM »
Ok I know what you are talking about now. I have seen them but never new the name for them. Sounds like a very handy thing to use.
So when you set up your equipment profile do you need to put any allowance in for them in the profile ????
May be a stupid Question but I am very new to this and do not have any advise apart from reading and the help I have received on her which has been invaluable.
Not quite as cold where I am as you but not far off.

Thanks again. 

Offline twhitaker

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2015, 11:36:15 AM »
set mash tun deadspace to zero as there is no water underneath a false bottom. the mash goes right to the bottom.
On tap: 1/2keg cream ale with corn grits
             1/4 keg-  Trappist Quad Ale w/ oak
Day 10 primary: West Coast I.P.A. with homegrown columbus hops 46 liters

Offline haerbob3

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2015, 02:16:03 PM »
I have a stainless mash tun, false bottom that I use in a HREMS rig.  A slight incline on the mash tun allows for a zero deadspace setting.

Offline arctic78

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2015, 05:29:07 PM »
Thanks for all the info it is very much appreciated .

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2015, 06:46:38 PM »
My mast tun is my old 5g (19l) brew pot from my extract days that sits in a custom fit insulated shield. I lent it to a coworker of mine and he returned it in better shape than when I lent it to him. Well, except for the big dent. Using sheet insulation he made a base, then an octagonal shield made of eight strips wrapped with tape that goes up the sides, with two pieces cut short for the handles. Put a blanket on top and it works great.

I use decoction for my temperature steps. That involves removing a portion of your mash, bringing it to a boil, then adding it back in. Mix it up and the temp goes up.  It's like adding boiling water without adding volume. Because I like using the decoction method, I figure that when I find something to replace that rig, it will be an Igloo of some sort. Once you take into account the heat lost when you fill it, you should be able to count on a consistent temp after that. With decoction you can raise the temperature without directly applying heat.

Then again it's a lot easier to turn on a flame than to remove a third of the mash, put it onto a stove and bring it to a boil, mix it back in, measure to be sure you hit your target temp, repeat if you're too far under...

"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline arctic78

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2015, 04:47:17 AM »
Thanks for you help. Seems like there are many ways to mash and with the information I have received from everyone it will be a matter of finding what will work best for me and not cost a huge amount. Also a lot of trial and error like everything I guess but with all the help hopefully not to much.

Thanks again everyone.

Offline antiphile

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2015, 12:40:11 AM »
I use decoction for my temperature steps.

It's only been in the last 8 weeks I have discovered the ease, accuracy and advantages of decocting -- and I just love it. I've found the figures that Beersmith automagically calculates are accurate within 1 degree Celsius (or on one occasion 2 degrees), and the results are so much more pleasing in the end product. Fortuitously (and I'm not sure if this is a direct result of the procedure), my mash and brewhouse efficiency have nearly shot up 10 percentage points since using it.

You guys are awesome. So much to learn, so little brain-matter to work work with.

Offline twhitaker

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2015, 02:04:21 PM »
Agree about decoctions. Great way to achieve multiple temperature steps. I've done recipes calling for triple decoctions. Decoction mash flavours are different because the mash molecules burst in the decoction when heated, especially when heated to boiling before returning the decoction to the ongoing mash. The Eric Warner book, German Wheat Beer, explains many century old methods and incorporates those methods into some great recipes for authentic wheat beers using decoctions as they did back in the day. I highly recommend it.

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/product/9780937381342-item.html?mkwid=SgF62lix_dc&pcrid=44154474422&s_campaign=goo-Shopping_Books&gclid=COS2z9XIzsUCFRCnaQod9GMACA
On tap: 1/2keg cream ale with corn grits
             1/4 keg-  Trappist Quad Ale w/ oak
Day 10 primary: West Coast I.P.A. with homegrown columbus hops 46 liters

Offline arctic78

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Re: mash tun
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2015, 06:35:27 PM »
 Thanks antiphile and twhitaker. I have done some reading up on decoction and read that it can cause your beer to be a bit sweeter due to caramelising caused by the boiling of the grain. So I was just wondering if either of you have experienced this? But over all it dose seem to be very popular.
More food for thought as to what to try when I eventually get all my gear together for my first all grain batch.

Thanks again for your advise and experience.