Both of our all in one system share some equal characteristics. I think it allows some exchange of experience. I just watched a video about the ANVIL Foundry to understand the system. Some thoughts:
- I do not like the idea of squeezing the tube for adjusting the flow. If you zoom into the picture of my brewery setting you will find a little fuse box. I installed a cheap but effective frequency controller (you find lots of them online) to control the speed of the pump. It works perfect!
- I do sparging in a way I could imagine it will also work for the Foundry: again, in my setting you will find a simple pulley from the home depot. I pull out the grain tube (basket) just enough that the room underneath the false bottom is still full of wort without air voids. At this height I start recirculating wort with the pump for rinsing and filtering. If I did just hit the target pre-boil gravity, that is it. If the pre-boil gravity is high enough, I do sparging with preheated water until I reach the target gravity. This has improved my mash efficiency a lot! Towards the end of sparging I pull out the mash basket well over the wort level and start the boil while the rest of wort is dropping out from the grainbed. As I do know the weight of the empty basket and the grain- weight, a spring scale between the hook of the pulley and the basket (also to be seen in my setting) helps me to evaluate how much water is contained in the grainbed.
- The installation of the inline filter from Utah Biodiesel Supply has reduced my trub loss a lot which was proven by experience and shown in the statistic. I use the 300-micro sieve. For this process, the electronic speed regulation of the pump is essential. You might run with a lower speed at the beginning and with more load in the filter you gradually increase the speed. Utah Biodiesel Supply also offers lots of hop baskets and other useful stuff for homebrewing.
Having previously worked in the paper industry for 23 years, the throttling of a pump output is a very common way to achieve flow control. The clamp that comes with the Anvil is an inexpensive way to accomplish this. I have decided that I want to replace this with a hand valve (ten turn with markings) to regulate the flow. I considered a rheostat to adjust the pump speed, but that also creates an issue of then protecting the rheostat from accidental spills and potential high humidity operation. More money than I want to invest right now and it cuts down on the system portability, which is a big plus for my situation.
Once I started using my Anvil and achieved the grind quality which gave me a good consistent mash efficiency, I tried sparge vs no sparge and the difference was not outside my current variability of mash efficiency results. Plus, again a brewing style choice, it suits me to add all the water in up front for most of the brews. I then have the time of the mash to do other things. I have a farm, so feeding, milking, watering, tending my goats is a fixed schedule which I must manage my brew day around. Simplicity is one of the reasons I chose to go the route of an all-in-one system. That and the desire to get off the stove top during the winter months.
I recirculate through my hop basket when heating up from the mash to boil. Then at the end of the boil, I recirculate again through the hop basket. Having lined the mash basket with a bag during the mash, there is not a lot of debris in the kettle. The trub loss I get now is mostly a limitation on the drainage of the device, plus some protein which is precipitated from the wort during the cold break.
When I get to making a larger batch requiring a sparge, I will see if I can replicate your sparge method. I like your idea of keeping the grain bed just at the top level of the wort in the kettle to create more of a plug flow of water through the grains.
One question on your use of the basket weight for figuring out the water retention. How do you account for the extract from the grains? I have considered this approach, but my calculations are consistent enough to account update BeerSmith and get reproducible, reliable targets from the model.