Research questions

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Research questions

Post by astx813 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:33 pm

I've been researching the BM and have a few questions I hope you can help with.
  1. Temperature: I've seen posts about people having trouble maintaining temperature (having to frequently use the burners), calibration issues with the probes, and being able to make large temperature shifts. Hooch, I think I saw in one of your posts that you do a single step mash and go straight from your conversion temp up to ~168°F mash-out, is that right? Are you able to easily step up using just the RIMS, or do you have to direct fire the mash?
  2. Mods: I'm already brainstorming possible modifications, some simple, some approaching porcine aviation. Have any of you looked into automated gas valves & igniters, adding a whirlpool to the boil kettle, sparge deflectors or rotating sparge arms, or even a mash stirrer? (Yes, I've read that Sabco says "don't stir," but that was followed by "because you won't get consistent results," and an electric stirrer would be pretty consistent. But like I said, I'm just brainstorming here.) Has anyone attached a golf cart motor so they could drive the system around like an R/C car?
  3. Cleaning: I saw some people have rigged up CIP balls. Do they just use PBW with these, or can all the parts handle strong chemicals like caustic cleaners? I know (think?) earlier versions of the system used brass or copper in the RIMS tube, but it's all stainless now, correct?
Thanks for any feedback

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Re: Research questions

Post by mchrispen » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:47 am

Chip - I will swipe at this. I have the 2011 system and have contemplated some of what you propose.

1. Direct firing the mash is a bit of a misnomer. There is about a quart of liquid wort under the false bottom in the MLT - which immediately is pulled away by pumping through the system and the heating element. The danger there is heating the mash without circulation and I never fire the MLT without the pump running. That said - any all steel system is a giant heat sink... as long as you minimize wind/breeze across the system then the supplemental firing is minimized. In MOST cases, the heating element can maintain the temps once you hit your temps.

2. Step mashing involves both the direct fire and the heating element. This allows about a 5 degree per minute ramp. I always mash out - and ramp from 148-156 to 168F with ease.

3. I have tried to modify to allow whirlpooling (which is a feature of the new BK). There are folks that are making special diptubes and removing the falsebottom from the kettle. My concern would be the issue of using a ChillWizard which will require little to no hop material & trub to minimize blocking problems. When I switched out the plate chiller to a convoluted counterflow chiller I have worried much less about what gets pulled through. I still use a hop spider or bag.

4. If you run your RIMS at full or near full speed your stirrer idea is not necessary. I know a few people that use one on other systems. I get the same or better consistency.

5. Driving the BrewMagic seems like it might spill wort!

6. I use a CIP and have no issues running hot PBW and Sani-Clean. Works a charm and my heating element comes out pretty clean, but does need an occasional brushing. FYI Sani-Clean foams much less than Star-San - which when run through my CIP ball can actually drive foam past the lid and makes a real mess. My RIMS tube is all stainless.

7. I have also added a weldless bulkhead and whirlpool arm to my kettle, and use the articulated mash recirculation line and rings for circulation and sparging. Got the parts from here -
Matt Chrispen
-- - blog

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Re: Research questions

Post by Hooch » Tue May 05, 2015 7:44 pm

astx813 wrote: Hooch, I think I saw in one of your posts that you do a single step mash and go straight from your conversion temp up to ~168°F mash-out, is that right? Are you able to easily step up using just the RIMS, or do you have to direct fire the mash?

Thanks for any feedback
Hi Chip, and welcome to the BMF forum.

Sorry about the late response. The short answer is Yes. I preheat my strike water in the HLT so that when I mash in I'll be at or pretty close to my initial mash rest temp, and a small amount of liquid head space to recirculate after a 20mins rest to create the mash bed. I use a calibrated dowel with gallon marks to measure the strike water going into the MT. Removing the 1 gallon amount that sits under the false bottom from the equation. Stepping up as Matt mentioned is easy, by using a med-low flame under the MT takes me around 20 to 30mins to get to 168ºF, depending on my initial rest temp.

Now going back to the beginning, I actually cheat a little by preheating my strike water in the HLT the night before with a 1000W bucket heater, and a Johnson controller.

Always do sober what you said you would do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. - Ernest Hemingway

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