Klarstein Maischfest and Mashing

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Burtsbeets

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Hi THBF!

I have read that a few people own the all-in-one Klarstein Maischfest and had a question about mash temperatures and a few issues.

I have come to notice that if I rely on the Klarsteins ability to keep the mash at a stable temperature it does not do a very good job. I am yet to nail down the issue, but when it detects the temperature drops by 2/3 degrees C the heating element kicks in and heats it to about 1 degree above the set temperature. Which isn't such an issue!

However, I have been monitoring the temperature in the grain bed and saw that it jumped up from 66 to 71/72!

"Cue running to get a jug of cold water"

The only way I can circumvent this, at the moment, is by disengaging the automatic heating and switching it on and off manually once the grain bed temp reaches the desired temperature. Also, I circulate with a jug during the heating.

Has anyone else come across this, Klarstein or not, and hove you managed to fix it so you are not on the edge of your seat with a thermometer every 5 minutes? :laugh8: I have a hunch it could be the grain basket not allowing proper circulation, as the walls are solid metal.

Cheers all
 

crowcrow

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Hi,

I have this set up. My fixes (I haven't really fixed it at all);

Wrap well in towels or insulated camping mats - they have no insulation as far as I can tell and just a thin double skinned wall. Insulation will keep the temp stable and stop it needing to kick in so often.

Put a warm lid on the top (more towels?) to stop heat loss there

Recirculating with a jug helps keep things stable - I do this 2 or max 3 times during the mash

Not worrying too much. Most of the beer I've brewed in it tastes fine ;)
 

Dads_Ale

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The problem is the temp sensor is not in the mash bed but only records the temp of the liquid at the bottom. Without a pump to recurved liquid it would struggle to maintain a mash temp properly.
But all is not lost. Insulate the outside of the unit (this will also help during the boil) and set your strike temp for your water, probably about 71 to 72c, to achieve a mash temp of 66c. Measure both independently rather than rely on the unit temp probe. Put the lid on, cover with a cushion and then forget about it for the duration of the mash.
The unit sensor can get a bit confused if it has any debris on it and may need to be stirred. I have noticed this on the boil when the temp suddenly jumps from 70c to 99c in the blink of an eye.
 

Horners

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In summer mine with the power off throughout mine used to only drop a degree over the course of a 60 minute mash. For winter I made a jacket out of some of that foil that goes behind radiators and some velcro.

As others have said get a temp probe in middle of mash and also keep a note of ambient temperature and mash temperature so that you can fine tune your strike temperature based on conditions.
 

stuarts

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I have done a few brews now and just finding out how to use my Klarstein the first 2 were very cloudy and as u said temp varied . I manage to make a pump with odds and sods i had in my garage.
The last 2 with the pump have been clearer and it maintained a better temp with a jacket . I used a led dimmer switch to turn down the pump so it did not run dry at the bottom. All the brews have been very drinkable so i have been happy with it .
 

Burtsbeets

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Cheers for the feedback all. I was thinking of buying a pump to recirc and help stop overheating of the water, but this is another investment on top of the all-in-one that's not quite necessary yet. I will save a bit for it and buy a decent one that will hopefully see me a long time.

I will, however, look into the insulation of the tun during the mash. I knew there were some issues with the temp sensor being on the bottom when I bought the Maischfest, as I did a lot of reading, just didn't think the actual grain bed would be reaching 70+ degrees.
 

stuarts

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U could just rercirculate by using a jug to move a few litres upover the grain basket at set times during the mash.
I borrowed a collinder from the kitchen that fits over the top and let he wort go thru hat to even out over the top of the grain .
Just starting out myself so may be talikng pants lol
 

Dads_Ale

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I think the problem with the Maischfest is that they took a very good boiler/water heater and made a half hearted attempt at turning it into an all in one system. The mash basket certainly looks like an afterthought.
Although it will work people, as said above, either have to buy extra parts or adapt the process.

Personally I bought one with the idea of using it as dedicated system to do sour beers. Having tried it a couple of times as is I didn't really get on with the mash side. I initially did away with the mash basket and simply fitted a bazooka filter and used the whole thing as a mash tun (extra insulation added). This worked really well but I had to use a secondary vessel to keep the wort in until I finished the sparge and cleaned the grain out.

Weirdly my secondary vessel was a plastic FV that I had converted to a mash tun (tap, bazooka filter and insulation) a couple of years ago but not used. So it dawned on me that it would actually be much easier to just use the FV as the mash tun and the Maischfest as the boiler. So this is what I have been doing for the past year and it works really well. It really is a very good boiler that I use to the max:
IMG_2085.JPG


I used some of this for the insulation (10mm probably best) on the mash tun (the boiler has some of the foil bubble wrap stuff)
Zotefoam Plastazote superior closed cell foam
 

Burtsbeets

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I have to agree with you @Dads_Ale, it just could have used a little more refinement (It does have a ferocious boil on it though). But then again, as I thought when I bought it, for the price it is a great deal, even if you buy a pump and the gubbins to go with. I was genuinely curious about how others have overcome the weakness of mash temp.

It won't be my forever all-in-one, but I am glad I bought it. Its really cemented that its the way to go for me and I won't hesitate to upgrade when/if it goes kaput. And, anyway, where would the fun of homebrewing be without a bit tinkering and cursing every now and again :laugh8:.
 

Broken Toe

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Cheers for the feedback all. I was thinking of buying a pump to recirc and help stop overheating of the water, but this is another investment on top of the all-in-one that's not quite necessary yet. I will save a bit for it and buy a decent one that will hopefully see me a long time.

I will, however, look into the insulation of the tun during the mash. I knew there were some issues with the temp sensor being on the bottom when I bought the Maischfest, as I did a lot of reading, just didn't think the actual grain bed would be reaching 70+ degrees.
I would go for the pump. I got a relatively cheap one off eBay and wired up a switch and since then I have been able to massively reduced the amount of time the heating element is turned on for. I think I spent £20 all in with hosing as well.
 

starseeker

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This is what i do ,
If i need to mash at 66deg or so i will heat my strike water to approx 71/72 ,once i have reached that i turn off the element . I then start adding my grain slowly ,giving it a good stir every pour of grain ,once the grain is added i give it another good stir and then start to draw off a few jugfuls of wort and pour these back through .i now turn the element back on but on the 1800 setting and set this to 68 deg as i find this is a good middle ground ,i let this stabilise and then draw of a few more jugfuls and pour through ,from now on apart from giving it a good stir every 15 mins i find the Klarstein takes care of the rest .
 

Burtsbeets

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This is what i do ,
If i need to mash at 66deg or so i will heat my strike water to approx 71/72 ,once i have reached that i turn off the element . I then start adding my grain slowly ,giving it a good stir every pour of grain ,once the grain is added i give it another good stir and then start to draw off a few jugfuls of wort and pour these back through .i now turn the element back on but on the 1800 setting and set this to 68 deg as i find this is a good middle ground ,i let this stabilise and then draw of a few more jugfuls and pour through ,from now on apart from giving it a good stir every 15 mins i find the Klarstein takes care of the rest .
I did this, by letting the klarstein heat back up to temp during the mash. However, the grain bed temperature shot up, which is what causes my concern, despite the unit thinking it was at 66 degrees it was at 71-72 in the grain bed.

Were you controlling the heating manually?
 

pilgrimhudd

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This is what i do ,
If i need to mash at 66deg or so i will heat my strike water to approx 71/72 ,once i have reached that i turn off the element . I then start adding my grain slowly ,giving it a good stir every pour of grain ,once the grain is added i give it another good stir and then start to draw off a few jugfuls of wort and pour these back through .i now turn the element back on but on the 1800 setting and set this to 68 deg as i find this is a good middle ground ,i let this stabilise and then draw of a few more jugfuls and pour through ,from now on apart from giving it a good stir every 15 mins i find the Klarstein takes care of the rest .
This is what I do also and it seems to hold its temp fairly well. I don't use the grain basket anymore either, I found that it was too small to do a big beer and I've just got into the habit of not using it.

I do overnight mashes and just accept that there will be some temp variations. But I do switch it on the 1800 setting which seems to keep it steadier.

The insulation is a good idea though, i may have to copy some of that.
 

starseeker

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I did this, by letting the klarstein heat back up to temp during the mash. However, the grain bed temperature shot up, which is what causes my concern, despite the unit thinking it was at 66 degrees it was at 71-72 in the grain bed.

Were you controlling the heating manually?
I do keep my eye on it and if it goes to high i will turn it off and draw off a few jugfuls again and pass through . I am also using approx 4.5L of water per kilo of grain for the mash ,what are you using ?
 

Burtsbeets

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I do keep my eye on it and if it goes to high i will turn it off and draw off a few jugfuls again and pass through . I am also using approx 4.5L of water per kilo of grain for the mash ,what are you using ?
With my previous batches, they were full volume mashes at ~6-7 L/Kg of grain.

I am currently doing a brew and decided to do half volume mash and sparge (to increase efficiency as it was terrible), and took @Dads_Ale and others advice of insulating. I turned the system off after dough in and it held pretty well, I only had to heat it up a little towards the 45 minute mark as it dropped to 64 on a 66 degree mash.
 

matt76

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I've got one too. In my opinion it's tremendous value for money and perfectly suited to my 12L-ish full-volume no-sparge BIABs 👍

But I agree 100%, although I can fit my initial mash temp dead on, keeping a stable mash temperature is definitely a major headache as the heater kicks in and out during a 60 min mash.

I actually do still use the grain basket - I actually have the grain in not one, but two, large grain bags to catch all the small particles. These in turn are sat inside the metal grain basket.

Best solution I have is every 5-20 mins (depends how often I can be bothered!) I nip out and give the mash a stir and raise the grain basket a couple of times to even things out.

However, maybe I need to try just switching off the heater and insulate it for the 1 hour mash - first rule of engineering, keep it simple, stupid! 👍😜

I have also given /am still giving serious thought to rigging up a recirc pump to keep it even 🤔 I really like the idea of using a colander to distribute the wort more evenly over the top of the grain 👍
 

Burtsbeets

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I've got one too. In my opinion it's tremendous value for money and perfectly suited to my 12L-ish full-volume no-sparge BIABs 👍

But I agree 100%, although I can fit my initial mash temp dead on, keeping a stable mash temperature is definitely a major headache as the heater kicks in and out during a 60 min mash.

I actually do still use the grain basket - I actually have the grain in not one, but two, large grain bags to catch all the small particles. These in turn are sat inside the metal grain basket.

Best solution I have is every 5-20 mins (depends how often I can be bothered!) I nip out and give the mash a stir and raise the grain basket a couple of times to even things out.

However, maybe I need to try just switching off the heater and insulate it for the 1 hour mash - first rule of engineering, keep it simple, stupid! 👍😜

I have also given /am still giving serious thought to rigging up a recirc pump to keep it even 🤔 I really like the idea of using a colander to distribute the wort more evenly over the top of the grain 👍
A small curiosity, what are your efficiencies looking like on your mashes? I know this is always easily remedied by more grain, but its always nice to be efficient in brewing haha.

I bought the bag for the maischfest when I ordered it and stopped using it as I thought it was creating a microenvironment that was giving me the heating issues. I am seeing this may be wrong and go back to using it for a clearer wort.

If you do get a recirc pump be sure to post, there can never be too many upgrades and equipment posts!

Also, I thought the first rule was "give it a kick" :laugh8:
 

matt76

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A small curiosity, what are your efficiencies looking like on your mashes? I know this is always easily remedied by more grain, but its always nice to be efficient in brewing haha.

I bought the bag for the maischfest when I ordered it and stopped using it as I thought it was creating a microenvironment that was giving me the heating issues. I am seeing this may be wrong and go back to using it for a clearer wort.

If you do get a recirc pump be sure to post, there can never be too many upgrades and equipment posts!

Also, I thought the first rule was "give it a kick" :laugh8:
Based on what Brewer's Friend tells me, my Ending Kettle Efficiency is typically 72%.

If I use a lot of oats or flaked barley it'll be 5-10% less - so I generally don't!

And if I do an overnight mash I get about 82% - but I haven't done one for a while as the varying mash temp makes things a bit harder to predict. Plus I don't think I'd chance it leaving a recirculation pump running unattended overnight!
 

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I would go for the pump. I got a relatively cheap one off eBay and wired up a switch and since then I have been able to massively reduced the amount of time the heating element is turned on for. I think I spent £20 all in with hosing as well.
For those interested. I have attached the pump to some quick releases and then a switch into the bench (the red thing to the left). I'm able to control the flow by adjusting the valve on the tap.
For cleaning, the pump is on a slider that comes off nicely.
Its currently using silicone hosing but it's taken on some nice colours. If anyone can suggest something better I would appreciate it.
PXL_20210208_072836991.jpg
 

crowcrow

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For what it is worth, this is just my base insulation - I add another 2 or 3 beach towels on top of this. Holds the temp far better.

I am very interested in how Grainfather or similar does this 'better' - is it just the pump? Does they have better controllers, heaters or temp sensors?

I'm very happy with my Klarstein for now, I probably be pushed to do more than 5 brews a year, so not ready to invest any more - but keen to know what I'm missing out on!
 

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