Making an all in one system

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Donjon

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I've been using 2 pans on my gas ring for a few years, it takes ages to get to the boil and I'm losing so much heat into the environment.

I'm in the initial stages of researching how to build an all in one and I'm wondering whether you can share some of your experiences.

Are there any common pitfalls to avoid?

I'm currently thinking of using


1. 50 litre stock pot
2. A pair of heating elements mounted inside the pan
3. A control unit (perhaps a PID and SSR) to control one of the elements
4. A sensor mounted near the element with temp control
5. A mounted tap to empty (and perhaps to set a pump up for mashing)
6. A false bottom
7. As much insulation as I can use.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
 

chthon

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4. A sensor mounted near the element with temp control

Is that as a failsafe against overheating, as feedback for temperature regulation of the mash, or for heating your strike water?
 

Donjon

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Is that as a failsafe against overheating, as feedback for temperature regulation of the mash, or for heating your strike water?
I'll use both elements to heat the strike water, just one with control for the mash and then both to get up to the boil, but just one to maintain the boil.

The thermostatic control is to maintain a even temp for mash and boil
 

MmmBeer

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A member made a similar thing a few years ago. The MaltMother

It looks like a good system and he had some success with it, but it needed a lot of tweaks and mods to make it work well. I can't help thinking that if you want an all in one, you may be better off just buying an all in one that has been tested and works first time.
 

chthon

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The problem as I see it from a process control view is this.

You have a heating element, and beside it a temperature sensor. You will have something that regulates the current through this heating element, you detect the temperature and from this you control the regulator.

You start up the system, the temperature probe detects that the temperature is low, steps up the current through the heating element and the mash or the water heats up. But if your temperature probe is only 10 cm from your heating element, and reaches e.g. 80° C, then it will limit the current through the regulator. But only a small part of the mash or the water will be heated.

Water moves freely, but by limiting your current you limit your power. Where theoretically 2 kW could heat up 30l in half an hour (only an example, didn't do the math), using this system it will probably take 10 times as much time to heat water. Ok, you have one regulated heater and one unregulated heater.

But what will you do in the mash? To make it work well you should be able to recirculate your wort so that it can take the heat away from the heaters. And to be correct you should measure the temperature of your wort and let that regulate the heaters.

So you need a pump too and set up a recirculation system.
 

Donjon

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The problem as I see it from a process control view is this.

You have a heating element, and beside it a temperature sensor. You will have something that regulates the current through this heating element, you detect the temperature and from this you control the regulator.

You start up the system, the temperature probe detects that the temperature is low, steps up the current through the heating element and the mash or the water heats up. But if your temperature probe is only 10 cm from your heating element, and reaches e.g. 80° C, then it will limit the current through the regulator. But only a small part of the mash or the water will be heated.

Water moves freely, but by limiting your current you limit your power. Where theoretically 2 kW could heat up 30l in half an hour (only an example, didn't do the math), using this system it will probably take 10 times as much time to heat water. Ok, you have one regulated heater and one unregulated heater.

But what will you do in the mash? To make it work well you should be able to recirculate your wort so that it can take the heat away from the heaters. And to be correct you should measure the temperature of your wort and let that regulate the heaters.

So you need a pump too and set up a recirculation system.
Yes, I see that.

I'm wanting to move away from gas because it takes so long to heat, I have little control over mash temp and I can't insulate it.


Whatever my solution, I'm wanting to address these problems
 
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Ok, with so the burko boiler, I'd replace the tap with a ball lock and recirculate with a pump.

Would you suggest using a PID for controlling the temperature?
Ive never mashed in a Burco but loads of people on here will have done or a similar boiler using either a bag or basket for the grain. I assume you get your water to the strike temperature then lower the bag/basket. As you say insulate and leave for 60 minutes. A pump is a good idea, ask Chopps his Homebrew setup which is Burco, basket and pump.
 

chthon

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Yes, I see that.

I'm wanting to move away from gas because it takes so long to heat, I have little control over mash temp and I can't insulate it.


Whatever my solution, I'm wanting to address these problems
How much electrical power do you supply, and what is the amount of water that you want to heat?

(Water volume * 4186 * Temperature difference) / Power = time to heat

The temperature difference is the wanted end temperature of the water minus the start temperature of the water.

E.g. 30 l * 4186 * (68° - 20°) / (3 kW * 60 s) = 33 minutes.

I think that will practically be more like 45 minutes, as the higher the temperature of the water becomes, the more losses you will have.
 

Donjon

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How much electrical power do you supply, and what is the amount of water that you want to heat?

(Water volume * 4186 * Temperature difference) / Power = time to heat

The temperature difference is the wanted end temperature of the water minus the start temperature of the water.

E.g. 30 l * 4186 * (68° - 20°) / (3 kW * 60 s) = 33 minutes.

I think that will practically be more like 45 minutes, as the higher the temperature of the water becomes, the more losses you will have.
That's really interesting. I'm surprised it's so long still. I might get a drop-in element to help get the strike water/wort up to temperature
 

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I considered a similar build myself for a long time, but after extensive research and costings It seemed like DIY would get me a less functional system for more money than an off the shelf solution. For instance you could go for a Klarstein Maischfest for 220, and get a tenner off for signing up to their newsletter: Maischfest Mash Kettle
 

Donjon

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I considered a similar build myself for a long time, but after extensive research and costings It seemed like DIY would get me a less functional system for more money than an off the shelf solution. For instance you could go for a Klarstein Maischfest for 220, and get a tenner off for signing up to their newsletter: Maischfest Mash Kettle
Yes, it's definitely looking like a more practical solution. I think one of the only issue is the lack of precision over mash temperature.

Has anyone had experience of a system which has better control over mash temperature?
 

Donjon

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One major limitation to my current method on the stove is how long it takes to reach temperature. I am wondering whether a decent heat stick would be worth the money. Get the water/liquor up to temperature more quickly.
 

Ben034

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One major limitation to my current method on the stove is how long it takes to reach temperature. I am wondering whether a decent heat stick would be worth the money. Get the water/liquor up to temperature more quickly.
I use a "sous vide" stick to get up to temperature (with the hob on as well) and to regulate the mash temperature (it recirculates and heats when necessary). Not a particularly common setup, but a relatively cheap alternative if you don't want to massively alter your current setup.
 

Donjon

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I use a "sous vide" stick to get up to temperature (with the hob on as well) and to regulate the mash temperature (it recirculates and heats when necessary). Not a particularly common setup, but a relatively cheap alternative if you don't want to massively alter your current setup.
The stick does the recirculation? That's ace. So I can leave it in my mash and it will keep it at my target temperature?

They're not cheap, but actually could be a really good choice. Have you tried step-mashes with it?
 

Donjon

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The stick does the recirculation? That's ace. So I can leave it in my mash and it will keep it at my target temperature?

They're not cheap, but actually could be a really good choice. Have you tried step-mashes with it?
I actually use 2 pans to get my volumes (they're both too small to get a 21 litre batch), so unless I buy two, I've still not solved the problem
 
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