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mnstarzz13

BIAB: Brew Pot Mashing Chamber

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:borg: Looking for thoughts and/or suggestions on a project I am working to complete, a brew pot mashing chamber.

I do mostly AG BIAB now and am working to build up my arsenal of brewing supplies/tools. I have recently added a chiller, oxygenation system and a grain mill, which will make brewing easier for me. With my limited strength in my fingers and hands, any way to remove physical effort is a bonus for me.

This "chamber" idea came to me after reading "The New Joy of Home Brewing" (at least I think that’s the title of the book, its an older book)

In there, it stated you could line a cardboard box with 1" Styrofoam to maintain mash temps and place your MT in there for a more insulated environment if a cooler type MT was unavailable. My thought is not make a box without a cardboard shell

Since i can't physically put my 4 gal pot in the oven and i have had lots of trouble maintaining temps with the wrapped-towel method, i need a more effective yet feasible method.

My thought/plan: Purchase 1 of these

I would cut it to fit with minimal extra room to avoid heat loss, give maybe 1/4" all around so its easy to put on/off. Cut out a board for all 4 sides and a lid (no bottom at this point) and assemble with the foil facing the brew pot.

Then, I would add a 2nd layer of foamboard all around (except the bottom) for added insulation to make it 1.5" thick as 1 of these 8' boards has plenty of material.

Not sure how I should hold this all together. Suggestions?

Then, my last piece would be to cut out a bottom sheet that I could place my brew pot on then I would slide the foamboard box over top the brew pot. The bottom would be big enough so it is slightly larger than the foamboard box to minimize heat loss through any cracks.

Not sure if an aluminum pot, fresh off a stove burner, would melt a foamboard like this?

So, i ask of you, what do you think? Am I waisting my time? Am i not attacking this from the right direction? Am I overlooking anything?

Thanks for reading! :chug:

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I've seen a lot of people using...I don't know what it's called but it looks like a mix between foil and bubble wrap as an insulation for their metal MLTs and HLTs. This might be a much, much simpler solution to your problem.

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i used 1/2 inch foamboard ($10)to make a cooler for the summer heat.
i made a bottom and top and doubled the sides for a total of one inch.

it maintained temps a lot better than my igloo coolers.

i do a/c work, i used silver foil tape on the seams - had some in stock

you should be good if you build your free space in your box.

i doubt you will have much heat loss.

and the box will be light in weight.

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thanks guys it sounds like my set up would work pretty well! However the Reflectix stuff sounds esier like you say.

I found a 16" X 25' for $9 so its even cheaper than the foam board!

The HBT thread is a very interesting read. I just cant tell if he has a bottom peice or it its just the top and sides covered....I didnt read thru every post yet but will and may find my answer.

Thanks again...looks promising :)

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The reflectix works pretty good. Just make sure not to have the pot on the flame with it on because it will melt (source: personal experience).

I put on reflectix and wrap the my whole pot in a big thick sleeping bag that i have. This works really good and i dont lose much temp, if any.

There are many advocates of using something thick that you aleady have at home, like a big parka or coat, wool blanket, basically something that youd use to keep warm, as long as its big enough.

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TJTHEBEST wrote:

The reflectix works pretty good. Just make sure not to have the pot on the flame with it on because it will melt (source: personal experience).

I put on reflectix and wrap the my whole pot in a big thick sleeping bag that i have. This works really good and i dont lose much temp, if any.

There are many advocates of using something thick that you aleady have at home, like a big parka or coat, wool blanket, basically something that youd use to keep warm, as long as its big enough.

I use an electric flat top stove so no open flame but have no plans to have it near my burner at all.

If i cut a piece of reflectix as a pad to set my pot on and place it on my unused burner, think the material would melt from the hot pot bottom? im guessing so but i a not sure yet what this material is like. sounds like fancy bubble wrap, and if thats the case it prob is a bad idea to put a bottom on.

messing with big bulky blankets or sleepingbags, just dont work for me. need something more easily handled.

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I don't doubt anything you say ... including your need for better methods to hold mash temp.

However, it surprises me ... because when I bring my 16qt pot up to strike temp, and add the grain, stir, and check that it settled at the appropriate mash temp, and I put the lid on that rests on the thermometer shaft ... it holds temp for an hour easily with the induction burner turned off. Occasionally, and seldomly, I have to give just a spurt of warm up towards the end ... and then I just put induction burner on say 4 out of 9 for a minute to bring it back up a degree.


Maybe it's because for an induction burner you need the type stainless steel pot with the thick magnetic bottom, and once the bottom of the pot is at temp it holds a long time ....

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Agreed. IIRC, aluminum is a better conducter of heat than SS. Therefore aluminum would heat up more quickly than SS, but conversely would also cool down more quickly.

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You would be able to use the refelctix if it is an electric, its the flame that melts it. Also i think you might be fine putting the reflectix on the bottom, it should be around the same temp as the rest of the pot which should be around 152.

If you have an electric stove i would just keep the pot on it while you are mashing, if you lose a degree turn on the stove and stir it while its heating.

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Got the Reflectix on my pot full of 152F water to see how she does! Only 20min left. Chose not to check on it periodically to avoid heat loss as I dont have a thermometer with a wired probe.

I pulled the hot pot off the burner and placed it on the cold side of the stove on top a single sheet of the material to let it mash...i'll post results.

(I'm expecting some heat loss as there is no extra mass, ie. grains, in there to aid in heat retention)

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Over 60min I lost 4.3F using about 3.75 gal of water with an ambient temp of 69F. The sheet of reflectix I put under the pot did not melt at all so, TJ, you were correct ;)

Currently Im running a 2nd test. Heated the water back to 152 and set on cold side of my stove with nothing but the lid on. will check back in 60min to see how much the reflectix helped.

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genotype wrote:

awesome! thank you for doing all the work for me. if i drop-ship you some grain, would you mind brewing the beer for me as well? ;)

Sure! But I dont guarentee shipping back :P

My uninsulated pot dropped 12.4F over 60min with the same 152F starting temp. Thats 300% more heat loss. I'm Happy!

The nice thing with the reflectix is that the tube can be flattened slighly to be stored in much less space than my original idea of a foam box.

Thanks guys!

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That is frackin awesome mn! This is why I love this Borg and call it my "f@ceb00k". So many people that not only want to improve their processes, but also want to help others improve theirs. Thank you. This is something that I might never have though of, nor even dared to test, but now I'm intrigued as heck to see if this helps me maintain a more consistent temperature throughout my mash, helping me make my beer just that much better. Can you build and test a 10 gallon cooler mash tun for me? I swear this obsession is teaching me valuable life lessons we all should have been taught as children.

Also shout out to MonkeyMan's hop spider thread. It has come in handy in EVERY BATCH since its birth(check it out. very cool brewing utensil). Takes a steady hand to put in immersion chiller with it though.

Gabriel

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The reflectix idea looks awesome. I've been using the towel method with really good results temperature wise, but I get a lot of crap from SWMBO. Looks like a winner.

And I can't believe I missed the thread on the hop spider before. I've been clamping a paint strainer to the lid of the pot, put it tends to get pretty when you have to pull it open to add more hops. I can't wait to try both ideas. :woohoo:

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I too have added a hop spider to my tool box....its nice BUT it is one more thing to disassemble and clean and is kind tricky dropping in a chiller. however, its so much less trouble to drop in hops, not so messy like the clamped bag on a pot...that does suck.

Glad this thread has brought to light the simple way to maintain mash temps. Thanks to SenorPepe and GWCR for pointing me in the right direction......buuuuuut, it would be interesting to build/test the foamboard box.....hmmmm.....;)

Edit: also, I was hesitant to use hot glue to hold the layers of the reflectix together so i had the wife pull out her glue guns. She has a high heat and a low heat gun. The High heat gun worked much better!! The glue was much more runny so it spread out more, creating more surface area for adhesion than the cooler, more thick, low heated glue.

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I've used foil backed tape to seal the seams of my fermentation chamber, the foil tape is a bit trickier to apply than duct tape but it's strong and looks great.

mnstarzz13, Your design looks awesome by the way. Looks nice and neat, efficient and easy to setup and store away.

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