Here's a basic diagram
I'd like to know if anyone out there has any experience (good/bad) with a grist hydrator and how it differs from malt conditioning (ie Buhler's Condimat). The Condimat and other such units are designed for large commercial breweries and I haven't found anything applicable to mash tuns less than 100BBL.
We're considering using a grist hydrator on a 30BBL project in South Florida and I understand the positive and negative implications in doing this. We're also using a 4-roller mill and with the combination of the mill and the hydrator we are expecting to achieve very good yield from our ingredients.
Specifically, I'd like to info about the operation of a grist hydrator, good suppliers, mechanical construction, recommended flow rate, temperature loss, how to adjust my brewing calculations to achieve the desired mash temperature...
Thanks and Cheers!
Here's a basic diagram
The diagram above might be ok, but I'm not sure i wanna push wet grain through my auger. A cleaning headache. Our system augers dry grain just above the mash tun, drops through a flex tube passes though the hydrator right before going into the mashtun. The hydrators goal is to wet the grain and avoid doughballs. Conditioning is different entirely. Just my two cents.
What you have drawn is very similar to a Steele's masher, commonly used in distilling. However, I do know of some breweries using one. It definitely hydrates the grain more completely, but there is obvious added expense due to the more complicated design than simply dropping dry grain through a hydrator. Most Steele's mashers also have tines instead of a continuous auger. One issue I came across with a Steele's masher setup was that the infeed of dry, crushed malt was too fast for the sizing of the infeed into the mash mixer. This was not resolved while I was on site, so we had to pour in about 50 bags of crushed malt! Ideal scenario is that you have a hanging hopper that allows you to throttle the infeed of malt.
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Malt conditioning is a totally different animal. It is used to dampen, and hence soften the husk of grain just before milling, so the softer husk doesn't fracture into loads of little pieces, bu stays relatively whole, and theus creates a more porous filter bed in the lauter / mash tun. Typically you add about 2 % moisture at about 35 to 45 deg C prior to milling.
You need a temperature probe in the strike liquor to get close to the required strike liquor temperature quickly, and another in the steeles masher jsu befor it drops into the mash vessel. The final check is of the mash temperature itself, allowing you to say add strike liquor at 74 C, to get a mash temperature of say 65 C, which finally gives you a mash temperature of 64 C in the mash tun / mash mixer.
You need a slide valve above the steels masher which you slide out to give the consistency you require. A bit suck it and see to stat with. Make it too thick rather than too thin until you get used to it.