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Thread: Indirect Fire MLT and Temperature Control?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Bismarck
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    Indirect Fire MLT and Temperature Control?

    I'm planning out a 10bbl brewhouse and initially considered going with steam, but space constraints won't allow that kind of footprint. Having already brewed on an electric system, I'm not eager to go back to that. Overall, indirect fire seems like it has the most benefits (including space, maintenance and cost). What I'd like to know is whether anyone else has used a chambered MLT built for indirect fire for the benefit of mash temp control without going with steam? Some of the companies I requested quotes from said that it can be difficult to control mash temp this way and you'd possibly overheat it. And although they'd build an indirect fire MLT, it sounds like they don't recommend it, even though they don't have specific accounts to share. If any of you can shed some light on this, I'd appreciate it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Moab, Utah
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    Clarify things

    Quote Originally Posted by mphilleo View Post
    I'm planning out a 10bbl brewhouse and initially considered going with steam, but space constraints won't allow that kind of footprint. Having already brewed on an electric system, I'm not eager to go back to that. Overall, indirect fire seems like it has the most benefits (including space, maintenance and cost). What I'd like to know is whether anyone else has used a chambered MLT built for indirect fire for the benefit of mash temp control without going with steam? Some of the companies I requested quotes from said that it can be difficult to control mash temp this way and you'd possibly overheat it. And although they'd build an indirect fire MLT, it sounds like they don't recommend it, even though they don't have specific accounts to share. If any of you can shed some light on this, I'd appreciate it.
    What exactly is an MLT, and How exactly is is being indirectly fired, and why would it be difficult to control?
    There are not any specific details to the exact configuration you are attempting to describe being provided.
    If you are doing single or 2 step infusion mashing your strike temp is the main thing and you should not need to add that much more heat to the mash vessel over the time period of the mash. I have to wonder exactly how this proposed system is laid out and set up.
    If you have a mash vessel that has a hot water jacket which seems to be what you are referring to, I see no reason why it would be subject to not being easy to control if things are setup up correctly.
    Your post needs clarification.
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  3. #3
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    May 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starcat View Post
    What exactly is an MLT, and How exactly is is being indirectly fired, and why would it be difficult to control?
    There are not any specific details to the exact configuration you are attempting to describe being provided.
    If you are doing single or 2 step infusion mashing your strike temp is the main thing and you should not need to add that much more heat to the mash vessel over the time period of the mash. I have to wonder exactly how this proposed system is laid out and set up.
    If you have a mash vessel that has a hot water jacket which seems to be what you are referring to, I see no reason why it would be subject to not being easy to control if things are setup up correctly.
    Your post needs clarification.
    When I say MLT, I'm referring to a Mash/Lauter Tun. I haven't used an indirect fire system before, so I can't speak from experience, but the manufacturer suggested that temperature on the mash vessel could be difficult to control. Theoretically, I don't think it should be that hard. My understanding is that with indirect fire, you have jacketed, chambered vessels which receive forced hot air from burners, which gives you the convenience of gas heat without the potential of hot spots, scorching, etc.

    Although I can dial in the calculations for the correct strike temperature, there are always variables that can make it difficult to hit your infusion temp goal every time. My hope was to utilize indirect fire on the MLT in order to gradually increase the temperature if I was off, or possibly allowing me to do a two step infusion for a protein rest on an adjunct-heavy grain bill. The system and company I have been in contact with is Cedarstone Industry, it's just their standard 10bbl indirect fire system I was considering. Thanks for your feedback.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Newcastle NSW Australia
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    206
    If you want to have temp control on the mash side then you need a steam heated system with steam jackets on the mash tun or mash/lauter tun. Anything else is a waste of time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    Chesterfield, UK
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    Agree with Tim's comment, BUT, in the experience of a few guys I know who have this facility, they dislike using it for a couple of reasons

    Firstly, the systems are not fitted with effective mixers, so they don't mix properly

    The temperature is controllable to + / - 3 degrees in their experience

    The rakes knock the stuffing out of the malt, so it sinks to the bottom, and then you have to rake it a lot.

    So you get cloudy worts

    And generally the rake control is not good - height, speed, number of rakes - so you don't get good raking, just cloudy low extract wort.

    So, either stick to isothermal mashes, no raking, OR

    You get a properly designed mash mixer, properly design mash transfer pump, and properly designed lauter tun
    dick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    Bismarck
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone. It looks like I was searching for a solution in need of a problem.

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