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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * January 9, 2004 * Steam injection wort heating for step mashing < Previous Next >

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Kevin LaDue (12.225.60.162)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 05:14 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anybody else useing steam instead of electric heating elements to heat recirculated wort for step mashing.
What kind of temperature rise across the heating chamber in rims systems is the upper working limit when making large temperature steps.
 

Bob McCouch (68.32.206.76)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 12:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kevin,
Are you talking about injecting steam into a RIMS chamber? I'd be cautious about doing that, as steam can build pressure very quickly and if your RIMS plumbing were to clog you could have a blowout.

Warnings aside, I played with steam a few times. I added a drop-in manifold to my mashtun and fed it with 3/16" braid reinforced silicon tubing from my steam generator, which was a 16 qt pressure canner with a ball valve installed in the top. There was no doubt that the steam did raise the temp of the mash or hot liquor, but it wasn't very fast in my installation.

With 10 gallon batches and a 3/16" delivery line, I saw less than 1F/min of temp rise on my mash. I suspect that with a 3/8" delivery line, used on a 5 gallon batch, steam could be an effective means to kick temperature up quickly without damaging enzymes. That was exactly the advantage I was hoping for and didn't get.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 01:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bob's right; steam can be used to provide heat for mashing (and for boiling, for that matter) but it's usually not practical. Several people have reported using pressure canners as steam generators and achieving adequate results for batches of 5 gallons and smaller. There are plumbing issues (it requires high temperature piping or tubing) and some safety concerns (live steam can very easily cause burns).

I keep thinking some enterprising builder will modify a residential home heating boiler and build a steam-heated brewery. It would be feasible, although not a casual project. Used restaurant steam kettles would make excellent mash tuns, hot liquor tanks and kettles with a little modification. As I have mentioned, there is a brew-on-premise operation near my home that heats its kettles with steam. It takes only 5-10 minutes to bring 14-15 gallons to a boil.
 

a d thorp (67.72.224.234)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 02:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

kevin
i use steam, but not with a rims system. like bob i use a converted pressure cooker with a 3/8 copper manifold. i get good temp times, about 1 degree per min. or less. a word of warning, steam is VERY dangerous! if you are not sure of your fabricating skills do not attempt using steam. accidents can be disfiguring at best! if you are handy {and have an extra burner} steam is a good way to raise temps without adding water or using a pump/rims chamber setup.
dan
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 02:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dan, does your system inject the steam directly into the mash tun via the same manifold you use to drain the runoff? How much water does it consume and do you find that the condensed steam thins the mash as it it heated?
 

Bob McCouch (68.32.206.76)
Posted on Friday, December 19, 2003 - 11:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill-
I don't remember the exact source I read regarding your question, but to paraphrase, there is not a significant thinning of the mash due to steam injection because the energy content of steam is so high you need comparitively little to affect a delta T.

Steam even at essentially 0 psi contains many times more energy for a given volume than boiling water does. The calculations in the article I read said something like you could expect to inject about 1 cup worth of water into a 5-gallon mash in order to raise a sacc rest to mash out temps. Comparitively, you'd need 1 gallon of boiling water to do the same.

If anyone knows the article/webpage I'm talking about, please post a link in case I'm misremembering something.
 

gregory gettman (209.66.128.130)
Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 12:03 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here's your sign........

http://brewery.org/brewery/library/SteInjCS1295.html

or

http://www.brewingtechniques.com/library/backissues/issue2.4/jones.html
 

Kevin LaDue (12.225.60.162)
Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 06:05 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My current system uses a flash boiler/continous water heater for the heat source. When the flow through the boiler is reduced to about 2 gph and the burner turned up, it is possible to get 30 deg rise across the mixing chamber at .8 gpm. Wort is pumped from the mash tun into the chamber, steam injected, flows past temperature sensor, then to the sparge manifold at top of mash tun. When the wort pump is shut down, the sparge water flows through the same manifold to the top of the mash tun. Water flow and burner are throttled to give 10 gph @ 180 deg flow to top of mash tun.
Flash boiler/heater is built from 4 - 10 foot lengths of 1/4 ' od 316 ss tubing fed in paralell from a modified tubing cross fitting at top and bottom. Individual coils are 2.5" diameter, intercoiled to fit in a 6 inch stainless tube above the 30 k burner.
Water is pumped through a flow meter then into the boiler, then the water/steam flow runs past a temperature sensor for monitoring.
since my work in the industrial instrumentation field includes steam/gas power generation turbines, cautions about the hazards of superheated/saturated steam are appreciated but a bit redundant.
 

U. Curjel (80.218.52.197)
Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2003 - 07:16 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kevin,

I'm intrigued, do you any pics posted? Not interested in building one but as a stainless/gadget/beer freak I just wanna have a look.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 02:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Obviously you are well aware of the safety issues with steam, Kevin. It's more that many other people who might read these messages are not. I, too, am intrigued by your system.
 

Kevin LaDue (12.225.60.162)
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 08:20 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Typical performance with 13 lb of grain and 3.8 gallons of water is , 11 minutes to raise temp from 130 deg to 148 deg in wort temp from mash tun. Steam temp at start is 218 deg, leaving wort temp is held at 154 deg. Water flow rate into boiler is kept at 2 gph and burner gas flow is used to control the mixed wort temperature.
Second step takes a bit longer as the mixed wort temp is held at 160 deg until wort leaving mash tun temp reaches 156 deg.
After mash conversion,the wort flow is sent to the boil kettle and water flow to the boiler is reset to 10 gph and burner gas flow is set to produce 180 deg sparge water flow.
With my current system, all brewing water goes into the 11 gallon water tank, which is pumped to either the boil pot for strike water, or the boiler. Water transfer and wort circulation is done by a mag coupled pump setting below kettle level. System control and temperature indicators are mounted in the control panel at top, with pump controls, flow indicators, valving, and electric ignition. About the only manual tasks left are mixing the grain in the mash tun and adding hops to the boil and hopback container.
The entire system can be disassembled into seperate units in about 10 minutes and transported in the average size car.
 

a d thorp (67.72.224.227)
Posted on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 12:03 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

bill,
yes the steam is injected in to the mash and no i don't notice any thinning of the mash. for a typical 10 gallon batch mash i use about 3 quarts of water for the process, this includes the steam that is bypassed out of the system. before i moved my system inside i had some seriously cold brewing days in the winter, the steam idea was as much for maintaining mash temps as for step mashing, it works well for me

dan

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