My Brew Setup and Brew Day Process
I brew using a 3 vessel system like many modern brewers. My setup includes a 10 gallon Blichmann brew kettle, a 10 gallon Polarware kettle for a mash tun and a 10 gallon Igloo cooler as a hot liquor tank (my original mash tun).
In addition to my 3 vessels, I have 2 burners, one Blichmann burner and a classic banjo burner.
For transferring fluids I use a stainless head chugger pump with stainless quick-connects on all the hoses. As far as hoses go, I have three hoses with female connectors on both ends and shutoff valves on one end. All my other equipment has male connectors.
On a typical brew day I setup my HLT, Mash Tun and Boil kettle lined up left to right. I heat up all my brewing water (assuming it’s under 10 gallons) in my boil kettle. Once I reach strike temperature, I use my pump to transfer the proper amount of strike water into the mash tun. I push the water into the mash tun under the grain (which are already in the mash tun). Doing this I have found that I rarely have troubles with dough balls.
After mashing in I am able to check my mash temperature and if necessary I can hit the mash tun with direct flame to raise the temperature. During my mash time, if I drop too much temperature I can always turn on the flame and raise it back up. Unlike a HERMS or RIMS setup this is a manual process, but I find that i lose only 3-4 degree over an hour so adding some heat halfway through the process isn’t a problem.
Once I start mashing, I then heat the remaining water up to a few degrees above sparge temperature (168f). Once that’s done I use the pump to transfer the hot liquor to my igloo cooler. This is very easy to do since my hoses have valves on them, I just move the output line from the mash tun to the HLT.
Once the mash is complete, I move my hose from the brew kettle to the output of the mash tun and the output hose to to top of the mash tun. I can now start a slow re-circulation for 10-15 minutes while I put the heat on and raise the temperature up to 168 for mash out. Once the temperature is up to mash out , close the hose valve and move it from the mash tun to the boil kettle.
After the boil, the pump is hooked up again to circulate through the plate chiller until chilled close to pitch temperature.
Then into the fermentation chamber. A.K.A. the chest freezer with STC-1000 controller.