Steam Injected Mash

Tombstone steam injected mash

I finally started making my steam injected mash Tun. Still need to work out pressure release valve and maybe a steam gauge depends on cost.

Also would like to know where abouts I should put my holes facing to the side or facing above or facing below or facing all different ways.

If I miss something please let me know.

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  • edited June 13

    The holes should face down. If you've faced them any other direction, you'll need to add additional holes on the bottom (at a minimum) to allow for the condensate to drain out at startup and when the liquid is cool.

    Be very careful about vacuum collapse sucking the mash back into the boiler. As such, you should have a way to remove the injector once you get to temperature. Once you start injecting, you should not shut the steam flow to the injector off. Looks like you are welding on a triclamp there, so that's good. Realize the worst case scenario is that you shut down the power to your steam boiler and keep the valves open. This will suck back a pretty significant amount of mash into your injector, piping, and boiler. If this happens near gelatinization temperature, you will have an absolute mess on your hands as it'll clog up the pipes (possibly) permanently - good luck cleaning out the inside of that loop. Also reason you should have a PRV at the boiler. There are lots of scenarios that can easily clog up that injector - to the point at which 15psi or thereabouts will NOT blow it out. A check valve located above the water line will not fix this. A vacuum breaker will not fix this.

    I don't know why you guys use all that fancy plumbing to inject steam - who started this idea? I inject steam into a 600 gallon tank using a single educator nozzle that has probably a 1/4" nozzle opening. On one end of a rectangular tank that is 6 feet long. No issues, at all. Granted, my boiler is slightly larger, but the steam flow can easily induce flow 6 feet away. I would imagine a very simple injector would have the a single 90' elbow at the end of the down tube. Put an endcap on the 90' elbow and drill something like a 1/8" hole in it (at the bottom, not centered). Position the elbow so that you are tangental to the tank (parallel with the side) - This way you can induce rotation/agitation (like in a boil kettle). Or perhaps even inject - straight up - from the center of the tank. Even better, use a threaded fitting at the nozzle end so you can open up the injector pipe from both ends to clean it out.

    Heed my warning, this is the single biggest problem we have with steam injection. Having to pull the injector in the middle of a mash heat up is an absolute headache. Especially since any/all threaded fittings become impossible to remove at 212f.

    Easy Peasy.

    Looking good though.

  • Very interesting I had a discussion with a steam company colleague today.... For continuous stripping I was looking for an educator as above. My colleague said ... why bother. Take a ring and drill hole in bottom (at 45 degrees down towards outside wall) and ensure that at least the open area of holes is the same as the pipe diameter

  • edited June 14

    I use this: Tank Heating Eductors (Sparger Nozzles)

    It's not complex or expensive.

  • edited June 14

    Is that seriously duct tape holding your pipework together or is it just a photo quality issue messing with my eyes?

    In order to make a vacuum break and eliminate the chance of a closed valve making pressure in your boiler i used a 3 way valve with the opening facing away. Just always open the valve when you are finished with the steam before shutting the steam boiler down. It'll serve as a vacuum break then.

    Richard has it right with the open area being equal to the diameter of the pipe.

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    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Making a Y with threaded plugs at the end might be a good idea if you want to use the sparger.

  • edited June 14

    Thats how i did it.

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    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • The idea of the many smaller holes versus one big one is to size it as large as possible but compromising to attain the best efficiency. You want to set up so the steam energy is absorbed before it hits the surface. If you see bubbles of steam it's not using it as efficiently as it could.
    Normally you'd only see the bubbles once the mash is right up to temperature and not able to absorb all the energy. This will depend on the mash depth as well.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • @grim said: I use this: Tank Heating Eductors (Sparger Nozzles)

    It's not complex or expensive.

    Do you have a video of yours working?

  • when i made mine, I lashed out on a proper steam safety valve instead of repurposing 1 off a water heater.

    They are not cheap, but i'd prefer to be safe. Think I got it from OSvalve here in Aus.

    Vacuum break is also needed as i forgot to turn the 3 way valve 1 time & ended up with a keg full of mash :(

  • @grim said:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylEwvl2H6o0

    Nice video... do you have the video of thr mash tun Iworking or just steamed and noise

  • edited June 14

    Just the steam and noise. I'd need to take a video heating up cooler water if you want to see anything other than steam. As to the noise - 500 pounds of steam an hour (roughly 150kw equivalent) is pretty loud. I don't know who dropped whatever the hell was dropped when I took that video.

  • Ok wish I could see it. But got my hopes up that I could see yours in action. Of a full pic like my. With out duct tape and finish TIG weld of course. Lol

  • edited June 15

    Bigger injector than you would need for a keg, but it's what I use:

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    Older shot from when we were testing:

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  • edited June 14

    Can't complain, we are easily north of 100,000 pounds of grain mashed.

    But see that drop tube? It's been completely full of solid gelatinized corn more than a dozen times, and getting it out is a nightmare (I suppose that's a complaint).

  • Nice work how much did it cost you?

  • @grim, this looks like a great idea! Ran into some massive issues with stuck EVERYTHING on a recent all grain attempt with a heavy % of rolled oats - through a RIMS system - big mistake. After my pump started screaming, realized I had what seemed like 2" of wet concrete on top of my false bottom.

    I'm now waiting patiently for delivery of my "Stainless steel venturi eductor" with 1/4" inlet from Alibaba - $18.

    Regarding the sucking of mash on shutdown, wondering if I could design some countermeasures, like a tee or cross instead of a 90 for cleaning access, or maybe the ability to push compressed air through the pipe through a separate valved connection in addition to a vacuum break or 3-way valve?

  • and that is what lauter grants are for...

    my neighbor was doing our first 55%rye malt(with all the enzymes) on his 4bbl brew system and using a pump... it still stuck... when we removed the pump inlet, the entire mash tun made a very loud 'BANG', the false bottom had 'tin canned'... the manufacturer upgraded his false bottom and now has that as their standard...

  • nice set up grim i your 600 gallon tun a milk tank .

    tim

  • Surprised you didn't burn out your pump with the oats.

    Oats are BRUTAL.

  • RIMS element was completely caked in burnt grains. Should lend an interesting flavor...

  • oops my question was suppose to be...grim is your 600 gallon mash tun a milk tank,

    tim

  • I have moved on have a better one from a friend. Will post new posted

  • @hudsonbaydistiller - Yes, converted Mueller 630g bulk milk tank.

  • thanks grim curious did you modify it or do you use it as is . i see ur steam heating system what do you use for cooling . tim

  • Modified.

    The stock refrigerant jacket converted to water, Steam injection, Upgraded agitator, Spray ball for CIP. Integrated temp and pH probes.

  • Well, quick update. Stripping run now, and there's a VERY pronounced burnt grain note coming through. Oh well. It's a "feature." Yeah.

    Regardless, my new 1/4" venturi arrived, and I realized it's just slightly larger diameter than a 1" NPT, so a little work with the file, and some creative use of stainless fittings, could turn this into a direct steam injector that would be a drop fit in place of my electric elements. Intriguing...

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