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^ this holy crap my efficiency went up a lot after just adding rice hulls.
If you got the one without a pump and would like to add a pump you can get this pump for 26$, and upgrade later to something a bit more tolerant of heat. It worked just fine for me for some time, and I've still got it in the drawer as a backup. You'll also see a lot of the reviews are from brewers.
Honestly I love the system the only thing that ever bugs me is it's 16lb max grain capacity with the basket, and it's tendency to scorch during the boil.
Congrats! I too got one for my birthday and have put two all two all-grain batches through it in March. It’s super convenient but even with all the reading and YouTubing I did before using there was still a bit of a learning curve.
If you did not get the version with the built in pump, I would highly recommend getting pump recommended on amazon to help with recirculation during mash. I had a pretty difficult time the first time since I had decided not to use it. I noticed the built-in sensor kicking on the heating element on even though I was measuring a correct mash temp. On the second brew day I used the pump and the heating element did not kick on as much.
If you are using the amazon pump, I’d also recommend running it with the valve 50-75% open or to have the tube reach into the mash. I slightly modified my lid by drilling out the hole in the top to fit a 3/8” stainless barbed elbow. This was done to avoid kinking of the silicone tubing and to be able to keep the lid on during mash. The problem I ran into by doing this is the flow from the pump was too high and the splashing cause a foam to build up. The foam easily rose to the top with some bits of grain and husks, and could have easily spilled over the sides of the basket. I noticed this about 30 minutes into the mash and adjusted the valve to lower thr flow. I will likey test adding 6-12” of tubing on the other end of thr elbow so that the tube end is in the mash and not above to cause splashing.
My mashes have been full immersion using a bag and I’m temped to sparge with it to see if I can get more efficiency above 75%.
Several amazon sellers stock them for similar prices, here's one example. I've seen them cheaper without the AC adapter. Plenty of reviews on there.
To parallel a couple of the other commenters, I have the M&B (no built-in pump) for about a year and a half and a half now and love it. It's very no-frills, especially compared to the Anvil or Grainfather, but you're also paying a much smaller price, leaving more funds for hops and other fun tools. I haven't tried the Robobrew for a brew, but I've checked one out while not in use, and it strikes me as just about the same at the M&B in terms of build quality.
I got a couple of the ubiquitous bayite pumps from Amazon and an inline controller for each, which I much prefer to having a built-in pump that would be harder to swap out in case of mechanical failure.
Honestly I used This guy for quite a while at 26$ before I upgraded a ~50$ pump, and it's still in good shape. The one you linked is totally up to snuff for homebrewing uses.
What's the pump people use for recirculating the mash on the Brewer's Edge system? This one is the one Amazon is recommending with the Brewer's Edge, and it seems like a good deal.
Not stiring. You do not want to upset the grainbed. The pump pulls liquid from the bottom and moves it to the top gently to continuously move hot water over the grain. One thing these companies do not tell you is that the bottom will be hotter than the top, despite their best intentions.
The thermometer and the heating element are on the bottom and so the further up you get the more heat loss you have. By recirculating you are providing for a uniform temperature within the mash. An external pump that will connect to the ball-valve will also work as it will make it easy and efficient for you to not only circulate but also to sparge when draining.
Many people recommend this cheap hot water pump on Amazon. I myself bought it for recirculation as the price was lower. While I am 30-40 brews in and it does recirculate a constant 160 degree's with ease, it has crapped out on me once due to it getting two hot. I have found a good way to prevent that is to freeze one or two one liter coke bottles full of water and just sandwich the pump between them. No issues since that and it saved me a few hundred as well.
Also, just as a consideration and my own two cents, I would give my left pinky toe if the Mash and Boil had a 220v conversion. Some do, I do not believe the robobrew can be converted.
I do this and it works pretty well. Very easy to add more ice/ice packs as needed during chilling. Cheap aquarium/fountain pumps can be had on Amazon for ~$10-$15US, or for a few dollars more, a solar hot water pump. I just 'upgraded' to one of these and it has enough head pressure to move cold water from the bottom of the sink, up over the top of my electric kettle, and through the immersion chiller, all while the kettle is still on the kitchen counter.
Do you find it easy to brew 5 gallon batches in the brewers edge? I was actually looking at getting the brewers edge without the pump and getting a cheaper hot water pump and some tubing and using that to recirculate - something like this
If you or anyone else on the thread has tried this and could say speak about how well that would work I’d love some feedback.
bayite BYT-7A015 DC 12V Solar Hot Water Heater Circulation Pump with DC Power Supply Adapter Low Noise 3M Head 8LPM 2.1GPM [link]
Not the best but it works fine. Isn't self priming though.
With the exception of that crack, it's great. I also got this pump and a hose for moving wort. The control panel is on the ground so that's kind of annoying, but it works fine for me. I'd agree with what other people say about it; it takes a while to come to temperature, when holding a temperature it swings a bit, and you have to watch the screws on the Mash tube or else it might fall over. I might get it replaced, but I might just fix it. The ring was sturdy enough, and it wasn't bending or anything.
I've been using both for FG calculation. I don't fear an infection per se, but it's kind of annoying when my 5% beer turns into a 6-7% beer. I can't taste any off flavors though, and the beer I've made has been well received. Might try the bleach trick anyway just to make sure.
I used this one for the better part of a year and it did it's job. It's not very strong, but it will give you a decent little whirl if you have a good return valve.
I saw some people arguing this one might not be food safe but then I saw other people say it was. I never experienced anything negative in that regard.
I never used mine for a chiller as I just used it for whirlpool. I can't imagine the difference wouldn't be much though.
I haven't had a problem getting 70ish efficiency with my mash and boil on just whatever crush the LHBS does. I've just figured that's around where my efficiency is because I tend to hit the numbers on recipes I plug into brewer's friend pretty closely, but they also have a calculator on their site.
One thing, be careful when sparging because the little legs that hold the grain basket up are just tiny bolts. First time I used it I had 13 pounds of waterlogged grain fall back into the hot wort and make quite a hot sticky mess. You can probably replace these bolts with longer ones and I've been meaning to try that
Also watch out for stuff burning onto the bottom. You might want to get a pump like this and filter/vorlauf your wort before boiling, or occasionally stir the boil, because I have had stuff burn on pretty thick which one time set off the ER4 code which shuts down the M&B unless you can hit a tiny button on the very bottom -- not recommended when full of hot wort
Would you recommend something like this instead?
It's 26.50 bucks, most of the reviews are about homebrew.
I’ve been using this one for recirculating wort for the past 5 years and it’s still going strong
I used this one for mine and attached it directly to this tee. The only thing I had to figure out what’s how deep to screw the pump in. If you screw it in too far, the output of the pump will be directly into the stone which won’t let any beer flow. Only used the set up once or twice, but my beer was well carbonated within an hour.
Also, I’m sure you know, but you’ll want some extra disconnects, hose and maybe a carbonation cap to make it real easy to move your CO2 source over.
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This is the one I got.
I got the one in the Amazon link below. HomeBrew Finds found a deal on fittings from Pro Flow Dynamics, and that's where I bought the ball valves and other fittings.
If you don't need precise dosing (or can DIY something), you can use an inexpensive solar hot water recirculation pump like this one: https://www.amazon.com/bayite-BYT-7A015-Heater-Circulation-Adapter/dp/B01G305PK0
This Solar Hot Water Heater Circulation Pump with DC Power Supply Adapter on Amazon
Also, not exactly related, but if you do decide to upgrade your rig to recirculating, it's not that expensive for a no-name chinese pump: https://www.amazon.com/bayite-BYT-7A015-Heater-Circulation-Adapter/dp/B01G305PK0/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=hot+water+pump&qid=1574359338&sr=8-5
I personally would recirculate hot wort through any cold-side or hot-to-cold side hardware if possible.
Also in re chillers, I put my chiller in to the boil with 15 minutes remaining, and pause the boil clock until it returns to boiling temperatures. Needs time to heat sanitize that as well.
Two things that I currently use with my Mash & Boil system:
Immersion Chiller - I purchased this and love it. They also have a copper version, if you'd prefer.
Recirculation pump - This + some silicone tubing of the proper size/length, and you can give yourself a nice efficiency bump, especially if you do full volume mashes. Might want to look into getting a ball valve to put on the output of the pump, too, so that it doesn't run itself dry.
Anyone use one of these? Wondering if it is okay to use for only water or water and sanitizer/oxiclean? I wouldn't pump wort through it, just the sparge water and cleaning solutions.
I use this little $25 pump: [link]
I like just setting it and leaving it to whirlpool on its own for 30min while I can get started on clean up.
thanks for the reply, I actually looked into the "little brown pumps" and found this guy that seems pretty perfect.
the reason I ask is because I'm looking at upgrading to an electric brewing system and the mash & boil seemed like a nice cheap alternative to robobrew or grainfather, so with the screens included in it then hopefully debris won't be much of a problem.
my only concern was if I'd be able to replicate the pump for cheaper than the difference in cost between M&B and robobrew.