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Looking for some thoughts on using my RIMS

Specifically on stopping husks and sugars from burning on my element.
after a rather long mash, I took apart my RIMS and found that the heating element was coated with burnt residue (likely dust from my grain crush) I have 2 convex false bottoms on my dip tube with does a great job of stopping husks from getting through, but not the finings. Has anyone else had an issue with this?

Recirculate for a few minutes, until the wort is clear, before you turn on the heat. I went with a HERMS to avoid that problem.

Edit: Had I read more before I built my HERMS I’d have used Denny Conn’s system (dennybrew.com).

I have been using a RIMS system for a few dozen batches now, and I have to say that it is my preferred method of mashing. I’m guessing that you’re using a A419 or an Auberins controller for your heating element. While these work well for automation, they are basically just ON/OFF switches, so your element is either all the way on or all the way off, which is scorching the fine particles that are making their way through the false bottom during heating. Either you need to get a heating element with a lower power rating, a lower power density, or you need to reduce the amount of power going to the heating element. I personally use a 20A, 120V Variac like this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/AC-Output-Varia ... 2a31fda6b0

If this link breaks, then just search Ebay for ‘20A Variac’. If you don’t want to reduce the amount of power going to your heating element with a variac, then your only other recourse is to change your element.

Enjoy.

after reviewing my entire process, I think the problem that I had was caused by having too high expectations for the element, I had it raise the temp from tap cold to 156 with no boost from any other heat source. That’s just too much time (and energy) for the element to be in contact withe the wort and NOT have some form of scorching. If I approach it smarter, and preheat everything, then I’ll greatly reduce the heavy heating (and time) that the element is on for, then I can just use the element for maintaining temps instead of using it as the primary heat source.
This was only the 3rd time I’ve used it, and the first time on a 10 gallon batch, but that should have been obvious from the start that it would have struggled to get through that much volume and grain mass. Good news is now I know! and knowing is half the battle!

You don’t mention how the power to your heating element is moderated. You cannot operate a typical element at full power unless the flow rate across the element is very high. The flow restrictions of the typical mash bed could easily reduce the flow to the point where the scorching can occur. A PID with its temperature sensor mounted immediately downstream of the element can help modulate the total power delivered to the element and reduce the potential for scorching.

Sorry, I guess I didn’t describe my system at all, sorry about that!
It does have a thermal control on it, so it isn’t going full blast the whole time, and it does have a pump pushing wort so the contact time is reduced, to avoid scorching.
I have the thermometer upstream (coming out of the mash, wort hits the pump, then the therm. then the element, then back to the mash)
it is controlled by a pid, so it shouldn’t cook it too much.
The issue I had the first time was husks/ residue burned onto the element, the second time it was scorched wort/ burned sugars. Like I said before though, I think (hope!) that if I boost them temp of my strike/ sparge water first then I can avoid having the element on for as long a time and therefore will reduce the chance of scorching. I’ll post some pics of the system when I get home.

That temperature sensing unit really needs to be located immediately downstream of the element in order to avoid overheating the wort and denaturing the enzymes. I found out the hard way about denaturing wort enzymes and producing ‘starchy’ beers that wouldn’t attenuate properly. With the sensor mounted downstream, it can then best control the heat source and the temperature of the wort. Although we are mostly concerned with the temperature of the overall mash, in the eyes of the wort, if it is overheated anywhere during its travels, those enzymes are denatured.

Control loop technology requires that for best control of your system, the system sensor needs to be close to the item being controlled. That way the feedback from the sensor can be more quickly evaluated and used to modulate the controlled item.

I have my thermocouple mounted immediately downstream AND I have manual-reading dial thermometers in the wort circuit at the inlet and outlet of the mash tun. Of course those thermometers and thermocouple are calibrated. I use them as my primary indicators of mashing temperature. During any stepping of the temperature, the inlet and outlet temps diverge. Its when they converge to similar temperatures, that I know the step is complete. I set the PID to heat the wort to the desired mash tun inlet temp and no higher. By locating the thermocouple at the mash tun outlet, you would cause your PID to seriously overheat the wort before the overall mash was at the desired temperature.

ok cool, good advice, thank you!
It’s a simple fix, I can just turn the rims tube around and send it thru ‘backwards’ is wont affect flow, so there shouldn’t be any issue. Thanks for the heads up!

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