Maintaining Mash Temp

I am preparing to do my first all grain batch. When trying to maintain temps in mash tuns during rests of when mashing out, can a burner be used to raise temps a few degrees if needed?

My current setup is: (2) Sanke Kegs w/valves and thermometers, 8gal aluminum pot to heat sparge water, march pump.

If you mash in an uninsulated metal mash tun, you will loose a lot of heat, which is why coolers are so frequently used for mashing. Insulating a metal mash tun will help with the heat loss but can be problematic if you direct fire the mash tun. If you do direct fire the tun, use a smallish flame and stir really well to prevent burning the grain.

The biggest factor is where you are brewing… what temp. is it? Inside, outside, warm, cold, windy???

I use uninsulated metal pots and lose almost nothing over the course of a 60-90 min. mash - but I brew in my basement - 70 degrees and no wind.

burners can be used to bring temps up, but as mentioned previously - lots of stirring and be careful not to scorch and burn.

I brew in my basement as well. Wind and low/high temps are not a problem. I am hoping that I wont have to constantly bring temperatures up. I would think that using a sanke keg you might have to add heat once or twice. I can live with that.

I mash in kegs as well, I went to Home Depot (or Lowes) and bought some water heater insulation, and wrapped it around the keg walls, and held it in place with tie downs. Works pretty well, I held 5 gallons to about 100 degrees for about 12 hours (i think it dropped into the mid 90’s) in a 60 basement.

You can also mash thick and add boiling water to maintain mash temp as well as hitting your mashout temp. I use a 10 gal. Igloo cooler(yellow) and maintain mash temps just fine. I then add boiling water to the tun for a mashout( when i do one).Work great for me.

Before you insulated it, did you have issues maintaining the mash temp?

If you don’t insulate a stainless mash tun, be it a keg or a kettle, you will lose a good amount of your mash temperature over the course of an hour (upwards of 10 degrees) if you don’t do something to hold or add heat. I insulated my 20 gallon kettle with closed cell foam held in place by aluminum foil tape. We’re talking the lid, the bottom, and all the way around. I would still lose 3 or 4 degrees over the course of an hour.

If you are using a false bottom, you can use your pump to recirculate your mash liquor at a reasonably high flow rate while you turn your burner on at a low flame. As long as the heat is low and the recirc is pretty quick, you won’t scorch the mash liquor. You’ll need to measure the temperature on the return line of the recirculation.

I have switched to a direct fired RIMS setup and ditched the insulation. It works better for me.

I did, we had pretty lousy temperature control, those walls are thin and do a crappy job of insulating, the water heater insulation did a really nice (and cheap) job. I also cut out a circle and laid it on top and put some other insulation under the keg (obviously I don’t fire my mash!) We brew outside, and found that with those quick insulations that we saved a lot of temp (and time and efficiency!) I’ll try to post some pics.

When I mash in my converted keg I wrap the outside with an old blanket and that works great when the burner is not being used. I do keep it in place even when using the RIMS tube.

Previously I insulated this mash tun with foil covered heat-resistant foam, but that was more trouble than it was worth and didn’t do anywhere near as well as the simple blanket wrap.