Tubeless RIMS: How to Recirculate Your Mash with no Additional Equipment
As my homebrewery has expanded, one key component I've considered adding to my system is a RIMS tube or a HERMS. As with most things in my brewery, I like the elegance of the HERMS concept: specifically the fact that you leverage one process (heating your liquor) to benefit another (heating your mash). I'm also comfortable working with a heating element, having built a heatstick, and I like the efficiency of the RIMS.
However, HERMS would be inneficient in my system and I'm not ready to drop the investment of a RIMS tube. On a previous system, I was able to bypass both by direct firing my MLT but that is no longer an option.
While brewing the other week I realized I can have the best of both worlds: I can infuse heat to my mash through a recirculation process without changing a thing on my system. Here's how it works:
- I circulate the mash out through my pump and back into my HLT. I try to accumulate about 1/2 gallon or less of mash liquor at the bottom of the MLT (see photo above)
- I fire up the HLT burner to heat the liquid therein
- I drain the HLT back to the MLT at a rate equal to the incoming liquid coming from my pump
That's it. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I am about as efficient as a RIMS tube and far more efficient than a HERMS in terms of quantity of liquid flowing through my system at any given time. The burner only runs while I'm heating and can be left off the rest of the time, so I don't have to heat the liquor in the HLT the whole time. One disadvantage is that you cannot heat your sparge water at the same time as you increase the temperature of your mash, but this is not a problem for me as it only takes a few minutes to heat my sparge water so I can wait till the end of the mash schedule.
This is an oustanding way to maintain your mash temp, perform a step mash, do a mash out, or even a modified decoction!