Saturday, 12 March 2011

Increasing The Insulation of my Mash Tun

I finally got round to using that roll of insulated bubble wrap that Eddie gave me to make my mash tun. Isn't it amazing what you can do with a roll of gaffer tape. I realise modern (American) parlance refers to it as duck tape but when I used to play guitar in a band it was always called gaffer tape. If it was really good gaffer tape you could usually tape the drummer to the wall, but I digress...... 

The roll of insulation, MT on its side and the "hat"
As things stand my mash tun is simply insulated by a double skin of bubble wrap and a blanket but I was losing a couple of degrees an hour so definitely time for an upgrade. 

I started off by rolling the mash tun on its side and rolling the insulation around it, leaving about four or five inches overlapping the bottom and making a cut out for the tap.

Then I turned it upside down and folded the insulation over the bottom before taping that down. Then I got the lid of the mash tun, put it on and made the "hat" in much the same way. 

So now I've got double the amount of insulation that I had before and hopefully much more stable mash temperatures. Of course, if I was in any way organised I'd have done this before the onset of winter and not after but that's me I'm afraid.

Incidentally today's recipe has been inspired by Mark Dredg's "Regular Beer" post on his blog, Pencil and Spoon; if you're a beer lover or even if you're not, I'd definitely recommend giving it a read.

Reading the blog made me realise that the beers I currently have on tap are a little on the insane side; a 7% APA (Whispering Bob), a Belgian Dubbel and a Smoked Porter. Add to that the two parti gyle brews I made last week and you'll see why I wanted something a little more "regular".

So in this one we've got 4.5kg of Maris Otter, and 250g each of Caramunich and Wheat Malt which will be bittered with a combination of Challenger and First Gold before a generous late hopping of Fuggles and East Kent Goldings which I got quite cheaply from Easy Home Brew. I'm also using a combination of SO4 and Nottingham yeast - just for the hell of it.

Well the good news was that I only lost 0.5C in the hour long mash, still not perfect but a considerable improvement. I think the remaining heat loss may be coming from the metal tap and metal strainer and I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do to stop that. 

For the record, the rest of the brew went pretty well and I was all cleaned up before dark which was excellent news. The brew came out at 1042 so should come out at around 4.5% if it ferments out around 1008.