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Mash Control

Mash control is all about temperature control and temperature consistency throughout your mash tun. And without mash control you can-not produce a consistent batch of beer. If you are doing single temperature infusion mashes, don't mind adjusting temperatures by hand, don't mind doing a lot of stirring & measuring the old standard GOTT cooler mash tun is hard to beat for 5 gallon batches. But if you plan to move on to 10 gallon batches or plan to do step mashes then it's time to step up to a outside temperature controlled mash. To do this you need two things - a temperature controller and recirculation for temperature consistancy through your mash.

The best mash temperature controller is a PID, which stands for Proportional Integral Derivative controller. In short, a PID is a smart controller that uses feedback to do a better job of managing temperature over time. Fortunately electronic PID temperature controllers are not that expensive and quite a few mash controllers have been built around PIDs.

But a PID by itself can't manage the heating element in a electric mash system by itself. It needs to control a separate switch that will turn the heating element on and off. The most common switch used is a SSR, which stands for Solid State Relay. SSRs are low cost electronic switches that use a small voltage, like the output of a PID, to turn a much larger device like a electric heating element on and off. The PID also needs a temperature sensor to monitor the temperature of your mash and most often this is a K type thermocouple. A thermocouple is a sensor that generates a tiny voltage based on temperature. Your PID is programmed with the type of thermocouple that's attached so that it can translate that tiny voltage directly to temperature.

 


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