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I am trying to find out if it's possible to have a PID controlled electric kettle style element in the base of the mash tun ( under a false bottom ); and just use the circulating pump for the purpose of getting a uniform temperature — instead of pumping the wort through a RIMS tube for heating.

I haven't been able to find a system like this and I'm wondering why no one has done it; so I'm assuming I'm missing something - or maybe I haven't looked hard enough.

I don't know much about advanced brewing techniques so apologies if this is a dumb question but it seems to me a much simpler system with a less to go wrong. Is it a possible to get a system like this working; and has it been done?

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I would think a low wattage element would work. Low wattage to insure against scorching wort as it travels buy the element under the false bottom.

Essentially what you are describing is the same thing as a direct fired kettle mash tun. That's how I mash. I am using a propane burner under the mash tun equipped with a false bottom and a pump. The trick is to not heat to quickly or you end up degrading enzymes to fast. But low wattage element with a tightly controlled PID would probably work very well.

You might need a significantly larger space under the false bottom in order to house the element but with constant recirculation that should be negligible of an issue.

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