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Old 06-24-2009, 07:16 PM   #11
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Boerderij_Kabouter !!! YES!!

This is a great start for my needs!

Never visited Northern Brewers site, they look to have some great stuff for what I've been thinking about... electrical in-pot heaters, inline therms, this, that, lots of burners... great stuff.

I'm sure I'll be pestering you in the future for some thoughts on my setup if you dont mind...

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Old 06-24-2009, 07:22 PM   #12
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Bobby- I appreciate the voice of reason in this, as I often feel I'm getting overwhelmed with what I'm thinking I want to accomplish. While I like shiny, new equipment... that's not the only reason...

If I get the location Im thinking of, space, storage, and electrical will be taken care of.

Do I have a need to step mash? Probably not... would I like to or at least have the ability... of course.
Storage and Electrical I can get if I use the location Im thinking of, and Portability isn't that important.

Ideally, I'd like a rig that requires minimal effort from myself to get up and running right now, and would allow me to experiment with as many processes and attain as much consistency as possible.

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Old 06-24-2009, 07:36 PM   #13
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Billy, take a look at my build thread (link in my sig). That is the system I am building toward and it allows you to build slowly while maintaining a functioning system.

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Old 06-24-2009, 07:38 PM   #14
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Billy,

Keep in mind that you will have to drill the Keggles and install weldless fittings or have them TIG welded on the Keggle. You will also have to cut the tops off the keggles with a grinder or plasma torch. The system Boerderij mentions is a total DIY brewery. Is that what you want? It doesn't sound that way from your original post.

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Old 06-24-2009, 07:45 PM   #15
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Everyone has opinions and there exceptions to general rules of thumb but the desire to step mash is a big factor. The easiest step mash system would be direct fired MLT based RIMS and that requires a metal tun (the often copied Brutus10 fits here). It can't be insulated so that sucks. After that, electric heated tube RIMS is probably next best. The MLT can be a cooler or at least a very well insulated metal vessel. I'd argue that running an element on a controller is much more user friendly and energy efficient than a gas solenoid. HERMS isn't much different if I had to pick a downside, it's the fact that the HLT has to be full of water at temp for the whole mash. There are two trains of thought on control here. One is to constantly recirculate the mash and control the HLT's temp via the HEX output temp. The other is to cycle the pump on/off based on a probe directly in the mash while a second controller holds the HLT at temp. I'd build the former. I'd seriously look at "the_Pol"'s electric HERMS system. It leans towards the more practical, less pretty side of things. Coolers don't exude the bling factor, but if temp consistency is what you want, that's where it's at on a budget. Taking the big burners and gas valves out of the equation is nice.

That's a lot of decision making before you even get into the "sculpture" part of the system. That's where Boerderij_Kabouter's basic startup plan is sound. Even if you look at my system, it's basically 3 burners with kegs on top and a pump to move liquid. Quite manual at this point, automation can come later.

While I'm waffling on the whole thing, I think deciding between natural gas, propane and electric is a good first step because the rest of the engineering will be based on that.

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Old 06-24-2009, 07:45 PM   #16
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Yes... I'm seeing that that build requires a large amount of welding and work... which, your right, is against my original intent.

However, his idea with some of the Keggles I've seen that have all the welding and connections done already... *could* lead to something more like what I want... with minimal work involved.

But, you're correct, this is far from turnkey. But, I love the layout and concept... I'm reading his build thread as I type... well... you know what I mean.

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Old 06-24-2009, 07:48 PM   #17
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These look great for the "less work" angle I'm looking at... but pricey.

BREW-MAGIC BOIL / SPARGE KETTLE

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Old 06-24-2009, 07:58 PM   #18
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I agree with Bobby in that it is difficult to know what you want before you have brewed for a while.

A HERMS is great for maintaining temps but is impractical (for all but one person who somehow has a working system) for step mashing. RIMS works for step mashing, but as Bobby pointed out you need either an uninsulated metal tun or a separately controlled element.

Propane/NG/electric... etc. etc. etc. There are soo many options to think about.

You could try bringing some ideas to a local fab shop and asking how much they would charge to build it for you. It may be very expensive, or maybe not. Depends on the shop. You could talk to your local community college and ask if your project could be used as a project.

FWIW, my system is all weld-less fittings. I find they are very easy to install, solid, leak-free, and easy to change/replace/clean once a year with zero risk of rusting or costing an arm and a leg.

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Old 06-24-2009, 08:08 PM   #19
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The full brewmagic system is $5600 and is truly turnkey. Electric RIMS for mash control, gas for everything else.

The B3 1550 with full digital package is $3800 and basically just as good.

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Old 06-24-2009, 08:20 PM   #20
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I am a jump in and get it going guy. I am almost done building a system that I have no clue about whether or not it is the right system for me. Being somewhat adaptable I figure I will learn to love it or I will sell it and build it bigger/smaller and better if need be. I decided that the best way to learn was by doing.

I have a stand, 3 keggles, control panel with BCS controller, two March pumps and a Sawdustguy inspired atomic bomb looking stainless recirc mash heater. Also a 50' copper IC and a Catt inspired pipe bomb counterflow chiller. I am 95% complete and almost ready to try it out. I have used everything but the Panel & mash heater so far and I think it will make brewing easier and clean up faster.

Although not for me, I would go with something like the brew with heater elements in 10 gallon cooler ala The Pol design. That set up looks light weight and easy to transport to your other location and back if need be.

Best of luck with whatever way you go!

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