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-   -   Automated HERMS system (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/automated-herms-system-132119/)

blackheart 08-13-2009 08:53 PM

Automated HERMS system
We are attempting to construct a new brewing system now that our small home brewery is nearly complete. I started a new thread for this HERMS system but it is a continuation of this older thread when we were considering RIMS.

Anyway here is the outline of how the system will operate.

We are working on figuring out each and every part we will need to order. Here is an example of one of the parts assembly pictures we are working on. This would be the bottom valve on the HLT and Kettle from the image above. Everything is 1/2" MPT


Kind of guessing on build our own bulk heads there. Compression fitting inside let us connect to SS tubing to make a dip tube or to connect to a coil etc. The threaded pipe is a 1" piece of 1/2" MPT I assume it needs a washer and O-ring on either side with a nut on the outside and a compression fitting on the inside. Hopefully there is enough thredding left over to thread it onto the valve. This would be a 12v 1/2" SS electronic valve that can handle 200+F

We are looking for some feedback/suggestions/comments on this system so we can make any final revisions before placing orders. Thanks!

Cape Brewing 08-14-2009 02:11 AM

One thing you might want to think about is initially filling your MLT from your BK... which is how I do it.

... if not, you're going to have to refill your HLT to submerge your heat exchanger. (oops... I see you list that step)... it's still something to think about though. That's how I have my rig set up and I like the way it works.

Plus... if you build it so you fill from the BK, you can step mash a lot easier by using both infusions and raising the temp in your HLT.

rcrabb22 08-14-2009 01:31 PM

In step 3 you refill the HLT with cold water and reheat. You won't be able circulate mash through the HERMs coil until the HLT water is heated to mash temperature otherwise you'll cool your mash. How long will that take and is your MLT insulated to help retain heat before the HERMs coil is up to mash temp?

Orangevango 08-14-2009 01:34 PM

Why not put water in your BK and hold It at temp to refill the HLT, or fill the MT from the kettle.

Cape Brewing 08-14-2009 01:47 PM

How "automated" are you thinking? As in "can brew without you being there" or "sit back in a chair and flip buttons"??

Boerderij_Kabouter 08-14-2009 01:58 PM

I think that looks like a slick plan. Two points:

1. I would strongly consider a hop back.

2. Are you using QD's, hard plumbing, or a mix of both? It seems like you may be able to simplify the system if you hard plumb the outputs to the pumps. If you check my blog for a couple of the builds I have designed you will see how I use a combo of hard and soft plumbing to simplify the systems. You may not like it, but it is worth considering IMO.

I am soooooo jealous of the speed with which you are putting all this together. You are my hero!!!

jcdillin 08-14-2009 01:59 PM

Looking good!

harley03 08-14-2009 06:08 PM

Well after looking at your flowchart which looks like you took some time to put together (great job) I would question steps 1, 2 and 3.

My thought would be the following:
Step 1: Fill both the HLT with water and the MLT with enough strike water and raise the heat in both at the same time.
Step 2: Then once your MLT is up to temp then add grains to the water.
Step 3: Once you mash in then start the herms system to keep the MLT at correct temp.

Then proceed to step 4 and beyond. This is just my 0.2cents but I am in the process of starting to build a HERMS system soon and found your post to be very informative. I also subscibed to this post to see the final out come. Keep us posted. :mug:

Boerderij_Kabouter 08-14-2009 06:13 PM

If you want a RIMS you could always add a burner under the MLT....

blackheart 08-18-2009 01:54 PM

OK let me see if I can answer everyones comments and suggestions in one post!

First of all, the idea of using both the kettle and HLT to create hot water to use for sparging etc is a great idea. I will re think the connections a little to see if I can get it to work automatically. It sounds like it will save a good deal of time and be much more efficient.

yes, I plan on insulating everything I can to maximize efficiency. So all 3 pots will be insulated, and hoses etc where I can without interfering with normal operation.

We plan on hard plumbing everything all the way out to male 1/2" SS QD's. They looked nice because they had no internal shutoff valve and looked easy to clean. Then we are using the Hi temp plastic 1/2" tube to make F/F "jumper" cables to connect everything together.

I picked up a 28$ water filter + housing on sale at Lowes that people have been using to make hop backs with. We are planning on using it as a water filter to get water in from a hose. We were thinking about hard plumbing it into the side but if we are putting filtered water in both the HLT and Kettle then something more like this would be better.
and then we could move it from one to the other without hassle.

BTW Boerderij, where can I find your sketchup models? I liked your parts diagrams you made and we are making a similar one for this project. Does the layout look correct for weldless fittings with the Compression fitting - washer - O ring - keg - O ring - washer - Nut

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