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Old 01-28-2014, 04:01 PM   #1
bigpapakielbasa
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Default BIAB/HERMS rig questions

So I am in the beginning stages of designing a new brew setup. I want to keep this fairly low cost since I am a broke college student. I want a system that can fulfill the following requirements:

1. Utilize the equipment I have already. Keggle, smallish (16 qt) stainless pot, 50 ft 3/8" immersion chiller, 10 G mash tun, 8 gallon stainless pot, two propane burners (one banjo, one jet)

2. I will be brewing outside in a few different possible locations. I dont want to be tied down to a 240v GFI circuit as this isn't possible at either locations. Propane is ideal as I work at hardware store and can get them filled for free

3. Have some level of temperature control. I want to be able to hit my mash temps consistently.

4. The rig must be mobile and easy to transport in a truck

After searching these forums for days I have finally thought of a concept to meet these requirements.

A BIAB keggle that will recirculate the wort through a HERMS coil housed in the small 16 qt pot. I would use a 1500W 120V heatstick controlled by a Auber PID for temperature control. A march pump will be used to recirculate the mash. The propane burner will heat all of my strike water to the correct temperature and the HERMS will be set to that same temp. I would also like to reconfigure the IC copper to make a instant hot water heater coupled with the jet propane burner. This would get me up to temps much quicker. All of this will be build onto a steel cart with casters and an arm over the keggle to raise and lower the grain basket into the pot.

I got a few questions. First, is BIAB even worth it? How does BIAB beer compare to beer made on a three vessel system? Second, is this HERMS idea just over kill? Third, if I am running the 1500 W stick and one march pump through a 15A service, will I have problems with power consumption. It will be on its own circuit in a garage with nothing else on it.

I hope to get some feedback on this and if it seems feasible I will update with build plans and progress

Cheers!

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Old 01-28-2014, 06:54 PM   #2
iijakii
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It'd work, but to me you're having some conflicting ideas. You want to go cheap, then you mention HERMS. I also think BIAB with HERMS is odd. Personally since you mention wanting to stay on propane, and also cheap, I'd just mash in the cooler and forget about BIAB/HERMS. You could still build the HLT if you wanted to have more precise strike temps. It's a great feature. You can run 1500w+pump on any 15A outlet.

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Old 01-28-2014, 08:01 PM   #3
bigpapakielbasa
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I know it is a weird conflicting idea. I brew outside in the Michigan winters and I want a way to consistently maintain mash temps. When I say cheap, I mean I don't want to have to buy more/larger kettles for larger batches or a second pump for a single tier system. When I seen a system for a recirculating BIAB I had that "ahh-ha!" moment when I thought of recirculating it through a HERMS coil to maintain mash temperature. I could use the propane to heat my full volume of water to strike temp and set the PID for the HERMS to my mash temp. I figured that it would be much more efficient that way and could stay away from using a larger heat stick on 240v.

To keep costs down all fittings will be brass. I work at a hardware store all of our brass fittings cannot be sold for potable water after the new year per the US government. Our supplier gave us credit on all of out brass is non compliant. I have rolls of 3/8" and 1/2" copper already.

I would really like to know of the quality of beer from BIAB. I love the idea of no sparge as it would really speed up brew day. Could anyone speak of how this technique compares to traditional brewing methods

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Old 01-28-2014, 11:30 PM   #4
Brad2287
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I have done both methods for some time. I have a propane fired three vessel I use in the summer and an electric BIAB that I am able to use inside in the winter. I will soon be migrating to a basement eHERMS due to a purely personal preference of three vessel. There is no difference in the quality of the end product and have placed in competitions using both methods and actually have one more ribbon using BIAB.

Their are difference in the process that will have to be fine tuned. The first few BIAB beers I did were just all right due to not knowing my system/process and being all over the place with numbers and temps. This could be said for any major switch in your brewing process.

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Old 02-27-2014, 03:10 AM   #5
Largus1776
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Default consistently maintain mash temps

RE: " I want a way to consistently maintain mash temps"
A RIMS or HERMS system works well for this application. This system has similarities to your proposal and is posted here:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f244/bia...-build-458429/

You likely can adapt it using the chiller coil as you plan to.

BIAB produces great beer, although some commentators say that its not ideal for very high gravity beers. Maintaining mash temps allows for consistent results.

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