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Old 04-07-2011, 03:41 AM   #1
julian81
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Default Blichmann top tier + march pump + therminator configuration help!

Hey guys,

Been brewing on my top tier system from Blichmann for just about a month now (in fact I brewed every weekend on it in March) and LOVE it. I got myself a March pump and a therminator along with the necessary mounting brackets.

I'm sitting here reading the instructions, and looking at my setup, trying to figure out how I'm going to mount this and get it all setup. I think I need some help.

Here's the current setup. I have it 2 burner tiers. 1 on top for the HLT, a shelf in the middle for the MLT and the 2nd burner tier at the very bottom for the kettle. It's all gravity fed currently.

I'd like to lower the MLT to perhaps the same level as the BK and use the pump to recirculate the wort (vorlauf) as well as transfer it to the kettle. This would have the added advantage of lowering the shelf tier so I can easily stand over it and dough-in and mix at standing height. Then I could lower the HLT burner and remove my need for a stool which I use to stand on while filling the HLT from the hose. It's also less height for a 10 gallon pot of boiling water to fall (if that should ever happen).

Now if I do that...I'm not sure where to mount the pump and therminator or how that's going to work. The therminator instruction manual says it has to be below the brew kettle and at the same level (or lower) than the lowest point of the fermentor. Really? I've seen a few demos of the top tier in videos even by John Blichmann and the therminator is mounted to the brew stand midway up (

) Granted this is just a demo showing you the various options, brackets etc...but does the therminator really need to be at the same level or lower than the lowest point of the fermentor as described in the manual? It seems like if that's the case, that would defeat the purpose of having it mountable to the stand since some people might want to use a conical which obviously cannot be moved very easily, or lifted to different heights like a better bottle can.

With that said, I'm thinking of placing the pump under the brew kettle with the "out" facing up, and the therminator somewhere next to it or slightly above it.

What do you guys think? I've been trying to find videos/pics of similar setups but falling short. I'm not exactly sure how to do this...

Additionally, do I need to worry about the fact I pumped hot wort through the pump to the kettle, then after boil sending it back through the pump to the therminator? Is this considered OK? or is there some intermediary pump cleaning step involved? I'm thinking since it's going through the pump at boiling, there should be no issues but just wanted to double check.

Thanks in advance for your help!

--julian
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:57 AM   #2
Catt22
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The pump should be mounted somewhat lower than the outlet port on whatever it is you are pumping from to aid priming. It should make little difference where the therminator is positioned on the output side of the pump. Keep all hoses as short as conveniently possible, especially on the suction side. Use large diameter hoses, tubing and fittings for optimum performance. When configuring a rig from scratch as you are doing, it's always a good idea to do some trials with water only. Make adjustments as needed.

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Old 04-07-2011, 05:10 AM   #3
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thanks for the response catt22. So I definitely will be positioning the pump under the kettle, so the wort can flow freely into the pump for priming. As far as the therminator though, the instructions say one thing, but you're saying it doesn't matter where it's positioned?

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Old 04-07-2011, 05:23 AM   #4
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To address the sanitation issue: I usually recirculate boiling wort through my pump and chiller about 10 minutes prior to flame out. That is adequate for sanitizing the previously cleaned equipment.

Mounting: Once primed the pump can push the wort through the therminator regardless of where it is mounted. It will be harder to prime the system if the pump and therminator are connected before your try to prime, especially if the therminator is located above the pump. Also, the longer the lines and the higher the rise the more the pump will have to work. mount everything low and in a clear path towards the wort's destination and you will be in better shape.

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Old 04-07-2011, 02:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by julian81 View Post
thanks for the response catt22. So I definitely will be positioning the pump under the kettle, so the wort can flow freely into the pump for priming. As far as the therminator though, the instructions say one thing, but you're saying it doesn't matter where it's positioned?
It should not matter where you position the chiller so long as it is on the output side of the pump. The concern is all about the ease of priming the pump.
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:44 PM   #6
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OK I will attempt some configurations and try a dry (or rather wet) run with water and see how it goes. Thanks for the input guys!

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Old 06-08-2011, 05:36 AM   #7
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Julian can you post pictures of your final configuration? I just got my gear and am trying to figure out the same things. Also, what pump did you buy? Are you happy with it?

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Old 06-30-2011, 02:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Julian can you post pictures of your final configuration? I just got my gear and am trying to figure out the same things. Also, what pump did you buy? Are you happy with it?
I'll post some pics in the next few days/weeks. I just got back from Europe and my camera is full of pics.

I ended up getting a March pump. Love it! highly recommended.
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:10 AM   #9
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Here's some pics of my set up
It's nice to have the mash tun at a lower level. I gravity feed the therminator. Also upgraded the wheels on it to lawnmower wheels.







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Old 06-30-2011, 03:14 AM   #10
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ruffdeezy, those pics are eerily similar to mine. I think we have the exact same setup, although I haven't yet installed an outlet box, which is next on my list.

edit: even down to the camlocks and silicone tubing, and placement of the shelves. great minds think alike LOVE the top tier!

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