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Old 11-05-2012, 03:48 PM   #1
the75
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Default Help me! Brew Sculpture Guidance Requested

I'll be investing in a brew sculpture very soon & would like to seek the advice of anyone out there who might have knowledge of what I'm looking to buy.
I've decided on a flat stand HERMS setup. I'm considering buying from Morebeer, but still keeping my options open. I'd like to go full digital, but not sure if I can afford it just yet, so I'll probably be asking them to install thermowells in the HLT & Mash Tun (not sure if they'll do it or not, but since I would rather avoid drilling & welding my own kettles, I guess that will be a deciding factor). My main question is in regards to my boil kettle. They have a whirlpool weld option that they install on the kettle for about $100 (seems high, but oh well).

One question is this: What would be my best bet for a chilling option that will allow me to incorporate an effective whirlpool. I would think that an immersion chiller would get in the way of my whirlpool. I'm a little weary of plate chillers due to the sanitation factor. I'd consider a counterflow, but still unsure.

There are a lot of things to consider & I just wanted to get some feedback from everyone out there with experience who might be able to help. While my main question is about whirlpooling/chilling, please feel free to add any other tips or bits of advice that I may not have even considered prior to my purchase. I'd like to get as many questions answered or even know which questions to ask before I go plunking 4 grand down on something. Oh yeah...did I mention I've never done all grain before? HAHA! Talk about jumping in with both feet.

Any advice would be awesome! Thanks in advance.

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Old 11-06-2012, 01:45 AM   #2
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A well-implemented tangential whirlpool fixture would actually be ideal for using an IC. I can see why it might cost as much as $100 as it's not the easiest fit-up and weld to do correctly...

Cheers!

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Old 11-06-2012, 03:23 AM   #3
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You can whirlpool with every chiller option. If your IC is bulky then all you need to do is simply remove it during whirlpool.

I went for a shirron plate chiller. I think it's a bit under powered.

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Old 11-06-2012, 03:37 PM   #4
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Thank you gentlemen. One more question. I'm thinking about doing the digital controls & the gas valve install myself. With a HERMS, I can't see any reason to put a gas valve control on the mashtun since I'm already controlling the temp through the HLT. Am I correct? I won't be firing the burner on the mashtun except for in the beginning.
On a side note Yorkbrew, not sure if you know of the Bellingham Bells, but my brother played for them about 10 years ago during the summer. He dug the area & his sponsor family! Thanks for the help again.

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Old 11-06-2012, 05:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the75 View Post
Thank you gentlemen. One more question. I'm thinking about doing the digital controls & the gas valve install myself. With a HERMS, I can't see any reason to put a gas valve control on the mashtun since I'm already controlling the temp through the HLT. Am I correct? I won't be firing the burner on the mashtun except for in the beginning.
If you're doing the gas stuff DIY, it might be beneficial to consider doing more of the stand DIY so you can get exactly what you want. It will take more work, but you can save some $$$ and possibly get better equipment. If you're not so DIY inclined, just go with a pre-built system. Even if you have to farm out the welding, it'll still likely be much cheaper since you don't have to pay for a lot of labor and the design.

You're correct in your thinking here, but an automated direct fire MLT might allow you additional flexibility, such as easier/quicker step mashes. Having automation allows you to take a more hands off approach, should you decide to go there.

Look into Stout Kettles. While they are the most pricey option out there, they have pretty much exactly what you're looking for and it's not THAT much more than building your own kettles or going with other common pre-built options.

Edit: Personally, I'd look into taking the approach I did. Build your system in pieces, but build it with the intent of your end goal. That way, if AG isn't your cup of tea, you're not out $4-5K from the get-go. (I knew I was serious and have done a number of AG batches on our local homebrew group equipment, so I did a stepped approach more for budget purposes.)
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:59 PM   #6
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Edit: Personally, I'd look into taking the approach I did. Build your system in pieces, but build it with the intent of your end goal. That way, if AG isn't your cup of tea, you're not out $4-5K from the get-go. (I knew I was serious and have done a number of AG batches on our local homebrew group equipment, so I did a stepped approach more for budget purposes.)
I recommend this as well. If you have a clear vision you can build along an "upgrade path" that will be fully operational at several stages. For example you could build the stand and get the right sized pots and burners plumb everything with normal ball/gas valves and brew AG like most mortals . Next you could implement the recirc loop with manual control to get a feel for how the system performs. Next add the automation to the gas on the HLT. Poof!

That's the route I'm taking. Still haven't gotten step one finished yet though...
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:35 AM   #7
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I was actually looking at building my own Brutus 10 from scratch, but after much consideration, I finally asked myself, "Do I want to build or brew?" That kind of sealed the deal for me. I'd rather pay someone to build it & only spend my time brewing. I didn't have a welding friend on hand or I would have considered it. I do happen to have a good electronic friend & was thinking I could at least save some money that way.

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