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Old 02-23-2012, 08:30 PM   #1
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So, I feel I want better control of the mash temp. I am currently using the tried and true "Flame ON" method. Lots of experianced guys seem be move to HERMS so I would like to know:


With a HERMS do you continuously cycle the wort or just as needed to bring the temp back up?

Mash temp: do you take the reading at the outflow from the HERMS or within the mash bed?

(I am guessing that its continuous and that you control/measure the temp leaving the HERMS.)

I am thinking of converting my immersion chiller to be HERMS by dropping it in a small SS brew pot full of hot water and piping my wort through it.

I currently cont. recycle my wort with a pump now so I have the pumps and hoses. I just want to control temps better!

Cheers!

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Old 02-23-2012, 08:39 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jollyjake View Post
So, I feel I want better control of the mash temp. I am currently using the tried and true "Flame ON" method. Lots of experianced guys seem be move to HERMS so I would like to know:


With a HERMS do you continuously cycle the wort or just as needed to bring the temp back up?
Continuously cycle it during the mash

Quote:
Originally Posted by jollyjake
Mash temp: do you take the reading at the outflow from the HERMS or within the mash bed?
(I am guessing that its continuous and that you control/measure the temp leaving the HERMS.)
Both.. The output of the HERMS is important of course to know what temp your mash temp is headed in, but I also measure with a probe halfway into the mash to get a feel for when the mash as a whole has reached the temp I was going for

Quote:
Originally Posted by jollyjake
I am thinking of converting my immersion chiller to be HERMS by dropping it in a small SS brew pot full of hot water and piping my wort through it.

I currently cont. recycle my wort with a pump now so I have the pumps and hoses. I just want to control temps better!

Cheers!
That's basically what I did, took my old chiller and put it into my HLT keggle.
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:26 PM   #3
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That's what I am going to do on my next brew day. Thanks for the confirmation.
Cheers!
JJ

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Old 02-24-2012, 12:46 PM   #4
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I only measure temp at the MLT output. I set my eHLT for the mash temp and circulate continuously. There is no chance of overheating this way. Of course auto control on the HLT is a must.

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Old 02-24-2012, 03:47 PM   #5
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I built an eHERMS using a BCS-460 to control temps. I recirculate during the entire mash and measure the output at the heat exchanger (HEX). I also use and recommend a standalone HEX rather than a combination HEX and HLT. A standalone HEX allows you to adjust mash temps completely independent of your HLT. This means you can continuously recirculate and also do step mashes if you want.

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Old 02-24-2012, 05:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by microbusbrewery View Post
I built an eHERMS using a BCS-460 to control temps. I recirculate during the entire mash and measure the output at the heat exchanger (HEX). I also use and recommend a standalone HEX rather than a combination HEX and HLT. A standalone HEX allows you to adjust mash temps completely independent of your HLT. This means you can continuously recirculate and also do step mashes if you want.
I like what user JoeHPhil did with an old corny keg. Seems pretty straight forward. No experience with electronics or controllers, so I am not sure ware to start reading about putting a controller together.

http://i818.photobucket.com/albums/zz101/JoeHPhil/BrewMachine1.jpg
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:17 PM   #7
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I also use and recommend a standalone HEX rather than a combination HEX and HLT. A standalone HEX allows you to adjust mash temps completely independent of your HLT. This means you can continuously recirculate and also do step mashes if you want.
Each has it's merits.. I like the simplicity of using the heat in the HLT, but I readily admit that stepping takes about a degree a minute or so and could be much faster with a separate HEX. I don't do alot of stepping, especially nothing that needs to be fast. Usually just a sacc rest then move to mashout but I've done a rest at 140 and slow ramp to mashout over 2 hours for my golden strong which resulted in a very dry beer (as intended). Continuous recirc isn't limited to separate HEX though, I heat my entire (or most of it) volume in my HLT to strike temp - then mash in and add just a tiny bit of fresh water to my HLT to bring it down to mash temp - then recirc. It's takes longer for the mash temp to settle than it does for me to get my HLT to the correct temp.
I would caution that if you're planning to control the HLT temp using the output of the HEX you need to be 100% sure that you've got a good recirculation going with your pump before you walk away from it. I've had a few instances where things were pumping just fine, then I turned my back to do something and the pump slowed or stopped and my HLT temp ran away from me because there was no flow at the HEX so it wasn't raising in temp the way the HLT was. These days, I use the HLT temp to control the recirculation for that reason. There's a 3-4 degree differential between HLT temp and the temp at the output of the HEX (really at the input of the MLT where I measure) so I just figure that in when I set the temp.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:00 AM   #8
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Ideally you want to be measuring temp at the HEX out, as it is the hottest part of the closed system.

I use separate HEX, I prefer the modularity of that setup, I can skip it altogether or use it to chill. I can easily step mash. But both definitely have merit, whatever better suits your budget and needs is the right choice.

I like the ability to change mash temperature on the fly. I pause at dough in then recirculate continually, no reason not to with a separate HEX. I also use a BCS460, great gadget.

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Old 02-25-2012, 02:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coogee
Ideally you want to be measuring temp at the HEX out, as it is the hottest part of the closed system.

I use separate HEX, I prefer the modularity of that setup, I can skip it altogether or use it to chill. I can easily step mash. But both definitely have merit, whatever better suits your budget and needs is the right choice.

I like the ability to change mash temperature on the fly. I pause at dough in then recirculate continually, no reason not to with a separate HEX. I also use a BCS460, great gadget.
If you only measure temp at the HEX out, how do you know the actual mash temp? When I ramp with my system, my HEX out is exactly my set temp (60 ft 3/8 copper coil).

The wort exiting the mash is the temp I'm interested in and the difference from top to bottom of the mash can be substantial.
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Old 02-25-2012, 03:10 PM   #10
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Exactly why I measure both (I have a 12" probe stuck into the center of the mash), but I like the idea of measuring the MLT out - maybe I'll change things up in the future to that.

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