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Old 02-04-2012, 02:11 AM   #1
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Default HERMs help

So far I have brewed 30 gallons in 5 gallon batches on the new Brutus with a few mods.

The best mash efficiency I have achieved is 68%.
I need advice how to work my new brewery.

Should I account for Mash tun dead space, plus the amount of water inside the HERMs coil when determining the quantity of water in the mash?
If I add the extra water does it dilute the Mash?

Example: If I have a recipe that requires, say, a 1.25 qt water per lb. of grain. I strike with the required quantity of water. Dough in.
Then as the temperature begins to drop, I utilize the Herms coil, by circulating water through the coil in the HLT. The water ratio,in the mash, is depleted, and constantly replenished.

I have been infusing extra water to Mash out at higher temp (168 F)
Then completely drain the mash tun, and add remaining required water at 168 F to Sparge.

I have been using BrewSmith, but I always have to tweak my equipment profile because I do not know what to do. Confused.

I have been trying to put this question into words for the past two brews. I need help.

Don't drink and brew!



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Old 02-04-2012, 12:11 PM   #2
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I fill the dead space, then add my 1.33 qts. per lb. (I have a 2 gallon deadspace.)
My theory is only the water above the bottom is in contact with the mash and that gives me the proper thickness.
When I use the strike water calculator in beersmith I add those 2 gallons and It shows something like 1.69 qts per lb.
I fly sparge so I don't know from experience but I read double batch sparging helps.
I drink and brew and I'm usually hatin' life at clean up time!



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Old 02-04-2012, 01:21 PM   #3
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1. How are you monitoring mash temps?
2. What is the pH of your mash?

I find on my system using a HERMS, you really have to monitor the mash in a few different spots and stir to get things uniform. If you just rely on one temp probe in a fixed location it's possible that your temps are low or uneven.

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Old 02-04-2012, 01:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger9913
1. How are you monitoring mash temps?
2. What is the pH of your mash?

I find on my system using a HERMS, you really have to monitor the mash in a few different spots and stir to get things uniform. If you just rely on one temp probe in a fixed location it's possible that your temps are low or uneven.
During the Mash, I have thermocouples monitoring HLT water temp, Mash tun return temp, and Mash drain temp. Then I have analog thermometer in the mid section of the grain during mash.

The temps are somewhat uneven. For a 152 F mash: typically the HLT might read 154F, the mash return 153F the analog thermometer 153F and the mash drain 153F.
They are pretty stable throughout the Mash.
I add 1 tbsp of "Ph 5.2" per 5 gallons. I haven't tested my PH. I will test it this morning while brewing.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 02-04-2012, 02:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadKing
I fill the dead space, then add my 1.33 qts. per lb. (I have a 2 gallon deadspace.)
My theory is only the water above the bottom is in contact with the mash and that gives me the proper thickness.
When I use the strike water calculator in beersmith I add those 2 gallons and It shows something like 1.69 qts per lb.
I fly sparge so I don't know from experience but I read double batch sparging helps.
I drink and brew and I'm usually hatin' life at clean up time!
That makes sense. It seems like it would dilute the Mash, but without adding the dead space water, the grain would not have enough water.
Do you recirculate the Mash water during the entire Mash time?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 02-04-2012, 02:25 PM   #6
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Well i think you have the mash temps covered. I was surprised to see that I had a high pH even with pH 5.2. Once I got a digital pH meter i was able to bring my pH down.

Are you sure you are calculating right? Maintaining mash temps like you do and recirculating should be yielding great results.

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Old 02-04-2012, 03:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger9913 View Post
Well i think you have the mash temps covered. I was surprised to see that I had a high pH even with pH 5.2. Once I got a digital pH meter i was able to bring my pH down.


Are you sure you are calculating right? Maintaining mash temps like you do and recirculating should be yielding great results.
I have been using a hydrometer to get my specific gravity readings. I am going to buy a refractometer today.
What about using test strips for PH readings?
I am also going to recalculate dead space to include the amount of water left in the HERMs coil. (not sure if I did before or not. This is a great reason for me to take better notes.
I have measured my wort and read 1.050, when I was expecting 1.061. Adjusted for temperature.
I didn't know whether I should constantly recirculate.
It seems like I am leaving a lot of good sugars in the lines and the coil. I guess that is accounted for in brewsmith by dead space calculations.
There isnt a very good setup example in brewsmith for my system. So, to answer your question, No, I do not know whether I am calculating correctly.
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:44 AM   #8
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I have a direct fire RIMS system and definitley recirculate the whole time.
I've been conditioning the malt before crushing it and it works great. I crush it at .0032 and I can run the pump wide open the whole time stirring every 20 mins. or so. I get 84% efficency every time.

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Old 02-05-2012, 01:21 PM   #9
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why are you leaving wort in your coil? hook it up to your HLT and flush it out. I pump til I notice the color go away in a darker beer and then I just remember how much water fits in my coil and drain that much for lighter beers.

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Old 02-05-2012, 05:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennisim
why are you leaving wort in your coil? hook it up to your HLT and flush it out. I pump til I notice the color go away in a darker beer and then I just remember how much water fits in my coil and drain that much for lighter beers.
I flush out the coils during cleanup. I was talking about the sugars in the coil, not contributing to the rest of the wort in the boiler. Are you saying that you flush the coil during sparge by routing the HLT water through the coil?
I have been searching for the correct process for my brew stand. I appreciate your input.


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