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Old 09-30-2010, 05:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by klyph View Post
The thin mash passing through the HERMS coil reaches the temp of the HLT by the time it outputs, so the time to perform a step would be how long it takes to bump up the heat in the HLT plus however long it takes to recirculate the entire mash volume through the coil.

I haven't tested stepping in my system, but based on how quickly it raises temp, and my recirculation flow rate, I think a 30 degree step could be achieved in about 15 minutes.
Right. And 15 minutes I would count as a ramp, not a step. Tomato tomahto, perhaps, but for me, IME it takes longer than 15 minutes and is a pain, and just isn't good enough for me. That's why I call it a con.

Also, a standard RIMS tube uses just as much volume as a HERMS coil. Just for reference, a 25'x1/2" coil with about 5' of tubing connections uses an extra 1.25 quarts. Not much....
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Old 09-30-2010, 05:45 PM   #12
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Agreed, recirculation path volume is a wash.

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Old 09-30-2010, 06:56 PM   #13
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I was going to raise the point of cleaning, but that depends greatly on what kind of RIMS tube you have and whether your RIMS/HERMS is SS or copper.

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Old 09-30-2010, 07:45 PM   #14
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So I used to use a RIMS but I had a scorched batch (one was enough) so I switched to a HLT HERMS that was manually controlled via the burner. Now I have a separate HERMS chamber that is PID controlled. Of all of them, I like the latest the best.





All three were able to transfer heat the same but each have their own weakness.

RIMS - Heated the sames as the rest, auto control, liked the to set and forget aspect, but could and did scorch. (tried to market the stuff as a stienrauchbrau but nobody was buying it)

HLT HERMS - Larger thermal mass held heat better but took longer to heat up and was manually controlled. I think the major weakness for me though was that unless I heated up the entire HLT volume, I had to wait longer to recirculate after dough in while I was heating additional water to cover the coil. (I know I could also heat in my kettle.) This added a little more time to the brew day. Oh, and since the heating medium was also the sparge water, I aways had to cool it back down after I ramped to mash out temp.

Separate HERMS - Nice Auto control like the RIMS, no chance of scorching, smaller chamber volume heats up quicker and therefore only the strike water needs to be heated up to start a mash and recirculate. I think the one weakness of this setup compared to the HLT HERMS is that due to the lower thermal mass of the chamber liquid, if there is a large differental between the mash and the chamber, it will cool the chamber faster than the element can hold the temp. (currently 1500W since I wanted to stay on an existing 20 amp 120 circuit) This would only be an issue with something like an acid rest.
The few brews I've done on this have been great and required much less attention than the manual HLT HERMS brews. I'm not sure if an electric HLT would be better either. There is still the wait for the additional water to heat up (unless strike water was made in the kettle, but then you couldn't do a double hitter).

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Old 09-30-2010, 10:21 PM   #15
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I've been away from brewing for over a year now (life, work, blah, blah). I happen to be planning my 3rd. major build and I'm in the process of analyzing if I want to stick with my HERMS or go the RIMS route. So this topic is very timely!

I currently have a separate HERMS chamber similar to Bigscience's. The difference being that I used a 1 gallon cooler w/ a bucket heater controlled by a PID. I also use an aquarium pump to bubble air inside the chamber to keep from getting stratification. [Blue cooler in picture - lid off]





And as Boerderij pointed out, it does a great job of maintaining mash temps and doing small adjustments but it just cannot handle step mashes. My new build will be completely electric (basement brewing) so I will have 240 available and can upgrade the heating element (from 1500W).

My only complaint is keeping the inside of the coild clean (I cannot easily remove it). After I brew I recirculate PBW through it and then rinse. But there's no way to get the standing water out of the coil. So that freaks me out a little. To the point that I recirculate some StarSan through it before I brew just in-case anything started to grow in there between brews. If I could find a better way to keep it clean/empty then I would be a happy camper. My only idea is to use compressed air to blow out the water after I clean it?

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Old 09-30-2010, 10:39 PM   #16
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I forgot to mention... mashing-in can be a pain because you have to by-pass the HERMS. Unlike folks that have the HERMS coil in the HLT, I have to have my water temp in the HERMS chamber close to my strike water, if I don't, it can lower/raise the the strike water by a lot so bypassing it is what I do. This would be a lot easier using a RIMS.

I have had issues re-priming the pump after I move my hoses around to include the HERMS after the mashing in. Nothing major, but just one more thing to run around and deal with while you are trying to establish the HERMS recirculation.

On my new build (assuming I stick with a HERMS), I'm planning on adding a temperature sensor inside the HERMS so I can independently control the water temperature. I would only use this to get the water in the chamber equal to my strike water. And then once I start mashing-in, the water out sensor would take over and control the heating element. Hope this make sense.

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Old 09-30-2010, 11:07 PM   #17
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Awesome idea for a thread Bobby.

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Old 10-01-2010, 12:01 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caskconditioned View Post
My only complaint is keeping the inside of the coild clean (I cannot easily remove it). After I brew I recirculate PBW through it and then rinse. But there's no way to get the standing water out of the coil. So that freaks me out a little. To the point that I recirculate some StarSan through it before I brew just in-case anything started to grow in there between brews. If I could find a better way to keep it clean/empty then I would be a happy camper. My only idea is to use compressed air to blow out the water after I clean it?
This is exactly why I went to the trouble of having mine enter and exit through the side of the keg. PBW recirc, water rinse, gravity drain + air for good measure.
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:45 AM   #19
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Awesome idea for a thread Bobby.
+1

Along with this discussion could we also include pics of your set ups and designs. I am in the beginning stages of converting from a 2 tier to a "want a be Brutus 10" and I am planning to stick with a HERMS set up. Although I could be convinced another wise.

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Old 10-01-2010, 03:08 AM   #20
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I noticed that a lot of people bend their HERMS coils to a single diameter and it usually takes up quite a vertical in the HLT. What about leaving it in more of a concentric like copper tubing is shipped? Maybe just two flat coils like that sitting lower in the HLT so you only have to fill to 4 gallons for recirculation. I suppose the challenge is that you still have to add more water for 10 gallon batches and you'll have to stop circulating while the HLT temp recovers.

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