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Old 01-07-2009, 07:59 PM   #151
The Pol
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Yup, looks good, do it.

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Old 01-08-2009, 01:52 PM   #152
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Minor question: You mention 1/2" spigot for the cooler, I have one now and don't remember the size of the spigot, it looks the same as yours and I did get it at HD a while ago. Do sizes of spigots they differ? I have a 3/8" valve now for my infusion mash, will this accomodate a 1/2" upgrade?

Also, if I understand your process, you recirculate continuously. Do you think that works better for efficiency than an infusion mash that allows grains to be stirred periodically (to ensure each grain is sufficiently exposed to water). Of course, I would see recirculating during the mash out, which I would think would clarify the wort nicely. Probably a pretty basic HERMS question...

Congratulations on the magazine interest, I'm not surprised. Your design looks fairly simple, yet provides a lot of control. (Plus, I may be able to upgrade my existing simple equipment without replacing everything, pending the answer to the first question above.)

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Old 01-08-2009, 02:11 PM   #153
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I do have all 1/2" plumbing on my system. In the past, I had some 3/8" components and I can say that the difference in flow rates is phenominal. I'd never go back. When deciding to construct a HERMS where there is a lot of pumping and fluid flow, I wanted to be sure to make that flow as unrestricted as possible. I have 1/2" ball valves, HERMS coil, hoses, QDs... and like I said, my flows are double that of my old 3/8" setup.

Ball valve sizes do differ greatly, there are many sizes. Any beverage cooler CAN accomodate 1/2" components, but the bulkhead will have to be rebuilt to accomodate the larger size.

I dont understand the question about your "infusion mash spigot upgrade"...

I do recirculate continuously. The grains are stirred well when I strike, any dough balls are thoroughly broken up. I dont think that the recirculation affects the efficiency at all... if anything it keeps water circulating through the mash, it keeps currents flowing, creating a more homogenous mash which I see as beneficial.

I do recirculate constantly... HERMS works best that way. I am able to hold my mash temps within .5F during any lenghth of mash, in any weather. I also do not have to worry about stirring the mash to keep the temps homogenous. I do not have to worry about slightly undershooting or overshooting my strike temp. I start the pump, I walk away... 60 minutes later I return and the mash is complete and still within .5F of my set point. The point of a HERMS and of my system is consistency and ease of use. After 30 minutes the wort is just as clear as BMC is in the bottle...

Repeatability, reliability (why I built my own bulkheads and cooler thermometers), ease of use and affordability were all major components in my build. I spent months planning, and tossed about 5 different ideas for a HERMS build before settling on this one. It works for me, and a couple others who are RUNNING it with my HERMS software... a few more are in the building stages. Your needs may be different, and that is ok... I hope I can help in any case.

I have been trading emails and pictures with the magazine about once a day for the past several days... the editor sayes she will be getting back to me soon? Hopefully that is a good sign. Id frame that issue.

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Old 01-08-2009, 02:23 PM   #154
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Here is the email I sent to them when they asked for more pics and a more detailed description. Hopefully it holds thier interest.

XXXXX,

Thank you (and your magazine) for your interest in my rig! It has been an ongoing evolution from a simple 5 gallon Rubbermaid AG system that I used in my kitchen, with water heated on the stove... to an all electric HERMS that utilizes 10 gallon Rubbermaid coolers and a 15.5 gallon Sankey for the BK.
Here is a brief description of the major components:

HLT: 10 Gallon Rubbermaid beverage cooler converted to HERMS HEX with a 1/2" ball valve bulkhead (custom as many commercial models leak). It consists of a 1500W 120VAC heating element that is controlled by a Johnson A419 controller that is mounted to the cooler itself. I fashioned my own stopper/thermo well that passes through the lid and sourced parts for a 120VAC HLT stirrer. The HLT HEX contains 25' of 1/2" copper tubing (a modified pre-chiller) that is outfitted with brass QDs. It also sports a custom through the wall digital thermometer (my solution to leaky commercial models). ALL plumbing on my rig is 1/2", the flow rates are far superior to 3/8" plumbing. This vessel is used for strike water, sparge water, HERMS re circulation to hold mash temps and used to heat the mash to mashout temps.

MLT: 10 Gallon Rubbermaid beverage cooler converted to a MLT with a 1/2" ball valve bulkhead (custom), SS false bottom, through the wall digital thermometer (custom) and a HERMS/FLY sparge return line that is plumbed through the lid for superior heat retention. Mash temps are maintained within .5F during any length of mash.

BK: 15.5 gallon (legal) Sankey keg that has been converted to an E-Keggle. It is outfitted with a 1/2" ball valve, custom pick-up tube, 5500W ULWD heating element and thermocouple.

Software: This rig, as in any rig, has specific temperature differentials, fluid loss, heating times etc. In order to manage all of these aspects I created a spreadsheet that asks the brewer for specific information about the brew. Strike temps, volumes etc. are entered and crucial values are computed for the brewer to manage the system during the brew session. This allows the brewer to effectively plan HLT water quantities, temps and view resultant heating times that may be of concern when step mashing.

All of the components are powered through a custom 240VAC control panel that I built. It consists of a PID and SSR for the E-Keggle heating control. It also contains switched outlets for the HLT and March 809 pump on my rig. It also contains a "kill" switch that will kill both legs of power to the E-Keggle heating element regardless of what the PID and SSR command.

The E-Keggle heating element is my own design, with a fully insulated collar and entirely potted electrical connections, making it safe for use on a boil kettle where boil overs can happen. It can be submerged in water with no voltage leak.

All liquid connections are made with brass QDs.

My design philosophy all along has been simplicity, efficiency, affordability and repeatability. I have built my own bulkheads and through the wall thermometers for affordability and reliability reasons. When possible I have sourced components to build items needed for this rig in lieu of purchasing commercial components when cost and design allowed.

I am a member of Homebrewtalk.com and have posted loads of information about my build over the past couple years as it evolved. (instructions, part numbers, suppliers, design philosophy, cost etc) Currently there are several other members building exact replicas of my system, one is actually brewing on it already. I have been tech support for these guys and provided them with the software to run this rig effectively in their own garages.

I will attach some photos, AND a link to my Photobucket account where you can see many more pictures. Please let me know if you have continued interest and if there is anything else you would like!

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Old 01-08-2009, 04:24 PM   #155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pol View Post
I dont understand the question about your "infusion mash spigot upgrade"...
I think you answered it, I can replace my existing 3/8" with a 1/2" setup--this will fit my existing 10 gallon cooler without having to drill a bigger hole which I don't want to do. I assume I'll have to also replace the elbow barb on my newly purchased false bottom to 1/2" also...
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Old 01-08-2009, 05:03 PM   #156
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Hrmmm, mine was 1/2".... maybe you will have to?

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Old 01-08-2009, 05:15 PM   #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pol View Post
Here is the email I sent to them when they asked for more pics and a more detailed description. Hopefully it holds thier interest.

XXXXX,

Thank you (and your magazine) for your interest in my rig! It has been an ongoing evolution from a simple 5 gallon Rubbermaid AG system that I used in my kitchen, with water heated on the stove... to an all electric HERMS that utilizes 10 gallon Rubbermaid coolers and a 15.5 gallon Sankey for the BK.
Here is a brief description of the major components:

HLT: 10 Gallon Rubbermaid beverage cooler converted to HERMS HEX with a 1/2" ball valve bulkhead (custom as many commercial models leak). It consists of a 1500W 120VAC heating element that is controlled by a Johnson A419 controller that is mounted to the cooler itself. I fashioned my own stopper/thermo well that passes through the lid and sourced parts for a 120VAC HLT stirrer. The HLT HEX contains 25' of 1/2" copper tubing (a modified pre-chiller) that is outfitted with brass QDs. It also sports a custom through the wall digital thermometer (my solution to leaky commercial models). ALL plumbing on my rig is 1/2", the flow rates are far superior to 3/8" plumbing. This vessel is used for strike water, sparge water, HERMS re circulation to hold mash temps and used to heat the mash to mashout temps.

MLT: 10 Gallon Rubbermaid beverage cooler converted to a MLT with a 1/2" ball valve bulkhead (custom), SS false bottom, through the wall digital thermometer (custom) and a HERMS/FLY sparge return line that is plumbed through the lid for superior heat retention. Mash temps are maintained within .5F during any length of mash.

BK: 15.5 gallon (legal) Sankey keg that has been converted to an E-Keggle. It is outfitted with a 1/2" ball valve, custom pick-up tube, 5500W ULWD heating element and thermocouple.

Software: This rig, as in any rig, has specific temperature differentials, fluid loss, heating times etc. In order to manage all of these aspects I created a spreadsheet that asks the brewer for specific information about the brew. Strike temps, volumes etc. are entered and crucial values are computed for the brewer to manage the system during the brew session. This allows the brewer to effectively plan HLT water quantities, temps and view resultant heating times that may be of concern when step mashing.

All of the components are powered through a custom 240VAC control panel that I built. It consists of a PID and SSR for the E-Keggle heating control. It also contains switched outlets for the HLT and March 809 pump on my rig. It also contains a "kill" switch that will kill both legs of power to the E-Keggle heating element regardless of what the PID and SSR command.

The E-Keggle heating element is my own design, with a fully insulated collar and entirely potted electrical connections, making it safe for use on a boil kettle where boil overs can happen. It can be submerged in water with no voltage leak.

All liquid connections are made with brass QDs.

My design philosophy all along has been simplicity, efficiency, affordability and repeatability. I have built my own bulkheads and through the wall thermometers for affordability and reliability reasons. When possible I have sourced components to build items needed for this rig in lieu of purchasing commercial components when cost and design allowed.

I am a member of Homebrewtalk.com and have posted loads of information about my build over the past couple years as it evolved. (instructions, part numbers, suppliers, design philosophy, cost etc) Currently there are several other members building exact replicas of my system, one is actually brewing on it already. I have been tech support for these guys and provided them with the software to run this rig effectively in their own garages.

I will attach some photos, AND a link to my Photobucket account where you can see many more pictures. Please let me know if you have continued interest and if there is anything else you would like!
All this.... and he still needs help programming the VCR (yes i understand it's an old reference)
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Old 01-08-2009, 06:05 PM   #158
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Ha ha Stile... very funny mang... very.

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Old 01-10-2009, 03:10 PM   #159
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My 10 gallon cooler is Igloo, not Rubbermaid. May not accomodate 1/2" valve without modification. Anyone successful with the Igloo? (I followed another set of instructions for my brass 3/8" valve set up for simple infusion mash, recently upgrading it with a false bottom).

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Old 01-10-2009, 07:20 PM   #160
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The Igloo should be able to accomodate a 1/2" pipe nipple as well.

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