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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > single level or 3-tiered system, why the switch?

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Old 01-21-2009, 08:49 PM   #1
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Default single level or 3-tiered system, why the switch?

I've noticed several HBT'ers talking about switching from a gravity fed system to a single level system. I am in the process of designing my new system and was thinking of a 2- tier set-up, mainly because of the cost of the pumps, but I am wondering what the drawbacks are to a multi-tiered system. any thoughts?

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Old 01-21-2009, 08:52 PM   #2
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I'd say having large pot of near boiling water up high in the air ranks really high on drawbacks of 3 tier. Also not being able to see into the top of the vessels.

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Old 01-21-2009, 08:56 PM   #3
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Yeah I can see that. the system I was considering had the hlt up in the air, the MT waist high and the BK either waist high or close to the ground.

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Old 01-21-2009, 08:57 PM   #4
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If you have a pump, there is no reason to have a 3 tier setup since the pump is doing the work of moving liquid around. A single tier also has the advantage of having all three brewing vessels on the same level and low enough that you can see inside each one without climbing a ladder. The drawback to single tier setups is that they are typically more expensive and complex than a 3-tier gravity feed system.

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Old 01-21-2009, 10:14 PM   #5
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Yeah, I didn't think the hlt being elevated was that big of a deal since its just holding the sparge water but im sure I will change my mind if I build it that way.

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Old 01-21-2009, 11:38 PM   #6
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Playing Devil's Advocate....and also having had both kind of rigs......

A 3 tier has some pro's a lot of people may not realize......

If your bk burner is low profile, your "staircase" won't go extremely high. as long as the ball valve of the next vessel up is 2 inches higher than the max fill of the lower vessel, you should have more than enough gravity/siphon. If you use a modified footprint like this: 1550 - 10 Gallon Tippy BrewSculptures | MoreBeer, you have the best of both worlds! I'm finding more and more that gravity is awesome. I spend a lot of time screwing with my march pump (yes, I know how to prime it ). Also, I realize with a sight glass and thermometer, that I don't look into the HLT. As long as it's high (a few inches out of sight on your toes), but not TOO high (towering over you, like 8' in the air) and it's secured, you should be fine.

3 tiers aren't terrible as long as you keep the MT and BK well within workable height. Oh...also consider supplying your hlt with a fixed water line or shepherd's hook so you don't have to hoist the water up there. IMHO, a site glass is a must in this setup.

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Old 01-22-2009, 12:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onejdn View Post
I've noticed several HBT'ers talking about switching from a gravity fed system to a single level system. I am in the process of designing my new system and was thinking of a 2- tier set-up, mainly because of the cost of the pumps, but I am wondering what the drawbacks are to a multi-tiered system. any thoughts?
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ScubaSteve View Post
Playing Devil's Advocate....and also having had both kind of rigs......

A 3 tier has some pro's a lot of people may not realize......

If your bk burner is low profile, your "staircase" won't go extremely high. as long as the ball valve of the next vessel up is 2 inches higher than the max fill of the lower vessel, you should have more than enough gravity/siphon. If you use a modified footprint like this: 1550 - 10 Gallon Tippy BrewSculptures | MoreBeer, you have the best of both worlds! I'm finding more and more that gravity is awesome. I spend a lot of time screwing with my march pump (yes, I know how to prime it ). Also, I realize with a sight glass and thermometer, that I don't look into the HLT. As long as it's high (a few inches out of sight on your toes), but not TOO high (towering over you, like 8' in the air) and it's secured, you should be fine.

3 tiers aren't terrible as long as you keep the MT and BK well within workable height. Oh...also consider supplying your hlt with a fixed water line or shepherd's hook so you don't have to hoist the water up there. IMHO, a site glass is a must in this setup.
Actually I'm glad to hear that. That brew sculpture in the link is very similar to what I was thinking. Kind of a low-pro version of a 3 tier sculpture.
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:25 PM   #9
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See, I just don't see the need to put the HLT up there. I can see if you fly sparge, but I batch sparge. I heat up half my sparge water on the burner on the ground (about 3 gallons), pour it in the MLT, then heat up the other half. Hefting 3 gallons to waist height isn't too bad.

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Old 01-22-2009, 03:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mattmcl View Post
See, I just don't see the need to put the HLT up there. I can see if you fly sparge, but I batch sparge. I heat up half my sparge water on the burner on the ground (about 3 gallons), pour it in the MLT, then heat up the other half. Hefting 3 gallons to waist height isn't too bad.
Yes that works just fine. But with my 3 tier and hard piped water lines I don't have to lift anything other then the grain. When I get really lazy I'll build something to take that lifting away too.
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