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Old 01-30-2012, 06:26 PM   #11
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How is that more transfers? Either way you have to transfer from BK to HLT after strike. I do option 1, I strike, turn on the hose to top up and then turn the hose off. Definitely not more work than option 2. I can get started brewing sooner with option 1, because I can't heat two vessels at a time.
The difference between us is that I can heat both vessels at the same time. If i could only heat one at a time that would change things. Since I can, that means, no, I don't have to transfer from BK to HLT after sparge.

HLT gets filled to cover the coils, and brought to just above mash temp.

BK, filled about 2 gallons above strike volume.

Heat both at the same time and Bring both to temp.

Transfer strike water from BK to MLT and you are done, 1 water transfer.


If you do it the other way, after you transfer from HLT to MLT, you will be low on water in the HLT and will need to add water to cover the herms coils requiring a second water transfer. Or do it your way where you have to turn on the hose to fill up the remainder but as I mentioned in my previous post, you will then have to bring that up to correct temp. I'm ready to go after the strike water transfer.
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:31 PM   #12
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On my system, I fill my MLT with the strike water, fill the HLT with my sparge water, start the HERMS and heat the whole thing to strike temp (corrected for full water volume so it equals out right). If I am doing back to back batches, I use my propane burner and extra kettle to heat up water for the next batch so I do not need to wait for everything to heat up.

Does that make sense?
This to me is the best method. Are you heating more water at the start (meaning it will take longer)? Yes, but when it's up to temperature, everything is up to temp and you can dough in.
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:38 PM   #13
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This to me is the best method. Are you heating more water at the start (meaning it will take longer)? Yes, but when it's up to temperature, everything is up to temp and you can dough in.
That works too but anytime I've added grains to the MLT that was full of the strike water volume like that, I've gotten dough balls.

Slowly adding the grains and water at roughly the same rate has worked best for me to not get dough balls.
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:44 PM   #14
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That works too but anytime I've added grains to the MLT that was full of the strike water volume like that, I've gotten dough balls.

Slowly adding the grains and water at roughly the same rate has worked best for me to not get dough balls.
That's how I used to do it as well, either way works well. This year i changed around my process to fill up the Mash Tun completely with the heated up water. I then close the mash tun cooler for 3-5 minutes and then check the temperature. If it is still at my desired strike temp then i add all of the grains, slowly wile stirring. I have found this change helped me hit my desired mash temp more consistently.

If you find yourself in a situation like what bobby described above and you want to have your full water volume for both strike water and the spare water (for Herms recirc) at temp but the combined volume is greater than what your HLT can hold, filling your mash tun with water and running it through the Herms coil while the HLT heats up is in my opinion the best solution. It also keeps your mash water separate from your sparge water should you prefer that. Obviously this is for HERMS systems.
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:50 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Boerderij_Kabouter View Post
On my system, I fill my MLT with the strike water, fill the HLT with my sparge water, start the HERMS and heat the whole thing to strike temp (corrected for full water volume so it equals out right). If I am doing back to back batches, I use my propane burner and extra kettle to heat up water for the next batch so I do not need to wait for everything to heat up.

Does that make sense?
Ditto, this is what I do as well and it works fine. I just turn the system on an hour or so before I am ready to mash in a come back to two tanks at the proper temperature. I cut the recirc pump for a minute while I dough in, and it only takes the system 5 mins or so to increase the HLT temp to my mash temperature. I still don't like the slight variation however, especially at the beginning of the mash when temperature differences are more critical, so I will be switching over to an external HEX for my next build in order to have more control/flexibility.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:29 PM   #16
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First of all, many thanks to everyone that's stopped by and for the great discussion. Please keep going, this is all useful info for me.

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Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Heat 11 gallons to sparge temps in the HLT and heat the 9 gallons of strike in the BK. Once you dough in, you can immediate start the HERMS loop.
I had always guessed that was how this would be done; good to see people solve the problem in different ways.

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but the combined volume is greater than what your HLT can hold, filling your mash tun with water and running it through the Herms coil while the HLT heats up is in my opinion the best solution.
Good point, I hadn't even thought of this. I know there are lots of variables like water volume, etc--but how much time would you say this adds to a brewday?

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Looks like that cart you might have room to put your HLT under you mash? Then you would need two pumps.
Yep, I can fit the HLT underneath for compactness of the overall design---this is one direction I was thinking of going. Not a big fan of pumps at all. I have two and I hate them. The whole self priming thing is a PITA and one of the reasons why I considering HERMS over RIMS--a momentary lapse with RIMS and stuck sparge and you're probably starting a new mash and replacing an element (the reason why I will go with the BH RIMS if I go that way)

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The difference between us is that I can heat both vessels at the same time. If i could only heat one at a time that would change things. Since I can, that means, no, I don't have to transfer from BK to HLT after sparge.
Are you running 4500w or 5500w elements? I had assumed that 2x5500w on a 50amp circuit would trip? It's close but depends on input voltage. I may wire in an analog ammeter for kicks...

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Originally Posted by Peter_h View Post
That works too but anytime I've added grains to the MLT that was full of the strike water volume like that, I've gotten dough balls.
When adding my grain to the cooler now, I use a squirrel mixer on my drill and never get dough balls when I add the grain slowly. Do you just sort of dump it in?

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I use option 1
Bruin, I lived in Campbell from 2004-2006..over on Morrene Dr and then on Tilbury. Nice town, I miss that weather....

Back on topic:
I racked my brain with ways to make this two vessels (for space reasons) and then came to the conclusion that this is why most rigs have three. Very few two vessel electric designs out here that don’t involve transfers. If anyone knows of more than these, lemme know:

I thought I could use a removable HEX coil like Walker has, but then realized that he batch sparges and I really want to fly sparge.

I was really digging the two vessel RIMS that Sizz came up with as well, using the RIMS as an inline tankless heater--but I suppose this means that treating your sparge water is difficult.

So, there are tradeoffs in either case, I see a HERMS, read a post and am like 'I need that'...I read some more about RIMS and am like 'I need that'...both? Too bad there is no 'best of both worlds' solution.
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:14 PM   #17
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Do you have Mach pumps? I use to have a hell of a time with mine until I realized that the Out should be pointing up. I always had them so the pump in and out where orientated horizontal, now I have them vertical with the out pointing up and they work like champs.

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Old 01-31-2012, 04:42 PM   #18
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Ok, so I just wanted to include B_K's method as option 3.

1. Heat strike and partial sparge in HLT, top off HLT after dough in and wait for recovery prior to running HERMs. (BK not involved until boil).

Interventions: 1. transfer, topoff, dough in 2. Find HLT temp met, start HERMs.

2. Heat strike in BK while heating Sparge in HLT. (HLT and BK both heating at same time)

Interventions: 1. transfer strike, dough in, start HERMS

3. Heat strike in HLT, move strike to MLT, top off HLT and run HERMS to strike temp prior to dough in. (BK not involved until boil).

Interventions: 1. Start HERMs. 2. Find temps met, dough in.

I think the only downside to option 3 is that you're running the pump the whole time you're heating 20 gallons to ~160F. I suppose you can calculate a temp for an initial heating of the full HLT such that a top off of another 6 gallons of tap would bring the full system (20gals) down to your set temp.

A lot of this decision would depend on where you're putting your 50a of available juice. If I went option 1 or 3, I'd put two 5500w elements into the HLT and one in the BK with a switch for HLT=11kW or HLT=5500w + BK=5500w. If I've got 50a to play with, I always want it maximized to cut time off brewday.

It's a lot to think about but once you settle into a routine, it's cake.

I used to think that a HERMS was a waste of energy because it had to see the HLT full of hot water the whole mash but with a little insulation, it doesn't take much energy to hold temp for a mere hour. It also takes away that moment of occasional panic when you realized you forgot to start heating your sparge water in time.

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Old 01-31-2012, 04:48 PM   #19
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Do you have Mach pumps? I use to have a hell of a time with mine until I realized that the Out should be pointing up. I always had them so the pump in and out where orientated horizontal, now I have them vertical with the out pointing up and they work like champs.
I have Chuggers--so they are 99.9% the same. Currently, they are in a toolbox with outlets parallel to ground=NOT in the right direction. When I mount them permanently they will be mounted properly--outlet pointing up.

I've realized it also helps to have the pumps well below all vessels so that gravity can prime the pumps when the kettle valve is opened--for the most part this can push air bubbles past the impeller. Stuck sparges are a real pain with diptubes especially in the last 3 gallons

I'll bet I don't hate pumps as much when they are mounted properly and fitted to bottom drain keggles!
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:05 PM   #20
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3. Heat strike in HLT, move strike to MLT, top off HLT and run HERMS to strike temp prior to dough in. (BK not involved until boil).

I think the only downside to option 3 is that you're running the pump the whole time you're heating 20 gallons to ~160F.
Paraphrased your post to the parts I wanted to comment on.

If you heat the whole thing to strike temp, I assume you need to add some additional cold water after dough-in to get to the desired recirc temp of your mash? How much higher is strike temp than dough-in when your MLT isn't going to absorb any of the heat since it's already at temp? 5 degrees maybe? (obviously depends on the size and temp of the grist, but just curious)

Running the pump while you heat is really not that big of a downside, I usually run the pump while I heat the HLT just to recirculate the HLT and make sure it's uniform temp from top to bottom. I also stir at the same time, but you really can't mix the HLT enough IMO, need to make sure the temp is spot on. The heat from the elements tends to go straight up, so draining out the bottom and putting it back into the top of the HLT is really effective.
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