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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Brewtroller-based Electric Build needs some input
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:08 PM   #1
jmark
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Default Brewtroller-based Electric Build needs some input

Hi Guys,

So I've been lurking forever, reading and researching as much as possible in preparation for an electric build in a basement room that it the perfect size for it (my awesome SO just smiles sweetly at me and rolls her eyes!)

I've spent some time mocking up the liquid side of my setup. I'll be automating the heating elements, pumps and valves using Brewtroller. Additional features will include pressure sensors to provide volume measurements in the HLT and BK and, eventually, an interface into the home automation software that is my other hobby!

Below are 7 slides I put together in Visio/Powerpoint and converted to PNG. I'd love to hear people's feedback on what I'm missing (hopefully not a heck of a lot, but I wouldn't hold my breath) or what I could do better in my design?

Thanks in advance for your advice!
Mark







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Old 03-30-2011, 02:59 AM   #2
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Looks great! Looks a lot like my system.

I'm not sure why you have V4 along with V5 and 7 if those are both closed then V4 is extra?

Also on my system I just ran the line where V10 is back to my kettle and so when V12 is closed it recircs the wort, when V12 opens then the wort flows into the fermenter, it saves a valve.

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Old 03-30-2011, 01:37 PM   #3
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Yup - I see V4 is unnecessary. I guess if I can get V10 on the same level as the pump, then I see how I can get rid of either V10 or V11. I'll update the diagrams later today so these images will change.

Thanks for the input.

BTW - any ideas when you'll have more valves in stock in the BT store?

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Old 03-30-2011, 01:41 PM   #4
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Well I found that since my fermenter is much lower than my kettle and the recirc valve is open that the wort follows the path of least resistance and never goes back into the kettle.

Should be any day now, they are currently in transit.

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Current Rig
4.5KW E-HLT
5.5KW E-Kettle
MasterFlex Peristaltic Primary Pump
March Secondary Pump
Therminator for Chilling

Planned
Automated Grain Drop
Automated Hop Dropper


System controlled via BrewTroller

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Old 03-30-2011, 04:59 PM   #5
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Updated the diagrams based on your input - thanks! I also added a thermo probe to the inside of the BK for kicks. Not sure it's terribly necessary, but doesn't hurt.

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Old 03-30-2011, 10:12 PM   #6
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I'd recommend a second temp probe in the middle of the mash for temp averaging (I've seen large swings coming in from the HLT).

Also, what is your wort path if current mash temp = target?

And when you're building the vessels, keep the temp sensors and the coils low - for 5 gal batches .

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Old 03-30-2011, 10:38 PM   #7
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Will do... I'll make sure each vessel has it's own temp probe in addition to the probes on the HEX out and the BK out. Any other places?

Good question about the wort path... if the current mash temp = target can I not just continue to recirculate through the HLT at the current HLT temp? I'm completely open to suggestions...

To avoid a (I think) substantial amount of additional plumbing I was instead thinking of adding a motorized stirrer to the HLT to help improve the efficiency of the HEX - is that necessary or would that be overkill?

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Old 03-30-2011, 11:02 PM   #8
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It all depends on your plumbing. I think that is a decent idea on the recirc during HLT pre-heat, but what about during mash? As that cooler mash takes BTUS from the HLT, nothing there to prevent stratification.

If the loss is accurate, you can continue to flow through the HLT the entire mash. By loss, there is usually a heat loss due to plumbing between the recirc and the vessel. I loose about 3* typically.

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Orange Cascade Pale Ale -

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Bells Two Hearted, round 2- 6.1%
SNPA Clone (Chilled )
Hard Lemonade

Shiraz - 6 gal
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Old 03-30-2011, 11:24 PM   #9
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Larry,

Okay, now I'm thoroughly confused... I'm probably missing something basic though.

During mash, the temperature probe on the output of the HEX should be measuring the temp of the mash being recirculated. I don't care about the actual temperature of the HLT water. I just heat the HLT water to whatever it takes to ensure that the temperature of the mash exiting the HEX stays around 150 (or whatever temp I'm trying to acheive in the MLT). Am I missing something fundamental?

Using my diagrams, do you see a better way to do the plumbing - I've seen so many different ways to do it, my head's starting to throb

TIA,
Mark

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Old 03-31-2011, 12:08 AM   #10
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Mark, sometimes, in practice, the HLT temps are a little higher than desired. Let me try to explain why. Let's say that you have a mash at 154, and a 2* line loss. So starting out, the HLT is set to 156.

Your mash is at 152 going into the HERMS, and is 153 coming out. This sends a "heat the HLT signal", which it does until the output of the HERMS is 154. Now the HLT might be at 158, and the next "batch going through the HERMS" is at 155.

The BT shuts off the heat to the HLT, but the 10 gals of water in there have a lot of thermal mass. Combined with the fact that your incoming wort is at temp, so it is likely extracting very little heat. This can cause a mash overshoot.

What you can do to control this is provide a "Mash Idle" profile, so that if the Mash Temp = Target, bypass the HERMS and just feed it back into the mash. This is where that second temp sensor comes in, so that you aren't constantly switching whenever the temp differs by .1*F. Evens it out a bit.

This is what I use, and I am quite happy with it.

I'll review your flow a little later, but you've done a nice layout.

EDIT: I should point out that this isn't a Brewtroller issue, it exists with every HERMS system. Others may not have the necessary sensors in place, or other options with valves to address it.

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Primary
Orange Cascade Pale Ale -

Secondary

Kegged
BeeCave Haus Ale - 6%
Bells Two Hearted, round 2- 6.1%
SNPA Clone (Chilled )
Hard Lemonade

Shiraz - 6 gal
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