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Old 04-14-2011, 10:59 PM   #1
bloke
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Default Electric Herms mashing method

hi,

I´m building and fine tuning my electric HERMS system and i do need to ask how you guys are doing your mash.
I found out that when I mash in at around 122 F(50C) and want to heat up to mash temp to 150f (66C) by running the wort through a 5meter,10mm diameter copper coil in side an HLT at 150F it takes like forever. I had to increase the HLT temp to get the mash into right temp. But I don´t like that method at all.

the Idea was to let the PID hold the HLT temp and be able to get a nice temperature controlled mash.

How are you doing it?

please help a Herms novice

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Old 04-14-2011, 11:22 PM   #2
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Why do you mash in at such a low temp? I typically mash in at the temp I plan on using for the mash. So, I'll set my system to 152-154 and let it warm up completely to that temp first. Then I mash in. It usually takes my temp down shortly, but quickly returns back to where it needs to be. Works well for me?

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Old 04-14-2011, 11:37 PM   #3
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Yes I understand you. I think I will do like that next time. One reason i build my HERMS system was to be able to do step mashing.

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Old 04-15-2011, 12:44 AM   #4
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I was able to raise ~7 gallons in my mash from 122 to 150 in 15 minutes. I had my hlt set at 162. I use 50ft of 1/2 copper. I am all electric and had a pump mixing my hlt so I did not have any stratification. I did this for a hefe where I wanted a rest at 122. For a single infusion, heat the hlt to the strike temp, transfer water into mash tun to heat it. I ccyle this for a minute or two, then dough in. Btw, A lot people will say herms is not good for stepping.

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Old 04-15-2011, 02:21 PM   #5
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Agreed, I just set my system exactly how it will be for the mash, with my liquor in the MLT, my sparge in the HLT, set the PID to my mash temp and begin recirculating everthing. From there I simply mash in, and the system corrects itself for the temp drop within a few minutes

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Old 04-15-2011, 02:58 PM   #6
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As mentioned above, HERMS systems aren't very good for step mashes. It simply takes too long to warm up from step to step. I wouldn't have believed that prior to having a HERMS system, but now that I use one I totally understand why its difficult to do. They are excellent for single infusion mashes, but not very good for other processes.

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Old 04-15-2011, 08:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hatfieldenator View Post
As mentioned above, HERMS systems [[that use the HLT as the heat source]] aren't very good for step mashes.
fixed^^

the HLT is too large of a thermal mass to change temperatures very quickly. you also need a very good flow rate of wort thru it to change the temp in the mash tun in any reasonable amount of time.

simply adding more heat to the HLT will appear to bring the mash up to temp faster, but it will overshoot the temperature of the mash inside the HLT in the process and possibly denature your enzymes. think of this setup like running hot tap water thru a coil in your mash to heat it. the heat source is in your basement and is so far removed from what you are trying to heat, it takes a long time.

the other side of the spectrum is the HERMS tubes you see people using, where you pass the wort directly over the heating element in a small chamber. the wort that actually contacts the element surface could overheat just as easily, as the element itself can get above 212*F while on. think of this like a single pot of water on the stove; good for imparting heat quickly, but can scorch your wort if your not careful.


what i plan on using is somewhere in between. more like a double boiler that you would use for candy as to not burn it. it has a much smaller thermal mass at 1gallon, so the 2kW heater should be able to raise the water temperature very quickly. the wort also never touches any surface that is above the desired temperature, even for a small amount of time, so no chance of burning. the 1/2" copper tube has enough flow rate to circulate a good amount of mash per unit of time, so you should be able to hit target temperatures fairly quickly with good PID settings. I am going to be doing some data logging on it this weekend to see just how efficient it is.

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Old 04-15-2011, 08:54 PM   #8
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I don't know why you guys have a hard time step mashing in a HERMS. I step mash every time, and I have my 25 ft copper HERMS coil in my HLT. My elements are 4500W. I circulate the hot liquor to avoid stratification, and open the MLT valve about 40-50%.

My typical medium body ale mash schedule is roughly 145-150-156-168. My typical light lager schedule is 133-149-154-168. Of course it varies depending on malt varieties and such.

It takes about 15 min max to go between steps.

It could depend on the power of your elements, PID programming, HERMS coil length and diameter, and recirculation flow rate.

TB

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Old 04-15-2011, 10:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiber_Brew View Post
I don't know why you guys have a hard time step mashing in a HERMS. I step mash every time, and I have my 25 ft copper HERMS coil in my HLT. My elements are 4500W. I circulate the hot liquor to avoid stratification, and open the MLT valve about 40-50%.

My typical medium body ale mash schedule is roughly 145-150-156-168. My typical light lager schedule is 133-149-154-168. Of course it varies depending on malt varieties and such.

It takes about 15 min max to go between steps.

It could depend on the power of your elements, PID programming, HERMS coil length and diameter, and recirculation flow rate.

TB
I hope you don't step mash every time. That is a total waste of time and actually kills the body of a brew done with a fully modified malt. Protein rests are only necessary on undermodified malts and almost all domestically available malts available today are fully modified. For fully modified malts the best results are accomplished with a single infusion mash. If you don't believe me, here is what Palmer says in his book "How to Brew".

Quote:

Chapter 14 - How the Mash Works

14.4 The Protein Rest and Modification

Modification is the term that describes the degree of breakdown during malting of the protein-starch matrix (endosperm) that comprises the bulk of the seed. Moderately-modified malts benefit from a protein rest to break down any remnant large proteins into smaller proteins and amino acids as well as to further release the starches from the endosperm. Fully-modified malts have already made use of these enzymes and do not benefit from more time spent in the protein rest regime. In fact, using a protein rest on fully modified malts tends to remove most of the body of a beer, leaving it thin and watery. Most base malt in use in the world today is fully modified.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawdustguy View Post
I hope you don't step mash every time. That is a total waste of time and actually kills the body of a brew done with a fully modified malt. Almost all domestically available malts available today are fully modified. If you don't believe me, here is what Palmer says in his book "How to Brew".
Well, I step mash about 95% of the time, but dont always use a protein rest. Like I said, it depends on malts used, amongst other things. I use a lot of under-modified pilsner malts, since I predominantly brew German/Czech light ales and lagers (at least since the completion of my eHERMS).

Believe me, I'm well aware of modified malts.

TB
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