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Old 01-07-2013, 10:18 PM   #1
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Default First Run of the eHERMS - Questions!

OK... so my panel is done, though the mount is still 'mostly' done.
The kettles are done... I'm waiting on USPS to take their sweet time getting me a few final hoses from Bobby so I can actually recirculate water at the same time as running through the HERMS... but I had some yeast that I made a starter for, and 2 empty kegs, and threw my hands in the air and brewed.

First issue - my PIDs are WAY overshooting. I haven't run the auto-learn cycle yet, but I had my mash temperature set for 152 and it's at 163 right now, though the PID finally decided to stop firing. Lesson learned - run the auto-learn cycle.

Second issue - I'm having trouble with the recirculation through the HEX. I was running full bore for a while, but that caused my bazooka tube to jam up. Some action with the mash paddle cleared it up. But now I find myself sucking air into the intake line, which makes no sense. There are no leaks that I can see anywhere, but I'm getting bubbles in the line. A few small ones are no big deal, but I'm also getting some fairly large ones, so that's concerning. I'm not running a particularly thick mash...

10# Marris Otter
1.5# White What Malt
1# Crystal 60
1# Flaked Red Wheat
8oz Crystal 120
8oz Caravienne
1#6oz roasted pecans

5.15gal H2O...

Is the Bazooka tube a POS and I need a false bottom, or did I do something wrong, or could I have milled the grains too fine?

I'm sure I'll have other issues as the day goes on...
-Kevin

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Building a Bad News Brewery - eHERMS

2014:
5gal Scottish Wee Heavy
5gal Saison
15gal American Pale Ale
20gal Belgian Wit (10 dumped)


Keg 1: Apfelwein
Keg 2: Belgian Wit (Failure)
Keg 3: American Pale Ale
Fermenting: Belgian Wit (Take 2)
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:33 PM   #2
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For continuous recirculation, you really should use a FB, and not a bazooka tube.

Also, not all PIDs will be properly tuned after the auto tune cycle(s) necessarily. I had to adjust some of the constants on my HLT PID slightly after the auto tune to get it where I wanted it. Do a few cycles with water only and pay attention to the on/off activity and adjust as needed. It helps to read the manual and fully understand the constants and what their impacts are on the process before manually adjusting.

Hope this helps

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On tap:
1. Porter 2. Kentucky Common 3. IPA 4. Pils 5.[Nitrogen] Dry Stout
Primary:
1. Dry Stout 2. Dry Stout 3. Cali Common 4. Cali Common 5. none 6. none
Secondary:
1. Brett Ale 2. none 3. none 4. none
Bottled:
About 58 gallons of beer & 4.2 gallons of mead
Kegged & conditioning:
Imperial Bourbon Barrel Oatmeal Stout x2, Belgian Dubbel, German Pils (lagering), Oatmeal Blonde x2
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:37 PM   #3
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You news a better filtering mech. I used a copper manifold with a ton of slits and it worked great.

If you set your pids to kal suggest on his site they will be real close.

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Old 01-07-2013, 10:54 PM   #4
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I'm using two SWA-2451s, which Kal doesn't use.... I will set my SYL-2352 to his settings, though I just got some weird mode now where it says A100 / A17 / A29 / A whatever number in the green field. Doesn't display my set temp anymore.

Guess I need to get real real in touch with that manual... I got excited.

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Building a Bad News Brewery - eHERMS

2014:
5gal Scottish Wee Heavy
5gal Saison
15gal American Pale Ale
20gal Belgian Wit (10 dumped)


Keg 1: Apfelwein
Keg 2: Belgian Wit (Failure)
Keg 3: American Pale Ale
Fermenting: Belgian Wit (Take 2)
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadNewsBrewery View Post
I'm using two SWA-2451s, which Kal doesn't use.... I will set my SYL-2352 to his settings, though I just got some weird mode now where it says A100 / A17 / A29 / A whatever number in the green field. Doesn't display my set temp anymore.

Guess I need to get real real in touch with that manual... I got excited.
Definitely become familiar with the PIDs and their operation before using them! The A-numbers might be error codes possibly due to lack of temperature input or faulty signal, but I'm not sure since I have a different model. Check your manual!

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On tap:
1. Porter 2. Kentucky Common 3. IPA 4. Pils 5.[Nitrogen] Dry Stout
Primary:
1. Dry Stout 2. Dry Stout 3. Cali Common 4. Cali Common 5. none 6. none
Secondary:
1. Brett Ale 2. none 3. none 4. none
Bottled:
About 58 gallons of beer & 4.2 gallons of mead
Kegged & conditioning:
Imperial Bourbon Barrel Oatmeal Stout x2, Belgian Dubbel, German Pils (lagering), Oatmeal Blonde x2
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:33 AM   #6
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Pretty sure the A code was telling me what % the system was running at in auto during each cycle. Clearly I got ahead of myself and got too excited. If this batch turns out it'll be a miracle but now I know where I need to focus my attention!

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Building a Bad News Brewery - eHERMS

2014:
5gal Scottish Wee Heavy
5gal Saison
15gal American Pale Ale
20gal Belgian Wit (10 dumped)


Keg 1: Apfelwein
Keg 2: Belgian Wit (Failure)
Keg 3: American Pale Ale
Fermenting: Belgian Wit (Take 2)
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:23 AM   #7
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My other issue was with the 'hop quesadilla' I built. It clogged right off the bat, and I only had 2oz of pellet hops in there. This of course meant I couldn't use my pump and I kept losing syphon and I only ended up getting about 4 gallons out of the keggle. I built myself a hop spyder to use, but it was too short to reach down into the kettle (another thing I should have checked). So it looks like when I order my Jaybird FB for the mash tun, I should pick up another for the BK... or pick up one of those sexy stainless hop tubes...

All in all, a total disaster of a brew, but it was bubbling away like a happy carboy this morning.

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Building a Bad News Brewery - eHERMS

2014:
5gal Scottish Wee Heavy
5gal Saison
15gal American Pale Ale
20gal Belgian Wit (10 dumped)


Keg 1: Apfelwein
Keg 2: Belgian Wit (Failure)
Keg 3: American Pale Ale
Fermenting: Belgian Wit (Take 2)

Last edited by BadNewsBrewery; 01-08-2013 at 10:26 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:51 PM   #8
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+1 on using a false botom for a recirculating mash. I brewed with my brother last month and we swapped out his copper manifold with a 10" Perforated stainless steel false bottom ($24 from more beer) and it resolved a lot of his mash temperature variation he was experiencing and made the brewday really smooth.

Also when starting your recirculation only open the valve part way when starting the pump. when it is full bore in can create a local vacuum in the grain bed, causing it it collaps around your outlet port and giving you a stuck mash. A fals bottom and feathering open the outlet valve will help to get an even compaction of the grain bed an improve you recirculation and temperature variations in the mash.

Where is the sensor for your mash PID located? in the mash or on the return port?

For your boil kettle problem, I've tried lots of different methods(false botoms, ss filters, etc) the best I have come up with is set up a side pick up tube, and do a whirlpool step at flame out and wait 5-20 min for a good trub cone to form before emptying your kettle.

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Old 01-08-2013, 04:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bsquared View Post
Where is the sensor for your mash PID located? in the mash or on the return port?
I use two sensors, set up the same way Kal did his. One is in a Tee in the outlet from the MLT, and it's simply there for reference (the PID doesn't have an associated SSR or element). The other is in a Tee in the outlet from the HLT, which will be constantly recirculated while mashing to make sure I don't get any isloated hot / cold spots. That RTD is the one that goes to the PID with the SSR that controls the element in the HLT (acronym soup?). Because I didn't have all the fittings I needed to run both pumps, I swapped the probe connections and used the output from the MLT to fire the element in the HLT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bsquared View Post
For your boil kettle problem, I've tried lots of different methods(false botoms, ss filters, etc) the best I have come up with is set up a side pick up tube, and do a whirlpool step at flame out and wait 5-20 min for a good trub cone to form before emptying your kettle.
What do you use to whirlpool? Just spin it all around with a spoon? I've got my return tube in the BK set up to cause the return to spiral, not sure if it would put out enough force to actually whirlpool though. I'm wondering if the combination of a Hop Spider and a false bottom would be enough to keep most of the hop gunk out of the pickup tube. Part of the reason I don't want to go the whirlpool route is that I plan to recirculate my chilled wort back into the BK, so that I basically do the opposite of a RIMS design, and cool the whole volume to get cold-break inside the kettle, not inside the fermenter. Is that just a worthless plan?

-Kevin
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Building a Bad News Brewery - eHERMS

2014:
5gal Scottish Wee Heavy
5gal Saison
15gal American Pale Ale
20gal Belgian Wit (10 dumped)


Keg 1: Apfelwein
Keg 2: Belgian Wit (Failure)
Keg 3: American Pale Ale
Fermenting: Belgian Wit (Take 2)
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:36 PM   #10
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Cool, sounds like you have the temp probes set up right.

Yes the way I do a whirlpool is buy using a big spoon to get a good whirlpool going then let the kettle settle and the cone to form.

What kind of chiller are you using?

For what you want to do you might want to consider setting up a whirlpool immersion chiller, where you recirculate the wort in the kettle past an immersion chiller and cool your wort down in the kettle before transferring. for this I would still recommend an open side pick up (don't try picking up from the center because thats where the trub wants to be) . you can recirculate the wort (trub and all) until you reach your desired temp then turn off the pump and let the cooled wort settle and the trub cone to form before transferring to your fermenter.

Alternatively you could consider using an inline filter, like this one
http://www.brewershardware.com/Trub-Filter/
or
http://www.glaciertanks.com/TriClamp..._90_Inlet.html

or even add a hop back
http://conical-fermenter.com/products/hop-backs/

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