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Old 06-05-2012, 08:30 PM   #11
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I think stlbeer is right, I had already convinced myself..... If not, you guys are making that decision easier!

P-J that is an amazing offer! WOW! I think I'll take you up on it! I'm going to spend some time thinking about what I am looking for as far as controls go. I might have some questions about my options and what is available. I see your name pop up all over the forums here. Thanks so much for your help!

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Old 06-05-2012, 10:34 PM   #12
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g-love,

You are more than welcome.

You already have your 3 kegs and the stand ready to go so here are some thoughts for you. The first thing is you will need a pump or 2 (a second pump will make your life a lot easier). With that you can set up your system as a HLT (with a heat exchanger for it) a MASH tun (where you circulate your MASH through the HLT heat exchanger to maintain MASH temps) and a BOIL kettle. All of these system components can easily be controlled with a single Auber Instruments PID SYL-2352 and a 40A SSR. You only need 2 heating elements (HLT and BOIL). Oh, and you only need a single temperature probe placed in the HLT.

The set up can be an easy build for you that can and will work very well. There are a lot of things that you can do to make your build a fairly easy adventure. Like using weldless fittings or low temp Silver solder to place components in your kegs.

Please let me know what you decide and we are on the road.

If you want to talk it out a little bit, PM me your tel#.

P-J

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Old 06-06-2012, 12:56 AM   #13
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Hi Guys,

Not to disrespect those super awesome, double chromed, computer controlled, wonder systems, but ask your self a question:

Are you brewing to play with fancy electronics?
Nothing wrong with this, hey, I'm a propeller head too!

Are you brewing to make the best beer on earth.
Maybe off earth too, who knows?

If, like me, you use a simple infusion mash, you can skip most of the electronics by mashing in a cooler.

I have a simple electric controller that acts just like the "throttle" on a gas set up.

I heat up the strike water in my electric BK. When my kitchen thermometer beeps, I transfer my strike water to my cooler to mash.

I then use my BK to start heating my sparge water.
I drain my cooler into 5 gal buckets, then add my sparge water.
When my BK is empty, I poor my wort into the BK and start my boil.

I use my simple controller to manage the ferocity of my boil.
That and some fermcap!

I love electric! I can brew indoors, safely, even in a Minnesota winter!

I just don't have a HAL9000 running the show for me

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Old 06-06-2012, 01:31 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jma99 View Post
Hi Guys,

Not to disrespect those super awesome, double chromed, computer controlled, wonder systems, but ask your self a question:

Are you brewing to play with fancy electronics?
Nothing wrong with this, hey, I'm a propeller head too!

Are you brewing to make the best beer on earth.
Maybe off earth too, who knows?

If, like me, you use a simple infusion mash, you can skip most of the electronics by mashing in a cooler.

I have a simple electric controller that acts just like the "throttle" on a gas set up.

I heat up the strike water in my electric BK. When my kitchen thermometer beeps, I transfer my strike water to my cooler to mash.

I then use my BK to start heating my sparge water.
I drain my cooler into 5 gal buckets, then add my sparge water.
When my BK is empty, I poor my wort into the BK and start my boil.

I use my simple controller to manage the ferocity of my boil.
That and some fermcap!

I love electric! I can brew indoors, safely, even in a Minnesota winter!

I just don't have a HAL9000 running the show for me

Considering how that movie ended, I should hope you're not wiring Hal9000 into your beer brewing system!

I think it's pretty remarkable the stuff we have at our disposable these days. For $40 I can get a computer that will hold my mash within a tenth of a degree of my temp. Is it absolutely necessary? No, you're right.

But you could also boil wort over an open fire pit and regulate the boil by taking a leak on the fire when it gets too hot.

Just sayin.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:46 AM   #15
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Until about two months ago, even with an all-electric system, I was still (happily) using a cooler for a MLT. So it's not like to go electric you need automation and all stainless. The fact that you have the kegs is great, though!

I don't have automation and have no interest in that. But what I think IS critical is a control panel with a PID or PWM for the boil kettle, and a PID or a Johnson digital controller for the HLT.

My old system had a control panel with a PID and switches for the pump, while the HLT had the Johnson controller. That actually worked just fine.

The thing that you want to be able to do is set a temperature for your HLT. That can be done with either a PID or the Johnson controller. There might be other ways, but those are the two I have done. That makes life easier so you can bring (and hold, if necessary) the strike and sparge water to the correct temperature.

If you want to recirculate and hold temperatures or step mash, a HERMS or RIMS would be the way to go.

For the boil kettle, my old system had a PID. That's fine, as you can turn it down to 85% or 75% or whatever once it starts to boil. But my current PWM works just as well for me and it was so much cheaper than a second PID.

I know it's hard to make the decisions, but that's why I brought up so many possibilities. If you buy and build carefully (and PJ is a great resource for the wiring!) you will still be able to upgrade later with ease and not overbuy at the beginning.

Just some things to think about- you have the ability with those sized vessels to do 5 and 10 gallon AG batches. If you want bigger, think about that now. If you want to fly sparge (continuous sparge), you'll need two pumps or a two-tier system. How will you chill? You may need the second pump for chilling (or not). How will you handle the condensation? Opening the garage doors and using a fan? Or adding a ventilation system? It's just some things to consider. Most of this stuff you'll need to consider whether you use propane or electric, so think about your desires/wants/needs for the basics and not necessarily the propane vs electric part of it.

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Old 06-06-2012, 02:15 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by jma99 View Post
Hi Guys,

Not to disrespect those super awesome, double chromed, computer controlled, wonder systems, but ask your self a question:
None taken. :-) For me, part of this hobby is building stuff and playing with gadgets. I don't want to go all out with my project, I just want to build something using the kegs I already have that I can use to control temps easily, work inside when I need to, and that offers repeatability for future batches.

I have to say, I respect some of the cobbled together systems just as much as some of the mega rigs I've seen. There are some really neat ideas floating around. It's all in what you like and works for you.
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:23 AM   #17
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Yoop-

Those are some great things to think about. I think it's really cool how many ways there are to make great beer, from some really basic set ups to some super complex systems.

Here are some random thoughts crammed into one paragraph. :-)

I intend on doing 10 gallon batches once in a while, but for the most part I'll be doing 5's. I think it might be nice to be able to do step mashes, but I'm not sure that is a priority at this time. I think batch sparging will be just fine for me. I'm definitely going to buy a second pump. I am also going to buy a plate chiller, but I'm not sure which one yet. As for condensation, I know that will be a consideration once I am done and want to brew inside, but for now I'm planning on brewing just outside my garage door, or just inside with a fan if it's raining.

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Old 06-06-2012, 02:27 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P-J View Post
g-love,

You are more than welcome.

You already have your 3 kegs and the stand ready to go so here are some thoughts for you. The first thing is you will need a pump or 2 (a second pump will make your life a lot easier). With that you can set up your system as a HLT (with a heat exchanger for it) a MASH tun (where you circulate your MASH through the HLT heat exchanger to maintain MASH temps) and a BOIL kettle. All of these system components can easily be controlled with a single Auber Instruments PID SYL-2352 and a 40A SSR. You only need 2 heating elements (HLT and BOIL). Oh, and you only need a single temperature probe placed in the HLT.

The set up can be an easy build for you that can and will work very well. There are a lot of things that you can do to make your build a fairly easy adventure. Like using weldless fittings or low temp Silver solder to place components in your kegs.

Please let me know what you decide and we are on the road.

If you want to talk it out a little bit, PM me your tel#.

P-J
I have one pump, but I planned on buying a second. I bought a chugger, but i'm a little concerned with all the things I've read about them shutting down at higher temps, so I think I'll buy a March as the second. I'll shoot you my number over PM. Again, thanks a ton!
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:53 AM   #19
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Having moved from propane to electric, I had my love of the gas, but cannot believe how much I prefer my electric build now. SOOO quiet.
Hate to admit it though, I'm a fan of the gadgets, can't complain about the beer, but I love to build the gadgets.

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Old 06-26-2012, 07:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airplanedoc
I just completed a electric setup, PJ is spot on with his comments, the controller was not prohibitively expensive, and pretty simple to wire up it you have basic skills so don't be afraid.
Do you have a thread dedicated to your build or a schematic/ parts list I could see? I'm still trying to figure out what the best set up for me might be.
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