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Old 03-11-2012, 05:12 PM   #1
kevin509
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Default Heating strike water with RIMS

I have seen some threads on this but they don't seem to directly address it or they die out. Hopefully someone has done this and can share their experiences. My system build is still far from complete so I can't experiment.

Here is the thought process...

4500W or 5500W 240V LWD element controlled by PID (including BCS-460)
Fill MLT with desired volume of strike water, enter setpoint for strike water, start pump and heater.

In theory workable and probably efficient use of the element already attached to MLT a one less transfer step of water in the brewing process.

Here are the variables or different ways of accomplishing it.

1. Element is switchable between 240V and 120V so during the heating of strike water it can be on 240V and heat fast then switch to 120V for mash recirculation and gentle heat.

2. Element always on 240V. This is the area of debate and it usually focuses on wort scorching but here is my thought on the process but really interested in hearing from someone actually doing this. Seems that not having to add additional voltage switching would simplify the control panel build.

- Heating striking water is the simple process and there is no reason this wouldn't work in my head. It simply becomes a recirculating on-demand water heater.

- Recirculating Mash with 240V LWD or ULWD element should work fine and here are my thoughts as to why. Wort/Mash is already very near the desired temp so the PID controller will fire/cycle the element on and off rapidly to maintain the setpoint and since it is a RIMS setup we have flow over the element. Since there is constant flow over the element and the element is not continually on there shouldn't be any problem of worth scorching.

I didn't mash out with this as I just begin sparging at end of mash rest without mashing out. Seems like it would work fine as long as there is constant flow over the element, even if you step up the flow to slow the heating process a little just to be sure it isn't heating too fast.


Any thoughts?

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Old 03-11-2012, 07:08 PM   #2
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I don't do the initial heating of my water with my RIMS, but I do use it to establish a consistent temperature throughout the system prior to doughing in. I use ProMash to figure out what my strike temp should be. I've set the thermal mass setting of the tun to zero in Promash since its already heated to strike temperature by the RIMS.

There is no reason that you couldn't do all the water heating with your RIMS. I have a bigger and more powerful HLT for that, so I don't consider it. What will you be doing for your sparge water heating?

I'm not sure I agree with the need for reducing the voltage during mashing. If you have properly set up your thermocouple location immediately downstream of the element and properly tuned the PID under a very low flow condition, then the PID will make sure that you don't overheat the wort, regardless of the voltage. The low flow condition is important since it represents how quickly your mash grist is going to allow the wort to pass through. It is obviously dependent upon the false bottom configuration, tun area, bed thickness, and grist permeability. I would not be surprised to see flow rates at under 1/2 gal/min in many systems. The typical Marsh 809 HS pump can deliver over 5 gpm, so you can see the potential reduction you're facing. And its not like you can just upgrade the pump and force the flow through faster. The hydraulics of the grist dictate that if you try to flow too fast, the bed will compact and the result is a stuck mash.

So, tuning that PID under that low flow condition is important. Stepping up the temperature for the mash out is an important mashing efficiency factor, so you'll want to do it. Again having the PID tuning set right will prevent overheating your wort during this move.

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Old 03-12-2012, 12:19 PM   #3
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I use a 5500 watt RIMS to heat the strike, maintain the mash and heat sparge water as required, all at 240V under the control of a BCS-460.

Check out the thread http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/rims-build-129646/. It was the basis for my build.

My process is:
RIMS temperature is monitored and controlled by probe at RIMS outlet.

1) Fill mash tun with required strike volume of cold water.
2) Heat with RIMS unit and circulate at maximum flow rate.
3) Monitor mash tun output for strike temperature.
5) When mash temperature is reached, stabilize system for 10 minutes, and hold RIMS output at strike temperature.
6) Stop system for dough in.
7) Mash with RIMS set at mash temperature with flow rate at reduced volume.
8) Mash out by raising RIMS temperature to 170 until mash tun output is at 168 and mash out for 10 minutes.
9) Start sparge with feed water supply through RIMS unit at about 1 qt. per minute, raising water temperature to 170 by the RIMS only.

Process works fine for me and I don't need an HLT in the system. A simple plumbing change would allow me to put an HLT into the system, but I haven't yet wanted to.

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Old 03-12-2012, 04:19 PM   #4
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Mine is a two vessel system with a grant. Two 10 gallon Blichmanns. I heat my sparge water in the boil kettle and fly sparge into a grant (I'm old school when it comes to sparging, better efficiency).

I guess I'll wait for more responses but we have one for switching element voltage and one keeping it at 240V for everything. Since the PID control process is gonna pulse the element I still think, with the right flow, keeping the RIMS element on 240V can work.

Let's hear from more people who use 240V RIMS elements on 240V all the time to hear that side since it is already established that 240V elements running on 120V work.

When I finish system I'll play and do some test batches using 240V 4500W low density element.

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Old 03-14-2012, 03:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Since there is constant flow over the element and the element is not continually on there shouldn't be any problem of worth scorching.
thats a nice theory, but doesnt always work as black-and-white as that in real life. if your PWM signal isnt pulsed fast enough, or your flow rate drops too low (like if your grain bed gradually becomes compacted without you knowing over the course of the hour its circulating), you can still scorch.

Quote:
I didn't mash out with this as I just begin sparging at end of mash rest without mashing out.
mashing out arguably produces a higher quality finished product and greater repeatability and accuracy of your process, you should consider it. leaving enzymes to work for random amounts of time unchecked will give you random results.
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:13 PM   #6
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This is true. It also seems that this could happen with a 120V element and a low flow situation occurs or you don't tune the PID. The best solution might be a HERMS coil in the HLT or in the boil kettle in my case with a two vessel system. Plus it can do double duty as wort chiller.

Definitely gonna start mashing out after all the prompting...makes sense.

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