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Old 09-27-2012, 04:16 PM   #1
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Default How do you heat the water for HERMS while heating the Strike water?

Title says it all. Most systems I see can only run one element at a time, so if you're brewing a 20 gallon batch with two 5500W elements, how do you heat both batches of water? If you heat the strike water, then as soon as you're done mashing in you need to start heating the HLT water, but it's going to be almost an HOUR before you can fire up your HERMS pump because the water will be so cold that it's useless. At that point your mash is almost over.

What's the strategy there? Use propane assisted BK to heat the strike water?

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Old 09-27-2012, 05:03 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by BudzAndSudz
Title says it all. Most systems I see can only run one element at a time, so if you're brewing a 20 gallon batch with two 5500W elements, how do you heat both batches of water? If you heat the strike water, then as soon as you're done mashing in you need to start heating the HLT water, but it's going to be almost an HOUR before you can fire up your HERMS pump because the water will be so cold that it's useless. At that point your mash is almost over.

What's the strategy there? Use propane assisted BK to heat the strike water?
I've got a 10 gallon HLT with a 5500W element. Usually what I do is start with my HLT as full as I can, and have another 5-gal jug of RO water on standby. Heat it to my strike temperature in the 160s to 170 or so. Mash-in with about 4 gallons of water, leaving 6. Then, I'll top off with more water, either slow or fast addition depending on how hot I need to keep the HLT for my HERMS. If I need more cool water, my RO unit is right next to my HLT, so I can just drop the line in there and trickle in about 3-4 gallons in an hour.

My HERMS coil sits low enough in the tank that it's totally submersed at 5 gallons.

So far, I've only done single infusions. My next batch in a few weeks may involve a step mash, so I'll see how it works.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:55 PM   #3
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Strike volume in mt and sparge volume + in the hlt. With 2 pumps you can heat it all at once by making a big loop. If you turn off your element while you dough in the hlt will probably drop to mash temp or more by then, you'll have to figure that drop out.

mt out -> pump -> top of hlt
hlt out -> pump -> top of mt

for saprge go through the coil to clean it at the same time.

hlt out -> pump -> coil in -> coil out - mt top
mt out -> pump -> boil

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Old 09-27-2012, 09:18 PM   #4
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Strike volume in mt and sparge volume + in the hlt. With 2 pumps you can heat it all at once by making a big loop. If you turn off your element while you dough in the hlt will probably drop to mash temp or more by then, you'll have to figure that drop out.

mt out -> pump -> top of hlt
hlt out -> pump -> top of mt

for saprge go through the coil to clean it at the same time.

hlt out -> pump -> coil in -> coil out - mt top
mt out -> pump -> boil
this is the best reason i've ever heard to have 2 pumps.

but now i need another pump
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:45 PM   #5
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Two ways:
1. separate electric or propane pot for strike water.
2. Larger HLT. A 10 gallon batch might need a 20 gallon HLT. Heat water up then dump what you need into the mash. HERMS should
be designed to be totally submersed in the remaining water. If you got this route, make sure water level is high enough to use for for sparging.
If not, add some in every once in a while while recirculating.

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Old 09-27-2012, 09:50 PM   #6
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Two ways:
1. separate electric or propane pot for strike water.
2. Larger HLT. 5 gallon brew might need 10-12 gallon HLT. Heat water up then dump what you need into the mash. HERMS should
be designed to be totally submersed in the remaining water. If you got this route, make sure water level is high enough to use for for sparging.
If not, add some in every once in a while while recirculating.
Yes, those are the two ways I can think of.

I have a keg for an HLT, since I do mostly 10 gallon batches. Most 10 gallon batches start with 14-15 gallons of water, so I'm filling a little bit more after I transfer my strike water to my MLT.

That works, though, because I heat the water in my HLT to 180 degrees. I transfer the strike water to the MLT at 180, so it can preheat. Then, I add a gallon (or whatever I need) to my HLT. Even a gallon of 45 degree tap water added to the 7 gallons already in the HLT doesn't lower the temperature below where I need it to be to run the HERMS.

I then dough in when my strike water is 165, and by that time the water in my HLT is at 156. (I need a 3 degree differential in my HLT to mash at 153).

It works great.

For 5 gallon batches, my HLT doesn't need refilling at all.

I do have a 5500 w element in my boil kettle, so I could heat water in there also if need be but I haven't yet.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:39 PM   #7
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My system is hybrid gas/electric. The only electric element is 120v in HLT to maintain HERMS temp. I simultaneously heat strike water in HLT keg and about 7 gal of water in BK to replace what I mash in with.

After HLT and BK water up to temp, dump mash in water to MLT but hold off on mash in. Pump BK water to HLT to ensure HERMS coil is covered. Mash in only when MLT water circulating through HERMS is at desired mash in temp.

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Old 09-27-2012, 11:12 PM   #8
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My system is hybrid gas/electric. The only electric element is 120v in HLT to maintain HERMS temp. I simultaneously heat strike water in HLT keg and about 7 gal of water in BK to replace what I mash in with.

After HLT and BK water up to temp, dump mash in water to MLT but hold off on mash in. Pump BK water to HLT to ensure HERMS coil is covered. Mash in only when MLT water circulating through HERMS is at desired mash in temp.
i used to do this, just went all electric. it's the only thing i miss about my old system... but the electric is so much faster and more accurate i will survive with another pump
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:47 AM   #9
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Well I have a KAB6 banjo burner already in my brew stand so I was actually planning on heating the sparge water at the same time as the strike water using propane, but I'm worried that the heat from the flame will completely decimate the cord on my BK heating element.

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Old 09-28-2012, 04:21 PM   #10
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What ive found that works great is fill MLT with required water for intial mash (1.25 qt/lb or so), fill HLT all the way up.
Fire up element in HLT set for mash in temp
Start recirculating MLT water thru HERMS.

This does take a bit longer, usually around 45mins as im heating more water, but in that 45 mins im milling malt, prepping ingredients, etc.. At the end of the brew day, I have some extra water in HLT which is then used for cleaning.

one of the benefits is that the system is fully stable at exactly the mash in temp. That means im not transferring MLT water into a cold vessel, then adding more cold malt which requires more time to stabilize.

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