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Old 05-10-2012, 02:35 PM   #1
chrismac676
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Default It's Time... Hybrid RIMS/HERMS eBuild

Time for me to toss out / re-purpose my collection of pots, buckets, and burners and build a real brew rig. I'll chronicle each step of the build here and plan to be finished within a few months max. Right now it's time to nail down plans.

I've already purchased a BCS-462 box and happen to have an old EloTouch touchscreen computer laying around. These will control heat, pumps, and maybe valves.

I also have two 1/2 barrel kegs, so these will be modified as my MLT and BK.

I should have easy access to power (I know I have a 50a breaker that's not in use), but we'll get to those requirements down the road.

Beyond that, I'm leaning toward a hybrid RIMS/HERMS system. More on that next.

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Old 05-10-2012, 02:44 PM   #2
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Default Hybrid Basics

Here's my general idea for process with a hybrid system. Looking for any input positive or negative. Am I over complicating things? Should I just stick to RIMS?

Equipment:

- Keg MLT
- Keg BK
- RIMS tube as on-demand water heater
(see Sizz build: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/rims-build-129646/)
- Small HERMS chamber (2 gallons?)

Process:

1. Fill MLT with water at strike temp from on-demand RIMS
2. Fill HERMS chamber and heat to mash maintenance temp
3. Dough in, recirc MLT -> HERMS chamber to maintain mash temp(s)
4. Sparge using water from on-demand RIMS
5. Transfer to BK
6. Top off BK with hot water from on-demand RIMS (max temp possible)
7. Boil, sanitize HERMS w/wort
8. Add ice water to HERMS chamber for cooling
9. After boil cool wort using HERMS chamber, add'l method if necessary
10. Pump from BK through O2 stone and into fermentation chamber

What do you think? I like the idea that only water is flowing through my RIMS tube, although scorching could still occur during boil I suppose. I also like keeping the HERMS chamber small so that stepping can happen more quickly. Downsides are more equipment and possible worst of all worlds if RIMS tube can't heat the water quickly enough for on-demand and/or HERMS chamber is too small to do its job.

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Old 05-10-2012, 03:27 PM   #3
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Here is the RIMS/HERMS Hybrid system that I am currently designing. It is a "No Sparge" system with a heat exchanger in the middle. Basically it will be a BIAB (Brew In A Bag) only there will be "No Bag" instead I will use a false bottom and drain out the bottom with a butterfly dump valve.

img_3181.jpg  
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:40 PM   #4
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That's a clever setup. Will you put a heat element directly in the cooler?

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Old 05-10-2012, 03:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrismac676 View Post
That's a clever setup. Will you put a heat element directly in the cooler?
Yes, I plan to install a stubby 7" ULWD element in the bottom of the cooler directly in the center in a vertical position. The mash will enter a 1.5 tri-clover fitting into the bottom of the cooler where the spigot used to be and then circulate up through the coil and out the top into the T fitting pictured which has a 2 inch RTD probe installed to detect the mash temp with the PID which will then fire the element in the cooler of water if needed. Once I reach my mash temp the cooler should maintain temp with very little need to keep heating. The cooler lid will also be installed during use. After the mash, I will close the valve on the left and open the valve on the right to transfer to the boil kettle.
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:20 PM   #6
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I posted on Sizz's thread but wanted to hear from others as well:

Can a RIMS tube put out water of a consistent temperature with a bit of tuning? Remember I'm using the BCS-462 for control.

I'll be using the on-demand RIMS for 3 things:

1. Filling MLT with strike water at proper temp
2. Fly (probably) sparging with water at proper temp
3. Topping off BK with hot water

Strike water isn't quite as big of a deal because it will mix and settle in the HLT before I dough in. Large fluctuations in sparge water, on the other hand, will have a direct impact on my brew. BK water is just to do a little pre-heating before the boil, so that's not a big deal either.

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Old 05-15-2012, 04:36 PM   #7
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What wattage RIMS tube will you be using? Seems difficult to imagine a RIMS tube heating water from 60 degrees to 165 degrees for sparge water. Of course I'm assuming your ground water is 60 degrees, which is common around here, but not sure about NY. I can only assume it would be colder than that. I know you will be reducing the flow, but I'm curious if someone has already tried this for sparge water and it works fine?

Another issue with RIMS on demand water is the fact that the way the element is either on or off. The only way to have a constant temperature on the output of the RIMS would be to have it always on. If it's PID (or BCS) controlled it will be cycling the element and the water would be hot for 8 seconds, then cool for 2 seconds, etc etc. Overall the collected water may balance out to be the correct temperature though, it just seems complicated in my brain. I guess if you're more insterested in the collected water temperature than the accuracy of the output of the RIMS it should work fine.

I'm sure someone has done something similar and may even chime in.

*EDIT:
After re-reading the OP I see it has been discussed exhaustively in the link to Sizz's system. I'll have to read that thread to see how it worked out in the end.

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Old 05-15-2012, 04:43 PM   #8
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I'm in CO (used to be NY so my profile might still show that in some places) and my water is currently at 60 degrees.

Sizz seems to have done it - see his thread referenced above.

I haven't yet purchased the RIMS tube nor element. I want to nail down the requirements first. Seems like worst case I could always run two elements in sequence to achieve proper heat, but I don't know how repeatable this would be. My biggest concern at the moment is large fluctuations in water output. It won't do me much good if the system can put out water at 180 degrees +/- 10 degrees.

I could add some kind of settling tank, but at the point I lose a lot of the benefits of the on-demand RIMs and might as well just use an eHLT.

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