KPR121's 220v HERMS eBrewery Build
First of all I want to say thanks to everyone on here who has helped me gain the knowledge to feel comfortable with taking this sort of project on. I'm no electrician, and feel just comfortable enough around electricity to be dangerous, so I have been reading as much as I can to make sure I dont make any mistakes. Its hard to believe that its only been about 2 years since I was brewing extract kits on my wife's (then fiancee) 3 gallon pot on our stove in a little apartment, and now I am planning on a full blown system that will hopefully let me do 10-12 gallon batches consistently. Like just about everyone else on this forum, I am hooked for life.
Anyways, I've been picking up parts for my eBrewery over the past month or so, and have finally gotten enough of the honey-do list tasks completed that I can start getting some progress done on the manly project.
Up until now, I have been brewing with a 2000 watt 110v 5 gallon eHLT, 10 gallon rubbermaid MLT and turkey fryer fired keggle BK. The 5 gallon HLT has definitely been the limiting factor when trying to do 10 gallon batches which meant temporary heating of strike/sparge water in the BK or other pots, dumping, storing, reheating, and was overall a pain in the butt.
So I picked up a second sanke the other day to be used as a bigger eHLT.
Heres where I have been brewing and my basic equipment. I currently have been using a three tier gravity system. Water comes in from above via a pex line and under sink filter mounted to the wall. You can see the old eHLT on the shelf in the top right corner, that drained to the MLT on the workbench, then drained to the BK that sat on stands on the floor. The plan is to remove the workbench, and rebuild a wooden structure that is more utilized for brewing (needs to be lower, somewhat leak resistant, adequate storage, have places to store parts and hang hoses, etc).
Discussions have been made on possibly adding a two-bowl utility sink as well, but I don't know if I want to get into the whole hassle of plumping/draining. I may leave room for it and use it as a big container, draining into a bucket for now. Havent fully decided how in depth I want to go with that.
Heres the pile of parts/wiring that I've accumulated.
I didnt bother to organize it yet, so better pictures are to come. But the general plan will be:
1. New 50 amp breaker in the sub panel adjacent to the garage. 6/4 aluminum wiring to a new garage outlet mounted in the ceiling adjacent to the brew area.
2. 50 amp Plug from 50 amp GFCI SPA Panel, with 4 prong, 50 amp outlet mounted in the Panel
3. Auberins control panel enclosure, with Auberins PID, SSR, and RTD temp sensor.
4. Two 220 outlets for each 5500 watt element. One in eHERMs HLT, one in the BK. Original plans were to wire up a DPDT switch so that only one element were running at a time, but I may need to think about picking up another SSR and heatsink so that I can fire both at the same time. Thoughts are welcome.
5. One outlet for a pump (yet to be purchased). I am planning on using one pump so far (waiting on a discount or special that may never come). I am open to discussion on what type of pump I should be getting, please give me suggestions!
6. All connections will be made with aluminum camlocks from proflow dynamics, male on kettles/pumps/HEX, and female on three lengths of hoses. I went with aluminum because it was so much cheaper than SS, and I am not going to be winning any awards for the aesthetics of my brewery. I figured on buying some extras in case I ding one (or four) up so bad it doesn't seal. I will need three hoses for the case where I am draining from the mash tun to pump, pump to HEX in, and HEX out back to mash tun. Thanks to dan6310 for pointing that out to me about 15 minutes before I submitted my last order from bargainfittings.
7. eHERMs HEX coil will be removable so that I can move the coil to the BK as an immersion chiller if need be (I can still be persuaded otherwise if everyone thinks its a better idea to mount the HEX, and add ice water and pump my wort through the mounted HEX in HLT).
8. 10 gallon Rubbermaid MLT, with simple stainless braid draining device.
Well thats about all for now. I will be trying to update this thread as much as possible as I complete different tasks. I am usually all over the place in terms of the order with which things need to be worked on/completed so I may be jumping around a bit.
Please feel free to ask questions/ add comments/ tell me I'm an idiot and am going to kill myself.
Congrats on the build. It sounds like we are at about the same point and skill level with electricity at this point! I'll be following your thread closely! Best of luck to you!
Subscribed... Your build looks to be almost exactly what I plan to do except I'm not doing herms. Two converted snakes for HLT and BK and a converted cooler for MLT. I plan on doing a single tier system with one march pump for now, and just use the quick release camlocks to change which vessel is pumping to where. I'll also be brewing in my basement so I bought a high flow exhaust fan, and still have to set that up. I have yet to get the electrical supplies but have all the plumping parts and hope to be up and running by summer. Still using propane to get by until then. I've only been brewing for about 9 months and just made my first AG. My goal is a simple yet reliable set up that will last years, cause this will definitely be a lifetime hobby.
Thanks for the support! I didn’t get a chance to do as much as I wanted this weekend since it was really nice out and there was some yardwork that needed done. I did get a lot of the holes drilled mounted the items that I could. I now have intake ball valves on the HLT, MLT, and BK. For the mash tun I put the ball valve on the center of the lid as I didn’t feel very comfortable drilling a hole through the insulation.
The HLT’s element hole was drilled and leak tested (worked the best using the stock gasket on the outside of the kettle, and 1” locknut from bargainfittings on the inside) , but I still need to pot the connections and attach the waterproof housing. I am planning on jbwelding a faceplate to the element then attaching a plastic outdoor junction box. I haven’t decided if I want to fully encapsulate the wiring with JBWeld or not yet. It sounds nice to be able to replace elements easily if necessary but it’s really not all that much work to just cut the wire and repot if I need to. Does anyone have suggestions/previous experience?
This week’s goals:
• Receiving my camlocks early this week (maybe today!), and get those installed and leak tested on my rig and brew a batch this weekend using my old process (gravity fed) to get a feel for how they connect/run.
• Run the 6/4 aluminum wiring to the subpanel, install a new 50 amp breaker, and install the outlet box and connection in the garage ceiling above the brewery. Have at least my dad (who wired his entire house, including multiple 220 outlets in his garage/workshop) and possibly an electrician friend come take a look at my work before plugging in.
• Get the SPA Panel wired up with plug and outlet, so that maybe I can brew a batch with the elements manually (At least to be able to heat strike water with 4500 watts, that would be nice!).
I am on the lookout for a deal on a March or similar pump. If anyone has any links/ideas, please let me know!
I think that’s probably all I would be able to do this weekend if everything goes well. Any input is appreciated.
Good luck on you set-up.
On potting the elements, I havn't seen any threads about any complaints on how long an element will last so I take it as they will last a fair amount of time. I feel the same way on potting them. cut the cable, re-terminate and re-pot when needed.
Got all my camlocks in yesterday, installed them this morning. Per suggestions on this board I swapped out the stock gaskets with silicone from oringsandmore supposedly the stock one impart off flavors. I like silicone better anyhow plus these seem to allow the camlocks to clamp down a bit easier: http://www.oringsandmore.com/servlet/the-1355/Silicone-o-dsh-rings-Size-210/Detail
Used these male adaptors for all three vessels: http://store.proflowdynamics.com/modules/store/Type-F-Adapter-Aluminum_P373C69.cfm
And these attached to street elbows for the three hoses: http://store.proflowdynamics.com/modules/store/Type-B-Coupler-Aluminum_P378C69.cfm
I have a feeling I am not going to like the MLT input in the lid. It is a bit of a pain to unscrew when the hose is connected since it twists. We will see how it goes and adjust if necessary.
Also got the 4 prong outlet mounted in the spa panel. Man was that a pain with my dull hole saw. I think I am going to need to purchase a new one before I mount the outlets on the control panel.
I still need to wire it up also.
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