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Old 11-12-2011, 06:37 PM   #1
Cromwell
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Default New design question

I'm starting to design my electric system, and I think I'm going to go down the Brewtroller route, partly because I'm a software engineer and I like that it's open source and I can program it if I want, and partly because I can spend a little to get started, and upgrade it over time as I get little bits of money.

Questions: A plate chiller is really just a heat exchanger, so it seems like (using appropriate tubing connections) it could be used as a HERMS during the mash, and then as a chiller after the boil. Does anyone do this? Is there a good reason not to? Seems like I could just run the HLT water through the water side of the plate chiller to add heat as easily as I can subtract heat with cold water.

Can you use a HERMS system to do a step mash? Can you ramp up the temperature of the mash sufficiently quickly just by running it through the HERMS (or plate-warmer )?

Is putting together a Brewtroller system simple enough for a software guy to do it? I can populate a circuit board, but I sure can't design one.

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Old 11-12-2011, 07:48 PM   #2
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The only reason I wouldn't want to use a plate chiller as your HERMs coil is because they are difficult to clean after a brew day. Mine requires taking it off the stand and shaking it around to loosen bits of hops and trub and no matter how many times I rinse it out, I'm still able to get little particles out each time. You could however, use a standard copper coil or ss coil for both the mash and the cooler. You could just fill up your HLT with ice water after the boil and run your wort through that. I believe a lot of larger, commercial systems do this. I know for a fact that Dogfish Head has two large vessels next to their boil kettle that are used just for cooling their wort in this manner.

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Old 11-12-2011, 10:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cromwell View Post
Can you use a HERMS system to do a step mash? Can you ramp up the temperature of the mash sufficiently quickly just by running it through the HERMS (or plate-warmer )?

Is putting together a Brewtroller system simple enough for a software guy to do it? I can populate a circuit board, but I sure can't design one.
I also wouldn't use the plate chiller for HERMS not so much because its hard to clean since you will have to do that anyway, but since you may end up plugging it with all the junk that comes through before the wort clears during the mash.

you can use herms to do a step mash and many do.

I would think you can get it done if you can put a board together... plumbing is like electrical except you want to keep the magic liquid in instead of the magic smoke... and if you let it out... you can get it back
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Old 11-12-2011, 11:35 PM   #4
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If you are not hooked on the Brewtroller platform then you might want to look at one of the ARM 9 all in one touch screen platforms with I2C interface boards, or a low cost laptop and LabJack interface. I have a C#/MySql application built for a more complex automated brewing system, but the calculations and formulas are the same for all brewing systems.

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