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Old 06-04-2011, 02:40 AM   #1
milesvdustin
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Default New Setup question

Hello all! As some of you have read, a few months ago I was planning on building a RIMS system with two march pumps. 5500w for the kettle, 2000w for the RIMS, and nothing in the HLT, planned on running a 50A gfi breaker to be able to run it all at once and heat strike water as the mash was going. Well, I have a cooler for my MLT and HLT, 10 Gal rubbermaids to be exact. MY method of brewing now, is to heat strike water over propane, then mash in, and while mashing heat the sparge water over propane and then put it in the hlt, then mashout, sparge, and start the boil.

So here is my question. I am not really wanting to change my process too much. Would it be practical to put a 5500w element in my kettle, with a one pid control panel to power it? BEcause i could still heat my strike water in the kettle, then mash in, and while the mash rests i could heat the sparge water and then put it in the hlt. I would run this with one march pump on 30a service. I could even use two march pumps as the kettle would not be activated during liquid transfers anyhow. But one would be cost effective if possible. I would use quick disconnects and 1/2" valves on everything.

Thoughts?

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Old 06-04-2011, 05:49 AM   #2
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There are a few vendors and such that offer valves, tees and crosses. I found a guy on ebay here who has a quite extensive array of parts and fittings that could allow you to hard line everything in (I am in the process of) and use valves to control the flow of where everything is going. It is a bit spendy to do this once you add up all the parts, but it looks so much more pro when you don't have hoses anywhere, just pipes.

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Old 06-04-2011, 04:54 PM   #3
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I would certainly hard-line everything in, but I do not have the room for a dedicated brew stand in the garage or anywhere. Right now I am using a folding table I set up and just place my coolers on that and put the burner nearby. I have a two-gallon pitcher that I run off wort and measure all my water. Basically everything that goes into the BK goes into that pitcher and gets poured into the kettle. Man I need a sightglass....

But any thoughts on the control panel and one/two pump idea? I think in my orignal postings I wanted to build some super awesome brewery that I wouldn't ever fully realize the capabilities of. Mind you, I do love shiny awesome things that are the best of the best, but it wouldn't be prudent of me drop that much coin on something that I can do for much cheaper and still achieve my end goal: BEER! I guess sometimes a man has to balance the things in life he wants most...

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Old 06-04-2011, 05:16 PM   #4
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I run two pumps myself. One is for the HLT to circlulate hot water around the heating element which will have two valves for the output. One valve for recirculation and the other feeding the rims tube so that I don't dump boiling hot water directly onto my grains. I have always felt that efficiency is lost due to the hot water stopping the enzymatic process in the grains that first get the really hot water before the temp equalizes. Direct injection to the RIMS can be adjusted to meet the temp I want to achieve and no higher. The other pump is dual purpose. It runs my RIMS system and when I am done mashing, it gets switched over the boiler to pump the boiled wort through the chill plate and into the fermenter. I will probably end up purchasing a third pump so the one march doesn't have to be dual purpose. I do have a control panel designed from the vendor that advertises on this site, just waiting on fundage to purchase it. I run 2 PID's but will probably upgrade to 3 when the boiler goes electric. Does that answer the presented question? I can go into further detail if you'd like. In another thread, someone had this insight

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I like the idea in your post. I used my pump and QD hose setup for the first time last weekend. Especially since I was doing a lambic, which traditionally requires a pain-in-the-ass turbid mash, it really highlighted the fact that despite being a huge improvement, it really wasn't perfect.

First was filling my boil kettle with water through the valve - the flow due to it coming straight from the half-inch cold water pipe makes it too crazy to just sling the hose over the top without holding it there.

Then the turbid mash required mashing in, running off a portion of it to a SECOND boil kettle, adding more water to the mlt, running off about half the liquid to that boil kettle again, and repeating the cycle like 3 more times. So the mash alone required having to switch a lot.

And then I had to sparge with that boiled runoff, which required reversing the inlet and the outlet.

And then switching the mlt to the inlet again to transfer to the boil kettle #1.

And finally recirculating right before flameout to sanitize and whirlpool, and then running it through my plate chiller to my fermentor.

And actually, right before that, I even had to switch the kettle to connect to my water supply for a quick burst to unclog it, and then switch back.

I switched hoses nearly 20 times that night, and by the end I was making potentially dangerous mistakes about which valves needed to be open, which closed, and in what order. Not as big a deal with a hard plumbed system, since you don't have any unconnected valves or hoses for stuff to drip, flow, or spray out of, and potentially even scalding you with boiling wort.
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:29 PM   #5
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Sort of. I think my main question is will having my boil kettle with one element and then pumping to and from the mlt and hlt from there basically work the same as my system now, or do i need to add a second pump and/or go with a rims. I have coolers for my mlt and hlt, and they hold temps very well.

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Old 06-04-2011, 05:46 PM   #6
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Yeah, the idea of using a pump dual purpose will work. As you move up (if you choose to do so) with your system to a larger setup, you would probably want to employ the system I have described.

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Old 06-04-2011, 07:31 PM   #7
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You could always do a Brutus 20 style setup. I have been doing this for about a year and it yields very nice results.

In case you're unfamiliar, what you would do is have a kettle with heating element. Heat strike water, mash in. While that rests, heat you sparge water. Then you do a "continuous batch sparge." When you're ready to sparge, you just recirculate from the brew kettle to the HLT for about 30-40 minutes, until the two have equalized. Then drain fully into kettle and boil.

I get 70-80% efficiency this way with only two vessels.

It's another option.

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Old 06-05-2011, 06:00 AM   #8
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Hm, the brutus sounds interesting, I will start my research. Thank you for the advice!

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