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Old 01-27-2012, 04:13 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Yet Another E-Brewery Build..

So, like many others here, I've decided to begin taking the plunge into Electric brewing for many of the same reasons as others on here (indoor, no more LP, repeat-ability, having a permanent setup I won't have to break down after every brew day, etc.) After spending quite a bit of time researching both threads here on HBT & Kal's site/forums I'm thinking about doing a traditional 3 vessel system, single tier HERMS. There is a ton of info out there, but I feel as if I'm getting lost trying to utilize different aspects of different builds.

So far I've accumulated a couple items to begin the build out but of course have lots of questions and feel like I need to continue to research before going much further. Currently, I have a stainless steel table which I will be using for my "sculpture", a 15 gallon megapot (I intend to use this as my BK), a 10 Gallon beverage cooler (with SS braid, but plan to upgrade to a false bottom of some sort), and a recently acquired keg which I have cut the top off of and plan to use as a HLT.

A few of my buddies are licensed electricians, so I know they will be able to help me with a 240V GFCI install. I also have plenty of power with a 200AMP service and a small house that isn't utilizing much of it currently. I'd like to have the ability to brew 10G batches of lower gravity ales but most of brews will consist of 5 gallons of final product to the keg. I don't want full automation, but would like to be able to set temps and walk away, as well as not having to completely babysit the rig while mashing/boiling.

Could I reuse my existing IC as a HERMS coil, or is it worthwhile to make the one time investment in a SS coil for ease of cleaning? I'd like to CIP as much as possible & not have to break down the system after every brew.

Sorry for the length, but I started this thread to begin documenting my ideas and eventually the build process, with hopes some of you veteran e-brewers will chime in as well as create a thread worthy of helping out others in a similar scenario.

EDIT: I guess I should also mention my budget is not limitless like some builds around here, but I typically like to spend the $$ to do things right the first time around.

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Old 01-29-2012, 09:28 PM   #2
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Lots of views, but no interest i guess LOL

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Old 01-29-2012, 10:31 PM   #3
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Well, I 'll jump in. 10 gallon batches typically require a boil kettle of twice the batch size. Now you say low gravity beers now you will wish you could brew what ever beer you want in the future just like your migrating to electric from propane. I was going to use 3-15 gallon kettles and after reading I realized I would be limited in the variety of beers I would be able to brew as well as limited to less then ten gallons. I went with 20 HLT, 15 Mash, and 20 Boil and have never looked back. I can make 5 or 10 gallon batches of just about any beer styles I want. Build it once and build it right and you too won't regret it.

As Kal uses the quote "Only the rich can afford to buy cheap stuff".

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Old 01-30-2012, 12:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by castermmt View Post
Well, I 'll jump in. 10 gallon batches typically require a boil kettle of twice the batch size. Now you say low gravity beers now you will wish you could brew what ever beer you want in the future just like your migrating to electric from propane. I was going to use 3-15 gallon kettles and after reading I realized I would be limited in the variety of beers I would be able to brew as well as limited to less then ten gallons. I went with 20 HLT, 15 Mash, and 20 Boil and have never looked back. I can make 5 or 10 gallon batches of just about any beer styles I want. Build it once and build it right and you too won't regret it.

As Kal uses the quote "Only the rich can afford to buy cheap stuff".
I couldn't agree more with Kal's quote and I typically follow the buy it once policy when making new purchases. Although, for this project I'm really looking to start by utilizing the gear I already have to cut some start-up costs. Once a control panel is built I can always upgrade my kettles/MLT when I have the need & required funds. If I were doing this from the ground up, I wouldn't hesitate to pickup 20 gallon+ vessels.

I understand the limits that come with not having a 20 gallon system, but when I purchased my 15G Megapot ~2 years ago, I had intentions of being able to brew moderate gravity 10G batches and truthfully have yet to brew a 10G batch & when I do, they will be lower gravity session ales (mostly what I brew anyway) which I should be able to brew with the current gear & a watchful eye.

Not trying to knock your advice by any means as I do appreciate it, but just explaining my current situation and needs. Again, I should have bought the 20gal pot from the get go, but not buying 3 shiny new vessels & using what I've already got will save me $$hundreds$$ for this build and allows me to make the jump to electric and still make plenty of great beer!

On that note, I'm shopping for HLT fittings and SS for my HERMS coil. Does anyone fill the HLT with ice water and use the built in coil to chill post boil? Is it wiser to pickup a counterflow/plate chiller?
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:27 AM   #5
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I fully understand. I had to keep the wife in the dark on a bunch of stuff I was buying. I'm sure you'll build a system that is both safe and meets your needs. Anything we can do to help you know how to just ask.

Peace, Castermmt

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Old 03-01-2012, 01:51 PM   #6
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Finally got some basic parts for my system ordered - weldless bulkhead, 3 piece ball valve with a 90* pickup tube, & thermowell sight glass for my keggle HLT. Also another thermowell sight glass for my boil kettle. Heating elements next and eventually control panel parts.

Is there a single thread that has all of PJ's diagrams in one location?

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