Long time reader of HBT, but I haven't posted much on here.. Or any forum for that matter. It's always been something I've thought about doing, just never got around to. Since this site has been so integral in my home brewing and builds I figured I'd make some time to start posting. I think the idea to move from the stove top to a bigger setup in the garage started about 4 years ago. Originally I was going to go with a propane setup, but once I started at the Tech school I went to for Industrial power and automation, I quickly realized Electric was the way to go. After much reading, I decided on a setup similar to Kal's. 30 amp HERMS serup with 5500 watt heating elements and 50 ft on stainless tubing. It has mostly all triclamp fittings, and quick disconnects. The only threads are on the pumps, and HERMS coil.
Some of the parts like the box and heat sink and some of the buttons I got from the old saw mill I used to work at after I got out of Voc school. We already had a surplus of extra Allen Bradley buttons, and my boss at the time was sympathetic to my cause so he let me take them home. Most the rest of the parts were bought online. The box was used already so the layout was somewhat dictated by doing what I could to use the existing holes. Bought the Kettles from NB and the triclover fittings from Brewers hardware I believe. Had the kettles welded up at a local shop here in Olympia. Most of the cedar I used for the stand was re-cycled from a deck I rebuilt while attending school. It had a nasty red stain on it so it required lots of love from a sander and some poly.
I ended up getting a 50 amp GFCI spa panel and another 30 amp breaker. The panel is fed from the old 30 amp dryer breaker (non GFCI) and the new breaker for the dryer is in the new spa panel. I also did install a safety relay that will only let the panel turn on if no heating element is selected.
I'm sure there's things I forgot to mention but feel free to ask any questions. I love talking about my setup and think I might have enjoyed building it almost as much as I enjoy brewing. As near and dear to my heart as this setup is, Im contemplating selling it for a couple of reasons. One of which being I think I would like to build a fully automated brewery controlled by a PLC.
Much thanks to Kal for the amazingly detailed build. I don't think I'm alone in saying it was a big inspiration to build my own.
Also thanks to the person that gave me the idea for the copper sight glass. I know I read it somewhere on HBT but can't remember who or where.
Here's a few pics. I can try to get some more or let me know if there's something in particular you'd like to see.
Thanks for reading!