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Old 01-25-2013, 04:02 PM   #1
malt_man
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So I got my head around RIMS and HERMS, even though I don't like the acronyms as they aren't accurate descriptions... and now I'm learning about the Blichman Tower of Power. Where does that fit in, and does it have a different acronym/name? It's also a RIMS, but heats the false bottom space with flame as wort moves through it, as opposed to a manifold containing a heating element. Did Blichman invent this concept? Does it have disadvantages? Are people building this versions themselves or sticking to heat exchange or external electric element recirculated systems?

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Old 01-25-2013, 09:13 PM   #2
MachineShopBrewing
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I believe the Blichmann system is what you would call a direct fired mash tun. I like the direct fired system because you could heat up your strike water right in the tun and then mash in directly. If I was to build a gas fired system, that is what I would build.

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Old 01-25-2013, 10:36 PM   #3
tophmck
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Direct fired RIMS is a common setup and definitely wasn't invented by Blichmann. My system is direct fired. I get the feeling it's becoming less popular in the last year or two, mostly because it's so popular to go all electric now, and direct fired wouldn't really work for electric (although I guess you could use an induction plate...)

As far as disadvantages go, with HERMS or a RIMS tube it's straightforward to use either a cooler or an insulated kettle/keggle for a mash tun. When you direct fire, most people don't insulate (since it could melt or burn). So you need to apply more heat to maintain temps, especially in the winter. As a result, I suspect I see more temperature gradient in the mash tun than someone with an insulated mash tun would see, even with vigorous recirculation.

That said, I love my system. Somehow it just seems more intuitive to me than the alternatives.

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Old 01-26-2013, 03:44 AM   #4
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One last thing -- it seems like you're thinking that the Tower of Power can only run a direct fired RIMS system. I'm not a HERMS guy, but I'm pretty sure it would work fine for running a HERMS system, too. You'd just need one "control module" to control the HLT. The pump would circulate wort from the MLT, through the heat exchange coil in the HLT, and then back to the MLT. I guess the temperature probe could either go in the HLT or at the output of the heat exchange coil.

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