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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > BIAB Brewing > BIAB with HERMS via Outboard RIMS-Tube Build

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Old 04-11-2014, 08:01 AM   #11
Largus1776
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneticBrew View Post
Interesting setup, but I would argue that you haven't eliminated the 3 vessel system. The bag is indeed a vessel, along with the boil kettle and that black pipe where the recirculating RIMS water get's held, that's your HLT! In fact, it's only part of your HLT with the other parts being your RIMS tube and your counterflow chiller! That's the most complex HLT I've even seen!
RE: "you haven't eliminated the 3 vessel system" : GeneticBrew, you are indeed correct! In that a functional diagram would show three vessels worth of function. That said, taking inventory of the actual physical rig, I only count one stainless steel kettle.






While this rig was constructed with equipment in keeping with pride of ownership, there was nonetheless a considerable savings over the purchase of three “real” vessels, and as well as that the brew rig occupies a smaller footprint. Certainly this is an engineering advantage.


It is also a process advantage: As you point out, serving the role of the HLT is the RIMS-Tube Reservoir: an inexpensive length of (black) PVC pipe. The advantages include the insulating nature of thick walled PVC, retaining heat, and that the total volume is small resulting in a small thermomass. Thus easy to drive temperature even with the 120V power supply to the RIMS tube.

The system is constructed from “building blocks” that are already in many home brewers rigs, or the novice brewer may be aspiring to acquire them in the future: RIMS-tube, pump and Chiller.







The system is a reconfiguration of currently deployed products. The novelty of the circuit may seemingly appear complex on first introduction, but actually leads to simplicity of the brewing processes. The brew stand is simpler, less equipment, less expensive, and clean up minimal, making for a expeditious and enjoyable brew day with consistent results.

BIAB is often promoted as an introduction into full mash, incorrectly setting an expectation that BIAB is only a first step, and that the novice brewer will want to graduate to a 3 vessel rig if they become serious brewers. Rather, the BIAB process is a stand-alone brewing technique, with the ability to upgrade the BIAB with equipment to tightly control mash temperature and obtain consistent batch-to-batch repeatability.

Its gratifying that others see this has the full functionality of a three vessel system.

Thank you!

.
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:13 PM   #12
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One benefit to 3 big stainless kettles is food grade material.

The benefit of stainless steel and silicone is that they are neutral to those of us who are sensitive to the compounds extracted from contact with PVC tubing and pipe. Contact temperature and time as well as the PVC formula can be argued with a toxicologist, however, it is one good reason to build everything from stainless or silicone. Copper may also be included in the mix. Brass should be lead free with a layer of oxide on it. Of course, glass is neutral to most if not all, though it may contain trace amounts of lead.

BIAB bags are mostly nylon (paint strainer bags) or voile polyester fabric, both of which are fairly neutral within a certain temperature range, but certainly not (neutral) for everyone.

The toxicologist interviewed on Basic Brewing podcasts has some good things to say.

Homebrew Toxicology Pt. 1 (November 14, 2013)

Homebrew Toxicology Pt. 2 (December 12, 2013)

Homebrew Toxicology Pt. 3 (February 27, 2014)

Eliminating all PVC plastic (and possibly brass, unless it's lead free) from your system would give incentive for others to attempt to build the same.

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Old 04-13-2014, 12:38 AM   #13
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Default Food-grade material

GeneticBrew, I agree with you! Thank you for pointing out the importance of using food-grade parts and also providing the toxicology links. I look forward to listening to those pod casts.

Brewers should only use food-grade material and check that those materials are specifically rated for the temperatures encountered. For examples: some plastic tubing is rated food-safe for cold liquid (e.g., beer dispensing), but the same tubing is not necessarily advisable for boiling-hot wort. Generally, many plastics are not food safe. One concern is leaching (plasticizers such as bisphenol A and other endocrine disruptors). Even some “food safe” plastics have been found to leach harmful chemicals. Concern for leaching is also true of metals too, such as brass containing lead that can be leached by the hot and acidic nature of the wort. Surprisingly, garden hoses are not food safe, and leach lead into the water, unless they are specifically labeled for drinking water.

The topic of food safe components is worthy of its own discussion thread.

So rather, keeping the conversation specific to this rig:

All components on the wort side are food safe at boiling temperature (100°C/212°F): Stainless steel kettle, ½ inch ID braded silicone tubing, the pump head is stainless steel, and the Counter Flow Coil (or “chiller”) is convoluted copper pipe. Wort was traditionally boiled in copper kettles, and copper is safe. The garden hose used to fill the kettle is food safe and sold for RV potable water connections. All fittings are stainless or specifically labeled lead-free brass (its now easy to source lead-free fittings in the USA since the 2014 EPA “lead free” mandate under the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act), and brass is much easier to work with than stainless fittings.





(That said John Palmer, brewer and metallurgist, in his book describes how to apply a chemical treatment (vinegar and peroxide) to remove surface lead from older brass fittings).



Indeed it is correct that PVC should NOT be used, especially in transferring hot wort. PVC is not rated for hot water, both because of chemical instability (toxicities) and also mechanical deformation (burst strength).

As for the PVC pipe in the RIMS-Tube Reservoir, this RIMS side is isolated and never in contact with the wort side. Heat, not RIMS water, is exchanged in the Counter Flow Coil. There is no chemical contamination of the wort.




RIMS tube Reservoir:

The original specification (shopping list) for the RIMS-Tube-Reservoir was for CPVC, because of its higher specified working temperature, but that tubing was not easily sourced from the local hardware store. Thus when maintaining a 154°F mash temperature, the PVC is just beyond its stated working temperature of 140°F, but as an open topped reservoir there is no pressure induced burst concerns. That said, the pipe could be upgraded so as to keep this rig’s components within temperature specs, and also 100% food-grade parts, if only for aesthetic purposes: Ideally with a length of 1-1/2 inch diameter stainless steel pipe and fittings as is identically used to build the RIMS tube itself.

RIMS Circuit Tubing:

Currently this rig employs food-grade braded vinyl tubing on the RIMS circuit side. Even still, this vinyl tubing is not generally recommend for hot wort. But importantly, and by design, any leached chemicals are kept out of the wort side in this circuit topology using the Counterflow Coil. Thus the vinyl tubing could be upgraded to silicon tubing (as is already installed on the wort side) so as to improve the component integrity of this rig; but would not actually improve the food safety of the wort.

RIMS pump:

The pump on the RIMS side uses the polysulfone pump-head option which is food-safe, but less expensive than the stainless steel pump head employed on the wort side.

RIMS Tube:

The electric heating element used in RIMS is sold for domestic hot water heaters. As a general statement, hot tap water is not optimal as potable water. Is it safe in home brew applications? A topic for another post. Without answering that question, this rig negates the concern, as the RIMS heater element is isolated by the CCF Coil from the wart.



The importance of using food-grade parts is not generally emphasized enough in home brewing. Thank you for your question, thus allowing me to address this issue as it was applied to the build of this rig.

An advantage of this rig is that this implementation adds no additional equipment in the wort path. The same material contact is as a more simple implementation: the stainless steel kettle and pump head, silicone tubing, copper pipe. All the RIMS equipment, and any potential toxic leached metals or chemicals, is on the other side of the Counter Flow Coil.

.

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Old 04-13-2014, 02:28 AM   #14
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The bag in BIAB is nylon which does emit a smell that can make folks nauseous, as do a lot of plastics / rubbers.

Voile bags are better than nylon, but still a little "smelly."

Glad to know that your wort is in contact with food-grade materials.

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Old 05-11-2014, 01:07 PM   #15
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Lovely system. I do something similar. But I use a stainless biab basket (with feet) from Ann Arbor fabricators instead of a bag. And my HERMS utilises a small stainless coil a bit like a mini immersion chiller (http://onlinebrewingsupplies.com/product_info.php?cPath=80&products_id=504) thats fits in an simple $10 electric jug which is connected to a PID control. Works a treat!

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Old 05-11-2014, 01:46 PM   #16
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The system does look nice and is well thought out. Well done.

On "Smelly" bags, I am not sure where this is coming from GeneticBrew? All of us who BIAB use our bags and would drop them in a second if they made our beers taste like plastic. If have been using a Voile bag for many batches and have never noticed a smell in any of the mashes, even when brand new. I have never tasted a plastic taste in my beers either. I also use paint strainer bags for hops in the boil as many brewers, even three vessel brewers, do. again, we would drop them in a heartbeat if it hurt our beers. Just curious where you are getting your info on "smelly" bags?

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Old 05-28-2014, 11:09 PM   #17
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Default Stainless Steel "Bag"

Just to follow up further the question on bag selection.
For the most fastidious, there are stainless steel mesh baskets for BIAB brewing, such as the basket pictured here from a thread by "Wobdee",
www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/my-one-vessel-ag-system-380656/ :

stainless-steel-bag-.jpg  
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Old 05-28-2014, 11:20 PM   #18
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Default Food-safe bag materials

Then in regards to bag material there is nylon and polyester. These are graded medical grade, (while reassuring as to the stability of the material, it is seemingly equally unavailable to the home brewer), food-safe grade, and commercial. It is not clear to me that all BIAB bags are actually sourced from ISO Cert food-safe grade material. Caveat emptor.



I emailed several sellers of BIAB bags, these were the responses:

MOREBEER BAG:

Begin forwarded message:
From: "MoreBeer Support" <info@moreflavor.com>
Subject: [morebeer #AHU-83104-745]: product spec question
Date: April 15, 2014 8:18:41 AM MST
To: ****.com
Reply-To: "MoreBeer Support" <info@moreflavor.com>

Hello

Thank you for your email and inquiry. Our bags are food-safe material. If you would like to know more about these products you may contact our supplier: Pack-Light International

Please let me know if you have questions or concerns.

Thank you,
Jared L******
Customer Service Representative
MoreFlavor! Inc
1-800-600-0033


MIDWEST SUPPLIES BAG:

From: Midwest Supplies <support@midwestsupplies.com>
Subject: Product specification inquiry for BIAB Bags
Date: April 15, 2014 8:32:58 AM MST
To: *******************
Reply-To: Midwest Supplies <support@midwestsupplies.com>

L*****,
That bag is indeed food safe, it is made of high grade nylon.

Brad S
Midwest Supplies
1.888.449.2739

L.D. CARLSON BAGS:

From: "L.D. Carlson" <ldcarlson@ldcarlson.com>
Subject: product spec inquiry
Date: April 15, 2014 9:31:05 AM MST
To: ******


Hi L******,
Yes these are "Food safe" grade material.

Thank you and have a great day.

WILSER BAGS:

From: michael wilser
Subject: BIAB
Date: April 15, 2014 1:09:07 PM MST
To: **********

L*****,

The BIAB bags are 100% polyester. I believe most consider polyester food safe. There is discussion in this regard at BIABBRWER.com here that will give you some infor on polyester......

http://www.biabrewer.info/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=2445

Thanks,
wilser

MASHMASTER BAGS:
Their product webpage states specifically "Our bags are manufactured from food grade nylon with reinforced seams."
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