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Old 05-07-2010, 07:01 PM   #1
vonnieda
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Default Building an electric brewery, need some HERMS advice

Hi all, this is my first post to this forum but I've been lurking for a while and have read a *ton* of posts regarding electric brewing.

I am in the process of collecting gear to build a 10 gallon, all electric brewery. I had intended to build a HERMS system loosely based on the Brutus 10 but I am confused about one aspect of the HERMS operation.

In my old system (coolers, buckets, lots of stacking) I would strike with 170F water which would usually give me right near a 152F mash. Then I would let the cooler do it's job and set for 60 minutes, mash out and then sparge with 170F water. During the 60 minute mash I was heating up my sparge water. This seemed to work well.

My understanding is that with HERMS you recirculate constantly and use the water in the HLT with the heat exchanger to maintain or raise temperature of the mash.

My question is: In practice, when do you bring the HLT temperature up to mash out / sparge temperature. I would assume that the HLT stays below 170 to keep the mash at the right temperature. So, do you stop recirculation after your mash is done and then wait while the HLT heats up for mash out and sparge? Or do you just keep recirculating but just raise the recirculation temperature to mash out temps? If that's the case, does your sparge water end up too hot?

Thanks in advance for any light you can shine on the process!

Jason

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Old 05-07-2010, 07:32 PM   #2
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The way I have been doing the whole brew process, is I fill my HLT full with water, then I fill my mash tun with the amount of water the recipe calls for. I set the temp. between 148-158, depending on what's being brewed. I turn on the recirculation pump, and that brings the mash tun up to temp. w/ the HLT, in 45 min. I turn off the pump, Dough in, temp. drops 10 ish degrees, turn on recirc. pump, mash comes up to temp. in about 10 mins. Recirculate for 45+ mins. Then turn HLT up to 168, and keep recirculating, so I bring the grain up to mash out temp too. Takes about 15 min. for me. Then I turn off the pump, raise the temp. in HLT to 172, takes less then 5 min. then sparge and lauter. Hope that helps and makes sense.

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Old 05-07-2010, 07:42 PM   #3
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kronik, that makes a ton of sense. That was just what I needed to hear. Thanks!

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Old 05-13-2010, 08:54 PM   #4
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As kronik said, you are not constantly recirculating. Only recirc when your mash temp falls below where you want it or you are raising for next step. A Ranco Temp Controller works great for turning the pump on and off if you don't want to babysit.

Here's a link you might find interesting http://powersbrewery.home.comcast.ne...wery/mash.html

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Old 05-13-2010, 09:03 PM   #5
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I think most of the HERMS systems do constantly recirculate. The temp controller is used to turn the heat on or off to the HLT. Reading Kronik's post, it sounds like that is what he is doing as well.

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Old 05-13-2010, 09:06 PM   #6
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That's the impression I was left with from kronik's post as well. Recirculate constantly and adjust the temperature in the HLT to adjust. That's the plan I am going with for my system right now but I haven't tested anything yet. Still shopping!

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Old 05-13-2010, 10:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronik View Post
The way I have been doing the whole brew process, is I fill my HLT full with water, then I fill my mash tun with the amount of water the recipe calls for. I set the temp. between 148-158, depending on what's being brewed. I turn on the recirculation pump, and that brings the mash tun up to temp. w/ the HLT, in 45 min. I turn off the pump, Dough in, temp. drops 10 ish degrees, turn on recirc. pump, mash comes up to temp. in about 10 mins. Recirculate for 45+ mins. Then turn HLT up to 168, and keep recirculating, so I bring the grain up to mash out temp too. Takes about 15 min. for me. Then I turn off the pump, raise the temp. in HLT to 172, takes less then 5 min. then sparge and lauter. Hope that helps and makes sense.
I do similar but first heat my HLT to strike temp. I then drain the required strike water to my MLT, mash in and top off the HLT. I set the HLT to mash temp and start circulating once it is reached. I am not preheating my MLT with this method. I use the beersmith calculated temp for strike water to adjust for that.
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egurney View Post
I think most of the HERMS systems do constantly recirculate. The temp controller is used to turn the heat on or off to the HLT. Reading Kronik's post, it sounds like that is what he is doing as well.
The system I'm modeling after has two temp controllers, one in the HLT to control the element and one in the MT to control the pump. Now I'm second guessing the necessity of the second controller. Maybe it increases the life of the pump *shrug*
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Old 05-14-2010, 01:39 AM   #9
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I think I remember reading somewhere that it's not good for the pump to keep cycling it on and off. I'm thinking of putting a PID in the MLT just to monitor the temps there.

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Old 05-14-2010, 01:41 AM   #10
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I think I remember reading somewhere that it's not good for the pump to keep cycling it on and off. I'm thinking of putting a PID in the MLT just to monitor the temps there.
It's not good for the pump's motor to be cycled very quickly, like more than once every few seconds or so.

I'm intending to do the same - have a PID in the MLT just to see temps and have my system look uniform. It'll also be good to have the thermocouple for datalogging maybe later down the road.
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