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Old 06-16-2010, 09:32 PM   #1
CoalCracker
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Default External HEX Vs. Internal

Is there a benefit to having your HEX say in a 2g cooler instead of right in the HLT? I'm in the process of building my HERMS and see some have external HEXs and some all in one. I have a cooler I can use so.. I need some direction.

Thanks!

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Old 06-16-2010, 09:45 PM   #2
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My HEX is a 1500 watt element in a 2 gallon cooler. It works fine for me.

The reason that I didn't put my HEX in my HLT is because I wanted it to be as modular as possible. I sometimes BiaB or no sparge brew, so I don't need an HLT for those. Heating up the HLT to use the HEX would be a waste in those situations.

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Old 06-16-2010, 09:58 PM   #3
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Although I do not have a HERMS at the moment, i have giving it some thought. My HLT will already have a heating element and thermometer. Using a cooler would require more space and extra equipment.

However using a smaller vessel like a 2 gallon cooler would allow quicker use of the Hex and more efficient use of heat. It is kind of a toss up.

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Old 06-16-2010, 11:05 PM   #4
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I saw an article or post a while back where the brewer had made his HEX inside a 5 or 6 inch piece of pipe, with the rubbing inside, wrapped around an electric element, with water in that. Wish I could find the link, but really stays in line with the modular idea, and takes up much less space than a cooler. You can even mount it vertically on the mash tun for a nice autonomous unit.

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Old 06-16-2010, 11:09 PM   #5
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So, it's hard to type on a phone. Rubbing = tubing.

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Old 06-17-2010, 12:31 AM   #6
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A small standalone HEX can change temperature a lot faster than a HEX in a large HLT.
This can be a case of diminishing returns, as it still takes a while for the temperature change to propagate through the entire mash via recirculation.
It also decouples your sparge water from the mash; you can heat just your strike water and get the mash rolling, then heat your sparge water at your leisure.
It's arguable how much time/effort this may save.

Personally, I do use a standalone 2-gallon HERMS. I wouldn't necessarily rule out going to a HLT-based HERMS at some point in the future though.

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Old 06-17-2010, 01:37 PM   #7
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Ok, I also have a corny keg that is no longer staying pressureized. I can use that as a HEX chamber as well. However if there really isn't a huge benefit, I can just put everything right into my HLT.

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Old 06-17-2010, 02:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoalCracker View Post
Is there a benefit to having your HEX say in a 2g cooler instead of right in the HLT? I'm in the process of building my HERMS and see some have external HEXs and some all in one. I have a cooler I can use so.. I need some direction.

Thanks!
Basically what you are looking at is a RIMS. A RIMS brewery uses an external HEX to recirculate and keep the Mash at a constant temperature. A RIMS uses a tube with an electric heating element that is controlled with a PID to recirculate the mash and keep the mash at a constant temperature.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/rims-dummies-114997/
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawdustguy View Post
Basically what you are looking at is a RIMS. A RIMS brewery uses an external HEX to recirculate and keep the Mash at a constant temperature. A RIMS uses a tube with an electric heating element that is controlled with a PID to recirculate the mash and keep the mash at a constant temperature.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/rims-dummies-114997/
I'm not sure that this is correct. All the RIMS that I've seen have had the wort in direct contact with the element.

What he's talking about is a HERMS like everyone else's, except that the coil is in a small water-filled cooler with a heating element, rather than the HLT.
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lustreking View Post
My HEX is a 1500 watt element in a 2 gallon cooler. It works fine for me.
Have mine set up the same way. I like the flexibility to have the HEX at one temperature and being able to have my HLT heating water at a different temp. Also, IMO, makes step mashing easier because their is much less liquid to heat up and allows a faster increase.
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