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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > First brewday on DITCHES build - lots of beer porn!
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Old 04-14-2010, 06:09 PM   #1
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Default First brewday on DITCHES build - lots of beer porn!

Well the time finally came and I put on all the finishing touches to my system that has been in the works for the past 6-8 months. Countless hours of research in electrical, cutting tools, acquiring parts and tools, and careful planning paid off in buckets. Now I have to think of something else to build! Time for that 8 foot wide triple-temp-zone walk-in cooler

Without the help of people who know much more than I do, this would not have been anywhere near possible. I took much example from Boerderij Kabouter (general build and cooling system), Airbalancer (control panel components), and Kal (heating element mounting) from this forum. Also Derrin from Brewer's Hardware gave me the idea to solder all of my nipples into the kegs rather than all the extra parts required for a weldless setup.

This is a 100% electric system capable of brewing 10-12 gallon low- to high-gravity OR 24 gallon low- to mid-gravity batches. It is a HERMS style system for 10-12's, and can work as a direct fire continuous recirc for 20-24 gallon. It is powered by 2 5500 watt ultra low density heating elements. Two march pumps are used to move beer and water around. Three temperature probes and the BCS-460 control system keeps all my temperatures right where I want them and organizes and logs my brewday in great detail.
The cooling method is the most interesting and unique part of the system. The concept is the brainchild of Boerderij_Kabouter from Homebrewtalk.com, who coined the system DITCHES, or Dual Immersion Thermal Coil Heat Exchange System. It involves recirculating ice water from the HLT through the boil kettle's hard mounted 50' copper coil, and simultaneously recirculating the wort through the HLT's matching coil. This results in cooling times which are absolutely ridiculous. It is way overkill and I love it.

Here are the pics I took while brewing on it for the first time. The beer is an original called "Concord Flight Ale", which is an amber ale featuring all New Zealand hops.

The system at rest


Underneath - mash tun plumbing


Mash valve


Preparing for mash in


Inside HLT


Inside MT


Mashing and recirculating


Mash close-up


BK runoff and first wort hopping

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Old 04-14-2010, 06:10 PM   #2
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Removing hot break


Boiling at 72% power/duty cycle


During boil - Oxyclean and Starsan


Configuration while boiling and circulating sanitizer, in preparation for chilling


Configuration for chilling


The BCS-460 manual mode interface


Where the beer goes to die

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Old 04-14-2010, 06:10 PM   #3
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ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS

Weldless, serviceable kettle wiring


Brewery breaker panel


Bottom of control panel


Temp probes and ethernet connections


Switches top to bottom - BCS on/off, water pump, wort pump, HLT element, BK element


Inside control panel




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Old 04-14-2010, 06:21 PM   #4
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Your DITCHES makes me want to drop my britches.



I mean, "seek help".

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Old 04-14-2010, 06:26 PM   #5
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I need a new pair of slacks.



That thing is unreal. I love it, great application and execution.

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Old 04-14-2010, 06:30 PM   #6
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Thanks BK, great to hear from you! The execution was a breeze mostly due to the system design, so It was such a breeze, and that was batch #1.. I'll only be ironing out kinks from here on out.

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Old 04-14-2010, 06:39 PM   #7
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very, very nice!

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Old 04-14-2010, 07:22 PM   #8
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Very nice! The system looks great! I'm going to try a DITCHES chill on my first 10 gallon batch on the new rig.

I brewed your 'Bloody IPA' for the inaugural brew on my new rig last Saturday. OG was 1.065. Took a gravity reading last night (3 days and a few hours after pitching yeast) and it's already down to 1.013. Hydro sample tasted fantastic. Can't wait to dry hop it. Going to be a fantastic IPA. I mashed a little lower (150F) because I like a dry IPA. Might submit to a local competition next month. Thanks!

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Old 04-14-2010, 11:59 PM   #9
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I'm very happy this is well received! Thanks all for kind words, I hope it inspires others to try and build on this awesome knowledge we all have available here on the site, as I have attempted to.

And nice, Diatonic! My bloody! I'm thrilled you tried it. You are right about the low mash temp, it is really important to make it dry out or its just too big and takes the focus off the hops. For some people's technique this might mean mashing 150 or below indeed. It should come out balanced, having a big malt AND hop complexity.
I wish you luck competing with it! It has done well for me and took 2nd best of show somewhere last year in a fairly large comp. I haven't competed as much since last fall, as most of my energy went to the build. Now with a great consistent system its game on!

P.s. a small misprint in that recipe, tried editing to fix but it won't take... at 10 minutes boil remaining the hop additions are: .25oz summit, .5oz palisade. Somehow it says both are summit. Sure it won't change much if you did it otherwise though. The dry hop addition is 1.5oz summit for 5-7 days.

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Old 04-15-2010, 12:28 AM   #10
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I feel so inadequate with my paint strainer and BIAB method...

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