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Old 07-27-2013, 01:12 AM   #1
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Default Two Tank HERMS system idea

Hey everyone. I've been reading posts on here for a while now, but I've got an idea for a fairly small startup HERMS system. I want you to let me know if this will work, or if I'm doing something stupid.

I want to make a system using only 2 vessels: A BK/HLT which is PID controlled (I don't see why I can't use the HLT as a boil kettle as well).

I will rig the igloo cooler with copper tubing that will coil in the HLT/BK for recirculation, then back into the top with a sparge arm. The HLT/BK will be my only heated vessel.

So here's my brewing process:
-Heat sparge water in the HLT slightly above mash temp to get the mash up to mash temp
-1) HERMS. Control the HLT at mash temp so the mash stays at mash temp.
-2) Sparge: Valve will switch input to my pump from the mash tun to the HLT, to pump the HLT water on top of the mash tun for sparge.
-3) Boil: Transfer wort from bottom of mash tun into top of HLT (now a BK). Turn up PID controller to BOIL.

This way I think I can do it with 1 pump, 1 kettle, 1 PID controller and 1 igloo cooler. (Diagram attached. Green arrows show paths.)

I guess the biggest question would be: Is there any risk to using my HLT as a boil kettle as well??

The only problem I can potentially think of is Thermocouple location. Since during recirc I want to measure temp of mash somehow (probably near sparge arm) and during boil I need it in the BK. But I could easily have 2 thermocouples and switch to the other one, right?

But BONUS is I could recirc icewater from the mash tun after the BOIL and use my coil as an immersion chiller!

herms.jpg  
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:23 PM   #2
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The other potential down side is I would need to batch sparge. I was hoping to fly sparge if i'm going to get a cool sparge arm. However, with this setup, i would need to empty out the HLT before I transfer wort back into it to boil.

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Old 07-31-2013, 06:00 PM   #3
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Is this going to be 2 tiered? If not I think you might need another pump. I run a 2 vessel Brutus 2.0 system, it is very flexible. I don't see any problems with using your HLT as a BK, that is how my system is configured.

-G

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Old 08-05-2013, 11:43 PM   #4
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Pumps and kettles are the most expensive components, so I was trying to minimize them for a good starter system. This is sort of what I came up with.

I guess I'm not seeing how a 2nd tier would help me. Do I put the MLT on top so it gravity feeds down then pumps back up? It's still going through my HLT in a closed-loop pump system, so I guess I don't see where that gets me...

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Old 08-07-2013, 08:17 PM   #5
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I was trying to figure out what you do when your mash is done, and why I was thinking it was going to be a 2 tiered system. Once your mash is done you can just gravity feed your mash into the kettle and pump sparge water up to your MLT. Are you going to just add all your sparge water at once on top of the mash and then just run it all out at the same time?

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Old 08-08-2013, 03:47 PM   #6
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Yeah... That's what I was just questioning too, actually. There's no good way to do a fly sparge.

Even a batch sparge wouldn't really work- unless you consider pumping ALL the fresh water in with the wort and then draining it all, but I don't feel like I would get very good efficiencies that way.

So I'm down to 2 options:
1) get a 3rd kettle for a seperate BK.
-My big con is that I can't use my recerc copper pipe to immersion chill
2) Use some temporary container to hold the wort while I fly sparge, then pump it back into the BK.
-My big con is is that now I need another hose to feed the pump. It seems like I'm going to have a lot of unions if I have to do that. It wouldn't be bad to have a seperate heating element because they are cheap and the BK one doesn't need to be controlled, but I wouldn't be able to use my coil to chill.

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Old 08-09-2013, 04:28 AM   #7
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I run a Brutus 2.0 rig and I love it. I am not trying to sway you to the "dark side" of no sparge/ constant recirculation. Give these two things a read if you are interested. I think the Brutus 2.0 setup is one of the most versatile out there.

http://www.alenuts.com/Alenuts/brutus20.html

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/i-lo...rewing-140972/

Which pumps are you looking at or already have? I have two from US Solar Pumps and they are great, about half the cost of a march.

-G

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Old 08-09-2013, 06:42 PM   #8
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Mind posting up a link for those "U S Solar" pumps?

I Googled it, and see a bunch of 12 volt powered stuff, to include on Amazon.

Thanks!

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Old 08-09-2013, 08:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealthcruiser View Post
Mind posting up a link for those "U S Solar" pumps?

I Googled it, and see a bunch of 12 volt powered stuff, to include on Amazon.

Thanks!
The 12v powered ones are them. I am without CPU access, so I can't seem to find the proper link on my phone.
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Old 08-15-2013, 05:13 PM   #10
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Wow, good stuff here, guys! Thank you.

I'm thinking it may be worth it for me to go with a 3rd tank and have a lower boil kettle for it. Those 12V pumps seem nice, too! I'm hoping to only get 1 pump yet, so I can gravity feed from the MLT down to the BK.

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