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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > 1 2 or 3 tier electric? Talk me out of 3...
View Poll Results: What would your first choice be:
Single Tier, pump. 14 45.16%
2 Tier, Pump HLT to MT, gravity MT to BK 8 25.81%
3 Tier gravity all the way no pump 6 19.35%
Other 3 9.68%
Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-14-2011, 09:07 PM   #1
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Default 1 2 or 3 tier electric? Talk me out of 3...

So getting ready to move to all grain as soon as the weather breaks here I have everything but my stand/pump ideas...

I have two 9 gallon SS pots with 2 1500 watt heatsticks and a 10gallon cooler MT and control panel built and ready.

I am sticking to 5 gallon batches as I really want to brew more often and experiment.

I had planned to go with a single pump, 1 tier setup, then a 2 tier single pump with gravity from MT to BK, but now I'm thinking really why mess with a pump at all? They sound like a headache and I worry if used from BK to primary contamination. I was thinking only use the pump to move liquid before the boil.

Seems like a 3 tier made from wood (all electric) would be less hassle.

No pump or hoses to clean, no worry about losing prime, no worry about stuck sparges, etc..

I have a sightglass and thermometer on the HLT, so is it really a pain to have it up high?

Money isn't the issue, I just worry about adding extra work and risk when I'm only doing 5gallon batches... I use an IC by the way. All pots have ball valves.

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Old 03-14-2011, 09:26 PM   #2
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No recirculating system here? Just electric heating?

I am not sure what I would do if I hadn't gone down the path I went down.

My whole venture into electric started with my wife insisting that I get a pump because she didn't like me up on a ladder with a pot full of sparge water ready to dump into the MLT.

After I had the pump, and already had a copper coil... my mind started to wander towards HERMS.

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Old 03-14-2011, 09:29 PM   #3
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Oh.... and the pump is really not a hassle, IMO. I've had no more or less issues with stuck sparge using a pump than I did when I used gravity.

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Old 03-14-2011, 09:31 PM   #4
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It would be the easiest. Run a pipe form the bottom of the stand to the top so you can attach a hose to the bottom and let it fill your HLT up top. Then you're not worrying climbing and lifting water. Then you just have to climb to open a valve. Put a sight glass on the HLT so you can measure the water coming out and into the Mash Tun. Then a sight glass on the BK so you can see how much you're collecting.

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Old 03-14-2011, 09:42 PM   #5
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I've got a 3 tier system with an electric HLT. I've got water piped right up to the HLT so I don't have to lift anything. If you want to keep it simple, and you have the vertical room for it (your stand will be tall) 3 tier is the way to go. Plumbing (and also cleaning and sanitation) is also easier on a 3 tier gravity system.

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Old 03-14-2011, 09:46 PM   #6
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One other thing, if you're going 3 tier, think about how high your mash tun will end up being, especially if you want to gravity feed from your boil kettle into the fermenter. I've got a 2.5 gallon system, so i don't need a stool to mash in, but with a 5 gallon system, you may need to.

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Old 03-14-2011, 09:55 PM   #7
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Fwiw, the gravity fed 3 tier I'm planning on building will stand almost 96" tall when including the height of my hlt.

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Old 03-14-2011, 09:55 PM   #8
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Great info guys..

Baj, yes my thought was to place a better bottle down, measure the height of my ball valve on the BK about 6 inches higher, then the MT valve 6 inches higher , then the HLT, so I can gravity to primary for sure but keep the stand as short as I can.. I want to use a wort sprayer to aerate.

I have planned to run copper up the end with a hose attach at bottom, 3 nozzles mid way up and then a hook up to HLT. So I can hook up a sprayer, my IC and a bottle washer nozzle.

Guess I should measure out the heights and make sure its not crazy.

Walker, no circ or anything on this setup. Maybe when I mount elements and go 240 down the road though. I assume I could always add a pump and build a better stand then. Not like a wood stand is costly, and I like making new stuff.

So far I think I'm still set on 3 tier...

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Old 03-14-2011, 10:05 PM   #9
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I had a 3-tier when I was using propane.. I didn't like having to stand on a ladder to pour water into the HLT. Granted, I could have plumbed in a line to fill the HLT - but that seemed like more hassle and cost since I really wanted to go 2 or 1 tier. I ended up with a 2 tier as you describe. I like being able to look into my MLT and HLT without being on a ladder. Also, it stores so much more nicely than my 3 tier ever did. It fits easily under the cabinets on the wall in my garage.

Also, pump contamination isn't an issue - run the pump for the last 10 minutes of the boil to sanitize, I've never heard of anyone having any issues.

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Old 03-14-2011, 10:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruin_ale View Post
I had a 3-tier when I was using propane.. I didn't like having to stand on a ladder to pour water into the HLT. Granted, I could have plumbed in a line to fill the HLT - but that seemed like more hassle and cost since I really wanted to go 2 or 1 tier. I ended up with a 2 tier as you describe. I like being able to look into my MLT and HLT without being on a ladder. Also, it stores so much more nicely than my 3 tier ever did. It fits easily under the cabinets on the wall in my garage.

Also, pump contamination isn't an issue - run the pump for the last 10 minutes of the boil to sanitize, I've never heard of anyone having any issues.
So you recirc the boil back to itself? Does this sanitize the ball valve well enough?
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