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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Hot whirlpool and HERMS question
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:37 PM   #21
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Thanks fafrd. I've had the pig cooker with side burner for a while, then needed a place to put my brewing setup so using it as a "BrewBQ" was a logical choice. You'd think the two were made for each other.

The HLT slowly increases up to mash-out temp over the duration of the mash so it's typically between 150 and 170. I usually monitor the output temperature of the HLT and Mash temp for the duration of the mash and usually throttle the HLT bypass several times. I can usually hold the temps pretty steady but this seems like the best place in my process to add some automation so I can set it and forget it. I think that having the Mash Liquor at higher temps doesn't have an effect on the mash. The temperature to be concerned with is the actual mash temperature (i.e., temperature of the grains).

One thing to think about if you decide to use a plate chiller with your HLT for mashing is the types of connectors you use or your piping arrangement. I'd like to add some hard-piped SS tubing but since my system is on a trailer, I'm concerned with leaving the tubing on the trailer when I'm towing it and the keggles aren't there. That's why I opted for silicone tubing and polysulfone QD's. I've liked them so far but learned pretty quickly to keep a couple boxes of the $0.02 o-rings on-hand because they wear out fast. They usually last a ~few brews before they start getting loose and pinched. They're super easy to swap out...just takes a couple seconds. Creating my fancy MS Word system drawing was really helpful in thinking in terms of what I needed to make the connections work as well as minimizing the number of times I have to swap stuff around. The configuration I use for chilling is not shown but it is pretty simple, So if you're going to use a plate chiller for double duty, you have to be able to swap it around quickly, clean it quickly and you don't want to have to get out any tools to do that.

That's one of the great things about brewing, you can be really creative and make the system work for you. I looked at a lot of system designs and made my own tweaks to come up with this one and it works well for me....and of course is never quite done.

-Todd

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Old 02-16-2013, 09:15 PM   #22
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Thanks for the helpful inputs, Todd. Mine is not on a trailer, but I have FatBoy and go through my fair share of pig and cow each summer, so it looks like we have something else in common

What you have described is exactly where I am with my system build - full step-by-step sequence with the planned plumbing configuration so I can simulate each required reconfiguration in advance.

I'm thinking it will be set up for one configuration that gets me all the way to lautered/sparged wort into the brew kettle (reconfiguring valves, of course). So now I have to figure out the cleaning sequence for the plate chiller and filter, how to reconfigure them into the plumbing, and the in-place sanitizing sequence prior to flame out and chilling. Another brewer is sanitizing in place with near-boiling liquor from the HLT and I am going to try to do something similar. So the reconfiguration sequence after sparge and before chill would be something like:

1/ break down mash plumbing, rinse and clean plate chiller and in-line filter

2/reconnect to pump and plumbing for chilling configuration (still debating between filter-after-pump configuration and filter-before pump configuration - will hopefully have the flexibility to try both...

3/ sanitize-in-place using near-boiling liquor from HLT

4/ begin recirculation / whirlpool (bypassing filter and chiller)

5/ let trub cone settle as needed and then begin chilling through trub filter and plate chiller

you know way more about this stuff than me, so if you see anything in this idea that you think would be a problem, I'd appreciate that input before I invest in all of the equipment...

On connectors, I appreciate the heads-up about having spare gaskets on hand. I am planning to use CAM-locks everywhere except the few places I will have to use tri-clover because of equipment requirements (the in-line filter only supports tri-clover, and using an adaptor to go from tri-clover to CAMlock seems silly).

I think that if I plan on reconfiguring the plumbing halfway through the boil, all of the mash plumbing should have cooled enough that switching a few hoses around should be pretty easy to manage...

What solution do you use to redirect the hot wort into the fermentation vessel, how to you sterilize whatever tubing is used for that, and what solution are you using for aerating the cooled wort?

-fafrd

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Old 02-16-2013, 10:44 PM   #23
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If your using chugger/march/other magnetic drive pumps it best to have as little resistance as possible on the "in" side, so try to have filter/chiller/long runs of tubing after the pump.

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Old 02-17-2013, 12:18 AM   #24
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If your using chugger/march/other magnetic drive pumps it best to have as little resistance as possible on the "in" side, so try to have filter/chiller/long runs of tubing after the pump.
thanks kpr121 - in general I know that and that would be a reason to place the filter immediately after the pump (better for the pump / better flow rate).

From the filter + plate chiller thread, the potential problem with having the filter after the pump is that it is apparently much more likely to get clogged early on. To paraphrase: 'very little material in the filter overall, but a single particle clogging virtually every hole in the filter' . It sounds like, with the higher flow rate through the filter when it is placed after the pump, there is a higher likelihood of individual particles getting stuck in the filter holes one by one (as opposed to the entire filter being packed with crud and clogging because it is plugged).

The other advantage of having the filter before the pump is that it keeps any mash particles out of the pump - probably not big deal, but a plus nonetheless...

If the target flow rates can be maintained with the filter before the pump, that sounds like the better configuration - if not, filter after pump is the only option. I will architect my system so that I can experiment with both configurations.

No one seems to indicate that the resistance of a filter on the pump intake is bad for the pump itself - do you have any reason to believe it is?

Since the idea is to use this combination for mash recirculation, the flow rate will probably be limited to 1gpm or at most 1.5gpm, limited by the mash rather than any of the other elements in the system...

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Old 02-17-2013, 03:46 AM   #25
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I don't have any specific evidence or sources, its just what I've read.

As far as wort flow speed and all that, that should be controlled with a ball valve on the output of the pump. It doesnt make sense to factor that into your decision for putting the filter before or after the pump.

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Old 02-21-2013, 12:18 AM   #26
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I would definitely place the filter after the pump. March pumps are not self-priming and can be a real pain to get primed. You don't want any restrictions in the flow path to make it even harder. You also don't want to have valves to throttle the flow on the inlet for the same reason...the pump will quickly suck the line dry then just start trying to pump air and will stop moving water. Those pumps can run dry for hours without hurting them, but the last thing you want to do during your brew day is have pumps running dry because you can't get them primed.

The rest of your sequence looks pretty good.

As far as connectors, tri-clover is the way to go if you can swing the added cost. I have threaded fittings and plastic Qds but will one day be brewing with all tri-clover (sanitary) fittings. You may be able to configure it such that it is all hard tubing and you don't need too many QDs or tri-clovers.

When I am cooling the wort and going into fermenter, i have a very simple setup. My chiller has a foot of tubing with QD in the inlet and ~3' of tubing on the outlet. I gravity drain starsan through it for a minute or so and into a waste bucket. Then when that is done, I drain chiller and connect the inlet to the outlet of my boil kettle then just gravity drain through chiller and out of the 3' silicone tubing into a fermenter. To oxygenate, I use a small O2 bottle and a SS diffusion stone (2 micron, I think) and stick that on the end of a piece of plastic tubing to keep the stone from floating up and hit it for a couple minutes.

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Old 02-21-2013, 12:33 AM   #27
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As far as wort flow speed and all that, that should be controlled with a ball valve on the output of the pump. It doesnt make sense to factor that into your decision for putting the filter before or after the pump.
Yes, for sure - valve at output of pump no matter where the filter is located...

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Old 02-21-2013, 12:43 AM   #28
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I would definitely place the filter after the pump. March pumps are not self-priming and can be a real pain to get primed. You don't want any restrictions in the flow path to make it even harder. You also don't want to have valves to throttle the flow on the inlet for the same reason...the pump will quickly suck the line dry then just start trying to pump air and will stop moving water. Those pumps can run dry for hours without hurting them, but the last thing you want to do during your brew day is have pumps running dry because you can't get them primed.
I agree you do not want the filter placed before the pump if there is any change that it adds enough of a restriction to seriously inhibit pump priming and/or can cause the pump to suck the line dry...

On the other hand, if the filtet is only being used as a 'last line of defense' and if flow rate through the filter is high enough, the advantage from what I have read (others with this same filter) is that the filter apparently clogs much more quickly/easily if it is placed after the pup than if it is placed before. While this almost certainly means that the filter must be introducing some additional restriction on the flow, I suppose the only way to know which of these two configurations is better is through trial and error (a others have done)...


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When I am cooling the wort and going into fermenter, i have a very simple setup. My chiller has a foot of tubing with QD in the inlet and ~3' of tubing on the outlet. I gravity drain starsan through it for a minute or so and into a waste bucket. Then when that is done, I drain chiller and connect the inlet to the outlet of my boil kettle then just gravity drain through chiller and out of the 3' silicone tubing into a fermenter. To oxygenate, I use a small O2 bottle and a SS diffusion stone (2 micron, I think) and stick that on the end of a piece of plastic tubing to keep the stone from floating up and hit it for a couple minutes.
This is helpful, thanks (and simple). So oxygenation is done after chilling and transfer to fermentation vessel is complete, correct (separate step)? Do you do anything special to sanitize the diffusion stone and oxygenation tubing? Just soak them in Starsan as well? How high above fermentation vessel do you have the BK located and what kind of gravity-driven flow rate do you think you are getting?

thanks,

-fafrd
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