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Old 04-25-2013, 02:22 PM   #1
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Default Question on a hardware configuration/technique

I have only done one AG brew, that I am waiting to finish fermenting, so I haven't truly had a successful brew yet. Even so, I am digging into technique to figure out easier ways to do this.

So just a thought. I was thinking it would be easier to regulate the temperature of the wort externally.

So you have your MLT with a false bottom with a hose connected at the bottom of the tank that feeds into a pump. (March seems to be the one most homebrewers use?) The pump connects to a wort chiller, in this case a warmer, inside of an HLT that exits out of the HLT and back into the MLT at the top with a sort of "spray head" that diffuses the hot wort back into the mash. Would this be considered a fly sparge? (I am still learning the lingo obviously.)

So you add all of your strike water to the MLT, appropriately heated, and then your grain, make sure it is completely moist and then hit the pump. This will push the hot wort out through the pump, into the wort "chiller" in the HLT, where you have the water set at the proper temperature, let's say 152 degrees, and then it recirculates back around and basically sparges itself back into the MLT.

I am just brainstorming different techniques. Does this sound doable? Any problem with it? Is it ok to pump the wort through copper?

I have been reading quite a bit about this so am trying to piece together everything I am learning into a cohesive bundle.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 04-25-2013, 02:24 PM   #2
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Look up a HERMs System - Sounds pretty close to what you're talking about.

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Old 04-25-2013, 02:45 PM   #3
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I have a morebeer digital flat brew sculpture and that is exactly how it works. I have a copper heat exchanger that sits in my HLT. You keep the HLT a few degrees hotter than your desired mash temp to account for heat loss while pumping the wort back and forth. The digi setup I have comes with probes and temp controllers so my pump turns on and off as needed to regulate the temp.

But they also sell it as an analog setup where you can just monitor your mash temp and recirculate when needed.

The heat exchanger looks like a small immersion chiller. Morebeer sells theirs as a stand alone item as well. Look on their site for a convoluted heat exchanger.

HERMS changed my life.

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Old 04-25-2013, 05:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_ View Post
The pump connects to a wort chiller, in this case a warmer, inside of an HLT that exits out of the HLT and back into the MLT at the top with a sort of "spray head" that diffuses the hot wort back into the mash. Would this be considered a fly sparge? (I am still learning the lingo obviously.)
What you are describing is a Heat Exchanger Recirulated Mash System (HERMS). I have not used one, but I understand that they work pretty well.

My only comment would be with respect to Sparging. Sparging is the process of rinsing the converted sugars from the grain and collecting them in your boil kettle to make your wort.

There are two basic type of sparging -- Batch Sparging and Fly Sparging (also known as Continuous Sparging). After you have achieved conversion of the starch to sugar, you sparge to rinse the sugar away from the grain and collect it in the boil kettle. In batch sparging, you drain the mash tun into the boil kettle (after the vourlaf) and then add hot water back to the mash tun to disolve more sugar into solution. You then vourlaf again, and after the wort is clear, drain the wort into your boil kettle.

Fly Sparging is a process of slowing draining hot water from the Hot Liquor Tank and draining it into the Mash Lauter Tun and sprinkling it over the grain bed using your Sparge Arm. You should maintain about an inche of liquid above the grain bed. At the same time that you are adding hot water to the MTL, you want to drain the MLT into the boild kettle. Ideally the volume of water going into the HLT would equal the volume of water exiting the HLT -- thus keeping the water level above the grain bed at a constant level.

Fly Sparging should last about an hour (give or take) and you should stop sparging when you reach your pre-boil volume or the Gravity drops to a certain level (I can't remember the exact number because I alway batch sparge) WHICHEVER comes first. You don't want to sparge below a certain specific gravity because you start to extract tannins from the grain which will cause your beer to astringent.

I hope this might help with some of the terminology. And welcome to the Wonderful World of All Grain Brewing.

Mark
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:02 PM   #5
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I have done both. Recently went back to fly sparging with my automated setup. You want to make sure your runnings don't drop below 1.008 or your pH doesn't climb above 5.8 or so.

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Old 04-25-2013, 06:12 PM   #6
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Leave it to me to build a system in my head that already exists. Thanks folks! That is very helpful!

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