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Old 04-07-2009, 12:56 PM   #1
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Default RIMS and HERMS

Ok, I cannot find a specific thread right now about either( I'll confess, i didn't look too hard). I understand that RIMS means Recirculating Infusion Mash, but what I am not entirely sure about is why. From what I gather the water is recirculated through a heater of sorts and then back through the mash, correct? Is this advantageous in some way over simply mashing in an MLT cooler? Also I don't quite understand what HERMS does. Thanks

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Old 04-07-2009, 01:02 PM   #2
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They both do essentially the same thing, and the benefit is to maintain your mash temps exactly throughout the entire mash. They can also be used to step up the mash temps without adding additional water infusions. HERMS systems typically use a coil in the HLT (or separate vessel) as the heat exchanger. RIMS systems typically run the wort through a tube with an electric heating element. Since they're typically controlled electronically, it's more of a hands-off, set it and forget it system as far as the mash is concerned.

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Old 04-07-2009, 02:00 PM   #3
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Cool, thanks Sparky

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Old 04-07-2009, 02:37 PM   #4
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All good info, but I have yet to see a RIMS or HERMS that can efficiently and quickly step up temps.

In fact, if you do some research on HERMS, it is not at all recommended for mash steps. You can mash out with it, but that will still take you 20 minutes to get from 155 to 168 in a cooler MLT generally.

If you build one of these, do it to maintain temps, do not build it to step mash, you will be disappointed.

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Old 04-07-2009, 02:46 PM   #5
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I agree about the slow steps. I think a HERMS would be too slow for that. The reasons i set up my ghetto HERMS was to take my own ineptitude out of the mashing process. I don't think i was performing well with my mashing and batch sparging. I have only done two batches with the HERMS, but thus far they have been much more consistent with a higher efficiency. IMO, one of the major benifits for me might be that I am getting a LOT less grain particles in the boil kettle.

edit. When I say a lot less grain particles, I mean zero grain particles.

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Old 04-07-2009, 02:47 PM   #6
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Pol/Gnome - is this because the heating element in the HLT can't raise the temps fast enough? Would it be able to if you had more heating power?

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Old 04-07-2009, 02:50 PM   #7
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Direct-fire + recirculation does a great job raising temps, but the down side is that it's tough to accurately maintain temps unless you go the BRUTUS route w/ electronically controlled gas valves. That's a lot of $$ and extra fabrication, though.

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Old 04-07-2009, 02:55 PM   #8
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I use a direct fire recirculating mash. No scorching and can go from 146* to 172* in about 10 min(of course the ambient temp of 100*+ might have something to do with this) . The wort that flows to the BK is clear as finished filtered beer.
Sparky is right I do have to watch the thermometer very closely.

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Old 04-07-2009, 02:55 PM   #9
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Sparky, my set up is very limited, Pol is the brewing sculpture techno guy, I defer all the technical info to him. ......*Bails out sheepishly*

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Old 04-07-2009, 02:57 PM   #10
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Pol/Gnome - is this because the heating element in the HLT can't raise the temps fast enough? Would it be able to if you had more heating power?
Has little to do with the size of the element. I can have a 1500W element or a 4500W element in the HLT... the problem comes that you are trying to change a HUGE thermal mass (GRAIN + water) in the MLT) You are recirculating through a 1/2" ID coil and hose at about 1.5gal/min.

It takes me 5 minutes to get my HLT from 155 to 165... but it takes my MLT 20 minutes to get there. Once the HLT is up to temp, the hard part is passively heating the MLT. The HLT remains at the set temp, but the recirc, though fast, is a trickle compared to the ammount of thermal mass in the MLT.
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