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Old 09-01-2011, 12:51 AM   #1
joenads
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Default Another E-HERMS Build...

New guy here, been following this forum for about a month now. I got the itch to start making beer after being bored with a Mr. Beer kit. Please don't criticize me for jumping in head first with no brewing experience. I figure it would be easiest for me to learn hands on with my own system. I've definitely read a lot, but I know I've got way more to learn. Anyways, I am basing my E-HERMS from Kal's wonderful step by step electric brewery, and have also studied through black heart's automated HERMS build. I plan to go the keggle route vice the kettles though, and I want to have it piped with no hose changes. I plan to have is "semi" automated using a brewtroller. I am going to keep it simple for now though, but have the option for expanding. To keep the cost down, I am going to manually open/close my ball valves. I am OK with that, as I see it like a puzzle every time I would brew. I have started order and receiving parts, but have yet to cut the kegs up until I've gotten everything. I have a bunch of ball valves from duda diesel as well as elbows, got the nipples, washers, and silicon o rings from mcmaster, found some compression fittings from ebay, and got the heating elements from amazon. I still need to get the pumps (probably chugger pumps), silicon tubing, and brewtroller parts. Haven't decided on a false bottom/manifold/braid yet, but looking to be directed towards any.

I've attached my crappy ms paint drawing of how I planned to plumb it up with 10 ball valves and silicone tubing. I'm sure there are faults, but I'm ready to try it out. Hopefully I can remember/find time to keep this post updated with images of my build. Thanks.

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Old 09-01-2011, 01:18 AM   #2
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No worries jumping in head first. This place is great for any kind of help. Good luck on the build.

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I would've made a crayon schematic if I thought this was going to hang people up.
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Old 09-06-2011, 07:55 PM   #3
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I'm in the same boat, ready to move indoors and going off same model as Kal.....

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Old 09-08-2011, 06:14 PM   #4
joenads
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Just a quick update, I've got all the piece parts for my keggles (hoping the hole saws come today from ebay), so I'm looking to get those built this weekend. I bought my kegs from a guy who I met at the local micro brew store (the store also has a license to serve!) and found out he lives down the street from me. I got 4 of them, planned on making one a fermenter. Been pondering what to do for a stand and was wanting some input good and bad on making my stand double as a fermentation chamber. I've been searching the board and seen a lot of good builds, and found a 1.7 cu mini fridge on craigslist for $30, although no response from it yet.

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Old 09-15-2011, 01:44 AM   #5
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Attached a couple of pictures. I wasn't able to get the keggles built yet, I actually built some shelves in the garage to make room for the system. I got a mini fridge as well. Took it apart this evening so I can get into my fermentation chamber/brew stand.

2011-09-14_21-01-23_671.jpg   2011-09-13_19-35-02_141.jpg   2011-09-13_19-35-12_31.jpg  
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Old 09-15-2011, 02:50 PM   #6
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Good luck with the build. I just finished my e-brewery build and absolutely love it. On a side note, after looking at your diagram I think you may need to add one more valve. The top left of the HLT has a 90* into a T fitting, I think you need a valve on one side of the T, if not than the flow of liquid could go in any direction. Maybe I'm missing something? You have a valve on the BK and MLT on the same T.

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Old 09-15-2011, 03:15 PM   #7
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ive found that mini-fridges dont have enough horsepower to cool anything more than a sandwich or a few beer cans. i had intended to use one for a ferment chamber and kegerator, but abandoned that in preference of a cheap air conditioner. it took my mini fridge running 24/7 for a full week to do what the air conditioner will in 2 hours. they are just not meant to sink large amounts of heat.

if waiting a week or two to chill a few kegs to serving temperature (... and then waiting a few weeks for them to carbonate after they get there) is no big deal for you, then great. but im not nearly that patient.

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Old 09-15-2011, 07:14 PM   #8
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Jumping in head first saves you a ton of expense and time. My first batch was all grain (kit from B3) and it went into kegs. (Bottling to me seems entirely too much effort, if my friends want to take beer home with them they can bring growlers.) After that it was a matter of imagination and trying different malts.
If you've done your homework and decided on HERMS then by all means build it. You'll be much happier in the long run with your own design. (There are a million ways to skin this cat and everyone is convinced their system is the best.) What you have here will be quite functional.
Over time you'll tweak it but that's going to happen with any setup. The more you tweak, the more personalized YOUR BREWERY becomes.
Best of luck and I'm sure you'll be pleased with your rig and the beer it produces!

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Old 09-15-2011, 07:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audger View Post
ive found that mini-fridges dont have enough horsepower to cool anything more than a sandwich or a few beer cans. i had intended to use one for a ferment chamber and kegerator, but abandoned that in preference of a cheap air conditioner. it took my mini fridge running 24/7 for a full week to do what the air conditioner will in 2 hours. they are just not meant to sink large amounts of heat.

if waiting a week or two to chill a few kegs to serving temperature (... and then waiting a few weeks for them to carbonate after they get there) is no big deal for you, then great. but im not nearly that patient.
This sounds a little dissapointing...especially after how much of a PITA is was tearing that fridge apart. Question though, I'm not looking for serving temps, I figured it should be enough to get a space large enough for 2 kegs and a carboy cool enough for Ales to ferment no? Isn't the upper 60's cool enough for that?
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Old 09-15-2011, 07:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsklhm10 View Post
Good luck with the build. I just finished my e-brewery build and absolutely love it. On a side note, after looking at your diagram I think you may need to add one more valve. The top left of the HLT has a 90* into a T fitting, I think you need a valve on one side of the T, if not than the flow of liquid could go in any direction. Maybe I'm missing something? You have a valve on the BK and MLT on the same T.
What I am hoping for, when recirculating the wort, the T will actually be oriented vertically and the wort will flow down vice upand over...I was wondering if that would require some tweaking and/or another valve. I figured I could cut the cost first and try it out. If it doesn't work the way I hoped (most cases it doesn't...) I'll grab up another valve.
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