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Old 07-08-2009, 05:49 PM   #1
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Default The Evil Gnome HERMS Brew Rig

No, it's not a crazy trailer setup like beerthirty has, but it's perfect for my needs. The only thing I'm looking to change is to ditch all the vinyl tubing (please don't berate me, I didn't know any better) and replace it with silicone with QDs.

First is the mashing setup. I do my mashing in the kitchen. Here's an overview of the cart and equipment:





My HLT is my old brew kettle that I used when I did extract brewing. I heat up my strike/sparge water as needed.



The stike/sparge water just drains straight into my mash tun. The mash tun has a false bottom I picked up from Northern Brewer.



Ball valve mounted in the mash tun to feed my pump:



Here's my recirculation pump. No, it's not a March Pump. It's a Pondmaster 350. When I first tested it out, it leaked a little through the pump cover (it cracked from the heat). I sealed the cracks with a small bead of silicone and it hasn't dripped a single drop since.



The pump feeds my heat exchanger. Just a little 2 gallon cooler:

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Old 07-08-2009, 05:50 PM   #2
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Mashing Part 2:

The copper coils just feed straight through the wall near the top. I'd like to find some way to seal it so if anyone has suggestions, let me know:



Here's the inside of the Heat Exchanger. It's a 20 foot length of 3/8" OD copper coil, a 1500W @ 120V heating element and an aquarium airstone for agitating the water:



Here's the agitation pump. I $7 jobber I picked up at PetsMart:



The heat exchanger returns back to the top of the MLT:



The black wire coming out the top is the temperature probe that goes to my Love controller:



This is the Love controller based HERMS control box:



Here is what the bottom of the MLT return looks like:

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Old 07-08-2009, 05:57 PM   #3
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Boiling is done on the patio with a turkey fryer on a propane burner. I'm sure you all know what that looks like. While I'm boiling, I move the cart outside and set up the rig for chilling. Here's the details of the chilling setup:

My immersion chiller. Just a 20 foot coild of 3/8" OD copper I stole the rib cage design idea from RedIrocZ-28 and added a recirculation inlet and outlet.



Here's an overview of how I set it up for chilling. I fill both the mash tun and the heat exchanger with water and ice. This give me about 40 feet of copper which gives me pretty good performance as long as I don't run out of ice:



The pump to feed the immersion chiller is a submersible I picked up at Harbor Freight. It works fine as long as it doesn't get too hot.



This is where the pump feeds the immersion chiller and the return feed just goes back into the mash tun:

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Old 07-08-2009, 06:03 PM   #4
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Chilling Part 2:

The inlet for the whirlpool action is at the very bottom. This also allows me to use the whirlpool pump to transfer the wort to my fermenter:



It's a little hard to see, but the whirlpool inlet feeds into the top of the thermowell junction mounted in the lid of my mash tun:





The same pump I used for mashing works to recirculate the whirlpool action:



This feeds into the Heat Exchanger (now filled with ice water):



These are the connections for the whirlpool tubes:



And here's the outlet at the top for the whirlpool action:



Okay. I think that's it. Lots of stolen ideas from this forum and a few I came up with on my own. Questions? Comments? Suggestions?

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Old 07-08-2009, 06:29 PM   #5
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No offense but my head hurts thinking of setting up an all grain process. I think I'll stick to extract brewing for now.

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Old 07-08-2009, 06:43 PM   #6
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Looks like a good setup, my only question is the pondmaster pump's heat resistance and food-gradeness (is that a word?)

Looks like you have your process pretty well down though.

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Old 07-08-2009, 06:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opengun View Post
No offense but my head hurts thinking of setting up an all grain process. I think I'll stick to extract brewing for now.
That's a nice rig for sure, but don't let all these nice rigs fool you: AG brewing need not be complex or expensive.
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opengun View Post
No offense but my head hurts thinking of setting up an all grain process. I think I'll stick to extract brewing for now.
Don't let it scare you! You can do All Grain in a very simple way too.
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:54 PM   #9
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Looks like a nice compact HERMS system with all the capabilities without being a mega budget build. It looks like it should be able to do most of the beer styles out there short of those that reach the high OG range with 20+ pounds of malt.

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Old 07-08-2009, 06:56 PM   #10
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nice setup. I wonder if the pump is food grade also. the only thing that i would add to your rig would be a finish on the stand. it would allow easier clean up since spilled wort is common and you evidently brew inside. That I am jealous of. having to start a brew at 5 am just so you can be back inside by the time its 110* really sucks. Congrats! I have some Mcmasters brass QDs if you are interested.

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