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Old 12-15-2009, 08:51 PM   #1
MrShake
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Default MrShake's Magic Brewhaus or Top Hat Brewery

UPDATE - Added Pics to First Post - UPDATE

Ok, I've made the decision.... its time to upgrade my brewing setup to ease the efforts of an all grain brew day.

What I have decided on (at the moment) is a single tier, all electric HERMS. The one wrench in the plan is that I want to have the option to take this single tier out to a brew club event and use propane to fire the boil kettle. In the garage (normal brew location) I want to use a 120v element for the HLT/HEX and a 220v element for the boil kettle.

I have now scrapped the idea of this rig being ultra portable. A generator on site is really the only option... for now.

As well, I intend to use the BrewTroller and BrewTroller Remote projects for control in lieu of PIDS. I don't necessarily intent to automate the entire process, at least not all the time. But I'd like to get to a point of fill/push/go for each step at least.

I'm going to try sketchup for the first time in an effort to model this puppy. And as another first, I'm intending to learn to weld while making the frame.

I'll use this space as a log/journal, and try to remember to take pictures. This will not be a quick project, as I have to do this on a budget, but thats not unusual.

Here is an In-Progress Pics:


I'll update this pic with a current progress snapshot as I make updates.

I would like to seek your guy's wisdom regarding the Hybrid Boil Kettle.
90% of the time it will be a full electric kettle, no heat, easy peasy. The problem comes, when I want to run propane instead. I don't see a situation where I want to run both, so thats not an issue.

So, question is... how best to protect the element from the heat. Ideas for a potentially removable element.... or is there something that could be used to effectively insulate the connections from the burner?
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MrShake - Top Hat Brewery

Project Links: Electric HERMS | Wet Bar

Primary - Air
On Commercial Tap - Sam Adam's Octoberfest
On Tap 2 - Air
On Tap 3 - Air
On Tap 4 - Easy English Mild
On Tap 5 - Air


Last edited by MrShake; 04-06-2010 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:05 AM   #2
Suthrncomfrt1884
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I've never actually looked at an electric kettle, although I'm wanting to build one myself. Is there a reason you can't just keep the cord out of the way and fire it over the burner without removing the element? The element itself, and the material used to mount it on the keg, should be able to withstand heat. The only thing I would be worried about at that point is the power cord for the heater.

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Another HERMS rig...
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Old 12-16-2009, 03:10 AM   #3
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Weld in a 2" sanitary fitting on the keg. Mod a blank to house the heating element. When going to propane you can easily remove the element and place another blank in its place. Put the element on a plug so it can just be removed.

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Old 12-16-2009, 03:13 AM   #4
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Somewhere on here a few weeks ago I saw a post about a "heat stick". Basically it was a heating element attached to a piece of pvc that you hang on the side of keggle. This might work since its not actually attached to the keggle you just leave it behind when you head to the club brew.

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Old 12-17-2009, 02:41 AM   #5
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While I like the idea of a heat stick, that seems backwards, since most of the brewing (90%) will be using the electric element. Seems to me that that would need to be more robust than the heat stick situation.

GreenMonti, you wanna come to IL and weld in that 2" fitting? hahaha

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MrShake - Top Hat Brewery

Project Links: Electric HERMS | Wet Bar

Primary - Air
On Commercial Tap - Sam Adam's Octoberfest
On Tap 2 - Air
On Tap 3 - Air
On Tap 4 - Easy English Mild
On Tap 5 - Air

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Old 12-17-2009, 02:59 PM   #6
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So I tried installing Sketchup using wine in my Ubuntu environment, that didn't work out so well. I also tried a couple of linux compatable software options and found them to be intimidating. I guess I'll have to boot to vista to get a 3d rendering... doh

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MrShake - Top Hat Brewery

Project Links: Electric HERMS | Wet Bar

Primary - Air
On Commercial Tap - Sam Adam's Octoberfest
On Tap 2 - Air
On Tap 3 - Air
On Tap 4 - Easy English Mild
On Tap 5 - Air

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Old 12-17-2009, 07:10 PM   #7
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Here is my first draft sketch. This is water/worth path only... Done in visio (all I have at work)

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MrShake - Top Hat Brewery

Project Links: Electric HERMS | Wet Bar

Primary - Air
On Commercial Tap - Sam Adam's Octoberfest
On Tap 2 - Air
On Tap 3 - Air
On Tap 4 - Easy English Mild
On Tap 5 - Air

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Old 12-17-2009, 11:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrShake View Post
GreenMonti, you wanna come to IL and weld in that 2" fitting? hahaha



Cheers.
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Old 12-21-2009, 02:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenMonti View Post


Cheers.
I'll take that as a yes... hahaah!!!


On a different note. I see MANY single-tier setups using 2 pumps. Is there specific reason for this that I'm missing?
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MrShake - Top Hat Brewery

Project Links: Electric HERMS | Wet Bar

Primary - Air
On Commercial Tap - Sam Adam's Octoberfest
On Tap 2 - Air
On Tap 3 - Air
On Tap 4 - Easy English Mild
On Tap 5 - Air

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Old 12-21-2009, 03:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrShake View Post
I'll take that as a yes... hahaah!!!


On a different note. I see MANY single-tier setups using 2 pumps. Is there specific reason for this that I'm missing?
It's nothing major. It's a conviniece thing. i.e. If you are sparging you can continue to pump to the BK. One willl work. 2 is better. It depends on if you can justify the extra $120. I know I can. Think about doing two brews at once. You start your next mash. What are you going to use to move the finished product from the BK while your mash is recirculating through your HEX? You could use gravity I guess. Lots of other uses.

Also if you want to propane fire your kettle, the only thing you have to do is plug the holes that the electric element left when you took it out. You hsould be able to come up with a weldless oring set up that would work if you arent going the sanitary route that greenmonti suggested. I have an electric BK and I would def not recommend buting heat form the propane on it until that element is out of there. Also remove any insulation you have placed on it.

Good luck!
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