Over the past month or so I've been working on plans for a new brew rig. For the past year or so I've been brewing on my Ghetto Fabulous Electric HERMS, but it is time for an upgrade.
The design goals for this system are:
- Be able to heat the HLT with electricity *or* propane
- No quick-disconnect changes during brewing
- Easy to clean
- Control mash temperature via HERMS coil
- Portable for brewing at friend's houses or other group brews
- Be able to heat HLT rapidly for step infusions
- Permanently mounted IC in boil kettle
- Single-tier fly sparging
- Whirlpool ports in HLT and BK
I knew I would need 2 pumps to fly-sparge on a single tier system, so I am replacing the stir motor with a whirlpool port on the HLT. I will keep a pump running, recirculating water in the HLT throughout the mash, reducing temperature stratification.
I love my immersion chiller. It keeps cold break out of my primary, and allows me to rapidly cool the wort, as long as I keep it moving a bit in the BK. I hate having to put it in the BK, and stir it around a bit to rapidly cool things. I always have visions of nasty things falling in to my cooling wort and potentially spoiling the batch. By whirlpooling with an internally mounted IC, I will get rapid cooling without having to move the IC, since the wort will be moving around it. It should also allow me to get a nice cone of hop material and trub in the BK prior to draining in to the fermenter.
All changes in the fluid patch will be done with full port ball valves. It will be a combination of high-temp silicone hose, and insulated hard copper.
I'm building a stand from 1.5" square stainless steel (16 gauge/0.065" wall). I priced both mild steel and stainless for the stand. The mild steel cost was about $50, stainless about $150. I plan to brew on this for years, and not having to paint it or powder coat it, plus the bling factor of stainless is easily worth $100.
Temperature control of the HLT will initially be done with an Auber PID - Though I may move to a brewtroller in the future.
I will be using banjo burners for the HLT and BK, though while brewing at home I'll heat the HLT with a 5,500 watt element. The burner will be used when brewing where 220v AC is unavailable. I might decide to boil with electricity in the future, though my initial plans are to boil with propane.
The stand will have a gas beam, and hard plumbed burners. The HLT burner will be controlled by the PID. The panel will have a switch to switch between gas or electric HLT control. The panel will also have switches for both pumps. I'm going to use my march 809 pump for the MLT/BK inlet pump - and I'm working on finding a Little Giant pump for the HLT inlet pump. I like how quiet the Little Giant pumps are, and they have a little higher flow rate. They are however only rated to 200F, and I will exceed that when whirlpooling the BK.
This is the initial plan for the stand and keggles. I will post updates with diagrams with valves and pictures of the system. The goal is to have it completed before Big Brew 2010 (May 1st 2010).