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Old 07-15-2012, 10:54 PM   #1
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Default Planning Herms Brutus - Critiques Welcome

Hey all, I'm planning on building a new brutus system, and I need some pointers. So far I plan on pretty much replicating Kal's "The Electric Brewery" system, except I will be using gas for now, and this will obviously be a manual system.

I plan to start things out by building a weldless brew stand, as seen here.

Here is a poorly drawn layout of what I plan to do:


At the moment I currently have nothing; simply cash and: A keg converted brew kettle, and a 10 gallon igloo mash tun (which i will probably sell). So I will essentially build this system from scratch.

I plan on using 100% quick disconnects on all my ball valves. The ones Kal used in his system look real shiny, pretty, and quicker than the cam lock disconnects with the 2 little clips that bobby and AHS sell.

Some side notes are that the MLT will feature a false bottom, and the keg will have a hop stopper. Also, I forgot to draw sight glasses on the HLT and BK. I'm still on the fence about installing a sight glass on the MLT. The pumps will be those chugger pumps bobby sells on his site that have the stainless center inlet.

My main concerns with this build at the moment are:
1. During the doughing in process, won't the keg walls (MLT) absorb a lot of the heat and cause the mash to drop in temp? I know the HERMS process is supposed to fix that, but will I have to keep turning on/off the HLT burner every 2 minutes or so? How well do kegs maintain their temperature?

2. To anyone that has a system similar to mine, how much detail do i have to pay to maintaining HLT temps during the mash. I understand i am building a manual system, but how difficult is it to maintain accurate temps so that the mash has a good consistent temp? In other words, do i need to be starring at the thermometers throughout my 60-90min mashes, or will i have the luxury to sit back and have a homebrew and check on it every 10 mins or so?

3. I don't know if installing a burner on the MLT is necessary at all. I currently have 2 propane tanks, and i think i can just hook them up individually, to each burner. This way I won't have to install the gas manifold i drew up (mostly because i don't know how )

This brutus is just a temporary build. I plan on building a brew shed within the year, and switching to all electric. But for now, I need to build something that can help me brew ASAP. If anyone has ever built a gas powered HERMS system, please provide me with any input on my 3 concerns, ideas, feedback, comments, criticism, opinions or anything you feel i may be overlooking. Thanks a bunch!!

-Alex



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Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post

“Get your beer off the yeast cake on day 7 or your beer will crawl out of the fermenter and eat your youngest child”

“Your beer will be the equivalent of rhinoceros urine unless it sits on the primary yeast cake for at least 4 weeks.”
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:03 AM   #2
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I am in the process of completing my HERMS gas system right now. From what I have been reading the HLT with the coil will need to maintain a higher temp then the mash needs to be. Only like 5-8 degrees. I could be wrong but this is what I have read. So you will want to monitor the differences in temp between the two.
It will take some trial runs to dial your own process in.

I can tell you the way I am going to do it is have a thermometer at the outlet of my coil so I can see what temp it is at and make adjustments from there.
They also have the insulation that you can wrap the kegs in. I have read that it helps maintain temps.



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Old 07-16-2012, 12:07 AM   #3
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Hi

Some, but not all of the answers:

1) You can run one propane tank to all of your burners. Much easier than trying to play with two or three tanks. You put needle valves on the burners to control their flame height.

2) The water in the MLT or HLT is a really good thermal mass. THe walls of the keg don't really matter much. At dough in, yes the temp will drop a bit. You can use any of a number of programs to predict what temp you need to water to be at before the grain goes in, so the result is "just right"

3) A burner under the MLT is a pretty good idea. You will indeed loose heat from the kettle while it's in use.

4) Consider that you may want to re-circulate while routing to the BK and making up out of the HLT. Not a big deal, but could mean another valve. A float based valve is a cute way to take care of things.

Lots more possibilities, but that's probably enough for now.

Bob

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Old 07-16-2012, 01:12 AM   #4
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So during the first few minutes of the mash, having a burner under the MLT might be of use right? I wouldn't mind having one, and it might add to the luster of the build, if I could only find a dang DIY propane manifold build!

On a side note, you got any pics of your build tally?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post

“Get your beer off the yeast cake on day 7 or your beer will crawl out of the fermenter and eat your youngest child”

“Your beer will be the equivalent of rhinoceros urine unless it sits on the primary yeast cake for at least 4 weeks.”
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:18 AM   #5
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/yet-another-brew-stand-build-327473/

I haven't really been updating it like I would like. I am going to update with more recent pics this week. I just finished putting on the heat sheilds. Its not going to be the best looking peice but it will get the job done.
I did my propane manifold using the black pipe you get at HD. 1/2, then to valves to control the flame.

Is that a Counter flow chiller on the left side of the stand. If you are going for a Herms type then you use the coil in the HLT to chill the wort. Don't have to have a seperate chiller.
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:06 AM   #6
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Is that a Counter flow chiller on the left side of the stand. If you are going for a Herms type then you use the coil in the HLT to chill the wort. Don't have to have a seperate chiller.
I guess i never thought of that... So it would work by putting cold water into the HLT and perpetually recirculating wort from the BK to the HLT coil back to the BK until the temp reaches the coolant temp, and then into the fermentor?

Would the water in the HLT have to be constantly flushed and replenished with fresh cold water?

This sounds like a good idea, but I'm not sure the SS coil would provide as much temperature exchange as a copper CFC, and the water in the HLT isn't constantly flowing like in a CFC.

This would be awesome if it worked though!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post

“Get your beer off the yeast cake on day 7 or your beer will crawl out of the fermenter and eat your youngest child”

“Your beer will be the equivalent of rhinoceros urine unless it sits on the primary yeast cake for at least 4 weeks.”
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:50 AM   #7
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The two pumps is what keeps it flowing. You basically circulate the boiling wort through the coil in the HLT, then you add the water to it. You should also be circulating the water in the HLT so you don't get any hot/cold spots. Then you can add ice to drop the temp even more. I am not sure how much more efficient the CFC would be over the coil, but its basically in a closed system so you can save that water in the HLT to either flush the system with boiling water or you can use it to start a second batch.

I'm sure people who have been using their HERMS system for a long time can chime in and let you know how quickly they can cool the wort. Again I am still in the process of putting mine together.

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Secondary - Imperial Stout w/ Chiles, SOUR TORTOISE
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, Nut Brown Ale, Cream Ale
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:29 PM   #8
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@OP,

I'm in the process of sourcing parts for an almost identical setup as yours. I can't say that I have a ton of experience with setting up a system like this; however, if I run into any catastrophies along the way, I'll be happy to provide feedback.

-SAR

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Old 07-16-2012, 09:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarsnavy05
@OP,

I'm in the process of sourcing parts for an almost identical setup as yours. I can't say that I have a ton of experience with setting up a system like this; however, if I run into any catastrophies along the way, I'll be happy to provide feedback.

-SAR
I'll be updating with pics as I go. So far I'm checking the price for local steel. Feel free to provide feedback!
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Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post

“Get your beer off the yeast cake on day 7 or your beer will crawl out of the fermenter and eat your youngest child”

“Your beer will be the equivalent of rhinoceros urine unless it sits on the primary yeast cake for at least 4 weeks.”
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
I guess i never thought of that... So it would work by putting cold water into the HLT and perpetually recirculating wort from the BK to the HLT coil back to the BK until the temp reaches the coolant temp, and then into the fermentor?
Thats exactly how i do mine, 50ft of coiled copper in the HLT... only I put 40lbs of ice in the HLT then fill with water, the heat transfer is it amazing. It cools the wort in 1 pass, putting it back in the boil only heats it up again.

So basically pump from the BK through the coils then directly into the fermentor. I'm always open to suggestions, but this has worked as good or better than anything I've seen or used so far.


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