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Old 04-12-2010, 07:23 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by MikeRLynch View Post
I skimmed the thread real quick, but didn't see this question:

How long does it take you to get your water up to temp with 2 5000k elements in the HLT? I imagine it wouldn't take too long to get the BK up and going, seeing as how you're pumping 170ish degree water in there to begin with. But I'm wondering how long it takes for it to go from the 50ish degree water to 160 or so for mashing.
I cheat a bit. I pump hot water from the house (which is heated by our wood boiler) at around 120 degrees into my HLT to start. From there I guess it takes around 30 minutes or so to get up to strike temp, but I honestly have never timed it. Then once the boil kettle has 17 gallons in it, the float valve kicks in on and starts to heat the wort. By the time I have finished collecting 35-40 gallons of wort, the kettle is up in the 180s and then its about 30 minutes to a rolling boil. During that time I scoop out the spent grains from the mash tun into 7 gallon buckets and lug them off into the nearby woods, and otherwise start to clean up. Overall, its definitely less work to make a barrel of beer with my electric brew kettle than it was to make 10 gallons using my old banjo burner, thanks in no small part to my dual peristaltic pumps. They take care of the recirculating, sparging, and other liquid transfers whereas before I did everything by hand using buckets. I'm in the middle of brewing up a barrel of American Wheat today and its been one of the easiest brews days I've ever had.
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:30 PM   #102
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Pumps are certainly the way to go, we're designing ours with two at least.

Thanks for the info on the times, I think we may have to go a bit differently with ours, we have a 120 gal HLT that we were going to use for mashing, sparging, and cleanup. The two elements aren't going to be enough to get it up to temp in a timely fashion, so we're going to have to go with more elements, or insulate the tun.

You guys don't insulate those 55 gal buckets, how well do they hold temps? Or are you using a rims system?

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Old 04-12-2010, 07:49 PM   #103
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You guys don't insulate those 55 gal buckets, how well do they hold temps? Or are you using a rims system?
No rims, although we did consider it. The 55 gallon buckets do a fairly good job of holding the heat, they might lose a couple degrees an hour. My old 10 gallon Igloo cooler didn't lose any temp at all, so obviously these buckets aren't as good at holding heat. But when it comes to repeatability, I'm content. If I mash at 152 and it ends up at 150, it will do the same thing next time. So when it comes time to sell my beer I'm confident I can repeat any brew. The other thing is that when I'm mashing 70-100 lbs of grain at a time, that's a lot of mass to cool down. My Thermapen doesn't penetrate to the center of the mash where I suspect the temp holds constant. The edges that are exposed to the uninsulated plastic are likely the only areas that experience that slight temp drop. Its not a perfect setup, but it works for me.

If you're concerned with it taking too long to heat your strike water, you might consider filling up your water the night before and setting a timer to start heating it a couple hours before you show up to brew. This wouldn't solve your problem of waiting for your boil kettle to heat up, but it would shorten your brew day considerably. Just a thought.
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Old 04-12-2010, 08:01 PM   #104
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True, I'm hoping though with some water heater insulation (basically just fiberglass in a waterproof plastic sheet) We can get the elements we have to be more efficient. Right now I was worried about having to insulate our mashtun too, but if you only experience a degree or two drop in plastic, I can't imagine 70-100 lbs of grain dropping much more than that in a metal tank. Besides, it'd be a shame covering up all that beautiful steel

Thanks so much for posting this stuff guys, and keep us updated on the legal side too!

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Old 05-13-2010, 04:36 PM   #105
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I received my Brewer's Notice in the mail today!

Now I just need to apply to the NH Liquor Commission for my Beverage Manufactures License and get my labels approved. I could be selling beer by the end of next month if all goes as planned. They received my application on February 19, 2010 and the date it was approved is May 6, 2010. That's 76 days. Much quicker than I was expecting. As you can imagine, I'm thrilled

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Old 05-13-2010, 09:31 PM   #106
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Congratulations! I work with the TTB on a daily basis and I know they aren't always the easiest to deal with (we move large volumes of ethanol, so they've got their eyes on us all the time).

One question - while browsing through the CFR I thought that I read that a brewery can't be located in a dwelling. How are you getting around this given the location of your system? Haven't most HomeBrewTalkers gone pro had to build detached garages and such?

Beautiful set up btw - I'm jealous.

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Old 05-14-2010, 03:29 AM   #107
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Congratulations! I work with the TTB on a daily basis and I know they aren't always the easiest to deal with (we move large volumes of ethanol, so they've got their eyes on us all the time).

One question - while browsing through the CFR I thought that I read that a brewery can't be located in a dwelling. How are you getting around this given the location of your system? Haven't most HomeBrewTalkers gone pro had to build detached garages and such?

Beautiful set up btw - I'm jealous.
The brewery is not located in a dwelling. Its located in a barn, which is pretty much the same thing as a detached garage as far as the law is concerned. I did have to apply for a variance due to the residential setting, but that was pretty simple. The TTB emailed me a template, I changed one paragraph, signed it, and sent it back. If you brew in your house I think there is zero chance you will be approved for a Brewer's Notice.
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Old 05-19-2010, 02:44 AM   #108
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Just wanted to say that I'm impressed and good luck. My uncle has a cabin near South Wentworth, NH, and we go boating on Big Squam. I can't wait to give your beer a try next time we get up there.

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Old 06-17-2010, 10:29 AM   #109
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got our final State of NH approval so we are now off and brewing
should have something to sell in 6-7 weeks

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Old 06-17-2010, 01:14 PM   #110
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nie work! congrats on the new setup and state approval

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