Well the time finally came and I put on all the finishing touches to my system that has been in the works for the past 6-8 months. Countless hours of research in electrical, cutting tools, acquiring parts and tools, and careful planning paid off in buckets. Now I have to think of something else to build! Time for that 8 foot wide triple-temp-zone walk-in cooler
Without the help of people who know much more than I do, this would not have been anywhere near possible. I took much example from Boerderij Kabouter (general build and cooling system), Airbalancer (control panel components), and Kal (heating element mounting) from this forum. Also Derrin from Brewer's Hardware gave me the idea to solder all of my nipples into the kegs rather than all the extra parts required for a weldless setup.
This is a 100% electric system capable of brewing 10-12 gallon low- to high-gravity OR 24 gallon low- to mid-gravity batches. It is a HERMS style system for 10-12's, and can work as a direct fire continuous recirc for 20-24 gallon. It is powered by 2 5500 watt ultra low density heating elements. Two march pumps are used to move beer and water around. Three temperature probes and the BCS-460 control system keeps all my temperatures right where I want them and organizes and logs my brewday in great detail.
The cooling method is the most interesting and unique part of the system. The concept is the brainchild of Boerderij_Kabouter from Homebrewtalk.com, who coined the system DITCHES, or Dual Immersion Thermal Coil Heat Exchange System. It involves recirculating ice water from the HLT through the boil kettle's hard mounted 50' copper coil, and simultaneously recirculating the wort through the HLT's matching coil. This results in cooling times which are absolutely ridiculous. It is way overkill and I love it.
Here are the pics I took while brewing on it for the first time. The beer is an original called "Concord Flight Ale", which is an amber ale featuring all New Zealand hops.
The system at rest
Underneath - mash tun plumbing
Preparing for mash in
Mashing and recirculating
BK runoff and first wort hopping