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Old 04-24-2011, 03:47 AM   #1
cwalter13
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Default HERMS or RIMS?

I am confused. I used to use a RIMS system. I pumped my mash through a pipe with a heating element. My goal was to recirculate the mash, keep a consistent temp, and raise the temp to mash out. It did not do a good job of raising the temp so I switched to a HERMS in hopes of reaching my 3 goals, only faster. With that I pumped my mash through "chilzilla" while also pumping hot water from my HLT to raise the temp. That didn't work that great either.

Now I am thinking of attaching my immersion wort chiller to hoses and pumps and pumping my mash through it as it is in my HLT (similar concept to a HERMS). I just don't know what to do. There are a million ways to accomplish my goal, but I just don't know the best way with the equipment that I have.

Any ideas or discussion would be greatly appreciated.


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Old 04-24-2011, 04:10 AM   #2
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What about your current setup don't you like? A RIMS is generally faster for stepping than a HERMS (because you're heating a much smaller amount of liquid). I have a HERMS, I don't have any allusions about it being great for step mashes, but it works fine for getting to mashout. I recirculate during the mash with the HLT at mash temp, then I heat the HLT to mashout temp and keep recirculating. The temp of the wort going back into the mash tun is the same temp as my HLT temp - so raising the entire temp of the mash is a matter of how quickly I can pump the entire volume through the HLT (and how quickly I can get the volume of water in the HLT to the temp I'm aiming for)


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Old 04-24-2011, 04:25 AM   #3
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FWIW I am using an immersion chiller as a HERMS coil in my newest build as well. I figured it made a lot more sense to reuse the equipment I am already using rather than build an entirely separate heating bucket. Unfortunately I am still waiting on a few parts of the system so I haven't had a chance to brew on it yet. I can't speak for how poorly or well this works.
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:44 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by cwalter13 View Post
Any ideas or discussion would be greatly appreciated.
Have you tried direct firing your MT. I'm running a direct fired RIMS and it has been working very well for me. IMO, the key to success with this sort of system is a high flow rate on the circulation. A full width false bottom is also essential IMO.
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Catt22 View Post
Have you tried direct firing your MT. I'm running a direct fired RIMS and it has been working very well for me. IMO, the key to success with this sort of system is a high flow rate on the circulation. A full width false bottom is also essential IMO.
+1. Direct firing works well. The only thing I would add to this is that I turn my MLT burner down after heating my strike water so it isn't so powerful during the mash recirc.
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Old 04-24-2011, 04:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cwalter13 View Post
Now I am thinking of attaching my immersion wort chiller to hoses and pumps and pumping my mash through it as it is in my HLT (similar concept to a HERMS).
That's not a similar concept to HERMs, that IS HERMS. What you were doing with the chilzilla is a slightly different concept because you're HEX isn't in the HLT - though the water comes from the HLT so I guess still HERMS technically. If you put the immersion in the HLT and pump through that and back into the MT, that's HERMS exactly.

That's basically what my build is. I bought a plate chiller, so I took my old IC - punched two holes in my HLT and put fittings (QDs and a ball valve on the lower one) on it. No idea why that would be any more efficient than pumping through a CFC though - either way, your wort should come out the same temp as the HLT water going into it.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:26 PM   #7
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I'm tending towards direct fire, auto stir mash, separate lauter, or insert a lautering manifold into the mash tun after the mash is ready and the stirrer removed...
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:39 PM   #8
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Have you tried direct firing your MT. I'm running a direct fired RIMS and it has been working very well for me. IMO, the key to success with this sort of system is a high flow rate on the circulation. A full width false bottom is also essential IMO.
I also use a direct fired RIMS with a more coarse crush and full width false bottom and it works great in stepping up temperatures. I agree that the key is to have a high flow rate on the recirculation.
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Old 04-25-2011, 01:39 PM   #9
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@ Bruin: I don't like the RIMS set up because it was not heating to mash out temp fast enough. I might not have a hot enough heating coil maybe. I am thinking about setting up a HERMS exactly like yours because I do not have a flame under my mash tun for direct fire, but I do under my HLT.

@ Catt22: I thought about a direct fire system but I have other options with the equipment that I have now. A friend of mine likes his direct fire but I think I might make that a last resort.

A few of you guys have mentioned a high recirculation rate. Wouldn't that increase the chances of a stuck mash because you are compressing the grain bed?

I think what I will do for my next batch is try the HERMS where I recirculate through my IWC in my HLT back into the mash.

Thanks for the chatter guys. Please keep it going so I have more food for thought.
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Old 04-25-2011, 03:26 PM   #10
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@ Catt22:A few of you guys have mentioned a high recirculation rate. Wouldn't that increase the chances of a stuck mash because you are compressing the grain bed?
The grain bed will gradually settle and compact when circulating the wort through the grain bed a la RIMS or HERMS. This can eventually lead to a stuck mash if allowed to progress to that point. The grain bed consolidation is inevitable and happens to some degree whether or not one is aware of it. It's not a big deal as the cure is to simply stir the grain bed and resume the circulation. I stir the grain bed a lot anyway, so this is not even a minor inconvenience. Even a partially compacted grain bed will lead to channeling and that's the main reason I stir the grain bed frequently.


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