First off, a huge MAHALO (thank you!) to all the HBT'ers. Jkarp, Bobby M, Lonnie, Revvy, and every single person who has asked or answered a question on here.
This is the result:
Basically, I took jkarp's design from BYO/the HBT forums, and modified it slightly for my space and background. I work in building automation, so I used one of our Automated Logic controllers to read the sensors and run the pump and heating element.
jkarp had his pump and cfc in a bucket, but I didn't have horizontal room for two things on the counter, and I didn't really trust my ability to keep liquid out of the bucket anyway. So I needed a stand, craigslist to the rescue with a bar stool from a long-closed establishment. Pop off the seat, and add a planter base to catch any spilled fluids as well as make a broader place for the kettle to sit. Wrap the cfc around the stool, put a board across the middle for the pump to mount on, and voila!
Now, I'm in Hawaii, which pretty much means that fermentation temps are a pain without active cooling. Craigslist comes through again - this time in the form of a Rockstar drink fridge, that happens to hold exactly one fermentation bucket perfectly. I thought that was gonna be an actual innovation, until I saw that someone on the forums had already done it, shoot!
Those pictures are the first brew yesterday. I wanted to do something fairly simple, and jkarp said 'For a 3.5 gal batch, 7 lbs of Maris Otter and a couple
ounces of Cascade makes for a great pale ale.'.
So guess what I brewed? Yep, exactly that. Hopville and BeerSmith got me the specs, and here's my log:
10:40 5 gallons in kettle, element on
11:30 166f, recirc through mash tun and cfc to preheat them so they don't lose much temp during mashin
11:32 fill mlt with 2.6g of 166f, mash in
11:37 check mash temp - 154.4f
12:30 heat 2.6g kettle water to 182f
12:35 start pump, fill mlt to the top with water before opening mlt valve and allowing drain to kettle
12:45 mashout temp settles around 160f instead of 168f, start heating element to add heat
1:00 mash temp reaches 168f. stop pump, drain to kettle for boil. pre-boil volume 4.5g
1:30 boil starts, a touch anemic with only 1x2000w element. add 1oz Cascade in hop bag (t-60)
2:20 add 1oz Cascade in hop bag (t-10)
2:30 turn off heat, start pumping cold water while recirculating
3:30 wort reaches 76f, pump into fermenting bucket and pitch yeast. very last liquid into sampler, gravity 1.048 for a low-ish efficiency but hey, first time not too shabby
Alright, thanks again all for making it possible. No way it could have been done otherwise.