Originally Posted by kmmuellr
Just tooling around the site looking at things brought up a few questions before I make decisions...
1. Heatsticks vs mounted elements: Pros and cons? Seems like the heatsticks would work just as well, be easier to clean, etc. Con: not as elegant? Fill me in.
2. I intend on 5 and 10 gal batches in my basement: What wattage elements? Likely I'll run w/ a HERMS, but I do have a RIMS start from my BSME senior design 12 years ago. 240V, and I've got a buddy who's a master electrician to do my wiring for beer!
3. HERMS running w/ a water circ pump: Would it be easier to use a motorized stirrer to keep the HLT water from stratifying? Why go w/ the add'l pump? Seems that a motor and fan blade (or something?) would be less investment.
4. I saw a thread about pro's/cons w/ a PID vs. BSC or something like that. What's a BSC and what are its advantages?
Some damn cool builds here. I'd love to make something as sweet looking as some of you here, but I usually go w/ function over form to save a few pennies!
1. I use mounted elements and haven’t personally used heatsticks. I did some research on heatsticks when designing my rig but decided to just go straight to mounted elements. Heatsticks provide more flexibility if you will be using different kettles but they are more cumbersome and probably more dangerous. If you use a heatstick consideration also needs to be given as to what size kettle and batches you plan on making. For example if you use a converted keg and want to do a 5 gallon batch you would probably need to build the heatstick with an L configuration so the element is parallel to the bottom of the kettle, if you just used it vertically I don’t think it would be fully submerged in the wort. If you plan on using the same kettles for a while I would go with mounted elements. Mounting an element isn’t any harder than building a heatstick and then you don’t have to work around it on brew days.
2. I use Camco 5500w
elements and they work great for both 5 and 10 gallon batches.
3. I am not using HERMS yet but designed it with the idea to add it later. From my research I think either would work well. There are a lot of videos around with people who have made stirrers like what you described and they seem to work great. I think most people do recirculation because they can use the second pump for other things like fly sparging. If you don't need another pump and have the materials to make a mechanical stirrer go for it.
and BCS(Brewery Control System
) are two different ways to control the system. These are basically how you interface with the system, the PID has physical buttons and a display where you setup and monitor things while the BCS uses a computer, smart phone, or some other device to control it. BCS are very cool and offer a lot of features beyond a PID but they are also more expensive and complicated. If you want all the benefits of a BCS then they're excellent but if you just want something simple a PID will get the job done. I currently use PID's and am very happy with them.