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Old 07-20-2012, 10:11 PM   #1
flanneltrees804
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Jan 2012
Chicago, IL
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I am planning a build in the near future, going all electric, single tier using keggles for now and maybe upgrading to larger pots down the road. I was looking through different control panel builds and I think I am going to go with Kal's control panel because I really want to shoot for repeatability in my batches but do not want to go fully automated, I can't afford that stuff and I like being more involved.

As I looked through all the control panels though I couldn't help but wonder what the advantages/disadvantages of Kal's setup are. I don't plan on doing anything crazy with my brewing, I don't need to run the BK and HLT at the same time, I do pretty basic stuff. I'm sure Kal will chime in here but what about all of you others with different systems. What do you wish you had? What do you think Kal's panel has that is totally unnecessary/overkill? I have the money for a Kal clone of sorts but if I don't need to spend the money then I won't.

 
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:54 PM   #2
iijakii
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Jun 2010
Portland-ish, OR
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In my opinion that's pretty much primo. You aren't going to run into too many limitations, especially since you aren't worried about double-batches. The HERMS setup will give you great repeatability.

But whether or not you need that is a call you need to make. What exactly do you want to do with a new brewing setup. What would you like to spend, and what's your limit?

 
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:22 PM   #3
amurphyz
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Mar 2012
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Agreed, kals system is awesome. The only thing that I changed in my build, is I took the volt/amp meters out, which immediately gave me more room in the control panel. I also removed the temp alarms from the pid and added float switches for water level, just so I don't loose track and get the water level below the element, soviet did have to add a 12v din rail mount transformer. The only other thing I changed was the outlets, could not see me paying that much for some outlets, so I got cheaper excesses outlets on eBay, but just put regular l6-30 outlets in the bottom, but thanks again to kal for sharing!!!!

 
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:38 PM   #4
flanneltrees804
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Jan 2012
Chicago, IL
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My plan for the system is mostly to have fun but I am also seriously considering opening a brewery in the next 3-5 years and figured this would be a great investment as a pilot system for developing recipes. My budget is $6,000 but only $4,500 is going to the actual system, the other is for grain storage, milling station, fermentation, yeast handling and other general space build-out.

The most involved/complicated my brewing will get is protein rests and I don't plan on doing them often. A simple single infusion is what I'll use 99% of the time. Thanks for the input, if you have more please send it my way!

 
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:08 PM   #5
psbuckland
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Feb 2011
Frederick, MD
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You should upgrade to DIN Rails in whatever setup you choose. Kals system is designed well, however the control panel build is a bit dated with all the terminal blocks from the 70's.

 
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:33 AM   #6
lunchbox
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Oct 2009
North Carolina
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Question. If I read it correctly, Kal's system only allows one element at a time. So when you start your brew day, you get your strike water ready, but in which tank? And in order for the HERMS to work, you need your sparge water at the same temp. So how are you heating up both with only one element?
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:57 AM   #7
amurphyz
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Mar 2012
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I heat my strike water in my HLT, but I usually heat 12 gallons or so. After I mash in, I let it set for 10 mins or so, and then I recirculate through the herms that is in my HLT. Therefore you only need one element at a time. There is no element in the mash tun, just in the HLT and BK. hope I explained it somewhat, it worked in my head anyway!!

 
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Old 07-24-2012, 01:59 AM   #8
bigljd
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Oct 2010
Sacramento, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunchbox View Post
Question. If I read it correctly, Kal's system only allows one element at a time. So when you start your brew day, you get your strike water ready, but in which tank? And in order for the HERMS to work, you need your sparge water at the same temp. So how are you heating up both with only one element?
I don't have a Kal clone, but I do have an e-brewery with a HERMS that only runs 1 element at a time. I heat my strike and sparge water (minus 1 gal - I'll explain in a minute) at the same time in the HLT. It doesn't take long with a 5500 watt element. My strike water is usually around 175 (I don't pre-heat my MLT, so my strike water is hotter to heat the MLT cooler).

I'll pump the strike water into the MLT, and when the water matches the target strike temp from Beersmith I'll dough in. Then I'll add in the last gallon of water into the HLT to drop it near the temp I need to re-circulate my mash thru the HERMS to maintain mash temps. I'll recirculate through the HERMS for the full mash. At the end of the mash I'll heat up the HLT to 172ish which brings my mash to mashout temps and also heats my HLT water to sparge temps. Then I'll start sparging, and when the wort level is comfortably above the kettle element I'll switch power over to the kettle to bring it slowly to a boil. I usually set the kettle to about 70% and it's very close to a boil by the time my sparge is finished.

Hope that makes sense - I've had a few homebrews.

 
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Old 07-24-2012, 02:07 AM   #9
lunchbox
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Oct 2009
North Carolina
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Actually, that makes perfect sense. Perhaps because I too have had a few homebrews. Thanks.
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Old 07-24-2012, 02:11 AM   #10
amurphyz
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Mar 2012
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I do almost the same, but I will heat like I said 10 or 12 gallons, depending on calculations I what I and brewing, grain bill, etc, after I mash in, I'll add some cold water also til I hit my herms temp, which is usually 4 degrees higher than what I want the mash temp at, in the end, this gives me extra water to heat back up and use to flush my lines, chiller and what not. But as sime as it seems, I never thought about cranking up the bk when the water level is above the element, or in my case, when the alarm has stopped. I have float alarms in my HLT and BK that at set to go off when the water level is within 3" of the element, so if I have my alarm turned "on", when it shuts off, I could fire the element at 70% like you said and start heating/boiling faster. Thanks! :cheers:

 
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