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Old 06-08-2014, 06:37 PM   #11
Ohbsolutely
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I just finished my second brew with this configuration. Works beautifully. Not having to watch the dials (and knowing my temps are the same every time) is worth every penny.


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Old 06-08-2014, 06:42 PM   #12
Ohbsolutely
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And just to clarify, I am only using one Blichmann controller to control the heat of my HLT in order to regulate the temp of the mash. The controller is sitting on the utility shelf (I have a top tier) as a stand alone unit.


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Old 06-08-2014, 11:25 PM   #13
Zgreens
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Really? So you have the ToP sensor at the output of the HEX, and it fires the hlt burner? How tight is the control? Do you step mash with it?

 
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:14 AM   #14
TripleTap
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I use the TOP with a herms setup. I have the probe on the tower measuring the wort as it exits the MLT heading for the HERMS coil. I have to step into prevent overshooting my target. I think the software may allow me to change some Settings. I have not tried that yet. I also think that the probe reading as the wort exits the Herm's coil might work better.

 
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:16 PM   #15
dcbc
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I have been using the TOP in a direct fired configuration for approaching two years. In my configuration, I have the probe on the pump outlet (just south of the MLT). In a HERMs situation, you would want it after the HEX, i.e., after the point where heat is being applied. It will work great.
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:31 PM   #16
Zgreens
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Awesome! Thank you guys so much for the info! I can't wait to start pushing out 15-20 gallon batches! The ToP sounded appealing, but I hadn't heard about many setups. Glad I pulled the trigger now

 
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:53 PM   #17
Ohbsolutely
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zgreens View Post
Really? So you have the ToP sensor at the output of the HEX, and it fires the hlt burner? How tight is the control? Do you step mash with it?

Sorry for the delay in response. Sounds like others are also having a positive experience, but I thought I would still answer your original questions.

Sensor is at the output of HEX (technically at the input of the MLT where the wort returns to mash but the difference of 1.5 feet of hose). I would definitely support the notion of putting the sensor somewhere after the wort leaves the HLT coil. And yes, the sensor controls the HLT burner.

I have not step mashed but usually employ a mash out (so, like a step). Control can be very tight but certainly depends on how fast the recirculation flow rate is. That will be the important thing to notice on your specific brew system. A slower rate should help you have a closer range between mash temp and HLT water temp.

Some pictures are attached. Not the best but just wanted to quickly grab some off my phone.

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Old 07-03-2014, 06:01 PM   #18
Zgreens
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Thanks so much for the info! I'm setting up tonight, for what I'm calling the fourth of brew-ly! I can't wait to try it, I can't imagine it not working. I'll just have to tinker with flow rates, as you said. But then again, this is 75% tinkering for me.
Do you find the set point on the ToP to be consistent with your mash temp, or do you have to "shoot high"?

 
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:56 PM   #19
Ohbsolutely
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Awesome! I'll be bottling tomorrow and brewing Sat. Good times.

Don't shoot high. Just dial in your mash temp. Now, your HLT may read higher, but that is where your flow rate comes in. When I'm recirculating full speed, my HLT is 10 degrees hotter. The mash, however, is spot on. Dial down the speed and the temps will be closer.

Speaking of tinkering, the starter probe takes some love and affection. Keep a long screw driver handy when your brewing in case you need to move the probe back over a burner hole. Eventually the thing will find its mark and you'll be all set.

Here are some closer shots of the temp and burner probes...

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Old 07-12-2014, 10:31 PM   #20
Zgreens
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Help! I'm mashing right now, 55 minute in. The ToP is reading 153 on the return... Spot on, but my mash temp seems to be 140 at my 2"thermowell. I didn't calibrate my analog . Do I trust the ToP? My hlt is at about 162...



 
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