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Old 12-02-2013, 12:54 AM   #1
Nov 2013
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Posts: 24

I just completed the first part of my electric brewery, the eHERMS HLT, and I thought I'd post some pictures and step-by-step instructions in case somebody may need some help or inspiration with their build in the future. I am by no means an expert on the subject and have never built a HERMS system, but I'm proud of how the HLT turned out. My current setup is a 5 gal SS pot, 8 gal SS pot, DIY built igloo 10 gal MLT, and a propabe turkey fryer. I'll probably build the boil keggle next and keep using the igloo MLT for a batch or two.

The first thing I did was to make a jig to cut out the top of the keg. Attached is a picture of the Sketchup model and the jig itself. A 2" hole saw was used as the pivot. I attached my angle grinder to the jig with a couple clamps and rotated around the top until it was cut off. The internet is full of sites that show how to do this...

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The next thing I did was to make a jig to put my keg in for various things like drilling out the holes, cleaning off the adhesive residue from the stickers, and just generally making it very easy to work on during the build. The jig held the keg firmly in place as I work on it. It can be made with a single 2X4 and was the best $2.84 I spent on this build! Below is the Sketchup plan as well as a picture of the finished jig.

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I then drilled out the holes for the heat exchange coil, the water in/out, and the 5500 watt element. I used one step drill for the 13/16" holes for the coil and the water in/out. I used the same step drill for the element hole until it maxed out and then used my bigger step drill for the rest of the 1 1/4" hole. While the smaller step drill was realitively easy to use, there was DEFINITELY a learning curve using the bigger step drill. I actually burned out a my newer Dewalt drill using it. I figure out that slow and steady works much better than intense pressure! Be warned...Yes, I know I should have purchased a knockout punch for the 1 1/4" hole but I didn't feel like buying a $90 tool for a single hole. Lesson learned!

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Since HBT only allows 5 picture per post, I will continue my build thread on the next post...

Reason: wrong title

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Old 12-02-2013, 01:02 AM   #2
Nov 2013
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Posts: 24

It was now time to make my heat exchange coil. While researching this build on HBT I came across a few posts saying that Home Depot had a clearance on 1/2” copper coil so I dropped into my local store and there was 50’ for less than $20!!! I have made a couple copper coils in the past for various other projects but always with smaller diameter than 1/2". I enlisted the help of my teenage son on this one. We made a 90 degree bend at one end and hooked that into one of the gaps on the bottom of a corny keg. He held the keg down firmly to the garage floor and we both started walking around the keg as I wrapped the coil around the keg. It was surprising easy to do and I think it turned out great! Below is a picture of it with the 90 degree elbows I soldered on.

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Now that I had the holes bored and the coil made, it was time to clean up the keg a bit. While it turned out alright, I know I could have done a much better job on this step. I went to Lowes and purchased some buffing supplies for my 4 1/2" angle grinder:

• Gator Backer Pad
• 4 1/2" fine pad
• 4 1/2" buffing pad
• #2 and #5 metal compound
• Paint thinner

I first used the paint thinner with a cloth and rubbed off as much of the adhesives from the beer stickers as possible. I also used a metal scrapper on the sections of the keg that had a lot of adhesive. Most of the “crud” came off on this step. I followed this up with #2 compound and the fine pad. Lastly, I used the buffing pad and the #5 compound. There are a lot of sites on the internet showing how to do this in detail. Below are the before and after photos. Again, buffing the keg is not my “fastball” but I figure it won’t change the flavor of what’s made inside the keg!

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On to the stretch run…I then installed all the ball valves, the element, and the coil in all the holes I bored out. Be sure and use 4 to 6 wraps of Teflon tape to ensure a leak free connection here. Below are pictures of the finished product.

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I didn’t show how I put the element together here but I ordered the DIY 5500 watt kit from Electric Brewing Supply and it is very straight forward. I have a 240 volt outlet in my garage that I plan on using for my system. I hope to start on the boil keggle soon and then the control panel. I already have 1 PID and 1 RTD thermometer and plan on getting one more of each. I hope this can help somebody get started with their future eHERMS build.


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