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Old 01-15-2008, 01:32 AM   #1
The Pol
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Default CirculatinG HOT water to control temps...

Here is the deal... I am NEVER done improving or accentuating the beauty of my brewstand! I have this idea to allow me to get away from infusion mashes! I love infusion mashing, I have a wonderful spreadsheet that I spent about a year tweaking that allows me to hit my temps every time, but here is the idea. I have (2) burners and (2) kettles and I want to use ONE kettle to heat up some water, to say boiling or near boiling... then use a march pump to run that water through my mash, through a copper coil, to adjust my mash temp. Has anyone done this before? Will it heat the mash effectively? I would plan to use AT LEAST 50' of tubing so that I could get some good saturation in the mash. It seems like it would be a good step to get me closer to having an automated temp control in my mash tun.

Igloo cooler (10 gal)
50' copper heating coil
March pump controlled by a thermostat pumping HOT water on demand to adjust my mash temp.

WHAT DO YOU THINK???


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Old 01-15-2008, 01:40 AM   #2
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I assume you've already looked into RIMS and HERMS systems? Those are sort of similar, but the advantage is that it keeps the wort circulating (instead of the hot water) which keeps the whole mash at a more consistent temperature. Also wouldn't take up a bunch of your mash tun space with tubing.



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Old 01-15-2008, 01:43 AM   #3
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Not much, just sort of designing and winging it to fit my rack...
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Old 01-15-2008, 01:51 AM   #4
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So, why do people recirculate the wort to heat it IN hot water, and not circulate HOT WATER through an exchanger in the tun? Hrmmm?

I suppose that by curculating the wort, it heats more evenly and that I could essentially use my immersion chiller in my keggle to circulate the wort, and on the back end, use it to run cold water through my wort after the boil...

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Old 01-15-2008, 04:44 AM   #5
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I would think you would have hot spots in your design. In a RIMS/HERMS, you also get the added benefit of recirculating the wort so that it is already running clear when the mash is done, eliminating a step.

I was thinking of a HERMS design that did not have a bypass - the wort constantly circulates in a copper coil that goes into the tank that is holding my sparge water. Temperature is controlled by changing how much of the coil is submerged.
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Old 01-15-2008, 02:46 PM   #6
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I've seen lots of systems that circulate the mash liquor through the HLT to control temperature, including the ones they sell over at MoreBeer.com. It can be pretty slick.


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Old 01-15-2008, 03:23 PM   #7
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maybe consider a seperate heat exchanger to circulate wort thru. Cool points are high and yes that is important.
There are several systems out there including my own that use a seperate heat exchanger. The benefit being that sparge water remains sparge water and has no secondary purpose as in typical HERMS systems. A seperate heat exchanger allows you to build a set and forget system.
I too believe that circulating hot water thru a coil inside your mash tun would be difficult to have even mash temps without constant stirring of the mash to ensure it all contacts the coil
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Old 01-15-2008, 04:43 PM   #8
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I would agree putting the coil in the mash wouldn't work as well. By recirculating the wort through the coil/bath, you are indirectly heating the grain. The wort goes through the grain, it heats it relatively evenly.

My system is fully automated and pretty nice. Just dial in the temp and it goes. If you're a tinkerer, it's the way to be.
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Old 01-15-2008, 05:06 PM   #9
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If I was going to design a system like this, I would have the copper coils as close to the sides of the mash tun as I can manage. And I would hold the circulating water to only one or two degrees above the desired mash temperature, maybe even the same. That way, you don't risk localized over-heating and you are providing a barrier to the external coolth.
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Old 01-16-2008, 04:30 PM   #10
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I have a vertical rack now, a shelving system from Lowes which has been great to use gravity to feed it. Now, with the prospect of creating a HERMS system and buying pumps, I think I may break the rack down into a shorter but wider rack. Basically it will be a Brutus 10 with (2) coolers for MLT and HLT. They will be situated on one half of the rack and the keggle will be situated on the other half with the burner. (far from the plastic coolers)

I will have to have (2) pumps, one for the wort (sparge and mash) and one for the water when I am sparging. I would like to have the JC controller to control my March pump for the mash temps and would like to have the float controller from Morebeer to control my fly sparging pump. Basically I want to have a system that becomes more hands off. Set it and forget it temp control, set it and forget it sparging, and pumps to make all of the transfers. I just wish I had more experience with building control panels so that I could make that more user friendly.

Do any of you have a HERMS system similar to this that would like to share with me your control panel, the logic behind it, what components you used to construct it? THANKS!


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