1st Time Brewer - 3 Vessel SS Brewtech HERMs System

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ChaosB

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I've been researching, purchasing, and building my first homebrew setup since October 18. I'm an American currently living in South Korea. Finally getting closer to my first brew day. Still need another Hellfire burner and tower of power gas controller but I went ahead and tested my plumbing out today with a cold run and learned a few lessons.

The Hardware:

HLT: 10 gal Megapot 1.2 kettle w/ Blichmann small HERMS coil. To be direct fired using Hellfire floor burner and Tower of Power controller.
- Initially went a little too big with the step drill on one of the holes for the HERMs install. Managed to plug it with one of these True Weldless Bulkheads with female threads from BrewHardware. Plugged it up perfectly with the extra 7/8'' centering oring and screwed the HERMs threads straight into it. no leaks.

MLT: 15 gal SS Brewtech kettle w/ 11.5'' Titan false bottom (may need bigger one) & Blichmann autosparge.

BOIL: 15 gal SS Brewtech kettle w/ SpinCycle weldless whirlpool return. Direct fired using 2nd Blichmann Hellfire floor burner.

2 Blichmann RipTide pumps.
A Blichmann Therminator + Thrumometer for chilling.

All camlock connection fittings from BrewHardware, a few 3 way valves from BrewersHardware.

I used key tags to label my hoses. The middle burner is from a cheap turkey fryer kit, I'm just using it as a stand for the MLT.

As I do not have a stand (it would be impossible to order one to APO and I haven't met a Korean welder yet), I need to do something to secure my pumps and plate chiller. I had a good time finding a Korean gas vendor to fill my CO2 tank. I made a thread about that.

Notes:

-Weldless Bulkhead is leaking on the MLT
-Elbow fittings have small leak on HERMs IN Port and the Boil Kettle Whirlpool Port.
-I need to add a step to my plan involving disconnecting the water filter and connecting the chiller hose to the spigot.
-The spigot is in an undesirable location behind my kettles. Need to setup on the other side of the patio next time as the chiller hose connection wasn't great and was getting my pumps wet. Don't want to be messing with it between kettles when they're heated up.
-I did not account for the positioning of my 2 two propane tanks.

Process:

I know I want to perform a recirculating mash with heat exchange through the HERMs.

I have not decided if I want to fly sparge or no sparge. I will probably start off brewing 5 gallon batches and with a 15 gallon MLT, I should have more than enough room to hold the entire pre boil volume.

If I fly sparge, I would need to heat as much water in my HLT as possible without boiling over and I would have to use more minerals to adjust my water chemistry. This is because I need the HERMs coil to be fully submerged during recirculation. After I pumped 5 gallons to the MLT, it was no longer fully submerged, the HLT is only 10 gal. I don't want to lose temp or waste time waiting for the replacement water to heat up, then I would have to figure out the water chemistry again? I guess I could heat water in my boil kettle to top off the HLT and that water would already be adjusted to the correct chemistry. I'd just need to make another hose to go from my second pump back to the HLT. I didn't want to have to disconnect or connect any hoses during the brewing process, that was the idea behind the 3 way valves.

The SpinCycle weldless whirlpool kit from BrewHardware worked great so I'm feeling confident about whirlpooling. I plan to set temp on the boiling burner manually, I don't think it will be necessary to get a second or dual tower of power to control boiling temps.

I will be fermenting in a 7 cu chest freezer with a bayite temp controller to cycle a small space heater and/or the freezer's compressor. I will be limited to 6 gallon PET carboys as shipping glass carboys to APO is unfeasible.

I have built a single tap DIY kegerator. Taps, tower, handle, drip tray, and lines from BrewHardware. I used chalkboard spray paint to create a draft menu on the front. Looks nice, I can make a thread about that later.

Recipe:

I haven't decided on a recipe for my first beer yet. I think I'd like to start with a clone of one of my favorites or something I haven't yet tried but always wanted to (Heady Topper, Zombie Dust). Definitely just going to be brewing ultra hoppy IPA's. More dry, bitter and west coast style. I like the NE Hazy trend but still prefer things like:

Bell's - HopSlam
Avery - The Maharaja
Lagunitas - Hop Stoopid
Six Point - Hi-Res or Resin
Knee Deep - Simtra
Green Flash - Palate Wrecker
MadTree - Galaxy High
Edmund's Oast - Viridi Rex
Toppling Goliath - Psuedo Sue
Stone - Ruination 2.0
Jackie O's - Mystic Mama
Firestone Walker - Luponic Distortion No. 10

I will probably be limited to dry yeast. Mail typically takes at least 10 days to get here so I'm not sure ice packs and liquid yeast will make the journey. Nor do I know the customs regulations about such things.

Here's the pictures... I know it's kind of ridiculous that I spent this much and don't even have a brew stand...

IMG_20190423_115442.jpg BREW_PLUMBING.jpg IMG_20190423_120046.jpg IMG_20190423_114935.jpg IMG_20190423_115000.jpg
 
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ChaosB

ChaosB

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Also have a video of the whirlpool but I guess I can't upload that here.

Note 2: Having forgotten to take the plastic off of the water filter, it worked surprisingly well.

IMG_20190423_115027.jpg IMG_20190423_115409_rs.jpg
 
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Iseneye

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Bloody hell going hard on equipment for your first brew. Dropping 3k or whatever is a big investment! I've been eyeing up the 3v herms so just jealous I guess.
 
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ChaosB

ChaosB

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Bloody hell going hard on equipment for your first brew. Dropping 3k or whatever is a big investment! I've been eyeing up the 3v herms so just jealous I guess.
Yeah, I have issues with going all in on my hobbies, especially now that I'm living abroad away from family / friends. My bowling game hasn't been improving but I've always been good at drinking beer so I figured maybe I could be good at making it. Figure it's more of a science than a sport. So I started researching and the more research I did, the less I felt willing to settle. That's why the HLT is a 10 gal Megapot and not another 15 gal SS Brewtech, and the false bottom may be too small. Started with a Northern Brewer gift card and then kept upping the ante as I learned more and discovered better web stores with APO shipping like BrewHardware, BrewersHardware, and Austin Homebrew. actually Amazon shipped the SS Brewtech kettles free with Prime haha. Now hopefully Ill be able to pull off the execution phase of this project.

Have any suggestions for securing the pumps, chiller, and tower of power (once acquired) without a brew stand? I've seen those erector set brew stands but I wasn't too keen on figuring out all the right size nuts and bolts when the materials I've seen aren't stainless and give off some kind of chemicals when heated.

I'M REALIZING THIS PROBABLY ISN'T DIY ENOUGH BUT I DIDN'T REALLY KNOW WHERE ELSE TO POST.
 
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