Quantcast

2 Vessel K-RIMS Gas Setup Question

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

mcoratti76

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
I am just getting started with all grain and building a starter system using some equipment I already have, while picking up some new pieces. Eventually, I want to go with an electric RIMS tube and PID to better control mash temp. For now, I am planning to use a 2 vessel system, MLT gravity fed to BK/HLT with a pump to recirculate back to MLT. The only heat source is gas heating the BK. I plan to use full volume recirculating between the tanks during the mash using an autosparge to maintain volume in the MLT. I would try to adjust the autosparge to maintain the proper grist/water ratio in the MLT. When mash is complete, drain wort into BK and conduct the boil, recirculate in BK to whirlpool then pump through plate chiller into fermenter. I am just looking for some validation that this would be the appropriate method using this type of setup? I already know it is going to be difficult to work with the gas to maintain the mash temp, but it's my only option at this point. I can't find any info out there for this exact build so I wanted to reach out to the experts for input. Thanks in advance for your help! Cheers!
 

hottpeper13

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
986
Reaction score
270
Location
Mequon
short answer is no. I tried this on 2 batches and both had FG that was 4 points higher then previous batches just left alone. If RIMS is what you want you need to get a tube with a low density heat coil and pump your wort through it. The procedure you are thinking about worked great for vorlauf and mashout, degrading enzymes the whole time.
 

eric19312

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 5, 2012
Messages
3,262
Reaction score
1,721
Location
Long Island
You can do it. I tried for grins on my system and worked fine but didn't save me any time or effort so I went back to 3 vessel.

I have a mash tun with false bottom and autosparge and a burner below the mash tun that I control with a PID running a solenoid valve. Before I built the controller I managed 10 batches or so manually controlling the burner and that worked ok but had to pay attention to the mash. Learned that with a very very low flame I could get maybe a 5-10 minute burn before cutting it off for about 5 minutes. Thermometer is measuring temp in circulation line. Wort immediately under false bottom might be half a degree hotter but nowhere near scorching or degrading enzymes. Again...key is ability to maintain a low flame...I have one of the 9" burners running household natural gas on a flame about as low as I could go without risk of it blowing out.

With the controller I go with a bit more flame as the controller takes care of turning the gas on and off and I don't have to mind it much. Holds temps within 1.5 degrees even on sustained burn needed for a temp rise. Note with gas the PID can't be as precise as eletric cause the gas is either on or off, not 50% on... When I run it 3-vessel I remove the float from the autosparge arm so the autosparge is never restricting flow. I have a ball valve on the autosparge that I use to maintain flow of about 1 GPM during entire recirculation.

When I set up the full volume 2 kettle RIMS style I had to use autosparge to control level in the mash tun. I guess if you got a stuck mash you could run into a situation where you pull more wort from under the false bottom than you are replacing and this could end up scorching. So make sure you don't get a stuck mash. Coarse crush. Maybe BIAB bag in the mash tun if you have one. Rice hulls if you have had stuck mash in the past. Any recirculating system can run into issues if you get a stuck mash...make sure that doesn't happen and if ti appears to be sticking do kill that flame while you fix the flow.
 
OP
mcoratti76

mcoratti76

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
short answer is no. I tried this on 2 batches and both had FG that was 4 points higher then previous batches just left alone. If RIMS is what you want you need to get a tube with a low density heat coil and pump your wort through it. The procedure you are thinking about worked great for vorlauf and mashout, degrading enzymes the whole time.
Thank you!
 
OP
mcoratti76

mcoratti76

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
You can do it. I tried for grins on my system and worked fine but didn't save me any time or effort so I went back to 3 vessel.

I have a mash tun with false bottom and autosparge and a burner below the mash tun that I control with a PID running a solenoid valve. Before I built the controller I managed 10 batches or so manually controlling the burner and that worked ok but had to pay attention to the mash. Learned that with a very very low flame I could get maybe a 5-10 minute burn before cutting it off for about 5 minutes. Thermometer is measuring temp in circulation line. Wort immediately under false bottom might be half a degree hotter but nowhere near scorching or degrading enzymes. Again...key is ability to maintain a low flame...I have one of the 9" burners running household natural gas on a flame about as low as I could go without risk of it blowing out.

With the controller I go with a bit more flame as the controller takes care of turning the gas on and off and I don't have to mind it much. Holds temps within 1.5 degrees even on sustained burn needed for a temp rise. Note with gas the PID can't be as precise as eletric cause the gas is either on or off, not 50% on... When I run it 3-vessel I remove the float from the autosparge arm so the autosparge is never restricting flow. I have a ball valve on the autosparge that I use to maintain flow of about 1 GPM during entire recirculation.

When I set up the full volume 2 kettle RIMS style I had to use autosparge to control level in the mash tun. I guess if you got a stuck mash you could run into a situation where you pull more wort from under the false bottom than you are replacing and this could end up scorching. So make sure you don't get a stuck mash. Coarse crush. Maybe BIAB bag in the mash tun if you have one. Rice hulls if you have had stuck mash in the past. Any recirculating system can run into issues if you get a stuck mash...make sure that doesn't happen and if ti appears to be sticking do kill that flame while you fix the flow.
Thanks for your input! I will certainly take it all into consideration before I attempt a batch with this setup
 

hottpeper13

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Messages
986
Reaction score
270
Location
Mequon
That's pretty much the way I did it.v I put my thermocouple in the center of BK about 1" off the bottom(induction burner) and it got to 165* rite away so I stirred it the whole time (as long as I could) and only raised the mash 3*. I think if you can create turbulent flow across the bottom it might work. This way works really well for vorlauf.
 
OP
mcoratti76

mcoratti76

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
That's pretty much the way I did it.v I put my thermocouple in the center of BK about 1" off the bottom(induction burner) and it got to 165* rite away so I stirred it the whole time (as long as I could) and only raised the mash 3*. I think if you can create turbulent flow across the bottom it might work. This way works really well for vorlauf.
Great, thanks. I have a whirlpool return in the BK, do I'm hoping that helps. Either way I think it's going to be difficult to control the temp with gas to heat the mash. But I think I'm going to recirc until I get to strike temp and it is stable, then dough in and turn off the gas. Only firing it once or twice (hopefully) if it dips more than a few degrees
 

eric19312

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 5, 2012
Messages
3,262
Reaction score
1,721
Location
Long Island
Here is a schematic of the setup that I have been planning
Yes that will work. I'd put the temp probe on the pump output and adjust the flame on the kettle to keep the pump output at your target mash temperature. Actual temperature in the mash will closely approach the target temperature with just about no risk of overshooting temps in the boil kettle. Your enzymes are well distributed throughout the water in both kettles after a few minutes of circulation so you want to avoid overshooting temp in the boil kettle. Overall temperature control and responsiveness to a call to increase temperature will largely depend on recirculation flow rate. The higher flow rate you can maintain the more uniform temps will be throughout the system.
 
OP
mcoratti76

mcoratti76

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
I like your rationale for the probe on the pump outlet. I think I'm going to try that. Much appreciated.
 

apache_brew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Messages
225
Reaction score
121
Location
Nor Cal
I used this same setup like you're talking about with two keggles, propane burner under boil kettle, autosparge in mash tun (aka Blichmann Brew-Cheapy) . I kept getting stuck mash re-circulations and resulted in cloudy wort and unhappy brewdays having to constantly re-establish the grain bed and mess with the outlet flow rate to the boil kettle. Not to mention manually firing the boil kettle every so often due to high heat loss through the kegs and experience 10+ degree temperature flucuations. I was probably draining too fast from the mash tun, but I got tired of dealing with the setup and decided to go a different route.

I opted to keep my keggle boil kettle but switch to full volume no sparge BIAB in a cooler. So far I've only brewed 1 batch with the new set up, but the whole brew day experience was so much better than before. I opted for a 120 qt cooler with a custom Wilser bag with CPVC manifold underneath the bag. Simply heat the strike water, preheat the cooler, fill the cooler with strike water, dough in/mix, walk away for 90 minutes and come back to 3 degree temp drop and full conversion. For me, brewhouse efficiency is 70% and I'm happy with that. I'll probably crush finer next batch to see where it gets me.
 

eric19312

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 5, 2012
Messages
3,262
Reaction score
1,721
Location
Long Island
@apache_brew hits valid concerns. Recirculation brewing depends on being able to keep a good flow rate up. Stick the mash and you are toast. Coarse crush and rice hulls are your friend. A BIAB bag in your mash tun also helps. Start the recirc slow then gradually increase flow. Make sure flow is stable before you start adding heat.

Being able to run a low flame also does helps especially if you are manually turning the burner on and off. I didn't start direct fire recirc until I switched from propane to household natural gas. It is easier to get a really low flame with NG.

Anyway OP you started this thread asking if you could do this....not if you should do it. It can absolutely work but there are surely less complicated ways to make beer.
 
OP
mcoratti76

mcoratti76

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
Thanks everyone for your input. I will definitely look to minimize the risk of a stuck mash
 

eric19312

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Dec 5, 2012
Messages
3,262
Reaction score
1,721
Location
Long Island
I agree with that but putting that bag into the boil kettle and skipping the other vessels is even better.
Thats sort of what I meant when I said you could do 2 vessel kettle fire RIMS but not necessarily should. If I was starting from zero I’d prob go with a 30 gallon kettle no sparge BIAB rig prob full electric.

But I upgraded over time and repurposed kettles as I went. Had a 10 gal boil kettle and a big cooler and used a bucket as a grant for batch sparging. Made 5 gallon batches easy. Then got a 15 gal bk and used the 10 gal as a HLT and made 10 gal batches. Then got another 15 gal gentle as a mash tun, got rid of cooler and added recirc and temp control and built a stand running natural gas. Finally added a 20 (really 22) gal BK, moved the 15 gal bk to HLT and started making 15 gallon batches).
 

BarryBrews

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
97
Reaction score
54
Location
MONCURE
A picture is worth a thousand words. Hope you find something worthwhile.

The rig.
RIMS-Pump_system2.jpg



The process. Note: Pump and RIMS are always connected. Color coded silicone tubing.
BarryBrew Process Flow Diagram20.jpg



A close-up. Flowmeter, Easy to clean Kegco CFC, Simple barb connections, RIMS and quiet pump.
RIMS-Pump_system.jpg



Clear wort production with false bottom and brew bag in mash tun. Can't make same with BIAB.
Mash return.jpg



Some interesting points:
1. 30 gallon RO barrel is connected to right pump input for easy filling and flushing.
2. Premixed grain bill crushed directly into the mash tun minimizes steps and controls dust.
3. RIMS and pump can be thought of as one unit. RIMS aids in all heating steps. RIMS is interlocked with the pump for safety.
4. Under let the strike water, don't stir the mash and you'll never have a stuck mash. What? True.
5. Under let at 2 gallons/minutes, recirculate at 3 gal/min and transfer to BK > 165F.
6. Wireless (BBQ) temperature probes are only needed on the RIMS inlet and outlet.
7. Heating elements are controlled with SCR voltage regulators. 1650W/120V, & 5500W/240v.
8. Tipping tables minimize the kettle and mash tun dead volumes.
9. After whirlpooling and cooling to < 80F replace the sanitized top on the kettle and let it settle overnight for the clearest wort to the fermenter.
10. Using the CFC and gravity transfer the clear wort to the fermenters at the pitching temperature by heating or cooling.
11. The brew cart stores nicely under a BBQ cover between brew days.
 
OP
mcoratti76

mcoratti76

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
@BarryBrews WOW that's an impressive rig!! Thank you for the detailed walkthrough of your system. There is certainly a lot to digest there. One question I have with your process flow, in all of the steps you have a connection out from BK to pump. Are you recirculating the mash through both BK and MT, or just the MT? It sounds like you heat the strike water in the BK then add grain, then transfer strike water to MT and recirc through the RIMS and back to MT for mashing. Steps 3 and 4 in your schematic is showing both BK and MT connected to the pump input.

Thanks again for your detailed input. It definitely gave me some ideas. And I think your set up and rig is pretty badass! I like the tipping tables too. That's ingenious. Cheers!
 
OP
mcoratti76

mcoratti76

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
Just to update from original post....
I have run 2 batches on the system, and both turned out fine. I am still working out my equipment profile and trying to figure out my volume and temperature issues, but overall, it seemed to work pretty good. Definitely want to add a RIMS tube to the mix for better mash temp control.

I wanted to share some pictures of our last brew day from last weekend.
 

Attachments

BarryBrews

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
97
Reaction score
54
Location
MONCURE
Love your brewing space!

Steps 3 and 4 in your schematic is showing both BK and MT connected to the pump input.
My apologies about steps 3 and 4 in the process diagram, it's a quick reference sheet I use while brewing. For clarify, there is only one green silicone tube. In step 3 when the green tube is connected to the bottom valve of the MT it's recirculating the mash, and if it's connected to BK for an infusion, depending on the desired mashing profile. In step 4 three operations happen, 1. connected to the MT transfers the wort to the BK, 2. connected to BK allows RIMS to help the BK bring the wort to boil, 3. Close the BK outlet valve and open RO valve to flush wort out of RIMS/pump system and into the BK to boil. Now step 5 will make more sense, there are 4 processes that occur with the exact same tubing setup. The little circles at the ends of the colored tubes represent valves and blacken in means closed. Sorry, this whole paragraph seems convoluted.

More simply put, only one end of the blue tube and only one end of the green tube are ever moved during all the brewday processes. The green tube is the inlet to the RIMS/pump system and the blue tube is the outlet. The RIMS/pump system includes the RIMS heating, wireless probe temperature monitoring, a valve flow controller and a flowmeter for gal/min measurements. When I realized the simplicity of thinking of the RIMS/pump system as a stand alone device, I was seriously excited about it.

Quick process outline I use - 19 gallons RO pump to BK, add salts and heat with BK & RIMS, 19 gallons strike water under let to MT, don't stir, recirculate & heat with RIMS, 19 gallons wort pump to BK, add dripping from MT by hand up till 30 minutes into boil, RIMS/pump system helps BK to boil stage, RIMS/pump system RO flushed into BK, boil 75 minutes (without RIMS/pump) & boil additions, sanitize CFC last 15 minutes of boil, cool to 160F for 20 minute hop whirlpool, continue cooling to < 80F, and settle wort over night. I prefer the simple full volume approach which is not as efficient but fits my philosophy of best the possible beer for the least effort.


Definitely want to add a RIMS tube to the mix for better mash temp control.
I would definitely recommend a RIMS for quicker heating throughout the brew day, and for me it's the ability to temperature infuse from 145F to 160F to get the highest fermentability. Checked out brewhardware.com for RIMS stuff and also when you want to electrify your BK. The site proprietor, Bobby_M a frequent HBT contributor, has excellent videos on the electrical/hardware applications and installations.

I am still working out my equipment profile and trying to figure out my volume and temperature issues
Using BeerSmith software comes with a somewhat steep learning curve, but after fine tuning for your setup it's well worth the effort. I document everything in BeerSmith for the convenience of troubleshooting, recipe development and all the brewing hardware and procedural updates.

BTW, I think the best taken away from the above procedures is to under let the mash, don't stir and recirculate. It simplifies mash in and by not suspending the fine particular matter in the grist a stuck mash is highly unlikely to happen. Efficiency is not effected, though my mash profile does take 90 minutes because of the low temperature, 145F, beta amylase start.

So you know, I share what I have learned as a form of paying it forward. I'm always looking for better ideas. A tinker always changes the process. Enjoy!
 

BarryBrews

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
97
Reaction score
54
Location
MONCURE
Rice hulls if you have had stuck mash in the past.
Rice hulls when used at normal quantities make a medium strong colored rice tasting tea with a horrible smell. I ran experiments on three different sources of "clean" rice hulls all with exactly the same results. Check it out yourself before using rice hulls again. It's your beer. I did cleaned some batches of rice hulls by boiling, rinsing and oven drying. But my current mashing procedures eliminate the need for ever using rice hulls.
 

BarryBrews

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
97
Reaction score
54
Location
MONCURE
I kept getting stuck mash re-circulations and resulted in cloudy wort and unhappy brewdays having to constantly re-establish the grain bed and mess with the outlet flow rate to the boil kettle. Not to mention manually firing the boil kettle every so often due to high heat loss through the kegs and experience 10+ degree temperature flucuations.
Check out my mash procedure discussion with mcoratti76 above.
 
OP
mcoratti76

mcoratti76

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
3
@BarryBrews Thank you for the clarification of your process flow. It makes much more sense to me now. What size kettles are you working with? I am using both 16 gal, so in order to make a 10 gallon batches I have to recirculate between both BK and MT. Unfortunately, this makes underletting strike water impossible unless I go with 20 gallon kettles. I am really intrigued by the idea, and would like to try it. Maybe I can try it with a 5 gallon batch sometime.

I have been using Brewfather for my profiles and recipe development. I am trying to learn the losses from the system so i can be more accurate with volume calculations and hitting my OG. That will come with a couple more batches I hope.

Thank you so much for taking the time to explain your techniques and share your knowledge. It's obvious that you have a lot of it. I think it's great that you're are so willing to share your wealth of experience with some less experienced brewers. It really promotes a learning culture, which, in brewing there is always something more to learn. Thanks again and happy brewing! Cheers!
 

BarryBrews

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
97
Reaction score
54
Location
MONCURE
What size kettles are you working with?
From my perspective I should caution you on the money pit homebrewing can be. Nine years later and I now know for sure I'll never stop upgrading and modifying. Love this hobby!

My mash tun is a Concord 30 gallons stainless steel kettle ($190 Amazon). The mash tun false bottom was custom made by Norcal ($280!). And that's what happens when you already have the kettle and later on decide to add a false bottom. My mash tun is upgraded for life, I hope! A 30 gallon cooler with an 'H' shaped 4 bazooka screens drain system will cost just over $150 and last 5+ years or you could get a 25 gallon stainless steel Concord kettle for $140 without valves and add a 19 inch Northern Brewer stainless steel false bottom for $126 which would last forever or are you going to make larger batches in the future? Yikes!

My boil kettle is 20 gallons with a heavy duty bottom for use with propane. The kettle was upgraded with a 5500 watt heating element which works great with this size kettle. This is another example where I could have saved money on a less expensive Concord kettle if I had known how it was going to turn out. Decisions, decisions.

BTW IMHO & FWIW RIMS first.

Maybe I can try it with a 5 gallon batch sometime.
There are techniques to make 16 gallon kettles work just fine for a 10 gallon batch. Mash with 12 gallons and up to 40 pounds of grains followed by ~5 gallons sparge / rinse while transferring the wort to the BK. To do this use your RIMS/pump system to pump 5 gallons to BK between under letting the mash tun and before starting the mash tun recirculating. Then heat the BK water to about 160F and gravity feed to a bucket that can be use to drain on top of the mash tun during the wort transfer to the BK, kind of a sparge / rinse thing. Then later at the end of the boil, during the sanitation step for your plate chiller, additional water can be added to the BK if needed. The BK is quickly brought back to a boil with the RIMS helping. Always turn the RIMS element off just before the boil is reached for safety. I start my boils with 17.5 gallons and end with 14.5 gallons which guarantees 12+ gallons for my two brew buckets which in turn yields enough beer to fill two kegs. There is definitely an efficiency hit with clear wort production.

I have been using Brewfather for my profiles and recipe development.
I just watched a Brewfather YourTube review. Wow, basically identical to Beersmith. Using brew software is so worth the time invested.

Cheers!
 
Last edited:
Top