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Brewmegoodbeer

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I would like to start a forum for solely SS Brewtech’s Electric brewing system (1v, 2v, 3v) that they recently rolled out in the market. There are not many reviews out there yet on the system(s). I soon plan to buy the 2V system with 10 or 20 gallon e-kettles and installing a Blichmann HERMS coil in one of them in the coming months. If you have one of the systems, post below and share. Thanks!
 

Mike_kever_kombi

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Waiting on these reviews as well... still nothing?

I received my 3v with rims last week, but was literally on my way out the door for a trip. I unboxed everything today to check for condition and to make a parts list of pieces I need to buy, and to take measurements. I still have a little work to do on the area I plan on using to brew in.

The system will have its own dedicated space, and if everything goes according to my plan, I will not have to move anything (maybe the tun to empty), and everything will be self contained.

Though I have not had a chance to use any of the pieces, my first impressions are positive. Everything looks good, as does all Ss brewtech stuff does. It appears to be high quality. Welds look good on kettle, control box looks simple but rugged, everything went together as it should. Fit and finish was good. Only “complaint” is lack of instructions included. They direct you to a faq page with quick setup guide on their site. There were no instructions on assembly for the tun, just a bag of loose parts. They also included plug ends for sight glass in tun package, but no longer have sight glass included with tun.


With the holidays and my current workload, it will realistically be sometime in January at the earliest before I have the chance to get everything in brew room finished, set up, and able to brew.

I will update thread once I have used system, and report back anything good or bad I encounter.
 

Southern_Junior

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Well, Santa was very good to me this year. I have a 2V system on its way. Will update with my first impressions, findings and brew days!
 

nas81

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I bought the 2V controller last year and use it with a 3v HERMS system I built. I already had a 10g megapot and the Infussion MT from SS so I just bought a 15g SS kettle for the HLT. I then bought heating elements from amazon as well as the conversion kit and thermowells from SS. It is essentially a clone of theelectricbrewery.com setup but using SS as the controller. I prob have 10 brews on it love electric it's so much faster.

As a heads up, you have to use the temp probes that come with the controller. If you need more length you can't replace the probe itself with a longer one you have to buy a female-female extension.

No complaints with the SS controller itself other than the short cords (power and temp probe). It looks modern and has a very small footprint. I did buy the wall mount a few months ago, screws aren't the best but otherwise no complaints with that either.

ETA: Forgot, one thing is the rather poor (as in lack of) instructions regarding the electrical setup. It uses a 3 prong cord for the 240 and the grounding is done through the 120v cord. I'm not an electrician so I can't fully explain but if you look around there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding how to properly install these with GFCI. I did email SS and they took a while but did get back to me. I bought it right after it came out so I believe them when they said they were swamped with questions but at the same time their lack of quality instructions is partly to blame (which I would say is an issue with all their products although most are easy to figure out but with something this expensive and potentially lethal I think a few cents for paper instructions would have been appropriate).
 
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Mike_kever_kombi

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Well I am about 90% set up. I just need to run another drain line for my CFC to empty in to then I will be complete. For now I can run a hose from CFC to floor drain, so it is not the end of the world.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the instruction are seriously lacking, even on the website. They should probably invest a few bucks and write up a nice set of detailed instructions for every piece in their eBrew line up. I was OK and got by fine, but others with less experience may find this off putting or may not be able to get things set up correctly.

Another negative, that was also mentioned by another poster is the length of the electric leads. They are short. Really short. The combined length for the heating element and control panel lead barely clears the distance of the second vessel, making it necessary to have the control panel very close to the HLT or kettle. It’s pretty silly really. All this nice “shiny” equipment and it has to be cluttered because the leads are so short. It will cost me around $200 by the time I buy 3 male ends, 3 female ends, 3 coax extensions, and the wire. It would have probably cost $5 more in manufacturing costs to make the leads 2 foot longer.

I have not “fired up” the system to do dry runs. I just finished running all the silicone hoses and cam locks yesterday, and then tested the routing/pumps for functionality and leaks. So far so good as far as those areas are concerned.

If I can get home early enough today I plan on doing a very thorough clean and then will attempt the “wet run” later this week. I will try to remember to snap some pics, and will update after the wet runs of my initial impressions of that process.

If everything goes well I may be able to brew my first batch on this system this weekend. I have been building starters over the last week and a half. I have 200lbs of malt/wheat on order from LHBS that will be here this week, and a couple pounds of hops in the freezer. Starting to get anxious now.
 
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mcmichaelangelo

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Well I am about 90% set up. I just need to run another drain line for my CFC to empty in to then I will be complete. For now I can run a hose from CFC to floor drain, so it is not the end of the world.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the instruction are seriously lacking, even on the website. They should probably invest a few bucks and write up a nice set of detailed instructions for every piece in their eBrew line up. I was OK and got by fine, but others with less experience may find this off putting or may not be able to get things set up correctly.

Another negative, that was also mentioned by another poster is the length of the electric leads. They are short. Really short. The combined length for the heating element and control panel lead barely clears the distance of the second vessel, making it necessary to have the control panel very close to the HLT or kettle. It’s pretty silly really. All this nice “shiny” equipment and it has to be cluttered because the leads are so short. It will cost me around $200 by the time I buy 3 male ends, 3 female ends, 3 coax extensions, and the wire. It would have probably cost $5 more in manufacturing costs to make the leads 2 foot longer.

I have not “fired up” the system to do dry runs. I just finished running all the silicone hoses and cam locks yesterday, and then tested the routing/pumps for functionality and leaks. So far so good as far as those areas are concerned.

If I can get home early enough today I plan on doing a very thorough clean and then will attempt the “wet run” later this week. I will try to remember to snap some pics, and will update after the wet runs of my initial impressions of that process.

If everything goes well I may be able to brew my first batch on this system this weekend. I have been building starters over the last week and a half. I have 200lbs of malt/wheat on order from LHBS that will be here this week, and a couple pounds of hops in the freezer. Starting to get anxious now.
Just about to pull the trigger on this system and wondered if you have an update?
 

Mike_kever_kombi

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Just about to pull the trigger on this system and wondered if you have an update?
Sure

TLDR:

It has its flaws, but for my situation I would do it again without a second thought. I would also recommend it to those with similar want or needs.

B92A06E4-7BC1-4E53-A994-FA3B6E13D6F3.jpeg


EC78C451-A772-473F-9012-F7F25559501C.jpeg


I’ve done about 1/2 dozen batches so far.

Some of the negatives I listed already, namely cord leads and instructions. Both of which I feel really need attention from Ss Brewtech. Where the controller sits now is as far away from the kettles as it can go with the supplied cords. The power cords for the unit are also very short, so the control unit needs to be placed right next to the outlets, of which there 3 with the 3 vessel system. 1 for the 110 volt and 2 for the 220 volt. This will require al little bit of planning. For literally <$10 more in production cost they could have made all the leads a couple feet longer and had a much nicer end product.

The lack of instructions is discouraging. I had no problem with initial set up, and those who are mechanically inclined, and have had previous brewing experience probably won’t either. If you have never used a 3 vessel system, or don’t understand all the individual components function and operation, and are less than mechanically inclined, you may struggle some with assembly and set up.

The biggest disappointment with instructions was by far the use and set up of actual controller, for which they are virtually non existent. For $1000+ piece of equipment I find that unacceptable. I had to do a lot of independent research, reading and videos to get the info I was looking for. There are no instructions included with anything. Just a web link that you are to follow to their quick start guides section of their website. You can use the controller straight out of the box, but it will not be optimized for your needs or process. The individual parts are visible on exterior of control panel. You can google them and get the actual instructions. There is also a Facebook group with lots of info. I don’t do Facebook though. At the very least you will want to auto tune.

Be advised that you will not be able to use this as is out of the box. I have about another $700 in cam locks, tri-clamps, sight glasses, hoses, valves, elbows, Ts, etc. that is not including the pumps. That’s another 75-500 bucks depending on model(s) you go with. I use the chugged pumps and stainless steel head. I also have a Chinese pump from amazon that I got with a 3 year warranty for a few bucks more. I like to keep a spare pump on hand just in case.

I downsized from 20 gallon batches, I purposely made the conscious decision to go with 5 gallons. I am trying to scale back and streamline everything. I see to use mostly pony and 1/2 kegs to serve from. Now I only use 5 gallon cornies. I ferment in my brewbucket BME. I will upgrade to chronicals and glycol once I reorganize my fermentation section of basement. I would recommend the 20 gallon kettles if you think there is even a remote chance you will do more than 5 gallon batches, or do imperial strength beers. You can make 5 gallon batches in a 20 gallon kettle, but you can not make 10 gallon batches in a 10 gallon kettle. The price difference is minuscule all things considered. My reasoning for smaller is I wanted to make smaller batches more often, and only make a few different recipes until I could nail those, and make them repeatable. Your reasons may be the same, in which case the 10 gallon kettles would be fine. If I need to upgrade to 20 gallons, it’s just 2 bare kettles, and an infuSsion mash tun, so not a huge expense. Though I don’t see me going that route, but who knows.

With all that said, I would not hesitate to do everything all over again exactly the same. I am really happy (overall) with the system. I believe they sell a “complete” kit, but unless you brew the way they do you will still be buying all the loose bits to make it function how you want it to. I have all my hoses routed the way I want them, where I want them. I have my pumps and valves housed in the middle cabinet, the CFC and and drain hose in right cabinet, and storage in left cabinet. Everything can remain set up and in place when not in use.

The prices temperature control I can achieve with the RIMS is something I did not realize how much I would appreciate, until I experienced it. That alone was almost worth the price of admission.


During boil i empty the mash tun spent grains, and disconnect hoses and take mash tun to rinse the last bit of grains I cannot scoop out. During the transfer to fermenter, I collect the discharge water from CFC in the HLT and mix that with PBW, once full I can circulate that through the pump, the tun, and the rims while I am cleaning the boil kettle. The first run I just ran the whirlpool and let everything collect in center. It was a lot of hop debris and was a pain to clean. I used to brew outside. I would just take kettle to garden and hose it out. Never cared about hop debris/collection. Indoors is another story. I bought a hop spider and add hops to that. It helps but does not completely eliminate debris. At first I tried cleaning in place, wiping out debris, thought about shop vaccing it out. In the end, the kettle is small enough I just pull it out, and disconnect the whirlpool arm, element, etc and wash them by hand while the pbw rinse in running through tun.

I then put kettle back in rotation and run the pbw through kettle and kettle pump to clean/flush all the lines/CFC. I collect as much discharge water from CFC in buckets as I can. I use this (preheated) water for washing individual parts, rinse water, and then finally star San.

After the pbw circulation I fill HLT with clean water (from CFC) and rinse all the components, including CFC. Then I use the last bit of collected water and make up a couple gallons of star San, add that to HLT, and fill all the lines, RIMS, pumps, and CFC with star San and cap. The star San sits there during the week. I drain and flush it all out with 1 gallon clean water before starting brew day. I do a complete break down and clean every few batches. Mostly (for other than kettle) it I started just “clean in place” with pumps.

My last brew day was over in less than 5 hours. That was from crushing grain to fermenter in chamber and everything cleaned and put away. It also included Kegging a prior batch while waiting, cleaning fermenter and filling another keg with star San for next batch transfer. That would have easily been a 10 hour day on my old system, and in the cold outside to boot.

Each brew session I am discovering new efficiencies and taking notes on how I can improve my process and reduce idle time. I absolutely love this electric brewing. If you are like me and do not have the time to build your own, of don’t have the mechanical ability I would definitely recommend this set up. Even with all of its “flaws” you will probably not find a more complete “out of the box” setup at this price point.
 

mcmichaelangelo

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Okay, I'm a total nube (this is my third attempt to reply; I clearly need to read the primer). My previous attempt outlined my appreciation for all the detail you shared in response to my question, as well as the fact that I've been brewing 10g all-grain batches on my propane system for the last 5 years or so, but have no experience with any electric brewing equipment. I want better control over mash temperatures, the ability to brew in my garage with the door closed during winter, and some of the other efficiencies that electric seems to bring to brew day. I've done a lot of research on systems, considered 1V systems but have grown attached to the 3V setup and process, but am intimidated by PIDs and how to operate them. The concerns you raised about the SSB equipment (cord length, lack of instructions) make sense but -- as you also say -- seem manageable. I guess my biggest concern is having to add not one but two dedicated 240v GFCI breakers to my already-crowded main house service panel (several 120V circuits will have to be ganged) and two 30a outlets. I'm sure it can be done, but why... Anyway, for the whole turnkey system, including the Unitank, it's about the same as modifying my 20g BK for an element, keeping my 15g HLT and adding a HERMS coil, getting a new 20g MT (currently a 15g, too small for any high gravity brews), getting a 50a PID controller (or Ebrew 360 touchscreen controller) and keeping my other stuff (pumps, chiller, etc.). But if I adapted what I have, I couldn't sell my current gas system as a whole, which I could if I got the SSB system. First world problems.
 
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NCMedic522

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With all that said, I would not hesitate to do everything all over again exactly the same. I am really happy (overall) with the system. I believe they sell a “complete” kit, but unless you brew the way they do you will still be buying all the loose bits to make it function how you want it to. I have all my hoses routed the way I want them, where I want them. I have my pumps and valves housed in the middle cabinet, the CFC and drain hose in the right cabinet, and storage in the left cabinet. Everything can remain set up and in place when not in use.
Mike, nicely written. I would love to see how you did the inside of the cabinet. Valves, pumps etc...
 

nas81

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Okay, I'm a total nube (this is my third attempt to reply; I clearly need to read the primer). My previous attempt outlined my appreciation for all the detail you shared in response to my question, as well as the fact that I've been brewing 10g all-grain batches on my propane system for the last 5 years or so, but have no experience with any electric brewing equipment. I want better control over mash temperatures, the ability to brew in my garage with the door closed during winter, and some of the other efficiencies that electric seems to bring to brew day. I've done a lot of research on systems, considered 1V systems but have grown attached to the 3V setup and process, but am intimidated by PIDs and how to operate them. The concerns you raised about the SSB equipment (cord length, lack of instructions) make sense but -- as you also say -- seem manageable. I guess my biggest concern is having to add not one but two dedicated 240v GFCI breakers to my already-crowded main house service panel (several 120V circuits will have to be ganged) and two 30a outlets. I'm sure it can be done, but why... Anyway, for the whole turnkey system, including the Unitank, it's about the same as modifying my 20g BK for an element, keeping my 15g HLT and adding a HERMS coil, getting a new 20g MT (currently a 15g, too small for any high gravity brews), getting a 50a PID controller (or Ebrew 360 touchscreen controller) and keeping my other stuff (pumps, chiller, etc.). But if I adapted what I have, I couldn't sell my current gas system as a whole, which I could if I got the SSB system. First world problems.
I already had most of the equipment just like you so it made more sense to build on what I had. I'm not sure how easy it is to sell a whole system - most posts I see people end up picking it apart like buzzards. I had to have a separate sub-panel installed which added a lot to my initial cost but once that was done adding additional circuits doesn't increase the price much more. The main factor for high cost was it had to be run from one side of my house to the other in a conduit attached to the ceiling (live in a flood zone) so manual labor was pretty heavy. PIDs are pretty much like the controls on your microwave or oven and very easy to use. Installing or servicing one is another thing.

I have a HERMS system so could someone explain why you have two heaters for the RIMS? Is it to save time and heat the HLT while you recirc the MT?
 

Mike_kever_kombi

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... in my garage with the door closed during winter, and some of the other efficiencies that electric seems to bring to brew day. I've done a lot of research on systems, considered 1V systems but have grown attached to the 3V setup and process, but am intimidated by PIDs and how to operate them..... I guess my biggest concern is having to add not one but two dedicated 240v GFCI breakers to my already-crowded main house service panel (several 120V circuits will have to be ganged) and two 30a outlets... First world problems.
The PIDs could not be easier to operate. The control panel on the 3v system has 2 modes, auto and manual. There are 3 heating elements, HLT, BK, and RIMS. The RIMS and brew kettle share a circuit, and have a selectable switch, so only one can be used at a time. The HLT is on its own circuit. Only the BK can be run in manual mode.

For automatic mode, you simply enter the temperature that you want to achieve. If you need your strike water to be at 170* you just enter 170* on control panel. Once the water reaches 170*, the element shuts off, when the temp drops a couple degrees it turns back on until it reaches 170*. No muss no fuss no babysitting. It just does it. Same for the RIMS, need your mash at 155*, just set the control on RIMS to 155*, and recirculate. It will keep the mash at that temp the entire time.

For BK, I set the temp at 205* and keep the kettle lid on. Then I switch to manual mode. For manual mode you do not set temperature, but rather the percentage you want element to run at. So at 205* I switch to 65% output and remove lid. This will bring wort to boil, and hot break. After the foam falls I put lid on about 2/3 covering kettle, and switch to 42% output. This gives me a nice soft boil with less than 10% boil off.


I added a regular 60 amp 2 pole breaker and ran an exterior rated auxiliary panel to brew room, and put the 2 gfci breakers in there. If you are familiar with electric it’s not too difficult.


Mike, nicely written. I would love to see how you did the inside of the cabinet. Valves, pumps etc...
E3279E4A-A88A-4C83-AC5D-910F87E030BF.jpeg


There’s a lot going on. I switched out one of the chuggers for the amazon pump since it has a 3 year warranty. The amazon pump controls the HLT and fills the tun. Both pumps have a breaker valve and a short section of hose (they are going to bucket in pic) this allows me to prime with gravity any time I have a problem, and also to drain the starsan that I store in lines, pump and RIMS between brews.

The other pump is BK and Tun. From the MT to RIMS back to MT, and from MT to BK whirlpool arm. I can also go from BK to whirlpool with this setup. The 99 cent hand clamps allow me to pinch hoses if I need to disconnect a line for some reason, and not get wort everywhere. I can also use them to pinch lines to prevent crossover at input, though when each line is full it isn’t a problem and probably not really necessary.


....I have a HERMS system so could someone explain why you have two heaters for the RIMS? Is it to save time and heat the HLT while you recirc the MT?
Not 2 heaters for RIMS. 2 circuits for control panel. There are 2 @ 5500 water heating elements for BK and HLT. There is a 3500 watt rims tube. The BK and RIMS share a circuit, but only one can be run at a time the way the control panel is configured. There is a switch on panel that lets you choose either the BK or RIMS. The HLT is on its own dedicated circuit. You can run the HLT and BK at same time, or the HLT and RIMS at same time.

I heat up my strike water to temp, in HLT, then transfer to MT, and recirc through RIMS at desired temp, and heat sparge water to mash out temps. That’s using both circuits. Then I switch to BK while sparging, so BK and HLT are running at same time.
 

NCMedic522

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Mike, thanks. If you think about it, when you tear down for cleaning, shoot a few pics of the valves, fittings, etc. I am looking at getting my setup changed so I don't have any hose changes. Tired of hot water/wort on the floor.
 

mcmichaelangelo

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The PIDs could not be easier to operate. The control panel on the 3v system has 2 modes, auto and manual. There are 3 heating elements, HLT, BK, and RIMS. The RIMS and brew kettle share a circuit, and have a selectable switch, so only one can be used at a time. The HLT is on its own circuit. Only the BK can be run in manual mode.

For automatic mode, you simply enter the temperature that you want to achieve. If you need your strike water to be at 170* you just enter 170* on control panel. Once the water reaches 170*, the element shuts off, when the temp drops a couple degrees it turns back on until it reaches 170*. No muss no fuss no babysitting. It just does it. Same for the RIMS, need your mash at 155*, just set the control on RIMS to 155*, and recirculate. It will keep the mash at that temp the entire time.

For BK, I set the temp at 205* and keep the kettle lid on. Then I switch to manual mode. For manual mode you do not set temperature, but rather the percentage you want element to run at. So at 205* I switch to 65% output and remove lid. This will bring wort to boil, and hot break. After the foam falls I put lid on about 2/3 covering kettle, and switch to 42% output. This gives me a nice soft boil with less than 10% boil off.


I added a regular 60 amp 2 pole breaker and ran an exterior rated auxiliary panel to brew room, and put the 2 gfci breakers in there. If you are familiar with electric it’s not too difficult.
Thanks. Your input has helped. Now I just hope my electrician can come up with a good plan so I can pull the trigger on this system and stop the madness! My alternative is a 50a panel from EBS, modifying my current stuff from propane to electric. Looking at going the condenser route instead of installing a vent hood, etc.
 

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Mike,

What are you using under your kettles? I am struggling to find anything large enough to be a trivet, but also struggle to justify the cost for the SS mats.
 

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I overlooked that they were included in my kit. I finished my cart today. Will be unboxing and setting up in the next few days! Very excited.
 

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Is anyone using the ss system for Herms? I’ve been looking for an application of a herms coil that has the entry and exit through a single triclover, but I think that’s a steep ask. Anyone else have ideas? I don’t really want to modify my new kettles.
 

mcmichaelangelo

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Just pulled the trigger on the 3v system with Unitank. Yikes. Feels a bit like elk hunting: what have I done? Now the fun begins. I'll try to update when I get it and add to the scarce reports on it (Mike's valuable information notwithstanding).
 

Mike_kever_kombi

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Congrats on purchase. I know that feeling of apprehension well. Having just come off my easiest and smoothest brew day yesterday, I can say that apprehension is long in the past. I started out with the brew buckets BME as my first piece of SS Brewtech kit, and which guided my decision towards this purchase.

Unitanks will be my next purchases, though I’m not sure if they will be from Ss Brewtech. I’m in the buy once cry once camp. I am back to brewing once a week, and that is all due to going electric. I am so happy I made the leap.

If you have not had electrician out yet, you may want to wait until you receive control panel so he can install outlets exactly where they need to go. This is a case of where close isn’t good enough. I ran the outlets on SJ wire with exterior in use boxes for the outlets. This lets me position them wherever I need to.
D399E832-AA65-4681-840C-01C6FE70DB3A.jpeg
 

mcmichaelangelo

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If you have not had electrician out yet, you may want to wait until you receive control panel so he can install outlets exactly where they need to go. This is a case of where close isn’t good enough. I ran the outlets on SJ wire with exterior in use boxes for the outlets. This lets me position them wherever I need to.
View attachment 668718
Thanks! Clever solution on the outlet issue; I'm planning on wall outlets with 10' extension cords to the controller, but will show my electrician your setup and see what he thinks.
 

nas81

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Is anyone using the ss system for Herms? I’ve been looking for an application of a herms coil that has the entry and exit through a single triclover, but I think that’s a steep ask. Anyone else have ideas? I don’t really want to modify my new kettles.
I am and the first hole I drilled into the kettle was nerve-wracking as no real way to fix it if you mess up. Measure thrice drill once. I know people have installed them through the lid. RIMS may be a better way to go if you really don't want to drill the kettle.


IMG_4593.jpg

IMG_4594.jpg
 

Southern_Junior

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I am and the first hole I drilled into the kettle was nerve-wracking as no real way to fix it if you mess up. Measure thrice drill once. I know people have installed them through the lid. RIMS may be a better way to go if you really don't want to drill the kettle.


View attachment 668746
View attachment 668747
I was really talking about the SS eKettle. Would be a lot of money to blow on a mistaken herms coil.
 

nas81

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Yeah. I would look into lid mounted, using an immersion chiller, or just setting the coil in the HLT. The last two you won’t be able to keep the lid completely on so you may have to keep the water temp slightly higher to maintain mash temp.
 

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So finally got everything unboxed, outfitted with camlocks, cleaned, passivated, and brewed on. Let me start with saying WOW.

Initial build thoughts:

  • Controller is quality. The paddle switches, the buttons, the labeling. Just quality. Could you build this cheaper and DIY it? Definitely, but the value that you get for the price seems justified imo.
  • Shipping materials were well done and well padded.
  • Kettle - Standard kettle? not much for me to say about it. The welds all looked nice and clean, the lid fits the kettle snug as opposed to just sitting on top... but its still just a kettle. I do wish they had an exterior sight gauge, but not terrible in Texas. I could monitor the values on the etched interior markings of the HLT fine.
  • Halo element was nice. easy to put together. fits well in the kettle. Yes, the leads are short. Everyone says that. If that stops you. So be it.









First hot test:

  • Damn. This thing is quiet, quick, informative. I was using a brutus-esque, propane rig before. It's nice to hear the birds or the podcast and not having to yell to other people 5 feet away from you.
  • all the connections are easy to make and secure and the PID's are easy to use.
  • Validated the temp reading from the PID with a Thermopen. There was a 2 degree variation at different times. I don't know if i can confidently say one was right and one was wrong, but personally, I am okay with a 2 degree margin of error.
Brew Day:

  • I have struggled with my process ever since shifting from my original setup. I just couldn't dial in issues and it seemed that there was never an easy brew day. Started to fear for the hiccup that was coming. This setup was smooth. i didn't save a ton of time(will be improving the process) but nothing went wrong. It just worked.
  • There is something to be said for two connections and nothing else leading from the hot side table/rig/whatever, simply a single 110V and a single 240V. Gone are the days of a propane manifold, an extension cord, inline GFCI, two remote controlled(with questionable reliability) disconnects for switching the pumps. Its clean, all there and easy.
  • I tend to laugh just writing this, but the lack of bending over and dealing with stuff on the ground, was nice. Activating pumps from the controller was a luxury I underestimated.
  • Dialing in temperatures was a breeze.
  • I am glad I purchased the whirlpool accessory. Not only does this make a huge difference in drawing "clean" wort from the kettle, it was nice for recirculating cleaners and what not. I may add normal TC ball valve to the HLT for any type of recirculation that I would want.
    • I preheated the mash tun before adding grain and wish i didn't have to drape the hose over the lid. Just for a clean appearance, functionally nothing big.
    • Would have been nice to start preheating and cleaning the mashtun, lauter pump, ect. while I was still whirlpooling.





With all that said, I will still need to think through how to minimize some losses, errors, and other aspects of brew day. Without really sitting down, I have found these weaknesses that need to be addressed in my brewday:

  • large amounts of water/wort/cleanser being left in the lines. I assume everyone has some losses, but i just think there has to be something I am missing.
  • I will be using a hops spider next time for sure. I brewed a fairly simple saison and still had SO much hops gunk to deal with. The electric kettles are nice and fairly easy to clean, but i don't see how you can clean in place without a hops spider.
    • You should note, the pigtail from the element can get in the way and makes moving the kettles a tad unruly for a single person. I am also hyper vigilant not to drag the 3.5MM jack on the ground to avoid any risks of damage, but this is easier said than done.
I will continue to update and think through the brew day, the improvements, and thoughts as I tinker and prep for my next brewday. If there is something I missed or you have additional questions, let me know.
 

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mcmichaelangelo

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So finally got everything unboxed, outfitted with camlocks, cleaned, passivated, and brewed on. Let me start with saying WOW.

Initial build thoughts:

  • Controller is quality. The paddle switches, the buttons, the labeling. Just quality. Could you build this cheaper and DIY it? Definitely, but the value that you get for the price seems justified imo.
  • Shipping materials were well done and well padded.
  • Kettle - Standard kettle? not much for me to say about it. The welds all looked nice and clean, the lid fits the kettle snug as opposed to just sitting on top... but its still just a kettle. I do wish they had an exterior sight gauge, but not terrible in Texas. I could monitor the values on the etched interior markings of the HLT fine.
  • Halo element was nice. easy to put together. fits well in the kettle. Yes, the leads are short. Everyone says that. If that stops you. So be it.
I will continue to update and think through the brew day, the improvements, and thoughts as I tinker and prep for my next brewday. If there is something I missed or you have additional questions, let me know.
Thanks for the great post! I just unboxed my 3V system today, and am waiting for the electrician. Will post photos once I've got it running. One question, which might be off track, but I always wondered about: everyone's pumps seem to be oriented horizontally, but I've always had mine mounted vertically. Is there a reason horizontal is better?
 

Southern_Junior

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Thanks for the great post! I just unboxed my 3V system today, and am waiting for the electrician. Will post photos once I've got it running. One question, which might be off track, but I always wondered about: everyone's pumps seem to be oriented horizontally, but I've always had mine mounted vertically. Is there a reason horizontal is better?
This is just how I designed my cart. I don’t think it really matters.

I will add that the riptide pumps are amazingly quiet.
 

Mike_kever_kombi

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Vertical orientation is fine as long as pump heads are on top. That is per March Pumps, and how I have always run my chuggers.


The hop spider is the very first thing I bought after my maiden brew.
 

mcmichaelangelo

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Well, got everything set up, electrical installed (two separate GFCI 30A/240V circuits, plus a 120V circuit for the accessory ports), and plugged in the controller... Trips breakers. It looks like it's the 3V controller. Hmph.
 

mcmichaelangelo

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Yes! Electrician instantly knew what the problem was; neutral not wired to main bus in panel. Two-minute fix, and autotune went perfectly: 18 gallons of 50F water to 174 in a little over 60'. Temp sensor spot on, element fired within 1.5 degrees.



Next question is: is it a bad idea to put a ball valve on the RIMS input so I can change hoses without losing all that liquid in the RIMS? Other solutions (short of building a full-on manifold)?
 

mcmichaelangelo

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You will need to throttle RIMS volume, either a valve on pump or a valve on RIMS input.
Did my second brew on the system a day or so ago. First brew was a simple pale ale, which went very well. Second was a NEIPA. On both I undlerlet the mash and recirculated fully open. On the first, no issues at all. On the NEIPA with heavier grain bill (including 3# flaked oats/unmilled), after about an hour into the 90-minute mash, it started sticking. It never fully stopped, but I could see all kinds of material going through the sight glass. I truncated the mash, and did the slow sparge after ramping up to 168, and managed to get everything into the BK, and hit the numbers (1.053 pre-boil). I'm wondering if I'd throttled the recirculation through the RIMS if it wouldn't have stuck, but then I worried about scorching the wort if it's going slower through the RIMS. I also realized post-brew that I'd changed hoses and didn't have a full-flow camlock hose out of the MT and into the RIMS... When cleaning the MT, I noticed how slow the flow was through the thing, so I'm scratching my head a little on this one. I guess my main concern is scorching if going slower through the RIMS (Ss Brewtech tech told me flow should not be throttled through the RIMS...). Any thoughts most appreciated.
 

Mike_kever_kombi

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There was a Facebook group that had instructions on how to auto tune.

The only time I ever full throttled my rims was on the water test run. I started the first brew at full throttle but started channeling so I cut it back. I have been doing it that way ever since. I have not noticed any scorched grain taste. The 2 styles I have brewed the most are a 95% Pilsner grain saison, and a 50/50 2 row/wheat. Both are pretty light on the palette, no dark or roasted grains to hide behind.

Plus every pump and hose combo is going to different results (flow rate), I am not sure how Ss Brewtech could engineer a magic bullet for every eventuality. Your wide open throttle flow rate is most likely different than mine, and different than what Ss Brewtech used during development. Whose flow rate is the “correct” flow rate.
 

Southern_Junior

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So... maybe I’m just messy. Maybe I’m lazy cuz I’m outside. But how do people brew indoors? I don’t even like the mess I make with my fermenter being in the back of my garage....
 
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