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HERMS no Electric ?

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Esmitee

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I have been doing a lot of reading about HERMS on here and the net, but it seems to me, all that I read about has some sort of electric device driving it.
I've been thinking about trying to do a HERMS coil in my HLT and wanted to know if anyone does it, has tried to, or CAN it be done without any electric devices , IE: pid, temp controllers, etc.? I use a propane burner. I have plenty of 1/2" copper coil to use. Just don't know how much to use either. I don't feel it's time for me to turn to electric at this time. Maybe down the road. I also do mostly 10 gallon batches. I batch sparge and use a 48 qt cooler for a mash tun with a 1/2" ball valve and a full bottom manifold inside. I also have a 1/2 barrel keg I could convert to a bottom drain MLT to do even higher OG batches. I have 2 pumps, but only 1 burner to use at this point. I 'm only using 1 pump at this time and keep having to swap out hoses and that's a PITA, and MESSY. Not quite sure on how to plumb my set up either.

Any info about the HERMS main question would be greatly appreciated.
Links, pics etc! And if anyone can help about the plumbing would be awesome.
 
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Esmitee

Esmitee

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day_trippr

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Well then, if you've looked "a lot" and haven't found any HERMS systems that are manually controlled, they must not exist.

btw, you might be clearer than alternating between "no electric" while using pumps...

Cheers!
 

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You can do it with propane. I have a HERMS setup with propane but I run the Blichmann tower of power for my HLT. Works perfectly with the temp probe at the outlet of the HLT as Kal has it set up.

I will be doing a write up on it eventually, just need to get a few things before taking the pics.
 
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Esmitee

Esmitee

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Well then, if you've looked "a lot" and haven't found any HERMS systems that are manually controlled, they must not exist.

btw, you might be clearer than alternating between "no electric" while using pumps...

Cheers!
Ok Trip, sorry for the confusion about "electric" and pumps. We all know I would have to use electric, to use electric pumps to transfer water and to circulate wort through out the system, whirlpool ,Thru the cfc and into my carboys etc..

What I meant was, No use of automation, PID's temp controllers, ELECTRIC valving, heating elements , heat sticks, etc, and anything else I forgot to mention other than what I just said about the use of electric pumps .

I'd have a thermometer in the mash tun, MLT and my boil kettle, I figured to also put a thermometer inline of the return line of the coil to monitor the temperature of the returning mash wort. I know I would have to carefully watch all of the thermometers as I was mashing and recirculating the mash through the HLT to keep the mash temperature correct. WITHOUT the use of any kind of electrified automation , pids valves heat sticks or elements.

I think I would fill my HLT and get it to around 180f.??? not quite sure exactly what that temp should be at this point. Fill my BK with the proper amount of strike water. Get it to a few degrees above target mash temp, circulate through the mash tun for several minutes to warm up, then pump over to MLT and dough in grains, check temp of mash.... hopefully it would be very close. wait for a temp drop and then recirculate through the herms coil to stay on target temp.. I don't know if it would be a large pain in the ass or have peeps do it this way? with success? Or will it be a total FAIL?
 
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Esmitee

Esmitee

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You can do it with propane. I have a HERMS setup with propane but I run the Blichmann tower of power for my HLT. Works perfectly with the temp probe at the outlet of the HLT as Kal has it set up.

I will be doing a write up on it eventually, just need to get a few things before taking the pics.
But that is automated, The tower of power? Right
 

The Pol

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If your HLT water is 180F, you will want to cool it to your desired mash temp, with a delta of maybe 2-3F, before you start recirculating. You will also need to continuously stir the HLT water, but you probably know that already.

Of course it's possible.
 

The Pol

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Bobby, you should not use coolers with a herms system? Why?
I'm willing to convert a 1/2 keg with a bottom drain in place of the cooler
He didn't say, "should not"...

But, if you are manually stirring and heating the HLT, that is a lot of work to get it even close to the correct mash temp. Your mash temps will be as close, if not closer, by just striking, stirring, and closing up the cooler.

Automation allows for the precision that makes recirculating mashes worth while. Without that precision, you are probably more likely to actually cause more variation in mash temp.

My first HERMS was a dual 10 gallon cooler system, and it was very fun to use. Of course, it used an A419 temp controller and an HLT mixer to obtain precision that would meet or exceed that of simply leaving the mash alone.
 
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Esmitee

Esmitee

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If your HLT water is 180F, you will want to cool it to your desired mash temp, with a delta of maybe 2-3F, before you start recirculating. You will also need to continuously stir the HLT water, but you probably know that already.

Of course it's possible.
thank you Pol, No i didn't know about the siring, couldn't I just re circ the water with 1 of my pumps?
 

The Pol

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Recirculating the water would fall under stirring. Yes, recirc the HLT water, otherwise you will get temperature stratification, hot and cold spots, and really be shooting in the dark.

Myself and others, through testing our own systems, discovered what our temperature delta had to be between the HLT and desired mash temp, it's usually 1-3F. I used a spreadsheet that I created to calculate a precise cool water infusion to the HLT after I transferred the strike water, to bring it to my desired HLT temp for recirculating, immediately.

This way I could heat my HLT to say 170F, then in an instant bring it down to 155F and begin recirculating my mash.
 

The Pol

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It is floating the inter webs. Yooper purchased the system, and had the file. It is a pretty simple equation, so if I can't find it, I can certainly help you create it. Today is a bit rushed with church and all, and I'm just home from 4 days away, but I can help you put if need be.
 

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How a HERMS system works:
You circulate the wort through a heat exchanger that sits inside either the HLT or some vessel that contains hot water. That water typically is a few degrees higher than what your target mash temperature is. The wort flows through the heat exchanger, gets heated up and goes back into the MT.

Obviously, the temperature of the heated water is critical to the whole thing. The vessel can't suffer from temperature striation, so the water must also be circulated back into itself or the water must be continually stirred. More importantly, the temperature needs to stay rock solid to where you need it to be. This is why electric is so useful in a HERMS situation. The PID continuously monitors the HLT water temperature and fires up the HLT heating element as needed and will shut off when not. Another option is to have a PID hooked up to an automated gas valve that will heat the HLT with a gas burner as needed and will automatically shut off when not.

Could a human being take the place of the PID and constantly monitor the temperature of the HLT water and apply heat when necessary and turn off the heat when not? Sure. Would it be a royal PITA? Oh my yes.
 
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Esmitee

Esmitee

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How a HERMS system works:
You circulate the wort through a heat exchanger that sits inside either the HLT or some vessel that contains hot water. That water typically is a few degrees higher than what your target mash temperature is. The wort flows through the heat exchanger, gets heated up and goes back into the MT.

Obviously, the temperature of the heated water is critical to the whole thing. The vessel can't suffer from temperature striation, so the water must also be circulated back into itself or the water must be continually stirred. More importantly, the temperature needs to stay rock solid to where you need it to be. This is why electric is so useful in a HERMS situation. The PID continuously monitors the HLT water temperature and fires up the HLT heating element as needed and will shut off when not. Another option is to have a PID hooked up to an automated gas valve that will heat the HLT with a gas burner as needed and will automatically shut off when not.

Could a human being take the place of the PID and constantly monitor the temperature of the HLT water and apply heat when necessary and turn off the heat when not? Sure. Would it be a royal PITA? Oh my yes.
Well what I have found out from more reading n searching is.That it is possible for a human to do the monitoring. As accurately as a PID controller, probably not like you say . It seems to me that there are a lot of people out there doing the same thing that I want to do. And also achieving great results by doing it that way. It's definitely not set it and forget it. it's rather participation is involved. If you don't want to participate then go to total automation that's crystal clear.

Quite frankly I don't have the funds available to collect all the electric and automated items I would need to do at this point. In the future like I said I am considering to go to electric elements and possibly some form of automation.

I GOT a lot of information AND insight from other forms as well AS on the Internet and I will give it a WHIRL by doing it this way first. To me home brewing is a personal choice of many things if it works for you do it if it works for you do it also doesn't have to be the same exact way

Thanks for your help.
 

LandoLincoln

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Like I said, yes, a human can take the place of a PID. And yes, it's going to be a royal pain to do so. The cost of a Mypin PID and a solid-state relay is around $50, maybe cheaper. No, I don't think that there are a lot of people out there running electric brew rigs without PIDs. But there ARE some.
 

The Pol

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I'd like to mow my lawn as I mash... That is why I'm pro automation.
 
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Esmitee

Esmitee

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Like I said, yes, a human can take the place of a PID.~~~~~~~~~~ No, I don't think that there are a lot of people out there running electric brew rigs without PIDs. But there ARE some.
I think your missing what I have been saying from my 1st post. . Not using electric.
"Except for the pumps" I use propane. My question was about Not using electric and automation, and using propane, and what I found out was. A lot of people use Propane, withOUT electric or automation and still do the HERMS system. I clearly didn't say a lot of people were running total electric HERMS brew rigs with out any type of automated items.. Or maybe, I don't get what you were saying in your reply? wouldn't be the 1st LOL :mug:
 

LandoLincoln

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I think your missing what I have been saying from my 1st post. . Not using electric.
"Except for the pumps" I use propane. My question was about Not using electric and automation, and using propane, and what I found out was. A lot of people use Propane, withOUT electric or automation and still do the HERMS system. I clearly didn't say a lot of people were running total electric HERMS brew rigs with out any type of automated items.. Or maybe, I don't get what you were saying in your reply? wouldn't be the 1st LOL :mug:
There's "automated" - people running brew rigs that have a computer that knows your recipe and what's needed for it as far as mash temps, length of mash, length of boil, etc. It has electronic valves that transfer wort from one vessel to another, it can shut pumps on and off when needed, basically the only thing that the brewer needs to do is add the hops and grains and put a carboy at the end of the rig to catch the wort. You want to see "automated" - go over to the Automated Brewing Forum here. THAT'S "automated."

Is using a PID to control the temperature of your HLT or BK "automating" the process? A little, I guess. But if someone looked at my rig and said "I like your automated rig" I'd look at them funny.

No, I don't think a lot of people use HERMS with propane without a PID, a thermo probe and an electric gas valve / igniter controlled by the PID for heating up and not heating up the HLT when needed. I'm sure there are SOME brewers, but not many.

I think you're underestimating how often you're going to have to turn on and off your heat in this application. My HLT's heating element turns on and off at least 80 times in a standard brew day, I'd guess. I couldn't envision myself sitting there over my HLT, taking a temperature reading every minute or so, and then firing up the burner when the temperature drops a few degrees. I think you're going to get significant swings in temperature, and that kinda defeats the whole purpose of a HERMS coil.
 
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