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Gabe

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I have been brewing with a three tier gravity setup for a year and a half and want to create a HERMS system out of my existing setup. I have my layout and my design down but I still have a few remaining ?'s. Those of you that run a HOME BUILT HERMS system speak out.

#1 What is the purpose of using a HERMS coil bypass valve when recirculating?

#2 When using a pump to move wort from MLT through an immersed coil and back to the top of the MLT, and youve reached your desired temp or your ready for sparge, how do you get that wort that's still in your coil back to the top of the tun when youve shut off the bottom of your MLT? That's 50' of coil that would hold some wort and a loss if it didn't all get back in.

#3 What advantages do I have with going HERMS over my now proven method of gravity feed?

#4 I have all the necessary keggles to do this along with burners and propane tanks and I love brew toy's just as much as the next guy, but this is going to cost some serious mula$$$$. ( pump, quick connects, 50' copper coil, misc fittings) is this cost and time that my brewery is down going to be worth it in the end?
 

billtzk

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herms is an acroynym. please capitalize... oops, I meant HERMS. All caps. else some may think you misspelled the name of the messenger/war god. What facet of your being do YOU present to the panoply on Mt. Olympus? Hint... if it ain't malted barley and hops and if his name ain't Demeter, Dionysus or Bacchus, then it better be Priapus or you are BBQ, or worse yet, just burnt offerings, when it comes to the feast of the King, dude. Hippy Ambrosia.

#1 - dunno. never heard of that. maybe to eliminate heat exchange when the mash is at setpoint? guessing.

#2 - you have 50 foot long deep thoughts. I too would like to know.

#3 - Can you recirculate your wort gravitationally? How do you maintain mash temp during a 90 minute mash gravitationally without a Ferris wheel?

#4 - only you can answer this, Kemo Sabe *.

* Kemo Sabe - According to Rob Malouf, a grad student in linguistics at Stanford, there's another possibility: "According to John Nichols' Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe, the Ojibwe word `giimoozaabi' means `to peek' (it could also mean `he peeks' or `he who peeks'). Rob continued: "There are several words with the same prefix ["giimooj," secretly] meaning things like `to sneak up on someone'.... It is quite plausible that `giimoozaabi' means something like `scout'.... `Giimoozaabi' is pronounced pretty much the same as `kemosabe' and would have been spelled `Kee Moh Sah Bee' at the turn of the century."
 

Bellybuster

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hey gabe....HERMS systems are kind of a natural progression for AG brewers that like toys. Some of the advantages are ....ability to maintain mash temps, able to do step mashes without water additions, the list goes on.
Will you make better beer??? probly not, will you create an endless pit into which you throw money...yes. As soon as you start the gagateering it will never end and home brewing will take on a whole new meaning. It now becomes a sport.
Some good reading for you specific to HERMS...
http://sdcollins.home.mindspring.com/HERMS.html

this link was the main inspiration for my own system
 

Lil' Sparky

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Alibi - I don't have a HERMS

1) Don't know. Maybe so you can continue to recirculate without continuing to heat the mash?

2) Unless you can gravity feed it out of the HERMS coil (which you will be able to if you design it right) you just count it as a loss. But do you really need 50' of copper? It seems like a smaller coil would work fine.

3) Easier temp changes during step mashes. More consistent/stable mash temps. Clearer wort into kettle.

4) A lot of things I've done to my brewery aren't necessary and don't necessarily result in a better end product, but this is a hobby, and I'm a "tinkering" kind of guy. Some things have made brewing easier, though. Like my brew stand (do I really need another one), pump, hop sack, etc.
 

Bellybuster

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oh...and to actually answer your questions...
1, bypass has a couple reasons first being the ability to bypass the coil especially in hard piped systems where lines have multiple purposes and paths
2, if your wort flow runs down thru the coil to your pump there is no remaining wort in the coil , the only losses are the uphill travel from pump to kettle, minimal losses, do the math for 50" of 1/2 pipe and see what the volume is
3. depends on what "you" consider an advantage, my system gives me near perfect repeatability as long as measuring is exact....not. also I have mash temp +- 1 degree
4. my opinion??? worth it. I love the toys and my rig itself is half the fun for me in home brewing...beer is a byproduct
 
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Gabe

Gabe

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No worry's billtzk, if I was drunk when I read it I probably would have understood what you were saying. Cheers!

Bellybuster, my wort actually is flowing out of the MLT and to the pump then through the coil and back to the top of the MLT. Correct my design if I'm wrong. So in my case there would be residule wort left in my HERMS coil after I shut my pump off. Now how to get it out?

The only reason to mess with a good thing is:

#1 I'm tired of lugging water up to my HLT by ladder.

#2 I like the idea of using a pump to recirculate to clear the wort. Right now I vorlouf into my empty water jug and then reintroduce by spoon.

#3 I like the idea that repeatability is a little more attainable, as I have about 6 diff beers I do on a regular basis.
 

Bsquared

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I use 20 feet of 3/8 ID coil in my heat exchanger, and I find it works well. I have been finding that my wort clarity has greatly improved since I built my HERMS. Also if you put a drain below your coil it will pull all the wort out of the coil when you drain it, but I also recirculate sparge water through the coil for a few minutes to do a Mash-out before I drain the MLT, so what is left in the coil , if any thing is low gravity wort.
HERMS_02.jpg
 

Bellybuster

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actually come to think of it, all my sparge water also runs thru the coil and my Heat exchanger can then mantain perfect temp for the sparge water as well so I have absolutely no wort left in my coil at all and as an added bonus the coil gets cleaned by hot sparge water every brew
 

Bobby_M

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Once you have the pump, you can tear at least the top tier off your system. I've always been averse to having really hot water over my head. HERMS isn't the only way of course, you can direct fire the mash and recirculate (if you have a stainless MLT).
 
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Gabe

Gabe

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OMG ! Bobby M thank you for turnin the light on in my thick beer infused skull! I already have a built in burner under my MLT , which by the way just happens to be stainless steel. Cheers to all that have responded to this. I will try just getting away with a pump and if I absolutely need the coil I'll build one. Now where's that torch?
 

Lil' Sparky

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If you go direct-fire, just keep the flame low. You can scorch the wort/grains if it's too high.
 
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Thanks Lil'Sparky, I will remember that. My burner under my MLT is a low power 55,000 BTU camp stove model so I can really ajust the flame just right. I think it should work like a charm.
 
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Gabe

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Good call . My burner is a little closer than your's, but it is also a little bigger in diameter. I'll keep a close watch on the maided voyage. As of right now the pump I need is on back order from More Beer. I guess alot of fellow HBTer's got pumps for x-mas.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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Gabe, I too direct fire my mash. My piece of advice is to fire with either extremely low heat, or in short bursts. The thickness of a mash does not react like normal water and I found when I was starting that my mash temps would sit the same and then spike dramatically if I put to much flame to the kettle. With my setup I really only add heat about 3 times per hour, just very shortly with low heat.
 

billtzk

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Boerderij Kabouter said:
Gabe, I too direct fire my mash. My piece of advice is to fire with either extremely low heat, or in short bursts. The thickness of a mash does not react like normal water and I found when I was starting that my mash temps would sit the same and then spike dramatically if I put to much flame to the kettle. With my setup I really only add heat about 3 times per hour, just very shortly with low heat.
Do you also continually recirculate at the same time, or stir the mash?
 

Lil' Sparky

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Boerderij Kabouter said:
Gabe, I too direct fire my mash. My piece of advice is to fire with either extremely low heat, or in short bursts. The thickness of a mash does not react like normal water and I found when I was starting that my mash temps would sit the same and then spike dramatically if I put to much flame to the kettle. With my setup I really only add heat about 3 times per hour, just very shortly with low heat.
I've seen the same thing. I use a pump and recirculate. I think it's because it takes a while before the heated mash liquor makes it from the top of the mash back down to the temp probe. If you're not careful, you can overshoot your target.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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I do not yet recirc but I am looking to in the future. I am done with buying "get-me-through" junk since I have a real job now... therefore it takes me a while between purchases. Right now I am saving up my spending money for 3 stainless pumps, one dedicated to each kettle.

As for evening my temps in the MT, I stir about every 15m.
 

Monster Mash

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Here are some pics of my 3 tier HERMS brewery. I don't use a bypass on the HERMS because I only use it to maintain mash temps and for mash out.

When I'm ready for sparging I backflush sparge water through the HERMS into the boil pot.



I use a solenoid to regulate the sparge water and tee into the output for the HERMS. This makes it easier to switch from recirculation to sparge with just a turn of a ball valve.



A float switch in the mash keeps the mash height the same while sparging.

 
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