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Mirilis

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Where would be the best place to go to find a good deal on a used RIMS or HERMS brewing system? Currently i use a couple converted coolers and a Keggle but its not automated or pump fed. I want to upgrade to a new setup where i can have exact control over my mash process but i dont have the 5000 bucks it takes to get a brew-magic or brew-tree.
 

Lil' Sparky

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First, welcome aboard.

I think used systems like what you described are rare. People that put that much work into them usually don't just close up shop and sell everything off.

I suggest building your own. Several people here have done that and if you look around, there's a lot of great information here on DIY projects on things you're looking for. It won't be as hard as you think, you'll probably have a ball doing it, and you'll have something very cool that you built yourself. You could probably build a really nice semi-automated HERMS/RIMS system that fits within whatever your budget is. How much are you willing to spend on a used system?
 
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Mirilis

Mirilis

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my fiance isnt letting me spend much money since i spent a bunch converting coolers not too long ago. What would i need to complete what i have now.

i have 2 igloo coolers that are 12 gallon capacity. 1 is a converter mash/lauter tun, and the other is fitted with a ball valve only and used as a HLT. I sparge into a converted keg kettle for the boil. Its all gravity fed, with the keggle on the floor, that MLT on the bench, and the HLT on top of my beer fridge.

the problems i run into are maintaining exact mash temp and maintaining that temp for 60-90 minutes.. also for when i have recipes that requre a protein rest.

I want to maximise my efficiency and be able to have good repeatability. My setup is fairly new so it would be best to keep it i suppose but im just not sure how i want to do it. Any tips would be great.. :ban:
 

tbulger

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http://homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=51002
this is my build and its going pretty cheap so far. I have my pump mounted and a asco solenoid in the mail. I am way over my head with the automation, so ill let you know how that goes, unless i blow myself up in that case.......... . Im doing a herms and im going to attemp to regulate propane to the hlt. All i need is a temp controller (waiting to find a good ebay deal or something else for a love controller) and that should be close to everything i need. Once your done with new system sell the old one you should be able to get most if it back if its new.
 

The Pol

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(2) coolers, Keggle and a pump (my system)

 

Lil' Sparky

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Well, I guess my first comment is that you shouldn't really need to worry about holding your mash temps for over an hour, and you should be able to make really good beer using what you've got without any mods. I usually mash for 30-40 mins and get full conversion. Those coolers should easily hold your temps to with 1-2 degrees for that long. Hell, I mash in a converted keg with no insulation and don't lose much heat. Maybe you're just being a little paranoid about it.

If SWMBO isn't letting you spend much money, then there's no way you could buy a nice used HERMS setup anyway, so if you really want to try HERMS, putting together the rest is probably be the way to go.

I don't have an automated system, but I'd say you need:

A pump to recirculate the wort
A HERMS coil in your HLT
A heating element installed in your HLT to maintain temps
A thermowell in your MLT
A pid to control the heating element

I'll let others fill you in on the details.

Cheers :mug:
 

WortMonger

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WortMonger

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I am looking at steam injection for my newly insulated keg mash and liquor tuns. After a normal single infusion brew I can see my temperature loss in my equipment and see if I even need it or not. I am building a stirrer so I shouldn't have to open my lid to release any heat from the mash tun. If you are having temperature loss in your tuns maybe the lids are being opened too much, or the lids aren't insulated for heat (but cold) so you may need to blow foam insulation into them. I know some of the cheaper ones are simply hollow plastic and a drill and some great stuff foam work great.

I try to keep the ports on my tuns and kettle to a minimum so I use the same ports for everything. I fill my mash tun from the bottom with gravity and stir. If you are doing infusions for stepping this helps because your hotter temperature water is trying to heat up-wards and with stirring helps to heat the mash faster and more evenly. Adding water through the bottom also helps with stuck sparges. I am planning on starting with the newly beefed up insulation tuns and then have the ability to go directly to steam infusion if needed later. Regardless, I won't have to have any extra valves or other stuff. My theory on mash tuns is to add your grain and water, then have it so it is shut the whole time. I am incorporating a ice cream mixer into the lid of mine so it should never be open except to take decoction fractions if ever needed for that style of brewing. Something to think about, but I think with your equipment you have a couple of options for improvement over starting over. I don't use them because my system is older than the idea coolers. They work great as HLT and MT, and with the other information on this forum about temperature controlled HLT and stuff you should be able to get a great idea and sculpt your brewery into your needs.
 
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Mirilis

Mirilis

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Now that i think of it your right on the cooler lid insulation thing. I bought 2 identicle coolers ( Igloo Ice Box ) and i have a hole drilled in the top of one with a pipe sticking out that leads to my lauter manifold.

i did save money when making the manifolds cuz i used CPVC that holds temps up to 200 i think. it was 3 bucks for 10 feet. I didnt have the cash for the copper so i had to make due with it.

I dont think theres much of a downside except loosing some efficiency from the mash.
 

WortMonger

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Yep, I bet if you insulate your lids you will be real surprised at how it holds temperature. They just make those so they keep things cold. Even the Max Cold ones are not dense enough insulation to be the best, but as a whole the cooler is far superior as a ready to use tun.
 
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