Mlt Vs Herms Vs Rims

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Nwcw2001

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I am in the dreaming stage of building my system. I have the kegs and the MLT for the 3 tier, but I want to have some input from the collective.

What are the pros and cons of each system?

What are the mash efficiency of each? I realize that a lot goes into this paticular question but just a precentage will work I think.

IF you have had more than one system, why did you change and would you (or did you) change back.

Thanks guys,

John
 

runhard

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Hi John,
I have a SABCO BrewMagic Pro. I both hate it and love it. Hate, because it was expensive and I didn't have the patience to build my own system and I'm a little envious of those who took the time to plan, design and build their systems. Love it because it is a piece of cake to use. My efficiencies have been in the mid 80's up to 90% lately but I've converted the orignal design of the RIMS to a combination HERMS/RIMS but adding 25 feet of 1/2 inch copper coil into the HLT and only using the electric heating element for the very fine tuning of +/- 1°. I've also been crush my grain a lot finer and just adding more rice hulls. With this setup the heating element only comes on 2 or 3 times through a 90 minute mash. It works great but the beer isn't any better than my gravity system that I built; but the BrewMagic is much more consistent. If I brew the same recipe and my starter is about the same cell# then the beers turn out so close that I can't distinguish a difference.

Brutus 10 is best of both worlds IMHO. Check out the plans for that beast. Awesome.
 
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Nwcw2001

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runhard said:
Brutus 10 is best of both worlds IMHO. Check out the plans for that beast. Awesome.
Yeah I have the plans. I bought them from Alenuts and then I got them free with BYO! But they are definitly worth the $25.
 

The Pol

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I contemplated a HERMS, but I have (2) 10 gallon coolers for MLT and HLT and a keggle to heat my water and boil in. Just connected them all with some valves and a march pump to do all of my transfers. The coolers retain heat so damn well that a HERMS would be redundant... keeping it more simple I am.

Pol
 

Flipper

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I too am Thinking about building my own system and will be following this thread with much interest!
 

Lil' Sparky

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I think RIMS/HERMS/Direct-fire all accomplish the same thing and have similar pros and cons. The differences I can think of are RIMS and HERMS are probably easier to automate for maintaining temps if you're thinking of going that way in the future. Direct fire is probably the cheapest to build, may be more difficult to manually maintain temps, but does well at raising temps for steps/mashout.

I've got a completely manual direct-fire + recirculation MLT setup and think it's great. I don't have any reason to try something more complicated.
 

caskconditioned

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I have a HERMS but use a small cooler (1 gallon) for the coil along with a bucket heater. My main design goal was to maintain mash temps and make temp adjustments (not really to do step mashes but I could).

As for efficiency, I'm hovering around 76% but I don't crack my grains too fine. Just a personal preference. I believe in keeping the grain husks in tact as much as possible and don't mind adding an extra 1/2lb. of grain.

The only thing I would change? Not really a change, but in the future I'm going to add a LOVE controller along with a gas valve so that I can set my hot liquor temp. and have it controlled automatically... more a "luxury" addition that anything else.

Brewery Pictures
 

Lil' Sparky

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caskconditioned said:
I have a HERMS but use a small cooler (1 gallon) for the coil along with a bucket heater. My main design goal was to maintain mash temps and make temp adjustments (not really to do step mashes but I could).

As for efficiency, I'm hovering around 76% but I don't crack my grains too fine. Just a personal preference. I believe in keeping the grain husks in tact as much as possible and don't mind adding an extra 1/2lb. of grain.

The only thing I would change? Not really a change, but in the future I'm going to add a LOVE controller along with a gas valve so that I can set my hot liquor temp. and have it controlled automatically... more a "luxury" addition that anything else.

Brewery Pictures
Nice looking setup!!!

 
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Nwcw2001

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now this has kind of died, for as many of you that have great setups. Here's your chance to brag and give us some insight.
 

tbulger

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caskconditioned said:
I have a HERMS but use a small cooler (1 gallon) for the coil along with a bucket heater. My main design goal was to maintain mash temps and make temp adjustments (not really to do step mashes but I could).

As for efficiency, I'm hovering around 76% but I don't crack my grains too fine. Just a personal preference. I believe in keeping the grain husks in tact as much as possible and don't mind adding an extra 1/2lb. of grain.

The only thing I would change? Not really a change, but in the future I'm going to add a LOVE controller along with a gas valve so that I can set my hot liquor temp. and have it controlled automatically... more a "luxury" addition that anything else.

Brewery Pictures

OKay thats the herms heat exchanger ive been looking for. Could please explain how it works. I wanted to do something simmilar and hook the bucket heater up to a ranco, just to maintain mash temp and maybe mash outs nothing too serious. Is that a 3 gallon cooler? how well does it maintain constant temp? Can the bucket heater be run of any outlet or do i need to bump it up?
 

caskconditioned

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tbulger said:
OKay thats the herms heat exchanger ive been looking for. Could please explain how it works. I wanted to do something simmilar and hook the bucket heater up to a ranco, just to maintain mash temp and maybe mash outs nothing too serious. Is that a 3 gallon cooler? how well does it maintain constant temp? Can the bucket heater be run of any outlet or do i need to bump it up?
In my set-up, the bucket heater is controlled by a PID. If you look at the pictures closely, you will notice a "T", that is were the thermocouple reads the wort as it exits the coil. I also have an aquarium pump connected to a SS tube (taken from a corny keg) that bubbles air from the bottom. This is to avoid stratification and keep the water moving.

I'm not sure what size the cooler is, but it's no more than 2 gallons. I'm using 3/8" copper tubing for the coil.

Here's my typical mash technique: when my strike water gets to about 160F, I fill the HERMS chamber (blue cooler). I don't want it any hotter because it will spike the temp. of the mash when I start recirculating. Once the strike water is to the desired temp, I mash in (I do not pump the water through the coil, rather go directly into the mash). Once I'm done mashing-in, I start the recirculation through the HERMS and leave recirculating until I'm ready to sparge. One great thing about my set-up is that if I over-shoot my temps when mashing in, I can simply add cold water to the HERMS chamber (instead of the mash) and it lowers the temps really fast.

I've taken the temperature of the water in the HERMS chamber while the mash was at a steady 152F and it's around 154-155F. But again, the PID is great at controlling and maintaining the temps (set-it and forget-it). You mentioned you would use a Ranco, I think that will work just as good.

I'm running the bucket heater, pump, and aquarium pump all of a normal outlet in the garage.

Let me know if you have other questions.
 

tbulger

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Wow awsome that was just what i was looking for. I wills start gathering the necessary equipment soon! thanks
 
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