My New HERMS Setup

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John Beere

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***EDIT - 9/06/08 - My system has been upgraded to v2.0. Click here to jump to it!***

***Edit - 7/26/08 - New Photos of the system start at post #41. Click here to jump to it!***


I've finally about got my new setup in place... Here are some photos as it is now:

The stand is made out of pressure treated 2x4s which are staggered and doubled up basically making them into 4x4s. My HLT is powered with a 220v 3500w hot water heater element.



Here is a close up my control panel. I decided to just wire the controllers up to outlets instead of hard wiring anything. The top left controller is 110v for the boil kettle; middle is 110v for the mash tun; and the right is 220v for the HLT. The top left outlet is toggled by the controller for the boil kettle; the top right outlet is toggled by the controller for the mash tun. The bottom left outlet is always hot. The bottom right outlet is for the heating element in the HLT.



Close up of the pump:
 
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John Beere

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My plan is to use the HLT and HERMS coil as the wort chiller. I'll fill with cold water, add some ice, and then turn the pump on until it chills.
 

ohiobrewtus

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I think that most of us had beer envy already with the walk-in cooler, and now this?

Great setup, man! :rockin:
 
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John Beere

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ohiobrewtus said:
I think that most of us had beer envy already with the walk-in cooler, and now this?

Great setup, man! :rockin:
Thanks much... I had been debating the stand for too long and just decided this was really all I needed. I never worked with metal or welded, so I went with wood. Turned out VERY sturdy.
 

ohiobrewtus

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John Beere said:
Thanks much... I had been debating the stand for too long and just decided this was really all I needed. I never worked with metal or welded, so I went with wood. Turned out VERY sturdy.
You've given me some inspiration, as I've never welded before either, but I've been dabbling in carpentry for a number of years now. I'm going to have to give this a try soon.
 
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John Beere

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No, just got the control panel assembled last night... build a sparge arm tomorrow... hopefully give her a good breaking in next weekend. ;-)
 
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John Beere

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I dry-ran the electrical system this evening... took the HLT to 162ish with 15 gallons of water in about an hour as well as heated up about 3 gallons of water in the mash tun through the herms coil to 155ish in the same amount of time. There seems to be a 7 degree difference between the HLT and the mash tun.

Here are a few photos...

Everything hooked up and running:



Close-up of the control panel (in terrible lighting):



Sparge Arm sitting on the false bottom:



Close-up of the PVC cover I fit over the heating element to cover the electrical components:
 
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Looks like a nice, clean setup, JB! Awesome!

FYI, I use my old HERMS heat exchanger as a chiller now - works just as well!

I recommend an adjustable sparge ring/arm. You'll want to keep it just above the grain bed - the height tends to vary more than you'd think depending on the strength of the beer you're brewing.
 
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John Beere

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Thanks Yuri,

I built the sparge arm based on Monster Mash's design... I initially thought it would float on top of the mash but its pretty heavy and now plan on suspending it just above the mash.
 
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John Beere

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Jaybird said:
Nice set up!! Hay what did you use for the insulation on the kettles or it that just tape? it looks nice...
JJ
Thanks. They are insulated with 2 layers of 1/8" x 2" insulated tape covered in a layer of black duct tape. It took awhile but I had a ton of the stuff left over from the walk-in cooler, so thats what I used...
 

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Very nice set-up. Are those controllers capable of switching line wattage, or do you have relays in that box? Nice sight glasses too, I always like to see isolation valves, but at least those have a heavy shield.
 

JoeRags

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Can I get some details on those sight gauges? Did you rig them up yourself?

Nice system!
 
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John Beere

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mr x said:
Very nice set-up. Are those controllers capable of switching line wattage, or do you have relays in that box?
No relays in the box... The controllers are rated at 16A each. The two 120V controllers are basically only going to be switching the pump on and off - so no worries. I was more concerned with the 240V controller... I figured up that it could run a 3,500W heating element at around 15A (3,500W / 240V = 14.6A). So far so good, no issues during my tests last night at all.
 

Ryan_PA

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It seems like the HLT is much larger than what I would think you need for a HERMS setup. What were you looking to accomplish with such a high volume? I know you said this was to be a dual purpose setup for chilling too, but wouldn't it be more efficient to have a smaller HLT? Just curious.
 

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John Beere

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Ryan_PA said:
It seems like the HLT is much larger than what I would think you need for a HERMS setup. What were you looking to accomplish with such a high volume? I know you said this was to be a dual purpose setup for chilling too, but wouldn't it be more efficient to have a smaller HLT? Just curious.
I'm not sure I'm following your question... are you asking why the coil is so large or the HLT? I guess I don't see the need to have a HLT and a heat exchanger - so I'll use the HLT as both. I'm not sure how efficient it is (or isn't) but I was satisfied with the speed the herms coil heated the mash tun when I tested last night...
 

Brewiz

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JB,
What type/size tubing are you using on the pump and where did you get the disconnects. By the way that looks awesome!!!
 
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John Beere

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talleymonster

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How did you cut your keggles? Just don't let Biermuncher help you!:cross::cross:

I haven't cut mine yet, I need to.
 

CodeRage

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First let me say, JB what an awesome looking rig!

Sorry to necromance an old thread but I am trying to figure out why you chose to put a 240v element in the HLT instead of the boil kettle?
 
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John Beere

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Virtuous said:
First let me say, JB what an awesome looking rig!

Sorry to necromance an old thread but I am trying to figure out why you chose to put a 240v element in the HLT instead of the boil kettle?
Thanks! I'm using propane for the boil kettle... my banjo burner can bring the 11+ gallons of wort up to boiling in no time.
 

nathan

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What about finding a large drink cooler and putting a coil in it and filling with ice-water. Wheel it over on it's own mini stand when it's time, and snap on the fittings from your hlt so you have a chiller right there.... Then you can use the hot water to clean up with.

It might be a pain and not fit space, though.

The rig looks pretty sweet!
 

Stevorino

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If you don't mind me asking-- how much did the HERMS stuff cost? I already have kegs w/ fittings and stuff...just thinking about doing a recirculation system...
 

brewjunky

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why do you have 3 temperature controllers?

Shouldn't you just need the one if you place the thermocouple on the out side of your heater coil and have it control your element in the HLT.

Your boil kettle seems to be Propane so you shouldn't need to regulate that.

I'm just kind of confused with your setup. I'm putting one of these together soon and have my HLT element controlled by my PID like I had said earlier. This way it controls my mash tun temp.

Im going to have my boil kettle electric running a 4500 watt element. I'm going to wire a receptacle like you that way when im done mashing I will unplug the HLT element and plug in the Boil kettle and control the heat in manual mode with my PID controller.
 
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John Beere

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why do you have 3 temperature controllers?
I only really needed two but went ahead put a third one in there just in case I come up with something later - yeah, that sounds good...

The one on the far right is 220 and controls the hot water element in the HLT. The other two are 110 and (whichever one I use) toggles the march pump based on the temp of the mash tun.
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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Just to say it, and to bump this thread. I am sooo jealous I can not describe it. Want to trade places?
 
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