My Weldless Build Using Strut

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awoitte

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Here are some pics from the opening brew night on the rig. Real happy with the direct fired mash. With these burners I was worried they would create too much heat even on the lowest setting. Not so. When the temp hit 150 I would kick on the burners as low as I could keep it, and with a good recirc flow, it would take about 5 mins for it to get up to 154. Nice even temp rise. Otherwise, pretty uneventful. Next up is the Honeywell 8200 gas valve with standing pilot so I can actually use the output from my Auber controller.

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Sorry for the thread revival, but what kind of tubing is that? Silicon, PVC, etc? Always curious about the tubing with the liner marks on it and what the difference is. If I recall its harder, I'm looking for something to put at the end of my counter-flow chiller as currently I have nothing but a male threading right off the the chiller. I think adding tubing will help with flow and increase cooling impact.
 

Dutch808

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Mine is aluminum and I've never had a problem even with two Blichmann burners on full.



The Blichmann legs are just bolted onto angle pieces, which in turn are bolted to the strut. It has never felt anything but rock solid, even with 2 batches going at once.



It's light enough that I've even lifted it into a utility sink to clean off the baked-in grime of a thousand gallons of wort-boiling.
I know I’m super late to this thread but I am unable to see your pictures..... could you please repost them as I am building an aluminum brew stand as well. Just about to weight and heat test it tomorrow.
 

PowellsPub

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In case anyone is looking to build one of these in the San Diego area, I have one that I am looking to sell. The stand is great, but I’m selling all my equipment since I don’t have time to brew anymore. It is a 2 burner setup with the big 100k btu burners, heavy duty casters, and propane lines/valves. It is basically brand new, I only got to use it a couple times. Originally ~$400 of parts in selling for $200.

Pics at https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/selling-all-my-gear.675754/
 

NickTheGreat

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So i was at menards this morning and looked at the strut. My store has galv and the 'permagreen' kind. What's anybody's experience with the green?

The unistrut site talks about an electro acrylic process. Sounds kinda like what I'd call powder coat.

I plan to make a 1.5 or 2 tier small stand. But I wonder if the green would be better for flame and zinc flu concerns?
 

NickTheGreat

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This is the type (although bought from a supply house) that we use at work.
the coating will not hold up to the heat. It will bubble and melt. It is not a high heat coating. just one to protect from corrosion.
I guess I found my answer. Probably not what I want to use!
 

ryojin

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Any advice on how to best de-burr the strut edges after cutting? A metal file? Sanding drum? Thx!
 
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NickTheGreat

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I'm looking to build one of these. I'm eyeing the hellfire burners while I'm at it. I plan to di a two tier with one burner. Mounted under the lower tier

Do I need the one with legs or the one that goes with the blichmann stand?
 
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day_trippr

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The standard Hellfire burner includes squat legs virtually identical to the predecessor Floor burner (which used a bg14 element).

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The outer edges of the four legs have pre-drilled holes that could be exploited for mounting in a stand. Eg: I welded mounting tabs to the underside of this frame and ran bolts through them and the burner "legs"...

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This setup provides plenty of shielding and spacing to the frame such that if its powdercoated or high-temp painted it will survive unscathed...

Cheers!
 

sweetcell

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The outer edges of the four legs have pre-drilled holes that could be exploited for mounting in a stand. Eg: I welded mounting tabs to the underside of this frame and ran bolts through them and the burner "legs"...
you can check out my build for a mounting variation: i put L-brackets on those side-holes before mounting them which allowed me some wiggle room. i also went diagonal (45*), instead of day_trippr's square (90*) mount. lots of possibilities. i'm really happy with my hellfires.
 
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NickTheGreat

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Sounds like the standard one should be fine.

My birthday is in a few weeks. Maybe a good birthday present for myself! :yes:
 

Frank-the-Tank

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Maybe some folks could chime in to see if my idea will fly. I just bought my strut, brackets, bolts, and nuts for my brew stand, and I want to make sure my setup is legit before I build the stand. I have two 16 gallon kegs converted to a HLT and a BK and a chest cooler for my mash tun with input in lid for fly sparging.
I want to fill the HLT, get it up to temp, and do a slow, continuous fly sparge pumping from HTL to top of mash tun then draining back into the HLT by gravity. I will keep the temp controlled in the HLT with a valve controller (like the Honeywell mention by gifty) on the propane line feeding the burner. After mash, pump wort from HLT over to BK and boil with 2nd burner. Then get another batch going while the first one is boiling, having the 2nd batch ready for boil after first is done. Shooting for 10 gal per batch.
 

sweetcell

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I want to fill the HLT, get it up to temp, and do a slow, continuous fly sparge pumping from HTL to top of mash tun then draining back into the HLT by gravity.
fyi what you are describing there isn't continuous fly sparging. that's a recirculating mash, a sort of a RIMS. as you recirculate, the sugars will become homogenized through the mash.

fly-sparge = pouring "new" (clean) water over the top and draining into the boil kettle - single pass-through, no return to the mash-tun.
 

Frank-the-Tank

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fyi what you are describing there isn't continuous fly sparging. that's a recirculating mash, a sort of a RIMS. as you recirculate, the sugars will become homogenized through the mash.

fly-sparge = pouring "new" (clean) water over the top and draining into the boil kettle - single pass-through, no return to the mash-tun.
sweetcell thanks for the input.
I'm not good with all the terminology yet, but do you see this method working, or is there a fundamental flaw in what I'm trying to do? Would it be better to just do a slow fly sparge over 90 minutes?
 

sweetcell

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do you see this method working, or is there a fundamental flaw in what I'm trying to do? Would it be better to just do a slow fly sparge over 90 minutes?
yes, this should work... however, i have a few questions so i can better understand what you're planning :)

once you have your hot water and grain mixed into your cooler, why not just leave it alone and let the mash rest for 30 to 60 minutes? your chest cooler should keep temperature relatively stable, no? or have you experienced major heat loss, so you need the ability to add heat?

i myself do something similar, except that my mash-tun is a stainless kettle wrapped with insulation (Reflectix). when my temps drop more than 4 degrees below my target, i turn on the flame under my MT and recirculate by pulling warmed wort out via the false bottom and dumping it on top (where the wort is cooler). i don't have a controller, i just do it manually... i've gotten very comfortable with my system and i can control the temps by varying how big the flame is and how fast i recirculate.

sounds like you're looking to do the same thing, but instead of heating in the mash tun you're moving some wort to "secondary mash-tun", heating it there, then returning it to the MT. this is essentially a RIMS (link 1, link 2). as long as your controller can maintain temps your system should work just fine. suggestion: put your temp probe after the heat - i.e. between the heating kettle and the MT. set that temp to be a few degrees higher than your desired mash temp. if you want to mash at 150, i would set it at 152.

using you HLT as the heating vessel will work great as long as you don't intend to sparge (AKA full volume mashing). if you do want to sparge, you'll need to use a different vessel for heating - the boil kettle would be ideal for this. so while you're recirculating your mash between MT and BK, you can heat your sparge water in the HLT.
 

Frank-the-Tank

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yes, this should work... however, i have a few questions so i can better understand what you're planning :)

once you have your hot water and grain mixed into your cooler, why not just leave it alone and let the mash rest for 30 to 60 minutes? your chest cooler should keep temperature relatively stable, no? or have you experienced major heat loss, so you need the ability to add heat?

i myself do something similar, except that my mash-tun is a stainless kettle wrapped with insulation (Reflectix). when my temps drop more than 4 degrees below my target, i turn on the flame under my MT and recirculate by pulling warmed wort out via the false bottom and dumping it on top (where the wort is cooler). i don't have a controller, i just do it manually... i've gotten very comfortable with my system and i can control the temps by varying how big the flame is and how fast i recirculate.

sounds like you're looking to do the same thing, but instead of heating in the mash tun you're moving some wort to "secondary mash-tun", heating it there, then returning it to the MT. this is essentially a RIMS (link 1, link 2). as long as your controller can maintain temps your system should work just fine. suggestion: put your temp probe after the heat - i.e. between the heating kettle and the MT. set that temp to be a few degrees higher than your desired mash temp. if you want to mash at 150, i would set it at 152.

using you HLT as the heating vessel will work great as long as you don't intend to sparge (AKA full volume mashing). if you do want to sparge, you'll need to use a different vessel for heating - the boil kettle would be ideal for this. so while you're recirculating your mash between MT and BK, you can heat your sparge water in the HLT.
Thank you again. I guess I could just mash in the cooler, but I thought recirculating slowly through the HLT may get better conversion of the grains. Guess I'll use a lot more propane that way than I would just mashing in the cooler.
I appreciate your ideas on how to do this. I just want to have the best set-up planned that makes the best use of the HLT, BK and the chest cooler mash tun I have, before I put the brew stand together.
I'm a little unclear why sparging would have to be done between the BK and the MT and not from full volume of the HLT to cooler to BK over a 90 minute period? (I'm a newb at all this, yet I try to be creative; dangerous combo! that's why I'm staying away from electricity:))
 

sweetcell

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I'm a little unclear why sparging would have to be done between the BK and the MT and not from full volume of the HLT to cooler to BK over a 90 minute period? (I'm a newb at all this, yet I try to be creative; dangerous combo! that's why I'm staying away from electricity:))
i wonder if we're mixing up several different techniques/approaches here...

first off, do you plan to do full-volume mashing? AKA you start with all your water in the mash tun. once the mash is complete, you drain all of the wort to the BK and start the boil. single step, no sparging involved.

alternately, and this is the more traditional approach, you do a partial-volume mash. you add, say, 60% of your water (typically between 1.25 and 1.5 quarts per pound of grain), mash with that, then you either (a) remove the wort, refill with 40% sparge water, mix & rest, the drain to BK (AKA batch sparging); or (b) you slowly start draining the wort from the bottom while slowly filling fresh warm sparge water at the top, so that the fresh water slowly descends through the mash and pushes out the sugars (fly-sparging).

so in my previous post, i assumed you were doing a partial-volume mash - and thus would need heated sparge water at the end of the mash. if you recirculated your mash through your HLT for heating, where would you heat your sparge water? my proposed solution was to use the BK instead for heating the mash. while you were recirculating between MT and BK, you could be heating your sparge water in the HLT. but if you're doing full-volume mashing, then yeah - the HLT will work because you don't need it for heating sparge water.

you could simplify your process by only using the cooler and not bothering to recirc. once you get the process dialed in it's really easy and predictable. software like BeerSmith makes calculating how much water and at what temp a breeze.
 

Frank-the-Tank

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i wonder if we're mixing up several different techniques/approaches here...

first off, do you plan to do full-volume mashing? AKA you start with all your water in the mash tun. once the mash is complete, you drain all of the wort to the BK and start the boil. single step, no sparging involved.

alternately, and this is the more traditional approach, you do a partial-volume mash. you add, say, 60% of your water (typically between 1.25 and 1.5 quarts per pound of grain), mash with that, then you either (a) remove the wort, refill with 40% sparge water, mix & rest, the drain to BK (AKA batch sparging); or (b) you slowly start draining the wort from the bottom while slowly filling fresh warm sparge water at the top, so that the fresh water slowly descends through the mash and pushes out the sugars (fly-sparging).

so in my previous post, i assumed you were doing a partial-volume mash - and thus would need heated sparge water at the end of the mash. if you recirculated your mash through your HLT for heating, where would you heat your sparge water? my proposed solution was to use the BK instead for heating the mash. while you were recirculating between MT and BK, you could be heating your sparge water in the HLT. but if you're doing full-volume mashing, then yeah - the HLT will work because you don't need it for heating sparge water.

you could simplify your process by only using the cooler and not bothering to recirc. once you get the process dialed in it's really easy and predictable. software like BeerSmith makes calculating how much water and at what temp a breeze.
I‘m not sure I could fit 15 gallons in my cooler in two batches for mashing, so I was thinking about going the full volume route. Plus, with the propane controller, I could do rests as I get up to temp.
 

sweetcell

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I‘m not sure I could fit 15 gallons in my cooler in two batches for mashing, so I was thinking about going the full volume route.
i'm sure it's all on me, but i'm confused :)

full-volume mashing requires a bigger MT than partial-volume. regardless of which approach you take, you'll be using the same volume of water - so the question is do you add it all at once thus requiring a bigger MT (full-volume); or will you split the water into primary mash and sparge water, adding them at different times, thus requiring a smaller MT?

regardless #2 of which approach you take: you add all your grain at the beginning.

therefore, i am confused by your statement: "not sure I could fit 15 gallons in my cooler in two batches for mashing." #1, there is no reason why you would need to split your mash into two batches. regardless of full- vs. partial-volume, you mash all your grains at once in a single mash...
 
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Frank-the-Tank

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i'm sure it's all on me, but i'm confused :)

full-volume mashing requires a bigger MT than partial-volume. regardless of which approach you take, you'll be using the same volume of water - so the question is do you add it all at once thus requiring a bigger MT (full-volume); or will you split the water into primary mash and sparge water, adding them at different times, thus requiring a smaller MT?

regardless #2 of which approach you take: you add all your grain at the beginning.

therefore, i am confused by your statement: "not sure I could fit 15 gallons in my cooler in two batches for mashing." #1, there is no reason why you would need to split your mash into two batched. regardless of full- vs. partial-volume, you mash all your grains at once in a single mash...
No problem. Since I don't understand all the terms yet, I'm sure I'm not communicating very effectively. What I meant by the mash cooler being too small was that after I fill it with grain and strike water and let it mash for 90 minutes, after I empty that into the BK, I don't think filling the cooler again with sparge water and after 20 minutes emptying that into the BK would give me a full 15 gallons. Of course, I could just do another sparge until I reach my intended volume, or I could just fly sparge, but then I'm still adding more time and more steps to the brew. If I did the full volume method I was thinking of originally, I would slowly recirculate a full 15 gal HLT through the mash cooler (in through the lid, through the grain bed and out the bottom spout, then gravity fed back into the HLT) After the 90 minute recirculating mash is finished, I pump it over to the BK to boil, and then refill the HLT and start heating while I clean the mash cooler out and get it ready for new grain and new water from the HLT when it's up to temp. The HLT burner will have the temp controller so I can stop the heat for rests to activate other enzymes as I work my way up to the 153F alpha and beta amylase optimal enzymatic temps.
 

sweetcell

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What I meant by the mash cooler being too small was that after I fill it with grain and strike water and let it mash for 90 minutes, after I empty that into the BK, I don't think filling the cooler again with sparge water and after 20 minutes emptying that into the BK would give me a full 15 gallons.
ah ha. between the above and the quoted passage below, i finally understand what your proposed process is. first thing that comes to mind, and this likely isn't very helpful, is just get a bigger cooler. but assuming you want to stick with your smaller cooler, only:

If I did the full volume method I was thinking of originally, I would slowly recirculate a full 15 gal HLT through the mash cooler (in through the lid, through the grain bed and out the bottom spout, then gravity fed back into the HLT) After the 90 minute recirculating mash is finished, I pump it over to the BK to boil, and then refill the HLT and start heating while I clean the mash cooler out and get it ready for new grain and new water from the HLT when it's up to temp. The HLT burner will have the temp controller so I can stop the heat for rests to activate other enzymes as I work my way up to the 153F alpha and beta amylase optimal enzymatic temps.
this should work. the one concern i have is about the initial temp equalization at mash-in, due to the fact that so much of your mash liquor will be external to the mash tun. it's a solvable problem, tho.
 

Frank-the-Tank

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ah ha. between the above and the quoted passage below, i finally understand what your proposed process is. first thing that comes to mind, and this likely isn't very helpful, is just get a bigger cooler. but assuming you want to stick with your smaller cooler, only:


this should work. the one concern i have is about the initial temp equalization at mash-in, due to the fact that so much of your mash liquor will be external to the mash tun. it's a solvable problem, tho.
I plan on solving the temp issue by first getting the HLT to the desired temp with the propane controller, and have separate thermometer in the top half inch of the grain bed. I will slowly increase temp in the HLT until the grainbed is at the ideal temp while everything is recirculating.

So the final brew stand design will be identical to gifty’s with the addition of a shelf 24” high (on the side of the stand that has the propane controller on the burner) to set the mash cooler on so that gravity can refill the HLT while the pump slowly trickles wort back up into the top of the cooler.
 

NickTheGreat

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I used my rig to fry my turkey on Thanksgiving. I've had it done for about two months now. Need to get another couple batches brewed before it gets real cold. :ghostly:

 

sweetcell

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I plan on solving the temp issue by first getting the HLT to the desired temp with the propane controller, and have separate thermometer in the top half inch of the grain bed. I will slowly increase temp in the HLT until the grainbed is at the ideal temp while everything is recirculating.
took me a while, but i've finally figured out the issue i have with having so much of your mash liquor sitting in the HLT: in order to heat up the mash, you will need to infuse water/wort that is warmer than your target temp. if you want your mash at 154*F, you'll need to add 158*F water/wort from the HTL (hypothetical numbers). and that liquor is going to oscillate around 158, going a bit under and a bit over. if you added 154*F to the mash, it would tend towards 154 but wouldn't ever achieve that temp. so your grains will be at one temp in the mash while the majority of the liquor will be at a different, higher temp in the HLT.

(standard RIMS systems only heat a small portion of the liquor (ex: whatever is inside the RIMS tube), so while there is a differential it's limits to a very small percentage of the mash liquor.)

is this a major issue? probably not. with modern-day, hyper-modified malts that temp differential won't make much of a difference and conversion will happen just as easily at 154 as it will at 158.
 
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I built my stand in 2013.

I just reworked my stand to add a 3rd jet burner.

Strut is getting crazy expensive. I had to add a few SS pieces and some SS parts. I think the total for the upgrade was pretty close to what I originally paid in 2013.

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