New Brew System Sanity check.

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Apr 16, 2024
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I have a rather limited amount of space I can dedicate to brewing in my kitchen.
Specifically the 24x40" top of my new DIY kegerator.
I will of course be going all electric (it's all I've ever done) and eventually automating a bunch of it, though initially the valves will just be controlled with toggle switches.
I keg and force carb everything, though I do fill 1L PET bottles from my taps for friends and family.

I was inspired by this HEX brewing heater:
Not because I thought it was better, but because I thought I could make my setup smaller.
I will be using a pair of 50l kegs for the MT and BK as they where much cheaper to purchase legitimately than new pots, and I have the ability to weld stainless.

01 Off.png

System OFF
I plan to an an RO filter in the future, but I need to spread out the cost a little.
I do have a whole house sediment and backwashable carbon filter, so the filter arrangement is probably overkill, but I don't have the best tap water to star with.

02 Fill and PreHeat.png

Fill, Pre-Heat, and mash in.

Using the HEX as an instant hot water heater, with a 5500w element it should heat the water quickly enough.

03 Mash.png


The pump will then circulate through the coil in the HEX

04 Sparge.png


Pre-heated water from the HEX will then back fill as the wort is pumped to the BK.
05 Boil.png

Then of course the boil can start using a 4500w low wattage density element.

06 Cooling Drain.png

And drained and cooled into a fermenter.

I'm aiming for the ability to mostly autmate it (though of course I'll be at most 20' away when it's running).
But without making it too complicated.
Most setups use two pumps, but if I have this right I should be able to use only one, saving me a fair bit.

I'd like some constructive criticism, sins I've only brewed in a bag up till now.


  • 04 Sparge.png
    04 Sparge.png
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Hmm, well, I guess I'll keep working on this on my own.
If I can make the system work efficiently maybe it'll be useful for other people too.
Let take a moment to say; Welcome to HBT! ..and please don't take offense at the bluntness.
I think that like me, everyone is waiting for someone else to post first as we see every so often, someone signing up who is trying to re-invent the wheel. There's something I'm not clear on;
I have a rather limited amount of space I can dedicate to brewing in my kitchen.
Specifically the 24x40" top of my new DIY kegerator.
Does ^this mean you intend to set your brew rig on top of your kegerator?
I read the linked heat-exchanger article as I've seen that proposed an number of times before, but the author appears to still be in the testing stage....sounds like a risky approach to build on.
I'll leave it to those more versed in water-chemistry to explain why plumbing in your water is a bad idea.
Something you haven't mentioned is your desired batch sizes... I see from your other thread that you have a beautiful kegerator equipped to handle Sanke's and am wondering if you intend to use those?
Your proposed system is a bit unusual, so give it time and you'll get some feedback and hopefully we'll get a bit more clarity.
In the meantime, I hope you're reading through the many threads on this site for 2V and 3V systems.. you may find the answers you're looking for.
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I didn't really see it as re-inventing the wheal, the point of a HLT is to pre-heat water and act as a heat exchanger in a HERMS system.
That smaller sealed vessel works the same.

My day job involves hydraulics, electrical and electronics. So I'm not too fussed about my ability to build any of this.

Yes the system would be setup on top of my kegerator. I do all of my brewing in the kitchen.

I've used my tap water for a coupe dozen 20L batches and though it's not ideal, it's good enough for now.
But I intended to add an RO filter in the near future and re-add minerals etc.

I keg everything, and fill 1l PET bottles from the tap to send to friends and family.
I intended to size the system to do 40l batches, that I split into two fermenters and eventually two 20l kegs.

Though with some small modification I should have no issue doing a single 20l batch.
I'm not a electrician, but I think for 4500watts you should be on a 220v - 240v with a 30amp breaker. You might can run that on the typical 12-2 w ground cable that is used for 20 amp circuits in a home, but I'm not positive. You should check and make sure you aren't overloading whatever it is you are powering that from. And of course up where you are might not have quite the same code as here in the US.

Where did you boil those 20 liter batches? If those were outside and you are going to be doing this in your kitchen, then even 4 gallons (15 liters) will produce so much steam that condensation will be an issue for many exhaust hoods over a stove. Especially when the attic temps are cold and that vent pipe isn't insulated going through the attic.
The old setup ran off of the 30a 8-3 dryer plug (previous owner had the washer and dryer in the kitchen).
I will be adding a similar plug of the new one.

All my previous batches where inside and the vent hood and the front door open a smidg (for the heat) handled it just fine.
The vent was on an exterior wall so condensation in the line wasn't an issue.

For the new setup I'll likely run the vent through the basement and out next to the dryer outlet.
The line will need to be sloped and a drain put at the lowest point. But that should be an issue.
For 40L batches, I cannot strongly recommend enough getting a full sized 15.5 US gallon/58.6L sanke (if you have make a keggle). A 50L keg leaves almost no headroom... I went from the stovetop to an electric keggle (full sized) and even with absolute attention to details, I've still had occasional boil-overs doing 12G batches in it. Your kegerator post suggests you're in driving distance of ..Good prices on kegs there.. you could pick up a couple extras for fermenters, plus they knock $10 or so off the price if you ask for them without the spears. As it is though, for that size you may want to consider shelling out the one-time expense on a Spike or Blichmann 20G kettle...In terms of absolute space utilization; kegs are heavier, have external dead-space around the rings, are difficult to BIAB in (should you decide to short-cut a brew) and harder to clean. If you want to balance cash outlay to efficiency, there's a nice looking 'practical' 20G BK you can order from BC:
It's 201 SS rather than 304, but an economically sensible choice and well setup for the price.
Just some fuel for thought.
Yep, you're right, I had a bit of a brain fart. I will be using 15.5gallon kegs.
If I couldn't find any ethical ones I would be going with lawson kegs, they are a bit of a drive, but I don't mind that.

I have a bunch of 30l kegs I plan to use for fermenters (from businesses that went bankrupt during covid).
Along with 4 20l ones.
But I might pickup a couple more 20l ones as well.