Plate Chiller for HERMS

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korndog

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Has anyone used a plate chiller as a HERMS exchanger? Judging by how efficiently mine cools, I would think it would be very effective in reverse. I guess you would have to use some kind of screen or grant to keep it clean.
 

Bobby_M

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It would work but probably not practical. A copper coil is nice in that it won't clog and it's cheaper. A external exchanger also requires the heating liquid to be pumped in, which is another expense. Many will use the HLT as the heat vessel because you already have to heat the water for sparge. Some will use a dedicated vessel fired by an electric element, but I'm unaware of any major benefits of this because you have all that heat in the HLT already that took energy. I suppose it might be easier to automate the temp with an element.
 
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korndog

korndog

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Bobby_M said:
It would work but probably not practical. A copper coil is nice in that it won't clog and it's cheaper. A external exchanger also requires the heating liquid to be pumped in, which is another expense. Many will use the HLT as the heat vessel because you already have to heat the water for sparge. Some will use a dedicated vessel fired by an electric element, but I'm unaware of any major benefits of this because you have all that heat in the HLT already that took energy. I suppose it might be easier to automate the temp with an element.
Yes, but I would still be using the HLT water. I have a Therminator and pumps anyway, so I was just thinking that since this thing kicks ass on the cooling, why wouldn't it do the same on the heat side? Joh Blichmann wrote this:

Larry, it would technically work, but the higher protein load and particulate load will make cleaning it a lot harder. Obviously the warranty is for use as a wort chiller....


Sincerely,

John Blichmann
Blichmann Engineering, LLC
 

Lil' Sparky

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I wouldn't feel comfortable pumping the wort with that much particle matter through a plate chiller. With the amount of grain and protein I see when I start recirculating, I think it would clog up really fast, and I'm not sure you would be able to get it all cleaned out. I think the only way I would consider it is if it were filtered again with something finer than your lautering filter.
 

foppa78

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+1 on the clogging and cleaning. It might be fun to try though.
Is a copper coil not doing the trick? I get great heat transfer with my HERMS coil.
 
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korndog

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Don't have a copper coil, but i thought this would be faster, and since I already have one, it might be fun to try. I am building a direct fire rig right now, but in case I feel the need to go HERMS, I thought this would be an interesting option. I can't see that much more clogging than boiled wort if I screen it properly; but maybe I'm wrong about that.
 

Bobby_M

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I'm going direct fire now but I can't help but think I'll convert over to an HLT based HERMS. I can already anticipate problems with getting a low enough flame for direct heat.

The one benefit of using the plate would be that you're bringing your heating water directly to the transfer surface whereas you'd need an agitator/stir mechanism in the HLT to make sure you don't get stratification near the coil.
 

foppa78

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You are right, it might be fun. Will you let us know how it turns out?
What kind of system are you building?
 
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korndog

korndog

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Bobby_M said:
The one benefit of using the plate would be that you're bringing your heating water directly to the transfer surface whereas you'd need an agitator/stir mechanism in the HLT to make sure you don't get stratification near the coil.
Yes, I would think that you would get very fast ramps. I think you could use a love controller on a solenoid valve and pump to automate.
 
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korndog

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Bobby_M said:
What a POS redneck pile of parts... lame :D
Yeah, I found all this stuff at the dump. Best I could do. I found some crappy old kettles too. Blich something. Hey, as long as it work i guess. :)
 
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korndog

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Just for kicks I ran a test with water to see what kind of ramp times I might get with the Therminator as a HERMS exchanger. I heated 5 gallons in the HLT to 180 and 7 gallons in the MLT to 122. Then pumped through the chiller; the HLT dropped to 160 real fast. The burner kicked on and was on for the ramp which took 8 minutes to get to 152F with 160-163 exchange water. I think it would have been quite a bit faster with more thermal mass in the HLT. Still, this was a pretty good result considering the low differential between the tanks. What kind of ramp time would one expect for a typical HERMS setup?

KD

 

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Hey Korndog,

I've set up a Therminator HERMS system as well (not as nice as yours, though). I've never clogged the Therminator - still does the job, and has great flow - but, I'm a bit concerned that I might be accumulating husk particles & the like inside. After flushing and draining it, I can hear liquid sloshing around inside if I shake it. Do you get this?

When I boil the thing (even after a good flush), I still get some husk particles coming out and the boil water turns a nice copper (maybe from whatever might be caught inside?).

I use a Bazooka screen on the outlet of the mash tun, but I suspect that enough particulate gets through ( flow is greater than during lautering).

So far, there's been no impact to my brewing, but I'm afraid that I might
be slowly reducing the effficiency of my therminator through partial clogging
(if that's possible).


Have you run into any troubles/worries with your HERMS?

Laurier
 
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korndog

korndog

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Hey Korndog,
I've set up a Therminator HERMS system as well (not as nice as yours, though). I've never clogged the Therminator - still does the job, and has great flow - but, I'm a bit concerned that I might be accumulating husk particles & the like inside. After flushing and draining it, I can hear liquid sloshing around inside if I shake it. Do you get this?
When I boil the thing (even after a good flush), I still get some husk particles coming out and the boil water turns a nice copper (maybe from whatever might be caught inside?).
I use a Bazooka screen on the outlet of the mash tun, but I suspect that enough particulate gets through ( flow is greater than during lautering).
So far, there's been no impact to my brewing, but I'm afraid that I might
be slowly reducing the efficiency of my therminator through partial clogging
(if that's possible).
Have you run into any troubles/worries with your HERMS?
Laurier
Well I have to admit that I have only done some test runs. I find that the Therminator gets gunk in it no matter what I do. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some degradation over time, but cannot say for sure. I have backflushed with high pressure and followed Blichmann instructions for cleaning. Still, when I recirculate steaming hot PBW solution after all that, this is what I get:



I think I get a very good cleaning by running the hot solution through it for a good fifteen minutes and flushing it again, but who knows what's going on in that little maze? I also run boiling wort through the unit when I use it as a chiller for sanitizing. I can't imagine there is much risk in using it as a HERMS.
Nice to hear someone is ding this; it's very efficient.
 

p-nut

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Nice job Korndog. I am going to build a herms system with a counter flow chiller instead of a plate chiller. I thought the ramp times would be alot quicker. Do you cycle the pump to maintain mlt temp?
 

Laurier

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>>this is what I get:
>>


>> I also run boiling wort through the unit when I use it as a chiller for >>sanitizing.

yeah, that's what i get as well.
Oh well - so far so good.

I wonder if Blichmann could make a Therminator that you could disassemble; using bolts & gaskets. Then, at least I could open the thing up once in a while
to clean it.


thanks for the info.

L
 
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korndog

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Nice job Korndog. I am going to build a herms system with a counter flow chiller instead of a plate chiller. I thought the ramp times would be alot quicker. Do you cycle the pump to maintain mlt temp?
I didn't have much water in the HLT. The ramps would a lot faster if I had filled it and heated it more.
 
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korndog

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>>this is what I get:
>>


>> I also run boiling wort through the unit when I use it as a chiller for >>sanitizing.

yeah, that's what i get as well.
Oh well - so far so good.

I wonder if Blichmann could make a Therminator that you could disassemble; using bolts & gaskets. Then, at least I could open the thing up once in a while
to clean it.


thanks for the info.

L
Take apart chillers are very difficult to re-assemble and I am told are one of the nightmare tasks at breweries. They are really expensive and challenging to seal. Still, it would be cool if someone could tackle a simple take-apart unit for homebrewers.
 

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I tried it with a Shirron plate chiller. It worked, and I gout about 1 degree per minute rise. My biggest issue was all the heat loss through the tubing. I guess this would be the same if doing a "normal" HERMS?? The 2 pumps can be loud(all electric inside brewing). I'm rebuilding my brew stand and will probably try the IC in the HLT way of doing things (have an IC I never use much). If for nothing else, it looks simpler.
 

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Ok, so I'm not so worried about clogging the Therminator anymore. The Bazooka seems to do a good enough jobs of keeping stuff out. I do get a few bits of husk in there, but these flush out fairly easily.

And as for the bit of water that stays stuck inside, no matter which way I turn the thing to try to drain it out..... if you're as anal as I am about it, stick the thing in the oven for half an hour at a few hundred degrees, and boil the water out. This is a bit drastic (and a waste of energy, I guess), but if you're gonna be storing the thing for a while, and are afraid of critters growing in there, then you might prefer it to be dry.

That said, I'm about to give up on the plate-chiller HERMS idea. I don't mind the extra hassle of setting up all the connections, but I can't seem to avoid getting an airlock in the mash-side pump (March 809 - non-self-priming). This adds a big enough delay to my mash schedule, since it takes me a while to clue in that the flow has stopped. But worse, it screws up the rate at which I'm extracting heat from the HLT (I adjust the flow of HLT side of the chiller so that the mash is heated only to the target temperature, and I run the pumps until the outlet of the mash tun hits that target). When this works (and it has on occasion), it works beautifully; my best was a 20 minute ramp of 15 gal from 104F to 140F, without bringing any part of the mash above the target temp.

More often though, the first step up works alright, but the second is a nightmare (e.g. 1 hour ramp, with little control over the temp of the wort exiting the chiller - up to 180-190F). The whole purpose (smooth, quick ramp up) is defeated. Maybe I just have a loose connector somewhere that's sucking in some air(?). I'll give it one more shot, making extra sure to tighten up all connections. But if this keeps up, then I'll concede defeat and resort to flame to do my steps.

Anyone else ever have any trouble with pump cavitaion?

related question: has anyone ever heard of some kind of food grade flow-meter? If I can solve my cavitation problem, then a flow-meter on either side of the chiller would be really useful for setting up the right heat exchange rates (instead of fiddling with it anew each time).
 
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korndog

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Ok, so I'm not so worried about clogging the Therminator anymore. The Bazooka seems to do a good enough jobs of keeping stuff out. I do get a few bits of husk in there, but these flush out fairly easily.

And as for the bit of water that stays stuck inside, no matter which way I turn the thing to try to drain it out..... if you're as anal as I am about it, stick the thing in the oven for half an hour at a few hundred degrees, and boil the water out. This is a bit drastic (and a waste of energy, I guess), but if you're gonna be storing the thing for a while, and are afraid of critters growing in there, then you might prefer it to be dry.

That said, I'm about to give up on the plate-chiller HERMS idea. I don't mind the extra hassle of setting up all the connections, but I can't seem to avoid getting an airlock in the mash-side pump (March 809 - non-self-priming). This adds a big enough delay to my mash schedule, since it takes me a while to clue in that the flow has stopped. But worse, it screws up the rate at which I'm extracting heat from the HLT (I adjust the flow of HLT side of the chiller so that the mash is heated only to the target temperature, and I run the pumps until the outlet of the mash tun hits that target). When this works (and it has on occasion), it works beautifully; my best was a 20 minute ramp of 15 gal from 104F to 140F, without bringing any part of the mash above the target temp.

More often though, the first step up works alright, but the second is a nightmare (e.g. 1 hour ramp, with little control over the temp of the wort exiting the chiller - up to 180-190F). The whole purpose (smooth, quick ramp up) is defeated. Maybe I just have a loose connector somewhere that's sucking in some air(?). I'll give it one more shot, making extra sure to tighten up all connections. But if this keeps up, then I'll concede defeat and resort to flame to do my steps.

Anyone else ever have any trouble with pump cavitaion?

related question: has anyone ever heard of some kind of food grade flow-meter? If I can solve my cavitation problem, then a flow-meter on either side of the chiller would be really useful for setting up the right heat exchange rates (instead of fiddling with it anew each time).
Pretty sure you must have a flaw in your setup if you are losing your prime that easily. Are you losing the prime while it's pumping or when the pumps are off? If the latter, you could try continuous pumping of the mash pump and only pumping HLT during a ramp.

Here is a thread discussing flowmeters:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/flowmeters-72085/
 

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I had similar problems. I use direct-fire + recirculation with a false bottom in my sanke MLT. Previously my FB was on the small side and it couldn't maintain the flow rates. The pump would lose prime and it was a huge PITA. I've upgraded to a full false, and all of my previous problems disappeared. My bet is your bazooka tube doesn't filter fast enough for the pump. Using a larger filtering mechanism would probably solve the problem, but you'd have to make sure the filter was fine enough for your plate heat exchanger.
 

Laurier

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Pretty sure you must have a flaw in your setup if you are losing your prime that easily. Are you losing the prime while it's pumping or when the pumps are off? If the latter, you could try continuous pumping of the mash pump and only pumping HLT during a ramp.

Here is a thread discussing flowmeters:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/flowmeters-72085/
hmm... good question. I think that I've lost prime while pumping, but I'm a bit hazy on it. I'll look for it next time. (hopefully won't see it at all)

thanks for the flowmeter thread.
 

Laurier

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I had similar problems. I use direct-fire + recirculation with a false bottom in my sanke MLT. Previously my FB was on the small side and it couldn't maintain the flow rates. The pump would lose prime and it was a huge PITA. I've upgraded to a full false, and all of my previous problems disappeared. My bet is your bazooka tube doesn't filter fast enough for the pump. Using a larger filtering mechanism would probably solve the problem, but you'd have to make sure the filter was fine enough for your plate heat exchanger.
Thanks for the input - I'll look into this.
I do use a false bottom, but I use the Bazzoka for backup, because the FB fit isn't perfect, so I worry about some bits getting through.
But no worries - I have other options besides the Bazooka.

thanks
 

Laurier

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Eureka !

I was extra carefull setting up my system
- put the connector on the March pump first, then attached hoses
- all connections nice & tight
- inlets to March pump facing down

and whadya know - it worked beautifully.
15 min to step a 15 gal mash (brimming) from 105F to 140F
(mash cools through the beta range during rest)
20 min to step from 130 to 155

my faith in HERMS has been restored.

thanks for the tips
 

WortMonger

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I had a quick thought I would like to bring to the table. I have been thinking about steam infusion for a while. What about hooking your pressure canner/cooker directly to your Therminator/or any other heat exchanger and simply start your recirculating wort and then open your steam valve? Would steam make a good heat source for an exchanger-type of wort heating system such as we are talking about? I don't like the smell of the steam that comes out of my pressure canner, so I don't want that in my beer after all this thinking about it. Then my electric HLT would be able to handle all the sparge water, and I could just add water directly to the MT when needed for different step water to grist ratios or initially for the dough-in water. I have always hated how I have to refill my HLT. 17 gallons to make 12 in end-batch volume irritates my equipment. I have been looking at flash boilers as well and those should probably also be addressed as a good possibility if this idea has any partial merit. What do you guys think? I mean the flash boiler would be as simple as placing your boiler coil under your kettle and fire it up after starting your recirculation. I like this idea better, so no P-canner/cooker to mess with.
 
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korndog

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I had a quick thought I would like to bring to bring to the table. I have been thinking about steam infusion for a while. What about hooking your pressure canner/cooker directly to your Therminator/or any other heat exchanger and simply start your recirculating wort and then open your steam valve? Would steam make a good heat source for an exchanger-type of wort heating system such as we are talking about? I don't like the smell of the steam that comes out of my pressure canner, so I don't want that in my beer after all this thinking about it. Then my electric HLT would be able to handle all the sparge water, and I could just add water directly to the MT when needed for different step water to grist ratios or initially for the dough-in water. I have always hated how I have to refill my HLT. 17 gallons to make 12 in end-batch volume irritates my equipment. I have been looking at flash boilers as well and those should probably also be addressed as a good possibility if this idea has any partial merit. What do you guys think? I mean the flash boiler would be as simple as placing your boiler coil under your kettle and fire it up after starting your recirculation. I like this idea better, so no P-canner/cooker to mess with.
I suppose the vapor would heat the plates as well as liquid; why not? Maybe Yuri has some insight. Worth a try for sure. Flash boiler interesting too, as are no-tank water heaters.
 

JVD_X

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Just for kicks I ran a test with water to see what kind of ramp times I might get with the Therminator as a HERMS exchanger. I heated 5 gallons in the HLT to 180 and 7 gallons in the MLT to 122. Then pumped through the chiller; the HLT dropped to 160 real fast. The burner kicked on and was on for the ramp which took 8 minutes to get to 152F with 160-163 exchange water. I think it would have been quite a bit faster with more thermal mass in the HLT. Still, this was a pretty good result considering the low differential between the tanks. What kind of ramp time would one expect for a typical HERMS setup?
Why bother using water at all? Why not heat the therminator directly using a heat band or even propane.
 

WortMonger

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Why bother using water at all? Why not heat the Therminator directly using a heat band or even propane.
My thinking on that is that I wouldn't want my wort touching any copper above ~250F for fear of scorching if it stood still for even a second. The steam won't scorch the wort going through the "chiller" (lol, now that is just fun to say) the way propane or heat band heat would. Now, for a water only application... It would take moving the fittings far away from the unit, but it would work great for its very own flash boiler in that instance. I wonder if the Therminator would hold up to the pressures created by a pressure cooker or a flash boiler going through it? Even if you didn't direct fire your Therminator I wonder if it would be ok with 15 psi steam blasting through it? I would think it would. You could even use a adjustable valve on the output through the Therminator to control the steam going through it. It would be handy to clean the Therminator too, with all the steam handy and constantly going throiugh it.

LOL, I can see it now:
Presenting The Therminator from Blichmann Engineering. It's not just for chilling wort anymore.

Want hot water fast? Place it over your burner and hook up your hoses for hot liquor fast!

Want wort stepped up in temperature fast? Pump it through this bad boy with a heated counter-exchange supply of your choice and VIOLA!!! you're up to temperatures fast.

What's that, you want your wort heated to/past mash-out temperatures on its way to the kettle? We have you covered.

Oh, now you need to chill your wort down to pitching temperatures and you wonder what to do? Never fear...The Therminator is here to handle all your wort temperature needs.
:mug:
 

WortMonger

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OK, just sent Mr. Blichmann an email regarding the questions I am wondering and then we can all read what he writes back. I can't wait to hear what he has to say.:ban:

Email:
Dear Mr. Blichmann,
Let me start this email with a warm and whole-hearted "Thank You" for your wonderful products. I love my BeerGun, ThruMometer, QuickConnector fittings, and last (but certainly not least) the amazing Therminator. It is because of this necessity for my brewery, that I write you for your expertise and expert advice about this product. I know I will never part with this specific product no matter what my future brewery changes are, and so I am looking to minimize my remaining equipment as best I can. I have begun to ponder thoughts of using the Therminator as "other than recommended," knowing full well if I did it would void any warranty (pfft, like any is needed with this or any of your awesome products). I am a very gadget-type of guy and very hands-on with my own fabrications, but have no idea about any specifics of your product. I read another poster's threads in my forum (I'm WortMonger on homebrewtalk.com by the way). He wrote you about using the chiller as a heat exchanger for wort heating like a HERMs coil does. I read his Cliffsnotes of your response and it go me thinking.

I wondered, (warranty void as a 100% known) what pressures can the stainless steel plates inside the Therminator and the copper holding them together hold up to? I wonder what pressure tap waters around the country put on them, coming from a place where it is high? It got me thinking that, if one could supply steam as an exchange-medium and pass a wanted liquid through the opposite plumbing, it would make a superior hot, as well as, cold heat exchanger for multi-purpose brewing procedures. I understand completely any hesitation on your part to advise on a product you made for a specific purpose, but my inquiring mind has to ask you with the hopes you will understand my plight and tell me any relevant information.

If the product can withstand up to "?" psi of steam pressure, it would be great to know what that pressure would be for a worst case scenario? With all the new talk about steam injection of mashes and things, it would be nice to have that steam handy to use in, clean, and sanitize the Therminator if it could handle it. I am talking about using a maximum of 20 psi steam expelled through the chiller for heating wort or water, and then also using it with a pressure relief on the exhaust port where it would actually be holding the full pressure of 20 psi (acting like a pressure cooker would with a wort/water-filled copper tube going through it for exchange).

I sure appreciate any information you will be willing to give me about the questions I am wondering about. It sure would be nice to have a multi-purpose and easily steam cleanable apparatus for making brewing simpler. At the base of all of this is the curiosity about hooking the thing to my pressure canner for sanitizing prior to use as a chiller. I put the whole thing in the pressure cooker now and man would it be great to just have to blow through instead. Thought I'd ask before I voided anything on mine. I just can't live without it, I love it that much.

Thank you again for your time and your products,
John Lowry, Jr. aka Wortmonger
 

WortMonger

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OK, so I am now going to post his response to my email earlier, much faster than expected I might add.:ban:
His his responding email:
John – the chiller can withstand about 100 PSI of pressure, however, the big concern is plugging from grain particles in a HERMS system. Once the grain bed is set it’s not an issue, but prior to that there can be quite a bit of debris passed. Most HERMS systems I’ve seen utilize the hot liquor tank as a heat source and a copper coil is immersed in it for heat pickup as needed (wort runs inside the coil). Since you’ve already got to heat that pot, it’s usually more simple than creating another heat source.

The only concern about steam is burns – very severe burns. So be careful and make sure to have pressure relief valves in place at all times!

Sincerely,
John Blichmann
Blichmann Engineering, LLC
So, good news about using it with steam pressure inside, now to perfect the mash particle filtration to ensure a long life.:rockin:

Thank you email:
Mr. Blichmann,
I want to extend my appreciation for how fast you answered my question. To make you feel a little better about my use of steam, I am doing nothing to far out of the norm for us on the steam infusion kick. With safety and relief valves attached, we are modifying pressure cooker/canners to use the vented steam for direct infusion into the wort or mash tun. We never use pressures higher than normal rated use, and the steam is directed to the appropriate places with well fitted, high temperature rated connections. I am simply not wanting to add the steam directly and wish to have an exchange type of transfer of energy. There is also a lot of talk about flash boilers and their use as instant hot liquor tanks, and even their use for steam supply. All this talk is what is prompting my brain into thinking outside the already outside box. Wort filtration from the mash tun has been a high priority of mine and once accomplished to my satisfaction, I will feel better about using the Therminator in such a manner. My main concern was cleaning with steam, and now I know it can take what I will be throwing at it. With the use of a flash boiler coil under my kettle and over my burner, it could act as a instant hot liquor tun and as a steam supply for the talked about HERMs aspects. Thank you very much for your product information and your safety advice about steam. I have posted your information so other can see it on our forum.

Sincerely,
John Lowry, Jr. aka WortMonger
 
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korndog

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OK, so I am now going to post his response to my email earlier, much faster than expected I might add.:ban:
His his responding email:

So, good news about using it with steam pressure inside, now to perfect the mash particle filtration to ensure a long life.:rockin:

Thank you email:
Cool Monger. He is good about getting back to people. Not always with the response you want to hear though. :)
 

WortMonger

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Well, I am not worried about mash tun particulates clogging the thing, so I figure after I get the steam supply worked out all will be well. Now, to decide about a pressure cooker/canner or a flash boiler. The flash boiler would be a simplification of equipment and act as a direct heat exchange for instant hot liquor, as well as blowing the steam through the Therminator for wort temperature ramping.
 

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OK, thought I would post some pictures of what I am thinking. Before you guys start in, I know that I need a clean/filtered wort coming out of my mash tun for the Therminator to not clog. Ok, this is how I predict mashing would look.

And mash-out...

And finally the chill that the Therminator has made a name for itself because of.


I am really hopeful for my thought only design so far. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work. I have really good filtration on my tun and nothing can get through bigger than small screen size.
 

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Trying to direct fire the therminator is not practical as only the outside plates would get hot as the stainless is a poor heat conductor at best. Building a flash boiler that can do strike, sparge, and superheated steam for direct injection is a more efficient way to get things done. With 4 -10' coils of copper tubing interleaved inside a 6" tube you could eliminate the HLT and the long wait for it to heat. Here is a couple pictures of one done in stainless steel tube (old system) Picasa Web Albums - Kevin - Boiler (new system with new mixer) Picasa Web Albums - Kevin - New Boiler an...
 

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kladue said:
Trying to direct fire the therminator is not practical as only the outside plates would get hot as the stainless is a poor heat conductor at best. Building a flash boiler that can do strike, sparge, and superheated steam for direct injection is a more efficient way to get things done. With 4 -10' coils of copper tubing interleaved inside a 6" tube you could eliminate the HLT and the long wait for it to heat.
I too feel that direct firing the chiller would not work at all. I am wanting to use the system I have without having to use a separate burner assembly. I guess my question for you kladue is, "The coil I have located under the kettle would provide more heat (200+*F) to the Therminator for wort heating than a normal HERMS (normally sparge temperatures 168-185*F) coiled in a HLT, wouldn't it?" I do plan on running any water for my system through it for greater heating efficiency, like on it's way to the HLT where the Ranco can keep it at temperature or bring it up the little more needed. I am just seeing the flash boiler fired Therminator as a better HERMS coil. Am I wrong kladue? I ask because I read and respect your posts. I love your system, but like the idea of not having to use an extra pump to pump my "direct inject" steam supply water from a reservoir, or directly from the tap and into my wort. With the steam supplied to the Therminator for exchange only, I can use the tap with no filtration or worries about gas/etc in my beer (we have Chlorine and Fluorine etc in our water here and I don't want that in my beer). I fully understand that it is way more efficient to direct inject with steam, and that you are a pioneer in in-line steam injection of wort via flash boiling your supply. I can't help but think of a better HERMS from the prospective I am talking about without the direct injection due to my water concerns mentioned. I do know though, without a doubt, you are the man when it comes to steam.:rockin:

I am simply wanting to hook up a water hose to my brew-rig and fire up my single kettle burner. Open my HLT valve slowly and watch the pump fill up. Give her a sec to level liquid in tubing with the tun, and start recirculating opening your tap water slowly and starting your steam heating of the Therminator. Now, my HLT is only my HLT and I have all the sparge water at temperature ready to go, with my Therminator pulling double duty and a highly efficient HERMS (as compared apples to apples) to the usual HERMS design of "coil in tun."

brewjunky said:
I heard that the Plate chiller gets clogged with grain particles
This would be true with anything that wasn't filtered properly. I have a false bottom and a screen thing I made. My mash tun has a centered port in the very bottom which I love for not having to use any pick-up tube. I drain as completely as I can. This just screws in and gets me a little finer filtration before entering the hoses.

I haven't had a chance to try out the screen thing yet, but after that I should know if the Therminator is going to get clogged or not. I won't run anything through it that would hurt it. Filtered mash runnings are no different than non-filtered wort from my kettle IMHO, so I just need to test and see how filtered I am previous to the Therminator.
 

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I cant think of any reason one could not use a carbon filter inline with the tap water to feed the flash boiler, you would need a needle valve to provide fine flow control, and a flowmeter would make for repeatable results. As for temperature control you could set water flow and regulate firing of burner to maintain temperatures, this requires a bit more attention than firing a HLT as the response time is usually 10-15 seconds depending on flow rate. The flash boiler would be able to serve as strike water heater, sparge heater, and steam source as needed without waiting for HLT to heat. In the system I have built the water tank contains all the water needed for the batch which makes it easier to measure amounts used for each step with level measurement devices on the water tank and mash tun, precision electronic batch flow meters were too expensive for this application. The primary advantage of the steam mixer is that all the water is headed into the mash tun so no connections have to be changed from strike through sparge as there is little back pressure to water flow through screen diffuser and wort flows over screen so it does not plug up with particles. The old boiler was built with 4 - 10' lengths of SS tube, one could probably beat the performance with 4 - 5' pieces of copper tube as it has over 10 times as much heat transfer than SS. The only reccomendation is that the water flow into the bottom of the coils instead of top down as the dissolved air will cause uneven flow and steam pockets and hammering during low flow. If you try the therminator with steam it will need to be positioned so the condensed steam will drain out quickly to eliminate the hammering and popping of condensate flashing inside heat exchanger during operation. When the software and system tuning is done on the new system I will rebuild the old boiler with copper and test performance, then share the results.
 
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