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So I have decided to build my own electric brewhouse. Advice needed

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Althozgraz

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Hello fellow Brewers. I have decided to build my own electric brewhouse. I am already well versed in all grain brewing and have alot of batches under my belt. Currently brewing on the grain father and I'm very happy with it but I'm on my second unit and I know eventually the element is going to give out like the last one did. Already repaired the controller twice and I have had enough. My current plan is to convert my grainfather (when the element craps out) or one of my 10 gallon kettles to a herms hlt by Installing a herms coil and heating element. Then I plan to buy the ss brewtech mash kettle and use that as my mashing vessel temp controlled with the herms kettle. After that I plan on installing a heating element into my 15 gallon keg and controlling all of it with the ss brewtech econtroller v1. All in it should be less than 2k plus 240v power installation because I already have alot of the stuff other than the controller, mash vessel, and heating elements. Why wouldn't this work?
 

sicktght311

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Anything herms setup will work so long as it has the proper components. 3 vessels, 1 with an element and herms coil inside, 1 without an element with a false bottom, 1 with an element for boil. And then a controller to control those elements. Pumps to pump everything around. And hoses. Thats really it. There have been people who use plastic buckets for an HLT, others use coffee urns, turkey fryers etc. Just as long as it satisfies the initial requirements, everything else can be mixed and matched
 

highland_brewer

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One thing I would check prior to settling on the Grainfather as your HLT is, Can I get a coil and element that will fit and seal properly. It is going to be a pretty tightly would coil to fit in the GF and the diameter is not the most conducive to drilling a hole in and installing a element into without having leak issues. I have successfully install an element in a pot smaller in diameter than the GF but it is difficult to get to seal. Everything else sounds fine.
 
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Althozgraz

Althozgraz

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One thing I would check prior to settling on the Grainfather as your HLT is, Can I get a coil and element that will fit and seal properly. It is going to be a pretty tightly would coil to fit in the GF and the diameter is not the most conducive to drilling a hole in and installing a element into without having leak issues. I have successfully install an element in a pot smaller in diameter than the GF but it is difficult to get to seal. Everything else sounds fine.
So the main issue I'll run Into is the curve of the wall causing problems with sealing because of how narrow a diamiter the grainfather is?
 

Tobor_8thMan

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whos drooling? im not drooling lol how do you like your setup? is it worth the hassle of spending the money and assembling the gear versus just doing a regular infusion mash and batch sparge setup?
Depends. Everything in life depends. Are you happy with the batch sparge setup? If so, then please continue. Since I became an all grain brewer I was a fly sparger. Previously, I was mashing in a converted water cooler. Now, I can easily step mash. Now I can accurately control my mash temp over the entire 90 minute mash. I realize we shouldn't get too anal about these things, as they are similar, at least to me to batting average, but I achieving a 94.2% mash efficiency with an overall brewhouse efficiency of 86%.

I've home-brewed since 1995. Until I built the Electric Brewery I foolishly thought I made good beer. I now realize I made sh*t beer before I had the Electric Brewery. Can't tell you how many people now say "Man, you should sell this beer. I'd buy it". I reply, "Thanks, but I don't want to deal with licenses, etc. I give it to my friends".
 
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jcav

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+ 1 I love mine. I can make great consistent beer and brew the recipe over and over and make it the same every time. Step mashing is a breeze. I even do decoctions while the main mash recirculates at whatever temp I need. Great system. It works for me but everyone has an opinion.

John
 

highland_brewer

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Depends. Everything in life depends. Are you happy with the batch sparge setup? If so, then please continue. Since I became an all grain brewer I was a fly sparger. Previously, I was mashing in a converted water cooler. Now, I can easily step mash. Now I can accurately control my mash temp over the entire 90 minute mash. I realize we shouldn't get too anal about these things, as they are similar, at least to me to batting average, but I achieving a 94.2% mash efficiency with an overall brewhouse efficiency of 86%.

I've home-brewed since 1995. Until I built the Electric Brewery I foolishly thought I made good beer. I now realize I made sh*t beer before I had the Electric Brewery. Can't tell you how many people now say "Man, you should sell this beer. I'd buy it". I reply, "Thanks, but I don't want to deal with licenses, etc. I give it to my friends".
I had a similar path in my journey. I am currently rebuilding my HERMS system after a move. My prior configuration was a panel based of ok Kal's design. It is definitely worth the effort.. There is more clean up that the all in one system's but I really enjoy brewing on my big system.

Here is my previous setup.
2018-03-11 06.14.29.jpg


I have since upgraded all my kettles to all boilermakers

And here is the new place in process
20191026_050136.jpg


And on the opposite side of the basement...
20191026_050206.jpg


Building your own system is work. But it is satisfying work where you can drink. The fruits of your labor!!
 

applescrap

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My system has a much smaller foot print. It is a small box like this connected to a 5500w element on a stick. While not imptessive in expense or big size, it is impressive in small size and functionality. Easily making 10g batches in 3hours with 45 min mash and boil and 2.5 hours for 5g. One kettle easy cleanup and done. Everything fits in kettle so pack up and stored until next brew on garage shelf. Ill stop there but if interested ill continue. I think the whole setup was 480 including the 15g (wrong size) kettle. With two kettles you could go nuts doing rolling batches, mashing one, while boiling another. Best of luck.
Screenshot_20191026-043525_Samsung%20Internet.jpeg
 
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Althozgraz

Althozgraz

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+ 1 I love mine. I can make great consistent beer and brew the recipe over and over and make it the same every time. Step mashing is a breeze. I even do decoctions while the main mash recirculates at whatever temp I need. Great system. It works for me but everyone has an opinion.

John
Thats what I love about my grainfather, step mashing is as easy as starting a timer and inputting a desired temp. I never realized how spoiled I was with this system until I looked at replacing it. For normal batches i get around 80-84 efficiency but the best part is re iterated mashes which allows me to make whatever gravity wort I want, just two mashes in the same wort and u can easily get 1150 wort.
 
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