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Temp Herms Set-up

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Seabee John

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Converting my three tier to a HERMS... in the hope of having more control over the mash temps.

Here's what I got:

Keggle HLT - top tier... I took an old wort IC I had sitting around and dropped it in the HLT.

Igloo Cube Mash tun w/ copper manifold in the bottom. valve on the outlet.

below that I have my march pump. I plan on pulling wort off the Mash tun and pumping it through the IC in my HLT and then back down to the top of my grain bed with a simple disbursement manifold or a coffee can lid.

This is only temporary until I get my single tier rig built (maybe months away)

So questions:

1. does it sound like this will work?
2. do you recommend constant circulation and control the heat with my HLT? or...
3. Just turn the pump on and off as needed like "how to brew" recommends?
4. If I plan on using this to vorlauf before I sparge, would you recommend pulling my herms out of my HLT during that time or just letting it exchange the heat?

Thanks for all the help
 

FSR402

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I have been thinking of doing the same thing so I want to hear what others have to say.

If I do this I want to have the themp controled for me.
 
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Seabee John

Seabee John

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Must have done something right. Did a test run while sanitizing my HeRMs setup tonight. while the HLT is at sparge temps, I was able to raise mt mash tun temps from 150 to 155 in less than 1 minute. Doing two brews this weekend one on sat and one on sun. I'll Keep track of everything and report back.
 

The Pol

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I contemplated making a HERMS... but realized that it was alot of work and plumbing for nothing when I am mashing inside a cooler... my cooler loses 1F per hour when mashing 10lbs of grain... here is what I built instead. I am sure a complete SS HERMS is in my future, I build a new rig every year... but not this year.

Be careful with your 5F increase in 1 minute... when researching HERMS I read over and over again that it was a bad idea to have the recirculated wort coming back into your MLT HOTTER than what you want to mash at. If you are mashing at 155, the wort coming back INTO the MLT better be close to 155. Why? Temp stratification... unless you have also built in a stirring mechanism to keep the temps constant throughout the mash. If you are draining out 150F wort and feeding in 170F wort to raise the temp... well, now the top of your mash where the wort is being delivevered is 170F and you are halting the enzymes... whereas you can still be pulling out 150F wort from the bottom... by the time your OUTflow gets to 155F half your mash will be at 170F. If you want to raise your temps, all recommendations I read were to have your heat exchanger AT the temp you desire. Example. You want to raise the temp from 123F to 155F for a step mash... your heat exchanger will have to be set at 155F, and you will find you will not get a 5F per minute increase, it will be much much slower.

HERMS is great at maintaining temp, dont expect it to step mash, becuause it wont. Also, be wary of sending wort back into your MLT that is ABOVE your desired mash temp.

 
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Seabee John

Seabee John

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The Pol said:
Be careful with your 5F increase in 1 minute... when researching HERMS I read over and over again that it was a bad idea to have the recirculated wort coming back into your MLT HOTTER than what you want to mash at. If you are mashing at 155, the wort coming back INTO the MLT better be close to 155. Why? Temp stratification... unless you have also built in a stirring mechanism to keep the temps constant throughout the mash. If you are draining out 150F wort and feeding in 170F wort to raise the temp... well, now the top of your mash where the wort is being delivevered is 170F and you are halting the enzymes... whereas you can still be pulling out 150F wort from the bottom... by the time your OUTflow gets to 155F half your mash will be at 170F. If you want to raise your temps, all recommendations I read were to have your heat exchanger AT the temp you desire. Example. You want to raise the temp from 123F to 155F for a step mash... your heat exchanger will have to be set at 155F, and you will find you will not get a 5F per minute increase, it will be much much slower.

HERMS is great at maintaining temp, dont expect it to step mash, becuause it wont. Also, be wary of sending wort back into your MLT that is ABOVE your desired mash temp.
I get what you are saying, but disagree in principle. There are many times that we bring the wort back in to the MLT at higher temps. MUCH higher temps. That is part of the whole decoction mash process. But the key is only adding what you need to add in order to raise the temps. What's the difference between adding 2 qts of 168deg water to raise your temps to the right level, and recirculating 2 qts of wort at 168 deg? The difference is you have 2 qts less in your mash if you recirculate.

That said, I may have understated a few things earlier. first, stir good, and stir when you are raising temps. Second, pull temps from 4 places, outflow, center bottom, side mid, and anywhere on the top. If they are all drastically different, either you didn't stir or at leased not well enough.
Third, the 5F/Min increase is with the pump at full speed. I'll not be recirculating at that flow, I don't think the grain bed would allow it. In the end If I get 1F/2 or 3 min, I'll be extremely happy.

EDIT: Nice set up BTW. How did you add the thermometers to the sides of the cooler? It looks as though you just drilled a smaller hole than the probe and shoved em in... is that right? I was pondering doing that with my MLT
 

psymn

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I made my first all grain batch last weekend using a setup very similar to yours. I can confirm that you are unlikely to get get full pump flow through the grain bed, unless you are really moving the bottom of your grain bed constantly.

I ended up choking back the discharge of the pump to allow prevent the grain bed from becoming too restrictive. BTW, I am using a SS false bottom in a converted keg.

My real problem was that I was using my single tier stand, pump, and all-grain brewing with step mash for the first time. Talk about a recipe for disaster...but I'm happy to report that I ended up with 9 gallons of wort (I was shooting for 10) with around 65% efficiency. not great, but I'll take it for my 1st AG.

I'm seriously thinking about building a manifold to route the various fluids around my rig, but right now I'm kinda poor from buying all the other stuff. Since all of the liquids in the brewing process are kinda hot, it really sucks to have any of them spill on you while switching pump lines, and I think a manifold should solve this problems....although I could just be addicted to stainless steel :D

Good luck & keep us posted on your sucess,
Matt
 

The Pol

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EDIT: Nice set up BTW. How did you add the thermometers to the sides of the cooler? It looks as though you just drilled a smaller hole than the probe and shoved em in... is that right? I was pondering doing that with my MLT[/QUOTE said:
No, what I actually did was drill a larger hole with a hole saw... then used a #5 stopper, solid stopper, which I "drilled" a small hole through to plug the hole from the inside. I then inserted the thermometer through the stopper. This provides for a fool proof 100% reliable seal. The water pressure in the cooler only further presses the stopper into the hole to seal it.... works nice! Both therms read within .5F of one another, they are very helpful!

 

The Pol

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The manifold on my rig cost me about $60 at Lowes and about 30 minutes to assemble. It is REALLY convenient not to have to remove hoses... it is a closed system now... no leaks, no drips, just throw some levers to get the fluid going where you want it to!
 
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Seabee John

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Well, just got done with the superbowl of brewing. Slnies came down from St. Cloud last night and we each did an all grain batch. We started about 8pm and finished at 3 this morning. The We got up at 6 am when Nicksteck showed up with his rig and we each did another 5 gal AG batch. all total 25 gal brewed in 16 hours (with a 3 hour nap)...

So how did my new HeRMs work... Far better than ever expected. Not only did it perform great in controlling my temps, but I did a 3 step mash and it used it to raise the temps between steps.

I've got a copper manifold at the bottom of my mash tun and it handled the flow just fine. I ran at full speed between steps and half speed to vorlaugh. Wort came out as clear as could be. I did stir the bed a little more than I'm used to but I wanted to minimize any channeling. I had three temp probes in the mash (6" grain bed) and had little to no stratification of temps.

Eff? well I hit 70% on my first brew and 72% on my second brew. I have 3 new things this could be attributed to. 1. I used 5.2 stabilizer for the first time. 2. Nicksteck lent me his barley crusher (sweet BTW) and 3. I had all my temps locked on and stayed locked on.

In all the brews I've done, these two were by far the best and most enjoyable I've ever had!

Edit: I had some time for a nap... now I'm up and loading the photos:mug:



My rig w/ new HeRMs set up



Christened with a glass of D&D Haus Pale in a decorative Dirty Dog Brewing Company glass!



Did I mention I love hops?
 
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