Re: Building a HERMS Setup

Wed May 23, 2012 9:24 am

Few tips that I have learned since I built my HERMS.

Pump water through your coil prior to adding the grain - This helps alot with reducing stuck mashes.
I keep my HLT about 11-15 deg or so warmer than my intended mash since you will loose heat from the wort transferring.
Get some insulation for your MT. I use reflectix bubble insulation. Cost is about $20.
Consider recirculating the whole time instead of when the probe reads a certain temp. The mash has different temperatures everywhere and circulating helps reduce the variance.
A pump or manual stiring in the HLT will help with stratification. A pump is obviously nicer and helps with consistency(you can just set the controller and forget it)
Get a "T" so that you can transfer to your kettle without having to deal with the moving around your disconnects. I wish I would have bought more "T"s when I first made my system.
I personally havent had issues overshooting in my HLT, but I use a bucket heater or two to maintain and raise the temps.
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Re: Building a HERMS Setup

Wed May 23, 2012 9:28 pm

Good stuff, Kriz. I did a double-take when I saw your post, I lived in Novi until about 6 years ago :-) Cheers to the MI crew.

While I gathered data from my "dry run" with only water, I know that changing systems is going to make a difference in the output of my recipes. I gather a ton of data when I brew now, and I plan on doing the same with the new system. Hopefully analyzing the differences in the data I generate between systems will help me to adjust process to get the beers I want within a batch or two. The goal is that I can hone my recipes close to what I brew today while being able to upgrade on consistency between batches while also elminating some of the pitfalls that can occur (e.g., using decoctions to step mash, etc.), and shorten the brew day. I'm sure I will have a batch or two that aren't exactly what I am looking for as I tune the system, but once I find the magic spot, I'm sure things are going to go wonderfully from there.

Thanks for the tips, I'm always open to suggestions.

~widget
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Re: Building a HERMS Setup

Sat Jun 30, 2012 1:07 pm

I did a fully manually controlled test batch two weeks ago and am extremely happy with the brew day. I used my Gott Cooler Mash Tun with my new HLT/Heat Exchanger to brew a BoPils that I used to run on a triple decoction schedule. Using the HERMS I stepped through all of my temps perfectly, never overshot, and had an excellent brew day.

On another front, my fabricator is finishing my brew sculpture/stand today. I'll post some pictures of the process later. I hope to plumb the gas lines tomorrow/Monday (for manual flame control) and run a few batches this week (first one on Tuesday).

Once I get a few manually controlled batches under my belt, I will build out the automated portion of the system and be done.

Things are coming along nicely, I am very happy with the setup so far.

~widget
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Re: Building a HERMS Setup

Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:11 am

I picked up the brew stand yesterday and plumbed it for gas today. Performed leak and flame testing and everything worked out great. My first brew is going to be on Saturday, I'll do an all-water run through on the process steps tomorrow to ensure everything operates as planned. Gas and pumps will be manually controlled for this brew as I wait for the control module and valves for the electronic controls to arrive. I hope to have the electrics built and in place by early August. Saturday's brew is a single infusion mash, so I won't even be using the HERMS portion of the setup, but I've used it with my Gott cooler previously and know it works.

Anyway, now I've got pictures to share. I'll start with the equipment I was using back in March (and have used for the year beforehand).

First up is the old brewing system.

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Next I had my fabricator do the work on the remaining kettle (HLT).

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Next I worked up some plans and had the fabricator get to work on the stand.

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Once I got it home it was time to plumb the gas lines.

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The last pic I have is right after leak and flame testing.

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I've since added the rest of the quick disconnects and have ordered stainless ball valves.

This project has been an absolute blast. Its been a log time since I've been able to do something like this.

~widget
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Re: Building a HERMS Setup

Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:06 am

Ooooo.... shiny....
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