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Dedicated Herms Guide, Problems And Solution Thread

Discussion in 'Gear and Equipment' started by chappo1970, 11/1/10.

 

  1. AndrewQLD

    RED ON WHITE IPA

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    Posted 12/1/10
    Greg in my mind, and I'm happy to debate this as I could be wrong, what you have described above is exactly how I like my mash to run, with one exception. With the correct coarse crush or the judicious use of hulls you should get a good even flow down from the top where the wort is returned, through the grain bed and out the bottom to the herms, and that's why I think the grain bed temps should correspond fairly closely to the wort return temp.

    Yes that is Ok, if your sparge water is hot enough it will raise the grain bed to mash out temps so if your concerned that the grain bed is sitting at a lower temp then you needn't worry, it won't hurt the brew at all and it would be only sitting for a few minutes anyway before the sparge water raises it's temp.

    My prattling on in previous posts is not really directed towards getting the grain bed to mash out temps but more at trying to work out why people have problems getting the grain bed temps in sync with their herms return temps.

    Cheers
    Andrew

    By the way Greg, the hulls worked a treat ;) .
     
  2. Screwtop

    Inspectors Pocket Brewery

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    Posted 12/1/10

    After soaking in hot water with Napisan they were clean, with the exception of the hoses and hop sock that are used with boiling. Too much to ask of the Napisan :(

    Screwy
     
  3. TidalPete

    BREWING BY THE BEACH

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    Posted 12/1/10
    Just gone through my stuff Chappo & sorry to say I can't find anything to help you. :(
    BUT I have found a little information on HERMES & RIMS that may be of help to others? ---- View attachment Hermes.pdf

    TP
     
  4. Tony

    Quality over Quantity

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    Posted 12/1/10
    Chappo...... Im thinking of tryling some sort of reverse mash recirc to lkeep the mash bed fluid. Id say its been done before, but i plan to make some sort of mash basket/false top out of SS mesh and float it on the top of the mash. Drawing chunky free liquor from this and returning it to the bottom of the mash to keep it floating and stiring. Then with 20 min to go in the mash i reverse the flow and set the bed on the FB to clear the wort before running to the kettle.

    ITs just an idea ATM but one i have had for a while now.


    As far as i know....... most of the enzymes that work on the starches in the mash are actually washed into the mash liquor. This is why you boil mostly grain in a decoction, it breaks down the grain and reduced the enzymes that will be denatured by the boil, helping with conversion. So i guess its mostly the liquor on top of the mash you want to look after. Only my theory..... open to comment!

    As per earlier comments re. removing the mid mash probe.....i have been seriously considering it latly as i guage whats going on bu exit and return temps in the mash. As i said before....... i use this to average the temp. If its out at 63 and back in at 65 it must be 64 mid mash. I always use the same slow recirc speed and get repeatable results with this. Im not game to change my system to get a better heat exchange rate, as i will have to re-learn my system.

    cheers

    cheers
     
  5. TidalPete

    BREWING BY THE BEACH

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    Posted 12/1/10
    Bad luck Screwy but I think I mentioned in my post that IF that brown "stain" in your hoses was actually a brown film then the Napisan would fix it as it fixed mine. Next time I clean the hoses I'll take a pic & you'll see what I mean. Maybe that 100% Sodium Perc will do a better job?
    As for the hopsock, It took a few days soaking in PBW ( 1 tsp\2.5 litres) plus a good scrub to unblock mine but those hops have stained it permanently. Not that that matters at all.

    TP
     
  6. gregs

    Kevs nude brewing bothers me!

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    Posted 12/1/10
    Thanks Andrew; let me suggest firstly that you are not prattling on. The questions I have asked previously were indirect; this was in order t start a debate so as I could form an opinion on mash profiles in regards to herms brewing, I Apologise for that, sorry guys dont take offence but when talking to the experienced there are so many answers to the one question; that in their own right are all correct. At this level of brewing it can become confusing to a newbie like me when dialling in a new system. I guess that makes me guilty of diving in to the deep end. Anyhow your answers and others in this thread have helped me no end in helping me understand my system.

    Lets keep learning. Cheers.
     
  7. chappo1970

    Must remember to logout of AHB on Brew Days

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    Posted 12/1/10
    I like the idea Tony. I'm trying to visualize the concept. So your using the top screen to push the grainbed down and drawing liquor off the top?

    Chap Chap
     
  8. AndrewQLD

    RED ON WHITE IPA

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    Posted 12/1/10
    No argument from me Tony, makes perfect sense, but I am talking about the other stuff in the grains that the enzymes are there to convert, surely there are still starches trapped in the grain bed that would benefit from having that enzyme soaked wort flowing through.

    Andrew
     
  9. gregs

    Kevs nude brewing bothers me!

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    Posted 12/1/10

    Tony your reverse recirculation just about answers it all in one. Great thought .
     
  10. Sully

    mmmmmm...... BEEEER

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    Posted 12/1/10
    Chap Chap, If you can vaguely recall we were talking about motorised stirrers a while ago. I was specifically looking at putting one in the hlt. One of the better ideas I came across for the motor was a Spit Roast Motor. Look at one with a bit of grunt compared to the ones that you get from BBQ Galore/Bunnies which are rated for about 4kg-6kg. Evilbay have a few different sorts up to 16kg.

    Food for thought.
     
  11. Screwtop

    Inspectors Pocket Brewery

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    Posted 12/1/10
    Chappo, have seen a few mash stirring setups. Zwickel has a micro version of the typical German brewery system using continuous stirring. Seem to remember AndrewQld was thinking of going down that track a couple of years back, as I was, still have the car windscreen wiper motor in the shed, but never completed the project. Mt Tamborine Brewery uses a czeck brewery system that is set up for decoctions and has a variation on mash rakes that are a bit like propellor blades, these can be reversed so that the mash rises and a thin pull can be taken from the bottom of the tun to be heated and later returned, a thick pull can be taken while the blades are turning as normal for a thick decoction. Pretty sure there were a few AHB'ers using motorised mash rakes also.

    Cheers,

    Screwy
     
  12. chappo1970

    Must remember to logout of AHB on Brew Days

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    Posted 12/1/10

    I'll stand corrected but I thought we were talking about them in the HE to eliminate thermoclines?

    I was more thinking this type of deal (randyrobs - Halfluck brewery)

    http://www.halfluck.com/automation/habs

    Chap Chap
     
  13. Tony

    Quality over Quantity

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    Posted 12/1/10
    Yep!

    And people.......... its just a concept!

    I have a fine SS mesh basket i used to use for boiling hop flowers... until i found the more hop flowers the better... and they didnt fit in there any more. I guess i could use it for a trial. But that will mean replubing my system, which isnt easy. I may have to start seriously thinking about a full rebuild, with improvements.

    No 1 would be a new 100 liter kettle with a false false bottom and No 2 would be a seperate HERMS vessel. Im not really convinced on RIMS after seeing the problems with build up on elements ect.

    Oh yes i aggree, and i wasnt saying that it shouldnt flow through.

    I was more thinking that if a lot of the enzymes were in the liquor hovering over the grain bed, then maintaining its temp would be benificial towards getting the finnished producy your after with your chosen mash temp. I was assuming still recircing thus still passing this liquor through the grain bed, constantly moving enzymes through the grain bed.

    This is what i see as the main win win feature of a HERMS system, even if only using to maintain temps...... or step them, it doesnt matter. Its the movement of liquor over grain!

    Chappo........ i kind of think this theory makes your mash stirrer redundent! Isnt that the idea of a stirrer..... to move create movement between the grain and the mash liquor? And from my limited knowledge..... these stirer's in large breweries move fairly slowly anyway....... basicly replicating what we have with a HERMS system! I think we have the advantage actually, on a small scale. much easier to control whats going on. It all depends on your system design and efficiency.

    I cant see a mechanical stirrer improving your beer mate........... have you seen a mechanical stirrer bulk buy????? not many are using them..... that says something.

    I say improve you HERMS and other system components before you waste your money.
     
  14. chappo1970

    Must remember to logout of AHB on Brew Days

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    Posted 12/1/10

    Yep fair enough (throws partly built stirrer in the funked parts bin :( ). BUT I still think having the liquor and grist slowly stirred would have to give improved thermal mass thru the whole grain bed plus exposing more of the grist to the enzymes. Or am I barking way up the wrong tree here?

    Chap Chap
     
  15. Tony

    Quality over Quantity

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    Posted 12/1/10
    Whats the difference between moving the grain in the liquor and moving the liquor through the grain?

    Happy to be corected but it all sounds the same to me

    cheers
     
  16. chappo1970

    Must remember to logout of AHB on Brew Days

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    Posted 12/1/10

    Swishing action? :lol:

    Ok i get your point.

    Chap Chap
     
  17. sav

    Brewing at the battered's shed

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    Posted 12/1/10
    CHAPPO have you got the dec issue of BYO look at energren brewing they have made the mash stir with plastic rakes attached to the lower blades brush against the false bottom and keep it from getting clogged.
     
  18. chappo1970

    Must remember to logout of AHB on Brew Days

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    Posted 12/1/10

    No I haven't :( . Anyone out there game to scan it and perhaps email it to me?

    Thanks Sav for the pick up thou?

    Chap Chap
     
  19. sav

    Brewing at the battered's shed

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    Posted 12/1/10
    google energren brewing
     
  20. newguy

    To err is human, to arrr is pirate

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    Posted 12/1/10
    I built my HERMS from scratch, including the control unit (I'm an electrical engineer). A schematic of my system is below:

    herms_schematic.jpg

    I start by heating my strike water in the lauter tun. The lauter tun is a 64l aluminum pot and it is fitted with a 1500W electric heating element. The lauter tun also contains a temperature sensor. When my target temperature is reached, I pump the water into the mash tun, via the heat exchanger. The mash tun contains the dry grist before the water is pumped in. I find that I don't get any clumping (starch balls) at all with this technique. I always choose an initial strike water temperature which will result in a mash temperature which is below my target because 1) I can't be bothered to try and hit it dead on, and 2) the system gets it up to the proper temperature quickly enough for my tastes. I actually strive for a rather low strike temperature when I brew wheat beers, as the time the mash spends at the lower temperature is a rather good protein rest (for my tastes anyway).

    The heat exchanger also contains a 1500W electric heating element. The HE contains a (roughly) 8m long coil of 9.5mm ID copper tubing - the ID of all the other hoses in the system is 12.7mm. The reason for this mismatch is that 1) my pump's fittings are 12.7mm and 2) the coil is actually my recycled immersion chiller I had built many years before. I didn't want to buy a large quantity of 12.7mm ID copper tubing when I built the system when I had an acceptable alternative on hand ($$$). The HE holds 6l of water.

    The reason I employ 1500W elements and not higher power elements is that I'm powering the entire system with ordinary (for north america) 120V outlets. I could have designed the system for higher power 240V elements but then I would have had to tear apart my basement to put in a dedicated 240V circuit for it. I couldn't be bothered with doing that, especially given how much I hate doing drywall repairs.

    The mash tun is fitted with a false bottom and also contains a temperature sensor. It is also a 64l aluminum pot. All vessels and hoses have been insulated.

    Once the initial strike water has been pumped into the mash tun, I set the valves to recirculate and start recirculating. The system then brings the mash temperature up to the target and holds it there. I hold this temperature for 60 minutes, then the system ramps it to 75C for mash out. Once mash out has been reached, the mash tun is drained to my kettle. While this is occurring, my sparge water is heating to 75C in the lauter tun. When the mash tun is drained, the sparge water is pumped into the mash tun. Once the water has been transferred, the system is set to recirculate again. I recirculate until the mash temperature comes back up to 75C, then I drain into the kettle again. This is a modified batch sparge technique - I don't fly sparge. I brew ~40l batches and an typical 1.050ish OG brew requires about 63l of water, which I split about evenly between the initial infusion and the sparge. I normally get 85-90% efficiency for a 1.050-1.060 OG brew. Efficiency drops when the OG rises above about 1.060 or so. I get about 70-75% for a 1.090ish OG.

    The extra valves in the lines dowstream of the lauter and mash tuns were installed so that each vessel could be removed without having to shut down or drain the system.

    I don't measure the temperature at the outflow of the heat exchanger because 1) given my system it's a pain in the ass to do and 2) I'm more concerned with my bulk mash temperature. I know some of you will point out that my outflow will be hotter than my main mash temperature but given that I measure the temperature of my HE, the outflow can't be higher than that. During normal operation, the max delta T is approx 2 - 2.5C. I can live with that. The temperature sensors are each mounted in a thermowell (hollow copper tube). The sensors are LM35 ICs, and can't come into contact with liquid. The thermowells aren't permanently fixed into the vessels; aluminum & copper don't "like" each other and once again, I just couldn't be bothered installing them permanently.

    The lauter tun's lid is fitted with a motorised stirrer. Nothing fancy, just a scavenged electrical motor bodged to a piece of coat hanger. I use an ordinary dimmer switch to control its speed. When I first built the system I included a stirrer in the HE, but given the heat and time it was running, the motor seized. To be honest, the system is actually more stable since the HE's motor stopped working. What I mean by this is that the controller hits and maintains the set temperature with less of an over/undershoot. In fact, it's practically nonexistent now.

    I do not have a mash stirrer, nor do I need one. The wort recirculation achieves the same thing.

    I wrote an article about my system for a magazine a few years ago. I think that posting the article is probably contrary to the rules but we'll just keep that to ourselves, shall we? ;) Here it is: View attachment 2606016.pdf

    For those of you inclined to create your own PID controller, the excel worksheet I created to help me tune the system may help you: View attachment pid_workbook.xls I also recommend that you read PID Without A PhD by Tim Westcott.

    I think I'm near my post limit regarding attachments, so I'll save the pictures for the next post.
     
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