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squirt in the turns

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Hi folks,

I'm thinking about turning my current ghetto 3V system into a HERMS. I'll be mashing in a 36 L round Cosmoplast cooler, and have some questions that may impact the rest of the design. I've always been a batch sparger, but it seems to me that HERMS lends itself nicely to fly sparging. I'm trying to decide if it's worth fashioning a wort return manifold that will also be suitable for use as a sparge manifold, making fly sparging an option. I would include some means of adjusting the height (at or slightly below the level of the wort during recirculation? Somewhere above it while sparging). I'm visualising a ring of copper pipe with holes or slots in it - standard sort of apparatus, I guess.

Does anyone do this? Would the manifold just clog with bits of grist when recirculating (until the grain bed sets)?

I understand that the principle advantages of a HERMS are precise temp control, closely followed by wort clarity. Fly sparging would seem to help with the latter: after mash-out, just divert the MT output to the kettle and start sprinkling hot liquor on the mash; the flow is never interrupted and all run-off is crystal clear. It's possible that I'm over-thinking this. The design of The Electric Brewery just uses a hose to both return wort to the mash AND fly sparge. :huh:

My other question is about disturbing the mash: adding infusions, stirring, batch sparging, etc. When doing this, doesn't it at least partially defeat the purpose of a HERMS and re-suspend a whole heap of particulate in the wort? Or is this irrelevant as the wort's just as clear again after a few minutes recirculating?

Cheers!
 

hsb

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Seem like perfectly reasonable questions to me. I wouldn't necessarily see HERMS as all that relevant to whether you fly or batch sparge though.
Just the mechanics of your mash return.

I batch sparge with my HERMS. First runnings has been recirculating for over an hour, so crystal clear.
I stir once I add my sparge liquor. Second runnings I find also crystal clear after 10 minutes recirculation. (So fairly irrelevant, repeatability is the main advantage rather than wort clarity.)

When I begin recirculating, I just run off the first litre of wort through a bleed valve on the pump until it runs clear, then gently tip it back in (good old Professor Vorlauf)
That should mean no grain in the loop so a sparge manifold should be OK.

I use a BeerBelly Return Dish, which works a treat, but not ideal for fly sparging.

I think fraser_john on here uses HERMS and a fly sparge manifold:



This is my 2nd runnings from a Batch sparge, not the greatest pic but you get the idea.
Personally, I'm far too lazy to fly sparge :D
 
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Thirsty Boy

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if you search out the dedicated HERMS thread, you'll probably find a bunch of different answers to your questions, including the ones you haven't asked yet.

But - yes, a recirculating system does lend itself to fly sparging very well. Any "good" wort return system, will also almost by default, be just about perfect for sparging.

In my brewery what i do is...

Conduct mash
Close valve at pump outlet
Swap Pump Outlet hose from MT in-port to Kettle in-port
Attach HLT hose to MT in-port
Pump back on, crack valve and pump (at a decent rate) wort to kettle till the grain bed is nearly, but not quite exposed.
Slow transfer rate right down and start adding sparge water till you get a couple of cms of liquid on top of your grain bed.
Maintain that couple of cms as you transfer wort to your kettle nice and slow.
Stop sparging when you think you should (a point of debate which doesn't need exploring here)

I've batch sparged with my HERMS heaps of times too and it works just fine as described above, but depending on how you do it, really it only saves you 20mins or so by the time you swap hoses, add water, stir, vorlauff again etc etc. I dont understand the "too lazy to fly sparge" argument. There's actually a lot less "work" when you fly sparge - it just takes a little longer and more can go wrong if you dont pay attention.

It'll be easy for you to try both ways anyhow and decide for yourself. You do need a wort return system of some sort in a recirculating brewery, and they'll more or less all work nicely as a sparge manifold while they're at it.
 

squirt in the turns

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Thanks all for your replies.

When I begin recirculating, I just run off the first litre of wort through a bleed valve on the pump until it runs clear, then gently tip it back in (good old Professor Vorlauf)
That should mean no grain in the loop so a sparge manifold should be OK.
Hadn't thought of returning manually, bypassing the manifold :rolleyes: . Problem solved, cheers HSB.

iamozziyob, thanks for the link. I've already had a browse through that thread and will be sure to peruse it some more as I finalise my design. Your return manifold/sparge arm is just a length of (perforated?) copper pipe, and it appears to sit below the liquid and grain levels in the mash? I would have thought that for both recirculating and sparging, you'd want the manifold to distribute liquid across the top of the mash as evenly as possible, not just kind of down the middle, under the surface? I guess not, as your system still gives you ridiculous efficiency? Or I'm missing something in the pics?
 

Jazzafish

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I was going to make a return manifold, but I needed to brew without the time to make one. So, I simply floated a food grade bucket in the MT and had the return hose sitting on it. The lid distibuted the returning wort without affecting the grainbed. So I haven't bothered making a manifold, been around 4 or 5 years on a HERMS!

Because the lid floats, and the hose sits on the lid I don't need to worry abouth height adjustment as I fly sparge. It takes care of itself.

As mentioned, no reason why you can't batch sparge if you want to do that. HSB's pic speaks for itself.
 

Thirsty Boy

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have alook at the Blichman autosparge - less because its particularly useful in a recirculating system, than because it will give you a good idea of just how simple an effective return "manifold" can be. Very!
 

squirt in the turns

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Thanks again guys. I like the KISS approach, so I'll try something that floats and see what happens. Screwtop has suggested a fishing net float as well. I'll go with Jazzafish's suggestion as I already have a food grade bucket lid.
 

dubbadan

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iamozziyob, thanks for the link. I've already had a browse through that thread and will be sure to peruse it some more as I finalise my design. Your return manifold/sparge arm is just a length of (perforated?) copper pipe, and it appears to sit below the liquid and grain levels in the mash? I would have thought that for both recirculating and sparging, you'd want the manifold to distribute liquid across the top of the mash as evenly as possible, not just kind of down the middle, under the surface? I guess not, as your system still gives you ridiculous efficiency? Or I'm missing something in the pics?
This is something I was also interested to note...
 

Helles

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The last beer i made hade a wort return tube from the HERMS
that was made from a perforated copper tube that went deep into the mash for recirc only
Not sure if it was this or the crack of the grain (as it looked better than normal)
Usaully just pump wort from HERMS onto top of mash
The HERMS i use is a copper coil in the HLT
Mash is monitored and pump kicks in to pump mash as needed
But i got 85% eff Normally78- 80% eff
Will find out as i am not using return tube next brew
To find out if it was the grain or the tube
The brew after i will use the tube again
i dont think it was the tube as i stir the mash periodically for a even mash temp
HERMS is pretty Ghetto at the moment
Will be upgrading to an external HX
Kettle element temp controlled at outlet with the preset mash temp and constant flow
Probally through the wort return tube for a more even mash temp
Will still stir as i find if i dont the grain bed will compact giving the profile of a very stiff mash
 

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