Which Way To Go Herms, Rims Or Gravity

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browndog

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Hi Folks,
I have decided to go the whole hog and become an AG brewer and I've done quite a lot of reading here in relation to AG systems but cannot decide which way to go. To my way of thinking, an addition of a pump (over relying on gravity) is creating a lot more hassle for sanitation and giving bugs a big leg-up to ruin your hard earned brew. The only benefit I can see is being able to keep all your equipment on one level and being able to pump wort though a hop back. (providing you have a well insulated mash tun in your 3 tier set up) Can anyone shed some simple light for me on the virtues of the HERMS and RIMS systems ?


cheers

Browndog
 

Wortgames

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Circulating wort has a few advantages.

It allows you to regulate and step mash temperature by circulating it through a heat exchanger. It helps to reduce temperature stratification in the mash. It speeds conversion and it helps to clarify the runoff by setting up a nice filter bed before sparging. I use my HLT as a counterflow chiller after the boil so I pump through that, and I can direct the outflow straight into fermenters without having to lift the fermenters afterwards.

There are some awesome gravity systems though and I certainly wouldn't be looking at a HERMS system as an entry to all-grain brewing. Have a few goes with some home made equipment and let it evolve to your own preference.
 

big d

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i definetly agree with wortgames.
start simple and get a feel for ag brewing then let it all evolve.you maybe happy with simple gravity or wish to divulge onto better things that may help your brewday.

cheers
big d
 

Tony

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yep i agree as well

There are more thinhs to wory about before you start than how you will maintain heat in the mash

A $40 esky from Big W will be good for less that 1 deg drop over an hour.

start simple and work up.

Thats why no 2 brew rigs are the same.

cheers and go for it :party:
 

Darren

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I would go gavity, and herms/rims. That way when the power goes out you can still brew. Just remember your kettle doesnt have to be its full height lower than mash tun. Helps to lower the HLT.
D
 

browndog

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Thanks for the advice Fellas, I think I will stick to my original plan and use gravity to do the work. I was just concerned about the cost involved in building a decent stand for this as opposed to having a simple stand with everything on the same level and using a pump. I've seen a very good three tier system that has the kettle at ground level initially then uses a winch to raise it after the boil to fill the fermenter, I'll do up something similar me thinks.


cheers


Browndog
 

tangent

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keep me posted what you do BD, I'm in the planning & purchasing phase now as well.
Where are you?
 

Rex

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I started doing AGs about a year ago, and have used a really simple 3 tier gravity setup using an old table, wooden box and a burner with a stand on the ground :) You will have no problems making some great beer on this type of setup.

Now I'm in the process of making a single tier HERMS setup. I've decided to do this because I want to move to larger batches and for more accurate temp control etc. Also with larger pots, I'd rather avoid using a ladder and trying to move heave pots of grain from high places.

Good luck!
 

Rex

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Darren said:
I would go gavity, and herms/rims. That way when the power goes out you can still brew.
[post="88523"][/post]​
Umm, I dunno about where you live, but in Melbourne I can't remember ever having a power failure longer than a few minutes and even that's a very rare thing. It's not going to be long enough to ruin a batch anyway.

Not saying pumps are without their issues, but power failures are not really one of them.
 

NRB

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Rex said:
Umm, I dunno about where you live, but in Melbourne I can't remember ever having a power failure longer than a few minutes and even that's a very rare thing. It's not going to be long enough to ruin a batch anyway.
Summer hasn't hit yet - apparently we might be hit with a few as people start to use a lot more power with airconditioners.
 

Wortgames

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If you are that prone to them / worried about them you can get an inverter from dick smith / jaycar / aldi and run it off a car battery.
 

Darren

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Gulf Brewey (aka Pedro) made his stand so it can be turned on its side for pump controlled beer and if yo stand it on its end it can be used with gravity.
Great idea if you don't yet have a pump but know you are going to get one.
cheers
Darren
 

sluggerdog

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I decided to go with the gravity fed system but after my first run this morning I think I might re-think this and move the HLT to the lower level (in the pic my chiller is in the position)

I will then use a pump for the water up to the mash then let gravity do it's work onto the kettle.

Reason being that the HLT was so high that I had trouble filling and looking it to it.

I suppose it depends where your setup is.


My 2 cents :chug:

my_stand.jpg
 

Darren

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Slugger,
Mash tun at the top will be a bugger to get down full of grain. Sight glass on the HLT will help.
cheers
Darren
 

sluggerdog

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Nah Darren what I ment was leaving the mash where it is, put the HLT down where the gas bottle is and leaving the kettle as is.

Then with the top level, this could be storage...

Just a thought at this moment, probably should get a proper sight glass and thermometer installed...
 

vlbaby

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hey slugger,
how are you transfering your wort from the kettle into the fermenter? Are you using a pump? It looks too low for gravity , is it ?

vlbaby.
 

sluggerdog

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Yeah that is what I was lead to believe but if you wobble the hose it gets there. No need for a pump or anything else...

I made it this little bit lower to fit within the space I had.
 

Darren

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How will you get the wtaer to the mash then? I guess you have a pump. If you do that frame could go on its side.
Cheers
Darren
 

browndog

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Hi Tangent,
I live in the sunny climes of Ipswich, QLD. I pretty well have all my bits purchased and am just waiting on a mate to weld up a S/S liner for an insulated cylindrical mash tun I am building. As my brewery is under my house, height is at a premium. I've managed to design my system with an overall height of 1700mm or 5'8" or so. I was intending on purchasing some 50*50 RHS and welding up a frame, but noticed a stack of 3*2 oregon under my house and thought I'd use that instead. I'll use triple grips and a few angle brackets to make the whole thing nice and stiff. For the kettle lifting device I'll use a nice big tie down ratchet mounted to the stand with a couple of home made rollers to direct it.


cheers

Browndog
 

warrenlw63

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Slugger.

Looking at your frame you could probably raise your mashtun another 10cms IMO. As long as the surface of the mash is about level with the ballvalve on the HLT you'll have no worries with HLT drainage to the tun. This will allow you to chock up your kettle the same distance to supply a better drain to your fermenter. :beerbang:

As for not seeing in the HLT. Not a problem. As Darren suggested a sightglass will take care of this. Easy way to fill the HLT is to connect your hose up to the ballvalve and fill via the bottom. Sight glass gives a good visual indication of when you've reached your volume.

There's never any problems, just solutions. :D

Warren -
 

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