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Wortgames

'Draught' is not a beer style - it's a lifestyle
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Hi everyone, after introducing myself in the 'introduce yourself' thread I thought I'd start a separate one regarding my setup, for anyone who is interested.

There are some pics and info here: http://hbd.org/discus/messages/366/28883.html?1110095512

It is a deceptively simple 50L 2-tier system. The main tricks are a heat exchange coil in the electric HLT, and of course a pump. The HLT doubles as a counterflow chiller with very little messing around. I suppose the main objective was to keep brewing as repeatable as possible while still allowing flexibility to experiment with different techniques.

The only automation is a temperature controller on the HLT. The pump recirculates pretty much constantly during the mashing and sparging stage. It then rests until the end of the boil, when it begins circulating the boiling wort for a couple of minutes (through the empty HLT) to keep things sanitary before I cut the heat and fill the HLT with cold water for the chilling stage.

I'd love to know how many other brewers in Oz use a similar kind of setup?
 

Asher

Junctyard Brewing
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I'll begin then.... I'm currently looking at retiring some old kegs I'm using for a Kettle & HLT for some good quality 70ltr pots. What size & which LHBS did your pot come from...

Some clever, fresh ideas :beerbang:

Asher for now
 

dicko

Boston Bay Brewery
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Hi WG,

You have some good ideas there, I Like the HLT / CFWC. You were definately thinking outside the square on that issue. :D

You idea for the pump in the box is a good one as well.

Keep your eye on the gallery section on this forum and when it comes back up you will see quite a few members brewery set ups.

You might like to add yours there when it is up and running.

BTW if it is your wife / partner that does the washing then you need to look after her. She is obviously very patient. :lol:

Cheers
 

jayse

Black Label Society
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Just having a look now, looks great, the overflowing hlt for chilling i tried that once but it turned out to be a drama but i didn't have one of those now famous twisted the hell out of scientificly designed mess of a heat exchanger coil. :blink:
you must have bent it around the same strange object guest lurker made his cats cradle around.

Anyway looks like one cool setup, top work!

Jayse
 

fergi

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being a k&k brewer all i can say wortgames is WOW

FERGI
 

Boots

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I was going to say that GuestLurker will love seeing that HLT.

Nice work Wortgames - I'll be borrowing your tackle box idea :)

When you mention overflowing the HLT when cooling, do you mean that the cold water enters via the float switch + pipe into the bottom of the HLT, and simply pushes out the hot?
 

Hoops

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Nice setup the wortgames.
Looking at getting a march pump soon so I like the tackle box idea too.
 

Backlane Brewery

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Wasn't someone saying recently the issue with the March pump is that you can't get a box/casing for it?
This looks like a very neat solution to me...aah, one day!
 

Wortgames

'Draught' is not a beer style - it's a lifestyle
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Wow, thanks guys!

The mash tun / kettle came from Eastern Suburbs Brewmaker in Randwick, back in the days when Regan was still there. It is a 60L pot, so I do add a bit of water during the boil to keep the volume up to 50L. The false bottom is about an inch off the bottom of the kettle, and the spent hops form a nice filter bed after the boil much like the mash does.

The overflow on the HLT actually works more like a syphon once it's started. It was almost impossible to balance the input and output before I added the float valve, now the valve just adds whatever is needed to keep the level just above the overflow, and the hot water syphons out in a nice steady flow. The overall flow rate is easily adjusted with the valve on the overflow. As for the coil (which I like to dub Wiggly Heat Exchange Reticulation Mash System, or WHERMS B) ), I just bought a coil of soft copper tubing and bent it by hand until it fitted where I wanted it to fit. I think it's 3/8" tubing.

The pump box works like a charm, I can actually just about get through brewday with a dry floor if I'm careful...

and Dicko - I do my own washing :)
 

big d

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re last pic ggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
i was going to post something else but the pic threw me.
 

Torsion

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That looks realy cool, how long did you take to plan out the brewery (or was it more a seat of the pants kind of thing)?

Got any tips or tricks for building those fermetation temp. controlers?

Also, are the hoses you are using to move wort/sweet liqour (are they the same thing?) special food safe ones or just "normal" run of the mill hoses?

Cam
 

shmick

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Interesting set-up Wortgames
Good to see some original thinking

Any more info on the temp controllers?
I've been looking at a few on the net, but for $200 a pop + enclosure (2 stage unit with ramp up/down) I was resigned to building my own from scratch :wacko: .
If this damn brewing didn't take up all my free time I'd give it a go.
 

Wortgames

'Draught' is not a beer style - it's a lifestyle
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Brewery:

I was thinking about the setup for several weeks, and went through several configurations. My 'criteria' were: simplicity, ease of cleaning, ease of trying different brewing styles, reliability & repeatability. The yanks are big fans of using grants, separate heat exchangers, gas solenoids and the like, but I didn't want to get that complicated. I just wanted to circulate the mash while maintaining a steady temp, have plenty of temp controlled sparge water, and have a simple way to chill the wort without having a sanitation nightmare. This setup works well because everything is sanitised by the end of the boil, and the basic circuit never changes throughout the brewing process. After the brew it is easy to circulate cleaning solution (basically near-boiling water with some dishwasher powder) through the whole lot, and it can do it unattended. So while I'm cleaning up the rest of the place, the brewery is cleaning itself.

I got the sight-glass at the same time I got the pump. I can't remember what they cost but I bought them from the states and got a reasonably good deal.

The hose is all high-temp food grade. I actually got it in Bunnings (I think they had bought it in by accident, I haven't seen it there since) but it is readily available and quite cheap - maybe try Pirtek. The fittings are standard garden hose fittings - I spoke to a plastics guru, and he said that it was highly unlikely they would leech anything, and even if they did it would all happen in the first hour or so at boiling temp. They show no signs of wear or ill effects, so I'm happy to trust them. They don't leak, and they make life really easy for hooking everything up, joining hoses together etc.


Temperature controllers:

I'm almost embarrassed to say how much the temperature controllers have cost. The original, single-stage Beta controller cost me about $140 including probe a few years ago - pricey, but indispensable around the brewery.

I went to get another one recently, and thought 'screw it, I'll get two' (one of those desire-over-means decisions). Here is where it got away from me. The single-stage Dixell controllers cost around $150, and the 2-stage around $180. So I went with a pair of the 2-stage, feeling a bit queasy about the cost but happy to have some new gadgets. With boxes, probes and GST we were looking at around $220 each.

Not long after getting them, I realised they weren't accurate. They were off by several degrees, with the variance getting larger as the temp increased. I got appalling service from the supplier (Kirby), so I started looking around for others. The only ones I could find were the Carel ones, at around $200 each, plus about $15 for a transformer (the Carels are 12/24v). By now I had the boxes built and several brews needing cooling so I bought one of the Carels, and I will return the Dixells for a refund. I was planning to get a second Carel (I have about 5 fridges around the place) but I don't think I will - it is a great controller, but at $250 with GST they are almost double what I originally paid for the Beta years ago. I could really use another one, but I will have to look elsewhere.

There is a company in Sydney that imports the Beta controls, but they are now about the same price as the Carels and also have the 12/24v problem.

So if anyone knows of a good source for temp controllers, I am still interested. I could even be tempted to go in on a bulk buy if anyone can line up a deal with the right product. In fact, I'll start another thread on the subject.
 

Doc

Doctor's Orders Brewing
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Wortgames.

Great setup.
Can you please provide some more details on the float valve/switch. Brand/Model/Cost/Supplier etc.

TIA,
Doc
 

BeerIsGood

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What do you have your dead band on the ferment temp conroller set to? What are the pro's and con's off going bigger/smaller? I'm building a unit using a PC and data acquisition software, and will be setting the deadband in the software. I expect that too small a deadband will make the fridge kick in and out too much. Is this the case? I'm also thinking of having zero deadband, but miniumum fridge on and fridge off times. Thoughts? :(
 

Wortgames

'Draught' is not a beer style - it's a lifestyle
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Thanks Doc, no probs.

It's a Fluidmaster 747UK side inlet valve, I got it from Bunnings a few years ago for around $20. I'm sure other brands / models would work just as well - I was looking for something compact, with no metal parts, and an outlet that I could extend to the bottom of the HLT.

The plastic float actually surrounds the downpipe, and a threaded rod goes between it and the actuator at the top. By turning the threaded rod you can adjust the distance between the float and the actuator lever, and therefore your target water level, quite accurately.

I think it has been one of the most labour-saving additions I have made - even just for filling the HLT it is handy, but using the HLT as a chiller it became essential.
 

Wortgames

'Draught' is not a beer style - it's a lifestyle
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BeerIsGood - I think a zero deadband will result in hysteresis problems, although with some controllers you have a separate parameter for minimum cycle time, which you could set for say 60 sec to avoid fast cycling. Remember that it takes a while for a fridge compressor to start working - you can usually hear it get quieter as the pressure starts to build, so you wouldn't want it running for less than say 30 secs because it wouldn't be achieving anything.

I have mine set with a 2 degree deadband, which means the relay is activated when the temperature is one degree high or low. There is a 'thermal flywheel' effect which means the temp will continue to drop after the fridge has turned off, but it is usually less than 1 degree (the relay cuts out at target, obviously). I wanted to avoid having the fridge battling with itself, and a 2 degree deadband does it nicely. I'm quite confident the beer remains close to my target, it's the air temp that is fluctuating.
 

Ross

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BeerIsGood,

I have the temp sensor for controling the fridge emersed in the brew via a S/S tube through the fermenter lid. This enabels me to have a tight tolerance on the brew +/- 0.5c as the beer takes a while to change temp. If the sensor is in the fridge the beer can raise quite a few degrees higher, especially at the start of ferment where I feel the temp control is most important....
 

Wortgames

'Draught' is not a beer style - it's a lifestyle
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Ross, I like that idea, it's probably a better way to do it. I currently just sit the probe on top of the fermenter, but it I imagine it would result in faster cycling and less accurate control than your method.

Have you put anything else inside the tube, ie silicon or thermal gel, or is the probe just in there loose? How did you seal the end of the tube? I assume you used a postmix dip tube?
 

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