Blichmann 5 gallon electric HERMS pilot system questions

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Brewer #205394, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. Drunken Brew Co.

    Drunken Brew Co. New Member

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    Who is using the Blichmann 5 gallon electric HERMS pilot system? I am somewhat new to all grain brewing and went all in this system. Brewed twice so far with it and while overall I'd say it went well, I definitely have a lot of room for improvement. Looking for any tips or advise from anyone who has used this system.
     
  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I'm brewing 15 gallons on a 2-vessel Herms set up - not Blichmann but should be procedurally similar. What sort of problems are you having or issues that make you think you need to change or improve things?
     
  3. Drunken Brew Co.

    Drunken Brew Co. New Member

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    #1 - Sparging. Trying to work out setting the Blichmann autosparge correctly while also attempting to set the flow rate at 1/4 gpm. It seems like the Riptide pump doesn't like to run properly at that rate. I'm sure it's user error. Also, I read somewhere that you set the autosparge to keep one inch of liquid on top of the grain bed during the sparging process. I did one brew where I did that and stopped sparging when I hit my pre-boil volume in the BK. The other brew I calculated how much water I was supposed to sparge with and stopped once I put that much into the mash tun.

    #2 - This is a Blichmann power commander question. Wondering what people set their power % at to get the right amount of boil off. Both times I started out out in the 60-70% range (once the boil started) and then ended up increasing to 90% thinking I wasnt going to hit the target volume, only to end up over boiling and getting less wort than I expected.
     
  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Not sure what the plumbing is like on the Blichmann, but pumps work best when the intake is unrestricted and the outlet is restricted to control flow. I transfer to a gravity vessel for sparge water and slow-pump into the kettle. I use a Chugger pump which should be fundamentally the same as the Blichmann and I have no trouble holding the flow to a trickle.
    I use a rheostat control on my heating element and find that 75-80% gives me the boil vigor I want. You won't need to set the percentage to match desired boil-off...it's the other way around. Get the boil vigor you want (which is usually very consistent and predictable with the electric control) and then calculate boil-off rate from that and set your equipment profile accordingly.
    PS...less wort/more boil-off isn't much of a problem. If you're over gravity and under on volume, you just top up with the proper amount of clean water and you'll be right where you wanted to be.
     
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