First brew with electric system

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by J A, May 20, 2018.

  1. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    #1 J A, May 20, 2018
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
    Obsessing over design, process and logistics seems to have paid off! Up to a point, at least.
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/5psxwy6muue3ywp/20180518_152604at25.jpg?dl=0
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/0v7x2rnog4ga858/20180518_174148at25.jpg?dl=0

    Here's my process:
    -Full liquor volume into HERMS-equipped HLT/BK, heated to strike temp
    -Transfer first step volume to Mash Tun, recirculate to even out temp
    -Clamp mill to table above tun and grind directly into tun, stirring to dough in
    -Protein rest, no recirc while liquor heats to next rest step
    -Transfer second step volume to Mash Tun, start recirc and stir mash to even out
    -Temp rise time of about 10 minutes, rest time of 20 or so got almost full conversion
    -Set third rest temp and transfer third step volume to Mash Tun
    -Temp rise time of 10minutes and 5-10 minute rest got full conversion
    -Set Mash Out temp and transfer final water addition
    -Mash Out temp reached in about 10 minutes(slightly overshot and added a little water to cool)
    -Transferred remaining liquor to auxiliary sparge vessel (on table above tun)
    -Start transfer of wort to BK, Start sparge
    -Approximately 20 minute sparge with element on and heating wort.
    -Boil begins shortly after sparge is complete
    -15 minutes to Flameout, reconfigure hoses to include plate chiller, circulate to sterilize system
    -Disconnect Mash Tun and connect water hose to HERMS coil
    -Complete boil, turn off heat, continue to circulate wort and start water hose for initial chill
    -15 minute chill with HERMS coil takes wort to 100F
    -Connect H2O side of chiller plate to fountain pump in ice chest for final chill
    -Transfer wort through iced chill plate into ferment(s) at 60-65F
    -Oxygenate, Pitch yeast, rock carboy, etc

    Getting used to the heating system to avoid overshooting and temp swings, will take a little more time, but I find it completely intuitive with the dial system. Boil was easy and controlled, dialing in the perfect boil. Boil-off was more than estimated. Re-configuring set up wasn't too much trouble but by the end of the night I was tired and things were pretty tangled...more work to do there in order to make it go more smoothly.
    Didn't know what to expect in terms of efficiency so I estimated 75 percent. Ended up with almost 95%!! :)
     
  2. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Nice tight system JA! Looks like 10 gal. batch size. I was wondering how you handled second runnings when looking at the pics. I get it now from your text. How is the Inkbird being used?
     
  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the shortfall of a 2-vessel/1-pump system is sparging. More suited for full-volume recirc/sparge. I guess, technically, it expands to a 3-vessel system as soon as I pump the sparge water from the HLT/BK to the pot I use as a gravity sparge vessel . I'll take a pic of that set up when I brew later today.
    The ink bird is just telling me what the HLT temp is and acts as a boil alarm though it's not controlling anything. The PID controller (on/off control at this point) is reading the mash tun temp and calling for heat as needed. Since the element is in the HLT, I need to monitor to make sure what it's doing. I'll expand to another temp sensor in the HLT and another monitor/controller on the panel so I can switch the heat control to react to either sensor.
    And, yes, 10 gallon batch size. Vessels are 15 and with the coil taking up space, the capacity of the BK is tight at the start of boil. Got a solid 11+ gallons into the fermenter(s) after topping up to make up for extra boil-off.
     
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  4. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    awesome stuff JA looks great looks like youve put alot of thought into this system and its already rewarding tou with ya hard work 95% efficiency gee wizz near extracted every bit of sugar.
     
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  5. Group W

    Group W Well-Known Member

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    Agree with Trialben totally!

    JA , that’s exactly how I thought you are running the system. The journey from getto system to something more respectible is all about the journey itself. Wow, did I just say that... Is that a yogism?... 95% eff is cool. I like it: a “2-tun system.”
     
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  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    More pics coming. :)
     
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  7. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    The recirculation of the mash is the biggest reason for the high conversion efficiency, IMO. I built my own RIMS system and I recirculate the entire mash (no protein rest). I step mash with two sach rests and a mashout, which increases efficiency. A bad efficiency is @ 82%, typical is 85-87% and once in a while I hit the the illusive 95%. My first 2 brews hit that number and I thought I was calculating it wrong. I found it was hard to keep every beer at that number, with different grain and mash pH's come different efficiency numbers, but all are above 80%

    I also believe it makes better beer, conversions are more complete and you able to control temps to the gnat's ass. When you add water salts or acid additions there is no need to stir the grain bed. The wort runs super clean into the boil.

    Congrats! Now at least you know your design will make beer and works so well, I know I was worried about my system when I first fired it up. I think your going to love your new system and it will make brewing much more enjoyable and satisfying.
     
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  8. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Got 82 percent on the brew yesterday. I didn't have acidulated malt and that's been a game changer in terms of efficiency. I subbed a little lactic acid, but didn't take time to get precise PH measurements. Also different grist definitely will make a difference. The first beer had a lb of Honey Malt in 10 gallons and I'm quite sure that delivered extra points.
     
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  9. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I keep rice hulls handy to add to the mash tun when I use any adjuncts to keep from having a stuck mash (poor circulation). My crush is medium to fine, too fine and it doesn’t work well. As you use the system you will develop methods to improve the brew. You built it, now you gotta figure out how to get the most of it. And who better to do that then the guy who built it?
     
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  10. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Process pics:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/v77gc5bt3avq3kz/20180520_154028.jpg?dl=0 Heating the liquor and prepping mill
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/uo8wxmii80sqsb5/20180520_155410.jpg?dl=0 Recirculating strike water and dough-ing in
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/0w3v9ygolulmic2/20180520_160948.jpg?dl=0 Recirculating using the $5 hillbilly sparge arm
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/mwhjapna11z7qjm/20180520_173530.jpg?dl=0 Transferring sparge water after mashout
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/nnvy2bzjy9shqtk/20180520_175034.jpg?dl=0 Sparging

    Process works like a dream. Takes monitoring to keep swings and over-shooting to a minimum and since I'm being pro-active about overshooting, the temp raises are a little slow, but it works out. :)
     
  11. N0mad

    N0mad Well-Known Member

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    Dang nice setup @J A
     
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  12. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    We need to teach you how to link images. ;)
     
  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I know how to add photos, but no matter what I do to resize my Dropbox photos, I get nothing. I've tried resizing to 25% - 94.1 KB and 816x459 - and that didn't work. It's not a permission thing and I don't think it's a size thing. I've given up.

    20180520_154028_preview (1).jpeg
     
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  14. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Looks good JA hows clean up on this new rig? Hopefull quick easy and hastle free.
     
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  15. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the photo edit...I used to be able to post with no problem from dropbox. There's got to be something in the formatting that's not letting me do it. I'll read the tutorial again. :rolleyes:
     
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  16. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't say it's hassle-free, but basically hosing out hard after boil and running through the whole system and then doing a heated PBW run. So far so good. :)
     
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  17. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Well your an inspiration too me using gas its revived my interest in electric Biab options.
     
  18. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I've been looking for a way to make the change and I was able to put everything together as inexpensively as it can probably be done. The used pots included a lot of the fittings and a thermocoupler but I had to get some tri-clamp covers and a heating element. I had the pump and other fittings. I was able to get my brother to help with electrical work but there was some expense there.
    Biggest expenses after the pots ($200 used - Score!) were: around $80 for the heating element; $60 for a 220 30amp GFCI breaker (half price - Score!); $150 or so for all the components for the controller box (and I was able to upgrade the PID by trading out the cheap ebay one for a SYL-2362 in another controller device.
    Still spend more than I'd like to contemplate, but a fraction of what a comparable system would cost turnkey. :)
     
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  19. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

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    it will pay for its self in time, the cost of propane is a lot higher than you think and being able to brew indoors if needed is a plus
     
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  20. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Being able to brew at all in August in Texas is a plus. :)
    I was happy to get off as cheap as I did with it. I really couldn't have considered any more than that and it would have been hard to shell it all out in one transaction. Eventually I'll upgrade to the EZBoil you've suggested but for now I can do everything I need to do. When I do upgrade, I'll build out a new box and sell this one off to get someone else started. :)
     
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