Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

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Fastline
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Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by Fastline » Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:49 pm

I'm just getting into brewing my own beer using kits and been buying all the bits and bobs but after reading a few books and this forum I would like to get in to all grain brewing once I get these couple of kits under my belt

I'm seeing lots of setups with three large vessels some using pumps some on the same level and using pumps to shift the liquids about (HERMS if I’m correct) some on stands, there was one thread I see where Spargeing mashing and boiling being done in one vessel. What are the pros and cons with the different arrangements?

I am not fazed with drilling stainless steel or making parts for the system just a bit overwhelmed by all the different ways it can be done, with everyone experience if they was to start again how would you set you kit out differently or has anyone got a perfect set up that I should just replicate if there is such a thing

I see there have been lots of thermo pot conversions going on

I'm thinking of Building a Brew kettle first from one of the thermal pots so I could use it as part of any set up and be able to use for beer kits until I progress
What should I expect to pay for a thermo pot, where is best place to get them and what capacity would you advise I go for on HLT, Mash Tun and Brew kettle if looking at fermenting 5 gallon batches typically but with capacity for 10 gallon batches

I’m saying 5 Gallon or 10 Gallon batches but there again what is ideal if batch size if using corny kegs?

I would like to aim for as professional arrangement as I can and plan to dedicate a shed to the hobby, I work with stainless steel so I’m already hooked on the fact that my kit needs to be shiny Stainless steel

I like the look of the HERMS set ups but how time consuming is it to sanitise all the different vessels or is it an easy task with this set up?

Sorry for big post but could do with some help on best direction as there seems to be more ways to brew beer than there are ways to skin a cat

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Pinto
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Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by Pinto » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:47 pm

Wow - you plan to hit the ground running :lol:

Three vessel setups consist of a Lauter Tun (Hot water, also used in some HERMS system as the heatsink resevior), the mash tun (where grains are steeped) and a brew kettle (where the boil and sometimes cooling after occurs). You're also going to have to look at your cooling system - three main options here being an immersion cooler (goes into the brew kettle whilst cold water is circulated through it) or a heat exchanger or counterflow chiller (essentially do the same thing in slightly different ways,but act as an interface between cooling water and flowing wort)

Firstly, I think it's sensible to go shiny if you can afford it to start with - you'll only want to do it later :lol: and you'll end up doing the kit twice. As to volume - brew to your requirements; you mention you're a corny user, so a "standard" brew length of 23L will give you a keg and 8 bottles - for those, 30l vessels will be ideal and give you plenty of headspace. You may decide that you'd rather do two kegs so 50L vessels will be ideal (in my case, as a polykeg user @ 30l my system will be 50l)

On the kit design, there are a plethora of well trodden paths you can choose - search in the kit forum for designs, methods etc - really only your budget will dictate what you do - from a simple manual 3 pot system up to a fully automated computer controlled brewery !

Do your research, especially when it comes to methods, and things like HERMS or RIMS; this is only my opinion, but I feel that HERMS/RIMS is about making consistant good beer - but first you need to make just good beer - which comes from practice, leading to experience, backed up with fundamental principles like water treatment; once you're making a good pint each time, then polish the technique :)

Whichever path you choose - just have fun ! :D
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Fastline
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Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by Fastline » Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:07 pm

Thanks for quick reply Pinto

You have hit the nail on the head I don't really want to be doing the kit twice, and I know I would enjoy building the kit I use as opposed to buying something already made

And yes my thinking is the sooner I go all grain the quicker I will learn about it

I haven't got the corny kegs yet, and a purchase of 200 500ml bottles says I won’t for a while yet, but I can see me getting bored of cleaning bottles

I am itching to order my first thermo pot but just want to get the size right from the start, the 50L you suggest sounds in the right direction but would this allow for boil overs and evaporation, is it best to fill the kegs to the brim or does it not really matter?

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Pinto
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Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by Pinto » Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:23 pm

Not having used a corny myself, I'd guess the fuller it is, the better as it leaves less headspace that you'd have to purge with CO2 or risk oxidation. 200 brown bottles to fill will drive you to kegs sooner than you'd think :lol:

As to size.... bigger might be seen as wasted space or room to grow - depends on your viewpoint. It will mean that 50l leaves a lot of headspace in the mash tun which can make for harder temperature control if you only want/need a 5 gallon brew, but likewise, you can happily make 40 litre brews without boilovers and fill two kegs at a time....
Primary 1: Nonthing
Primary 2 : Nothing
Primary 3 : None
Secondary 1 : Empty
Secondary 1 : None
DJ(1) : Nowt
DJ(2) : N'otin....
In the Keg : Nada
Conditioning : Nowt
In the bottle : Cinnamonator TC, Apple Boost Cider, Apple & Strawberry Cider
Planning : AG #5 - Galaxy Pale (re-brew) / #6 - Alco-Brau (Special Brew Clone) / #7 Something belgian...
Projects : Mini-brew (12l brew length kit) nearly ready :D

Join the BrewChat - open minds and adults only ;) - Click here

Mr. Dripping

Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by Mr. Dripping » Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:47 pm

A lot depends on space limitations IME. Can you leave the set up in-situ? Or do you need something that can be packed away?
A couple of things I will say upfront....firstly is buy the best you can afford....I do appreciate that everyone has a budget but quality will last and is more reliable long term. The other thing is give yourself some flexibility to brew different batch sizes....I can do from 25 litres up to around 50/55 litres depending on beer strength.
I started with a second hand plastic brewery, but soon shelled out more for quality equipment.
The thermopots work well as both mash tuns and boilers and this is what I now use.
My tun is 40 litres and from this I could produce anywhere from 35 to 70 litres of wort.....possibly a little more with a bit of jigging about.
I think my boiler is the 80 litre thermopot and this can boil safely around 70 litres (starting volume) of wort.
My element is 3kw....in retrospect I should have had 2 elements put in to help get to boil faster...but this is only really an issue when boiling volumes at towards max capacity.
Would definately advise false bottom for both tun and boiler ;)
My HLT holds 45 litres....could possibly have done with bigger. But no problem to do top ups, and it suits my needs as being portable. I've got temp sensor in HLT, which is convenient, but not absolutely needed. My sight glass on the HLT is very useful.
My system is portable and most of the work is done by hand/gravity....though I do sometimes use small pumps for various bits...but not often.
Anyway, that's how things are foe me....hopefully give you a guide/ideas.

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Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by Fastline » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:14 pm

What is the advantage of false bottoms in the in the tun and boiler

I have seen talk of a German supplier Catering-portal for Thermo pots is this the best place to go?

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Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by barneey » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:25 pm


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Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by barneey » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:27 pm

Or an 80/60/80 all thermopot is a nice set up.

Fastline
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Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by Fastline » Mon Jan 12, 2015 10:42 pm

I imagine another factor is bigger boilers will need bigger element or multiple heating elements

Im just looking at PID and SSRs thinking there going to help

I knew i would get sucked right into this hobby

Barneey your posts on the forum are a contributing factor to this for sure

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Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by JamesF » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:06 pm

I will probably end up automating a certain amount of the process. I think you can get started and do pretty well without having to go the whole hog though. My plan is to buy the basic pots and fittings and get them all sorted bearing in mind where I want to be in the future and then start using it. The fancy stuff can come later.

In fact, I may today have resurrected my old plastic Brupaks boiler. If I get the brew shed usable before I get very far with my stainless pots, I'll be pressing that back into service and getting a brew or two going as soon as I can.

Given an acceptable boiler you can probably muddle through with all sorts of odds and ends if you need to whilst you get everything else sorted.

James
Fermenting: Nothing!
Conditioning: London Pride, Old Speckled Hen, Beaverdale Chardonnay
Maturing: Brewalong Wee Bee, Arkell's Kingsdown, Beaverdale Sauvignon Blanc, Beaverdale Gewurztraminer, Beaverdale Shiraz (5G)
Drinking: Marston's Pedigree, Elderflower Champagne, OSH, London Pride, Arkell's Kingsdown, Seymour's Hobgoblin, Jim's ESB, Fuller's ESB, Arkell's 3B, Beaverdale Shiraz, Beaverdale Merlot
Planned: SMaSH brews with a range of hops, some variety of stout
Pints brewed in 2016: 323
Pints brewed in 2015: 619

Mr. Dripping

Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by Mr. Dripping » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:13 pm

barneey wrote:Or an 80/60/80 all thermopot is a nice set up.
That's what I'd probably do in hindsight....if I were to do it again.
Re: false bottoms. You're going to need one in the tun to lauter the grain. In boiler they are great because you can fit #40 mesh over it and use pellet hops without fear of run off issues or clogging your cooler or pump.
My thermopots are bottom drain btw.
Good quality ss ball valves are a good idea and give you a few connection options for drainage and pumping.


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Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by JamesF » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:28 pm

Is there a particular benefit in having a bottom drain on the HLT?

James
Fermenting: Nothing!
Conditioning: London Pride, Old Speckled Hen, Beaverdale Chardonnay
Maturing: Brewalong Wee Bee, Arkell's Kingsdown, Beaverdale Sauvignon Blanc, Beaverdale Gewurztraminer, Beaverdale Shiraz (5G)
Drinking: Marston's Pedigree, Elderflower Champagne, OSH, London Pride, Arkell's Kingsdown, Seymour's Hobgoblin, Jim's ESB, Fuller's ESB, Arkell's 3B, Beaverdale Shiraz, Beaverdale Merlot
Planned: SMaSH brews with a range of hops, some variety of stout
Pints brewed in 2016: 323
Pints brewed in 2015: 619

Belter

Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by Belter » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:34 pm

JamesF wrote:Is there a particular benefit in having a bottom drain on the HLT?

James

Dead space only. If I built mine again I'd do a bottom drain. My system is 100 80 100 and each part of the process having a larger dead space means I have to add more grain to compensate for more liquid to cover the dead space. Nothing major but I lose a lot more than those on smaller setups. My pots are a bit big for lifting about. Not such an issue on a hlt as its just water.

JamesF
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Re: Recommended Brewing Set up & Thermo Pot Size

Post by JamesF » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:39 pm

Belter wrote:
JamesF wrote:Is there a particular benefit in having a bottom drain on the HLT?

James

Dead space only. If I built mine again I'd do a bottom drain. My system is 100 80 100 and each part of the process having a larger dead space means I have to add more grain to compensate for more liquid to cover the dead space. Nothing major but I lose a lot more than those on smaller setups. My pots are a bit big for lifting about. Not such an issue on a hlt as its just water.
Yes, I'm definitely going to have bottom-draining mash tun and kettle, but hadn't decided if it was worth the bother for the HLT. I'm thinking I probably will.

James
Fermenting: Nothing!
Conditioning: London Pride, Old Speckled Hen, Beaverdale Chardonnay
Maturing: Brewalong Wee Bee, Arkell's Kingsdown, Beaverdale Sauvignon Blanc, Beaverdale Gewurztraminer, Beaverdale Shiraz (5G)
Drinking: Marston's Pedigree, Elderflower Champagne, OSH, London Pride, Arkell's Kingsdown, Seymour's Hobgoblin, Jim's ESB, Fuller's ESB, Arkell's 3B, Beaverdale Shiraz, Beaverdale Merlot
Planned: SMaSH brews with a range of hops, some variety of stout
Pints brewed in 2016: 323
Pints brewed in 2015: 619

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