Simple HERMS kit on a budget

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fego
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Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by fego » Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:04 pm

I decided ages ago to set myself up with a HERMS rig but wanted something simple but effective. I've finally got round to putting it to use so thought I'd share what i did and how it went.

First, I went for a HERMS because I wanted to recirculate the wort and help maintain a constant temperature without running the risk of overheating the wort. HERMS is different from a RIMS in that the wort isn't directly heated (by an element e.g) but is instead warmed up as it passes through a controlled environment on its way back to the mash tun.

This is what I bought:

A length of half inch pipe
A 10m tube of beer pipe (3/8's I think)
a solar pump from HK
a tattoo gun power supply with foot switch
some hose pipe connections and
a Lidl jam maker (already had this actually)

Once connected and running, this is what it looked like...

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Ignore the mag pump, that was for the serious shifting. The set up was from mash tun via half inch pipe into the solar pump. From the pump into the beer pipe which was coiled around the inside of the jam maker which itself had hot water in it held at about 78C. The wort pumped through the beer pipe, heated up a bit and fell back into the MT continuously recirculating it. After a bit of tweaking and insulating the exposed pipes with pillows, I managed to work out the optimum settings and got the wort to stay at exactly 67.5 for over an hour and the wort ran crystal clear. (I did recirc a few jugs first before switching the pump on to avoid heavy muck getting dragged through).

Other views...

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I soon realised that the foot switch was really helpful to adjust the flow speed by trying different voltages, but when I had the right settings, I had to put a weight on it to keep the power on. I've got to say it all worked a treat and without any noise too. No idea if it's made a material impact on the beer quality but I definitely got a better efficiency than planned (got about 85% compared to 80 planned) and the wort was definitely clearer than I've ever had before. Plus I never lost any mash temp at all.

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Later I tried to use the set up as a chiller with the jam maker full of water being fed by the hose and the tap open releasing the warmed water. It worked really well at getting the temp down to abut 80 in about 10 minutes (120l volume) and made the boiled wort run extremely clear, but it would have been too slow for a full chill down. Colder water and more pipe might make a difference but I'll stick to my plate chiller I reckon.

All in all, a really simple set up and so far really good results.
Tea is for mugs...

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barneey
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Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by barneey » Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:08 pm

How did you find the FB coped? I`m assuming you managed any possible mash problems with the pump control.

micmacmoc

Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by micmacmoc » Sun May 04, 2014 9:34 am

That's quite brilliant! How do you filter the wort before the pump? Or can the pump cope with the little bits from the wort? I have a solar pump and this is exactly the sort of set up I can afford, I also have a model railway transformer/controller so I'm nearly there. Anyone know if Lidl stock the jam makers all the time?
Brilliant work there, thanks for sharing!

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fego
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Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by fego » Tue May 06, 2014 2:36 pm

barneey wrote:How did you find the FB coped? I`m assuming you managed any possible mash problems with the pump control.
Can't say I noticed any sign of a problem to be honest. The FB sits about 5 litres above the tap which probably helps.

micmacmoc wrote: How do you filter the wort before the pump? ...Or can the pump cope with the little bits from the wort? ... Anyone know if Lidl stock the jam makers all the time?
I recirced a few litres using a jug until the wort run lump free and then connected the hose to the little pump. I'm sure some lumps got through but it never complained or made any noises suggesting it was a problem. I got my jam maker during one of their weekly jumble sales where they pre-notify what's coming in. I've not seen them since so assume they only have them in at infrequent intervals. It's a brilliant tool if you can get one but any old HLT would work if you could control the temp adequately. I used the jam maker because it has a set and forget thermostat and heats up very quickly which frees up my HLT for sparging at sparge temperature.
Tea is for mugs...

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ajclarkson
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Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by ajclarkson » Mon May 12, 2014 4:54 pm

micmacmoc wrote:That's quite brilliant! How do you filter the wort before the pump? Or can the pump cope with the little bits from the wort? I have a solar pump and this is exactly the sort of set up I can afford, I also have a model railway transformer/controller so I'm nearly there. Anyone know if Lidl stock the jam makers all the time?
Brilliant work there, thanks for sharing!
I use a very similar setup, solar pump and model railway controller for the speed, but rather than the jam maker, bought a telco value kettle for £5 and made a coil out of 10mm copper to go inside it. Just food for thought if you can't get hold of the jam maker or such!
Adam

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jmc
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Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by jmc » Tue May 13, 2014 2:15 pm

+1 for the LIDL jam-maker if you can get one.

I use mine as a MT/RIMS unit using solar pump to recirculate. Great for step mashes.
Works much better if its insulated.

See Saison #2 - AG78 (+ pics)
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crookedeyeboy

Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by crookedeyeboy » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:52 pm

Great post, i have the jam maker already and hadnt thought of using it for this purpose.

JMC how did you secure the 15mm ball valve tap in place on the jam maker? I have tried already but the hole is slightly too large

Thanks!

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jmc
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Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by jmc » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:03 pm

Sorry for delay in answering. I needed to find some old pics from 2012.

I used a tank connector like this one
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to hold 15mm pipe going through hole.

12mm LIDL hole was too small for this as supplied
Image

so I used a step drill to open it up.
As you can see enamel may crack/chip.
Image
I fitted tank connector with rubber seal in inside.
Image

Tube had LS-X around it to seal in tank connector
Image


This showed signs of rust after a while. Lidl boiler is enamelled MILD steel and so if enamel removed it will rust, so I took it apart and painted cut edge/steel with nail varnish and after ensuring everything very clean & dry I fitted with copious amounts of LS-X. Its been OK since.

With hindsight it may have been easier to follow barneey's suggestion and step down to use 3/8 ss fittings in original hole.
See this post:
Lidl "jam maker" coming soon
Image

crookedeyeboy

Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by crookedeyeboy » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:22 pm

Ah Brilliant reply thanks JMC, ill have a go when I get chance, I just stuffed a piece of silicon hose over some 15mm copper pipe and wedged it in!! :shock:

It worked but man was that tap wobbly!!

crookedeyeboy

Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by crookedeyeboy » Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:42 am

Can I ask a silly question? If I go down the route of just immersing a copper coil in the jam maker and run the wort through this what do you do about initial mash liquor?
Do you keep it the same or do you add more to make the mash more 'pliable'?


Thanks

crookedeyeboy

Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by crookedeyeboy » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:43 am

*BUMP*

Just wondering what people do when using a HERMS with initial mash liquor, is it more than the normal 2.5 : 1 ratio?

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jmc
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Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by jmc » Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:21 pm

crookedeyeboy wrote:*BUMP*

Just wondering what people do when using a HERMS with initial mash liquor, is it more than the normal 2.5 : 1 ratio?
I know mine is a RIMS system, but when I did my step mash on Sunday I started off at 40C with ratio of 1.6:1, this was very thick but it recirculated OK.
They I added hot liquor to raise temp to 65C step and it was then at 3.5:1

For these two steps I just use water additions and increase temp (if needed) by manually pulsing heat in MT.

Thermal conductivity is poor in mash even with recirculation, so I have to 'pulse' heat to avoid scorching.
Works fine though.

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fego
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Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by fego » Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:48 pm

crookedeyeboy wrote:*BUMP*

Just wondering what people do when using a HERMS with initial mash liquor, is it more than the normal 2.5 : 1 ratio?
I've only done one brew using the HERMS so am not a brilliant measuring stick, but what I did was to use my normal ratio of 2.5 and manage the flow manually at first to make sure i didnt suck the life out of the mash. It worked without incident but I can imagine a thicker mash would suffer or probably more likely require a much slower transfer. I think it will depend from set up to set up really. I have a very wide tun so a much greater surface area to pull the wort from.

I'd recommend trying it to see what works for you...
Tea is for mugs...

crookedeyeboy

Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by crookedeyeboy » Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:58 pm

Thanks guys, wish me luck, I am trying a brew out tonight.

I have managed to find a 10mm coil of copper pipe at work to dunk into the jam maker, lets see how it fairs as a HERMS!

Fil
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Re: Simple HERMS kit on a budget

Post by Fil » Sat May 02, 2015 12:36 pm

fwiw i replaced the footswitch on my multi use tattoo psu with a simple jack plug with a latching mini switch soldered between the contacts, a simple on off switch which needs no weight on the pedal to keep it running..

otherwise i like the way you have put this together, great ingenuity..
ist update for months n months..
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