Back to Bloggin’

January 4, 2014 by Jack

A lot of time has passed since I last posted anything to this site. We haven’t given up on brewing. In fact, the opposite is true; we started brewing so much that I couldn’t keep up with this site. We brewed over 35 batches of beer since I last posted ten months ago! I was unable to post a brew-day write-up about each of them, so I sort of gave up altogether. My goal going forward is to journal any brew days that are interesting for any reason – new process, new ingredients, new equipment, experiments, group brew days, that sort of thing. And, more importantly to me, I need to get back into taking detail tasting notes for each batch. This is a good place to post them.

Speaking of new equipment…

Last summer we set out to design and build our ideal brewery – one that we won’t outgrow, one that will last the rest of our days in the hobby. I think I succeeded. Above is a single tier, three vessel, dual pump, 15 gallon HERMS brewery. The core details are:

  • Stout Tanks and Kettles 20 gallon tangential inlet combi-tank (brew/whirlpool kettle)
  • Stout Tanks and Kettles 15 gallon MLT with bottom drain
  • Stout Tanks and Kettles 15 gallon HLT with HERMS coil
  • Blichmann Floor Standing Burners, mounted in…
  • Brew Stand bolted together from strut channel
  • Chugger Pumps
  • Convoluted Counterflow Chiller
  • Control Panel for pumps and HLT burner

I aim to create a complete write-up describing the step-by-step process for brewing on this thing. A video sounds like a decent idea as well. If you have questions about our setup, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll address them in future detailed coverage.

We’ve only brewed on this new system a half dozen times or so, but the process is starting to get dialed in. Will this system make us better brewers? Probably not. But it was fun to build and is even more fun to brew on.

Everyone wants to know what it cost to build. The answer: a lot. You can make great beer on a much simpler, less expensive system. But this is a hobby and you can put as much into your hobby as you want, and for us this was money well spent. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll document my brew day for this site…

8 Responses to “Back to Bloggin’”

  1. Jack, would love to observe a brew day on your system…and pitch in where I can. Let me know if that could work.

    Ty

  2. Absolutely!

  3. Greetings
    I am a homebrewer living in Sydney Australia and I believe you have my dream brew system! Just wondering mate if you might have a schematic for your Brew System. I am going to build something very similair with 20 and 30 gallon Stout tanks. However I am not the most electrically enclined person and would love to get a map on which to built the electrics for my Herms brewery.
    Thanks and Cheers
    Paul in Sydney

  4. Cheers, Paul. Thanks for the compliment. I’m not much of an electrician, but I did manage to draw a schematic that worked for me in Visio. My CP has manual switches for the pumps. The HLT burner is controlled, and the BK burner is completely manual. There’s an on-off-auto switch for the HLT buner and the controller manages a standing-pilot furnace valve. Here’s a screenshot of it. Hope it helps.

  5. Cheers and Thanks Jack!
    I am still in the dark a bit as I am a aircraft engineer but I am mechanical not electrical plus over here we have the added problem of most schematics you see online for herms systems are for 120v and over here we are 240v. Plus I think I want semi automated with the room to maybe go with a BCS system down the track. So baby steps but I think I will go with a home electrician when it comes to wiring. Better to be safe when your mixing gas and electric! Cheers Mate

  6. Hi Jack,

    I have spent a lot of time researching brew stands and I really like yours. Would you be able to provide me with a parts list?

    Thank you,
    Lyle

  7. I am attempting to build something similar to your stand here. I want the burners (blichmann) to be mounted like yours. What size of bolt was needed to mount them? It looks like you mounted it using a 90 degree bracket to the underside of the channel?

  8. Lyle, I can dig up a parts list and post it soon.

    Even, you’re correct, it’s bolted to the lower channel using a 90 degree bracket and mounted directly to the upper channel using unistrut channel nuts. The holes on the blichmann legs are different sizes – upper and lower – and I don’t remember what size the bolts were offhand. I think the uppers were 3/8″ and the lowers were 1/4″.

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