Mike Tinker's 10 Gallon HERMS System
This brewery had its genesis in my desire to upgrade my current 10 gallon HERMS system to an all stainless single-tier brewery from its current two-tier Igloo cooler form. As I was thinking through the work and expense of such a project, it dawned on me: I live in the Phoenix area—it’s hot here in the summer—wouldn’t it be nice to be able to brew inside? Thus began my research into all electric brewing. Based on a number of excellent designs I found online, I was able to devise a system that would meet my needs, which I had defined as follows:
- 120V (didn’t want to install a new service, plus I desired portability)
- No brass
- No disconnecting of any tubing during brewing
- Some form of mash temperature control
- Convenience in operation and storage
Thus was born the BrewKart. I decided to go with a Brutus 20-like system that incorporated a dual function coil for both HERMS mash temp control and chilling. My research revealed that with the largest 120V heater, the most I could really hope to boil was 5 gallons. Using this as my starting point, I scaled the system to make slightly smaller batches, and usually end up with about 4 gallons in the fermenter. It took me about six weeks to nail down my design, and another four weeks of building during what little spare time I had to complete the project.
I am very pleased with the results. I’ve run 4 batches through at this point and have gotten a good feel for the system and have dialed my processes in well. I now consistently get between 70-72% efficiency on this 2 vessel system, and brew days are a pleasure. The only disconnecting of anything I have to do is to clean out the mash tun during the boil so that it can be filled with ice and water to recirculate through the coil for chilling. I also recirculate the wort back into the kettle and can get the batch down to pitching temps in about 10 minutes. I do need a 20 amp outlet to run the system, but any kitchen or bathroom outlet meets that requirement, and I have a long extension cord. The size and portability of the brewery means that, not only can I use it in my office (the usual spot), but can also wheel it out to the kitchen or outside once the weather cools off. And, of course, I can also take it to local brew-outs as well.
The BrewKart (more or less done)
Simple control panel
The BrewKart at its home in my office
| Dual purpose coil
|| Brewday setup