Need some help!! I need two tickets to the Avery Sour Fest. My wife wanted them for Mother's Day but I missed out by 15 mins.
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Design the wiring so there's no current going to the heat element unless the pump is running. additionally a flow rate alarm like Blichmann's TOP prevents scorching should you get a stuck mash.
Don't let these RIMS and HERMS components scare you. They are all pretty easy to get a grasp on and really only take a little bit of time to really understand.
I built the Backwoods Brewery, which was one of the Pimp My System rigs a few months back, after about 2 months of research. If you have any questions regarding setup or anything like that, send me a message and I would be glad to give you a 'checklist' of things.
Oh, and since this is a HERMS vs RIMS discussion, I can recommend the RIMS tube from Brewers Hardware. It has been worth every penny. I strongly recommend including a PID to control the RIMS heating element. You will overheat your wort if you don't include that control. That is another reason I have a problem with a HERMS. If the water in the exchanger is too hot, you could also overheat the wort and denature the enzymes prematurely. I can tell you that starchy wort does not make good beer.
Since you are starting with 3 to be converted kegs, get a stand with 3 burners and a couple of pumps. Brew without either and see how it goes, and then layer on top of that palate.
I started with RIMS because my BIAB setup in a converted keg would not hold temperature in Minnesota winters.
I like the recirculating system I have in place now, but here are some of the downsides:
- more to clean (RIMS Tube, tubing pump)
- more to build
- more things to plan for on brew day, more connections, tubing, joints, etc.
I get clearer wort into the kettle, and slightly higher efficiency, but mostly I get a pretty awesome bling factor.
If you we're going to use gas, I would shoot for the HERMS system. My first HERMS coil in my HLT was a 50ft 1/2" stainless steel immersion chiller from Midwest Supplies. I got to play around with the process without punching holes in fancy kettles. Kind of a simple HERMS setup MLT-->Pump-->IC in HLT-->hose floated on top of MLT.
A fairly simple way to try HERMS mashing out.