Author Topic: three tier systems how do they work  (Read 2572 times)

Offline lees_brew

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three tier systems how do they work
« on: January 19, 2011, 08:20:38 PM »
I have a question and I searched and had no luck. How does a three tier system /gravity system work? I see them all on the site and have not really figured out how they work. I want to build one just lost on operation. Is there any online data for them? What about for the abrevations for brewers? I am new to this and really enjoy it. So if you need to haze go ahead I am a big boy.

Thanks
Lee

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2011, 08:42:11 PM »
My 3 tiered system works on a combo of gravity and a pump.  The top burner has my HLT(hot liquor tank) for heating sparge water.  The middle burner is for my mash tun, in my case a converted keg with a false bottom.  The bottom tier is for my boiling kettle. I use gravity to sparge, and to move the wort from the mash tun to the kettle. I use my pump to recirculate the wort during chilling and to pump the wort to my fermenters.  It took ne aabout 8 hours with my old single turkey fryer to brew 5 gallons, with this setup I brew 10 or 15 in just 6 hours.
Here's a picture of it, but the pump is mounted on the other side.
http://s362.photobucket.com/albums/oo65/rocdoc1/my%20beer%20stuff/?action=view&current=Corkysbeerstuff003.jpg
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline dannyjed

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2011, 08:43:35 PM »
A tier system uses gravity to move the liquids from hot water tank to mash tun, and mash tun to boil kettle instead of using pumps.  There are tier systems that use pumps as well, but if you have pumps you can have all on the same level.
Dan Chisholm

Offline lees_brew

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2011, 04:55:55 PM »
so from what I can see this is more for the all grain brewers. I have just started and have only done extract brewing.

Offline hokerer

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2011, 05:38:51 PM »
so from what I can see this is more for the all grain brewers. I have just started and have only done extract brewing.

Yep, you don't really use an HLT nor a mash tun if you're just doing extract.
Joe

Offline lees_brew

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2011, 07:27:33 PM »
well thank you for that. By the time I finish building I should be ready for full grain.

Offline Podo

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2011, 07:48:33 PM »
Corky, can you explain how it saves time?  I've never used one.
So good once it hits your lips!

Offline hokerer

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2011, 09:01:37 PM »
Corky, can you explain how it saves time?  I've never used one.

Looking at the wording of his post, I suspect the time savings comes from the fact that he used to do everything with one burner and now, with his stand, he's got three burners so he can do steps in parallel.
Joe

Offline rabid_dingo

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2011, 02:38:05 AM »
What about for the abrevations for brewers? ...So if you need to haze go ahead I am a big boy.

Thanks
Lee

Lee, One thing you will notice is that this forum is run and maintained by a professional group of people. It
quickly demands a constituency of professional people. Thus, My hazing for you is:

Welcome to the Forum. I trust you will find what you need, quickly and efficiently. If not please don't hesitate to
ask.

Now that we got that out of the way. I think in the original idea of a 3-tier rig is that you have a minimum of two burners.
One for the top tier to heat strike and sparge water in a spigoted HLT or Hot Liquor Tank. Gravity feeds
from the spigot to your 2nd tier. The MT or mash tun. From there once you start the sparge you drain into the 1st
tier, the boil kettle. That is where the second burner is. Again 2 burners is a comfortable minimum for a 3 tier
system. You can get away with using one burner but it basicaly demands a pump to move the liquid from the 1st
tier where the 1 burner would be up to a tank if you want or straight to the mash tun in effect turning the rig to a 2
tier system.

If you are adding pumps to the equation the rig basically starts becoming a single tier system where you just need
some sort of quick disconnects and you can run the whole operation at the same level.

Overall though, there are no "rules" A 3 tier needs to be this way or a single tier needs to be this way. Your needs,
available space and financial abilities really determine your design.

I am curious of the abbreviations you want to know about, just ask. We'll let you know.
Ruben * Colorado :)

Offline denny

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2011, 06:12:40 AM »
And you certainly don't need a 3 tier system to go all grain.  I've done nearly 400 batches on my Cheap'n'Easy system (www.dennybrew.com) and I love it!  As to time, it takes me about 4.5 hours for a 5.5 gal. batch.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline liquidbrewing

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2011, 07:21:34 AM »
Lee,

    Don't wait too long until you switch to all grain.  Once you do, you will wish you did it sooner!  I'm glad I did a three extract batches before I switched to "brew in a bag", which is all grain.  A few of those batches and then it was full on AG.  Also, I wouldn't worry about a pump, why pay for something when you can get it for free?  I built a "Ghetto 3-Tier" system from some old lumber from a job.  Just measure the height of your fermenter and work your way up from there.  Easy.

    Just keep it simple too.  That's what I have done, thanks to Denny's posts, on here and Homebrew talk, and his site.  Single Infusion, double batch sparge, it doesn't get any easier than that, to me anyways.  Enjoy brewing and Get Liquified!
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 07:23:19 AM by liquidbrewing »
Justin
Liquid Brewing, Co.
"Find Your Own Level"

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2011, 08:24:20 AM »
Corky, can you explain how it saves time?  I've never used one.

Looking at the wording of his post, I suspect the time savings comes from the fact that he used to do everything with one burner and now, with his stand, he's got three burners so he can do steps in parallel.
That's it exactly, thanks Hokerer.  While I'm heating strike water I'm also heating sparge water so that when the mash is done I don't have to wait.  Also since the sparge is gravity fed I can do other stuff instead of standing over my mash tun pouring water with a saucepan.  The bigger burners also mean that the water all heats faster.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline ipaguy

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2011, 09:22:18 AM »
Lee,

    Don't wait too long until you switch to all grain.  Once you do, you will wish you did it sooner!  I'm glad I did a three extract batches before I switched to "brew in a bag", which is all grain.

On the other hand, don't feel bad if you don't have the budget of space to do all-grain.  It's possible to brew fantastic beer with extract.  Doing a partial mash (aka mini-mash) is in some ways a 'best of both worlds' solution.  Although a big deal is sometimes made of AG vs. partial mash vs. extract, there are other factors in your process that are probably more important:  sanitation and running a good fermentation.  By running a good fermentation I mean pitching enough health yeast and controlling your fermentation temperature.
Primary: gotlandsdricke/alt/dunkel hybrid
Secondary: pale barleywine,
Bottled:  Gotlandsdricke
               Oatmeal/blackberry stout
               Honey Kolsch

Offline richardt

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2011, 11:28:26 AM »
I'd kindly suggest you resist the urge to build stuff.  Focus instead on the brewing process and the final result:  great beer. 
That is what will impress you (and everyone else) the most--not the equipment.
There's a lot of little things to learn to get from making "good beer" to "better beer" to "great beer."
Extract is a great place to start, and going all-grain opens up a lot of possibilities for brewing great beer.

I've seen quite a few veteran brewers just do things better and more efficiently with a "single-tier," gravity-and-human-based brewing system.  Keep it simple.  Just do the cooler mash tun, a SS boil kettle, a sturdy table (even one of those "lifetime" picnic tables), and a banjo burner (with at least 2 propane tanks filled at all times).  It helps to have spigots and smaller buckets or plastic scoops to help with transfers, but you don't have to do any heavy lifting or deal with electricity or PLC's or multiple hoses and valves or malfunctioning pumps or the fear of hot scalding water falling down on you.  And there's a lot less to store.

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: three tier systems how do they work
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2011, 12:27:36 PM »
Brewing technique trumps equipment any day.  The best brewing system will never compensate for sloppy sanitation, inattention to ferm temps, and shortcuts.
That said, a lot of my homebrewing enjoyment comes from identifying a problem and building something to solve it. I started slowly years ago with a very, very simple setup then built up over the years.  I do use a pump, but if it fails my setup can work solely from gravity, it's just slower.  I'm lucky that I've had time, money and space to let my brewing addiction take over my garage and my life ;D, and very lucky that my wife is a dedicated enabler.
 
There's no reason a person can't stick with extract brewing forever and brew excellent beer.  I have a few friends who've brewed for years without being tempted to complicate things.  One of them even won a major competition in Texas with his extract brew.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico