This project is my attempt to build my dream homebrew system. It will forever be a work in progress, I’ll post periodic updates on the main page. The major requirements are: 15 gal capacity, automated temperature control, and pump driven liquid transfer.
From the main requirements I decided on some major design elements. Most importantly I didn’t want to use two pumps. That forced the stand design to use a two tiered design. Secondly I wanted to use propane to heat the hot liquor tun and the boil kettle. I did not want to directly heat the mash, I believe that direct mash heat causes too much browning reactions. Third I wanted the automated temp control to be accomplished via a Heat Exchange Recirculating System (HERMS). From these decisions I laid out a rough design of the system.
The rough design shows a two tiered system with the hot liquor tun (HLT) in the upper tier and the mash tun (MT) and boil kettle (BK) in the lower tier. I chose this design because I wanted to use only one pump and because this allows the heat exchanger (HX) in the HLT to be fully drained into the MT. This also allows the mash to be sparged while running off through the pump. Temperature will be monitored in three locations: the HX output, the HTL, and the mash. Monitoring the mash isn’t strictly necessary or accurate but I wanted something I could use to check the functioning of the recirculation system. Currently I use a floating thermometer in the boil kettle. It’s useful because I can tell how close I am to reaching a boil and I can measure the temperature of the cooled wort without sanitizing anything (when using an immersion chiller).