Its been a long ride, getting this HERMS completed. Mostly due to the share number of small things that needs to be done. A good tip is, if you are building your own system, use a good amount of time in the planning phase. Small additions like an extra temperature sensor can mean alot of extra fittings etc..
Right, so lets get into it. We completed the setup of all 3 kettles. This included;
- Ball valves
- 3-way splitters
- Heat elements
- Kettle bulkheads
- Fitting adapters (converting Male to Female)
- Wiring for the heat elements
One problem we ran into right after the build, was that during the assembly, we removed all the older bulkeads and fittings and started from scratch, but re-used some of the old o-rings. This caused a few leaks, as some of them were old and not sealing after installing again. Luckily we had a lot new o-rings in various sizes in stock.
We also modified the electrical wire out to the brewery to accomodate the extra load on the circuit. If everything is running, we are drawing just around 16A in total. This means the 16A circuit would constantly running on max capacity. The new circuit will allow a 25A load, that also means if we upgrade heating elements down the line, we are still within the limit.
After adding everything up in the CraftBeerPi controller, we ran a test using just water to make sure everything is working. When everything was dialed in and tested, we started planning the “pilot brew”. The decition was made to brew a small 40L batch of IPA. Starting small is good for adding notes on the brewery efficiency, required water for the HLT and so forth.
The temperature for mashing through the HLT was controlled by the [wort out] temperature sensor. We carefully monitored the temperature inside the mash kettle with an analog temperature gauge to note the differences. On average, the difference between the two were roughly 0,5deg C. We will try it again with a full batch to see if it remains the same with a higher grain volume.
All in all, the brew went very well. Missing a few liters of water in the HLT and didnt allow for any extra hot water at the end of the brew. You would want a buffer here to allow a bit more for your sparging and some for cleaning out equipment at the end would be nice.
Will post a brewsession post on our next brew, so stay close for updates!