Author Topic: 500 Litre Brewery with Herms Coil?  (Read 9355 times)

Offline Fettucini

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500 Litre Brewery with Herms Coil?
« on: February 16, 2016, 09:29:45 AM »
I'm looking at upgrading to a 500 litre brewing setup and wondering whether it would be a good idea to have the Herms system installed in the HLT, which i've been using with a much smaller setup up until now.
Does anyone have any experience with this? Someone mentioned that you just use single temperature infusion with the bigger setups, ie dump the grains in at the desired strike water temperature, but i'm not completely convinced. I get the feeling i'll be able to make a better quality beer with the herms coil system, just not sure how practical it is with 500 litre tanks.

Offline brewfun

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Re: 500 Litre Brewery with Herms Coil?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2016, 11:23:36 AM »
You'll want to consider your heat source(es) and when/where you want to distribute the BTUs. In a professional environment BTUs = Time = Money. How much time you have to spend in the brewhouse vs. other activities you need to accomplish will be a constant issue.

Continuous recycling of wort on a commercial scale can create problems with lautering times and efficiency if the mash geometry is out of balance. Again, there's a cost in time and money, there. At 5 hl, you can probably make it work, but as you scale up it might become problematic.

The "cheap" way is to use a heated grant while recirculating. Just plan on giving the flow all the time it needs to be gentle and not blind the runoff. A manometer is extremely helpful in regulating the flow under these circumstances.

I do a single infusion, and add heat during vourloff to reach mashout. The main reason is to lower viscosity and add BTUs to the wort that shortens the time for my wort to boil.

Other than the occasional protein rest, I haven't found much qualitative difference between single and profile mashes on a commercial scale. I've found that ingredients and fermentation conditions play a bigger role in flavor than mash procedure.

I don't want to stop you from experimenting. My first head brewer job was on a 5 hl and it was a blast to play with mash methods. It informed a lot of my decisions over the years. If the time and cost considerations I outlined don't apply yet, then try your idea out.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline Fettucini

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Re: 500 Litre Brewery with Herms Coil?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2016, 02:34:46 PM »
You'll want to consider your heat source(es) and when/where you want to distribute the BTUs. In a professional environment BTUs = Time = Money. How much time you have to spend in the brewhouse vs. other activities you need to accomplish will be a constant issue.

Continuous recycling of wort on a commercial scale can create problems with lautering times and efficiency if the mash geometry is out of balance. Again, there's a cost in time and money, there. At 5 hl, you can probably make it work, but as you scale up it might become problematic.

The "cheap" way is to use a heated grant while recirculating. Just plan on giving the flow all the time it needs to be gentle and not blind the runoff. A manometer is extremely helpful in regulating the flow under these circumstances.

I do a single infusion, and add heat during vourloff to reach mashout. The main reason is to lower viscosity and add BTUs to the wort that shortens the time for my wort to boil.

Other than the occasional protein rest, I haven't found much qualitative difference between single and profile mashes on a commercial scale. I've found that ingredients and fermentation conditions play a bigger role in flavor than mash procedure.

I don't want to stop you from experimenting. My first head brewer job was on a 5 hl and it was a blast to play with mash methods. It informed a lot of my decisions over the years. If the time and cost considerations I outlined don't apply yet, then try your idea out.
Thanks for the feedback. My main worry with the 500 litre setup is keeping the same consistent temperature throughout the mash vessel as we could when we used the 100 litre setup + herms coil. The guys who build the 500 lt system down here in South America say that most people here are doing the single mash infusion without recirculation, but my fear is that that will make a lesser quality beer. I've been very focused recently on keeping an exact mash temp, to make a better body to the beer.
Do you find that you can keep a pretty constant temperature throughout the mash without recirculation? How many degrees would you expect it to drop after grains have been added to strike water, initially, and over 60 mins? I guess the first 20 mins or so is the most important part, when maintaining a specific temperature to give you the profile body that you want, right?

Offline brewfun

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Re: 500 Litre Brewery with Herms Coil?
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2016, 04:24:12 AM »
The larger mass will lose temperature more slowly. I don't actually lose any temperature. If this is your main concern, then insulating your mashtun is the most effective solution. It won't take much insulation, either. Only a couple of centimeters of thickness.

Fourier's Law does the math for us. The formula for calculating heat loss through conduction, expressed in BTU/hour is:

Q= (U)(A)(ΔT)

where
U is the conductance, BTU/(ft2)(Fo)(hr)
A is the surface area of object, ft2, include the top & bottom of the mashtun
ΔT is the temperature difference between mash and air (T1 -T2), Fo

Then determining the actual loss for an hour is just to divide Q by the total weight of grain and water in the mash.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 04:25:46 AM by brewfun »
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline Fettucini

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Re: 500 Litre Brewery with Herms Coil?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2016, 04:09:35 PM »
The larger mass will lose temperature more slowly. I don't actually lose any temperature. If this is your main concern, then insulating your mashtun is the most effective solution. It won't take much insulation, either. Only a couple of centimeters of thickness.

Fourier's Law does the math for us. The formula for calculating heat loss through conduction, expressed in BTU/hour is:

Q= (U)(A)(ΔT)

where
U is the conductance, BTU/(ft2)(Fo)(hr)
A is the surface area of object, ft2, include the top & bottom of the mashtun
ΔT is the temperature difference between mash and air (T1 -T2), Fo

Then determining the actual loss for an hour is just to divide Q by the total weight of grain and water in the mash.

Great, that's good to know about the slower heat loss with a bigger vessel. So I think we're going to go with your idea of the heated grant, or try with a pump on a very low speed if that has the same effect. Would you say that it's unnecessary to recirculate throughout the entire mash with this setup? Just at the end for vorlauf?
Also a couple of other things, with your experience brewing on the 500 lt system.. what size connections would you recommend? Would you say 3/4 or 1 inch would do?
When you did the mash with 500 lt did you use a motorized stirrer or by hand?
Thanks in advance for all your help!


Offline brewfun

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Re: 500 Litre Brewery with Herms Coil?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2016, 04:33:38 PM »
On that 5 hl, I had a mash mixer that looked like an adjustable boat motor. It made doughing in by myself a snap.

Would you say that it's unnecessary to recirculate throughout the entire mash with this setup? Just at the end for vorlauf?


That's going to entirely depend on your mashtun geometry. How many Kg/M2 of false bottom do you expect for a "regular" beer?

Most mash tuns are made to a spec that is optimized for 12 Plato. Most Craft beers are 14 to 17 Plato. That additional load can be the difference between reasonable flow and pulling a vacuum. Lauters meant to be pumped tend to have loads =<140Kg/M2. Lauters meant for gravity flow can be as high as 190 Kg/M2. Grist milling becomes another important factor in wort flow.

Quote
what size connections would you recommend? Would you say 3/4 or 1 inch would do?

I always recommend at least 1.5" (38mm) orifice connections on all equipment. Then using DIN or Sanitary type connections makes your brewery universal in adding, changing or selling equipment.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline Fettucini

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Re: 500 Litre Brewery with Herms Coil?
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2016, 01:29:09 PM »
On that 5 hl, I had a mash mixer that looked like an adjustable boat motor. It made doughing in by myself a snap.

Would you say that it's unnecessary to recirculate throughout the entire mash with this setup? Just at the end for vorlauf?


That's going to entirely depend on your mashtun geometry. How many Kg/M2 of false bottom do you expect for a "regular" beer?

Most mash tuns are made to a spec that is optimized for 12 Plato. Most Craft beers are 14 to 17 Plato. That additional load can be the difference between reasonable flow and pulling a vacuum. Lauters meant to be pumped tend to have loads =<140Kg/M2. Lauters meant for gravity flow can be as high as 190 Kg/M2. Grist milling becomes another important factor in wort flow.

Quote
what size connections would you recommend? Would you say 3/4 or 1 inch would do?

I always recommend at least 1.5" (38mm) orifice connections on all equipment. Then using DIN or Sanitary type connections makes your brewery universal in adding, changing or selling equipment.

Ok great, was going to go for 1" connections but will go for the 1.5" as you recommend.
Just met with a guy who builds the systems here down in Buenos Aires and had a talk about all the options. It isn't possible to buy complete ready to go breweries here as in Europe and US, so it's more a case of finding a stainless steel welder to custom build your kit. As i've never brewed on a 500 lt system it's great to have your advice on things.
Actually one thing wanted to ask, what kind of chiller/ size did you use for cooling the wort on the 5bbl? Was it a plate chiller? If i wanted to save money do you think a home made counterflow chilller could do the job just as well? My idea was pre chilling 500 litres of water to 4 degrees in a cooling room, then pumping that water through a counterflow chiller to chill the boiling wort. What do you think? Or would you say go for a plate chiller?
Thanks
« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 03:07:15 PM by Fettucini »

Offline brewfun

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Re: 500 Litre Brewery with Herms Coil?
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2016, 05:48:14 PM »
As i've never brewed on a 500 lt system it's great to have your advice on things.

Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it.

Going from home brewing to pro brewing is much more than just recipes. It's the difference between riding a bike and driving a car. There's just a lot more to think about.

Quote
Actually one thing wanted to ask, what kind of chiller / size did you use for cooling the wort on the 5bbl?

Professionally, I've always used plate chillers. If you build your own, you'll need to calculate the amount of surface area needed to get the temperature drop in the time you desire.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

 

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