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RIMS configuration

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 2:38 pm
by Mob_Barley
Just wondering how most of you are configuring your RIMS. It's giving me a headache looking through the homebrewtalk forum at all the different options. So far, I see most Brutus set-ups either use direct fire control of mash temp or a HERMS setup with recirculation through coil in HLT.

As I understand, so far, with a HERMS set-up running wort through a coil in the HLT, you would be controlling one pump to turn on and off while the other controller controls the temp in the HLT.

In the direct fire method of controlling temp in mash tun, you would control the solenoid valve for the gas. Does the recirculation keep the grain from scorching, or the fact that you have a false bottom which keeps the grain above the flames and the wort is constantly moving, keeps the grains from scorching...

And is everyone using the Brutus method of swichting lids from the HLT to the MT, and MT to the BK?

Lots of questions, not enough Tylenol.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:08 pm
by yeastmeister
Ideally in HERMS, you simply control the temperature of the HLT and use the pump continuously to pump the wort through the coil. So you set the HLT at 154 and let it circulate till it gets there. Since the HLT will never get above 154, the mash can't either. It works, but is way too slow to do steps with.

With RIMS, yep, the circulation keeps the wort from scorching, and the grain doesn't scorch because its above the false bottom.

Most of us use the direct fire method, but a RIMS system is capable of being run in a HERMS configuration. RedTail started out HERMS, but added RIMS capability. He still uses HERMS I believe.

I use a modification of the lid method, but I think most others are going, or have gone with valves.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:55 pm
by Mob_Barley
I'd like to see a schematic (or picture) of a some valve manifolds so I can understand the build a little better. And what about the pressure relief valves, are they used to keep air out of the lines so the pumps don't lose prime?

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:57 pm
by Imakewort
here is a link to a previous post on my system, i do not have access to any better pictures at the moment, its easy to use, modular as you can take any section apart for cleaning as you brew, and kind of boring to use, the next mod is a blichman easy sparge so i can get rid of the electric sparge system and simplify it even more.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:29 am
by aleguy
Just to clarify. Once Redtail used his system as a RIMS, he never wanted to go back to HERMS. I don't know anyone who uses lids. They just recirculate wort through a "Mash return pipe." I designed and built a fully adjustable 3-piece mash return that sits on the rim of the kettle. It is adjustable with a thumbscrew hose clamp for mash volumes of 4 1/2 gallons to 14 1/2 gallons. Mine also have on-board ball valves for easy flow control.
You just take the one from the HLT and drop it into the mash tun, etc. to transfer liquids. My mash return also has a whirlpool attachment for use in the boil kettle since I still use an immersion chiller.
I don't know if any of this helps, or simply adds to the confusion.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:39 am
by redtail28
As far as Herms go it does work. It's more of a
hand's on system being you need to be near by
for watching temps. The manifold that i started out
with was in the H shape. But did away with it and
used the method that yeastemeister talked about.
I found that doing step mashing took a long time
single infusion was alot easier.

Now with the rims you have a lot of freedom to do step
mashing. Just set it and forget you now have time to clean
carboys deal with problems and alot more time to

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:01 am
by Mob_Barley
Aleguy, take a picture of your mash return. I know you've showed it to me a couple of times, but it wasn't finished when I saw it.

I was thinking of something like this from MoreBeer's System:


It might take some engineering, but I have time...

Since Aleguy is compiling a list of all the RIMS in the club, why not get some detailed pictures with details of the build and post them for others who might find them helpful (me). ie. pics of stand, burners, asco valves, plumbing, etc.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:49 am
by aleguy
I will post pics as soon as I can. I just have to figure out how to get them from my phone into the computer, or borrow a digital camera from someone. The tippy dump sparge ring looks overly complicated to me. as far as photos of my brew stand, it's still a long way from being finished. I have to put in my gas lines from the manifold and build my control box yet. But I will photograph what I have.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:54 am
by Mob_Barley
I have a question for anyone that has used one of the March pumps. If you have two pumps on the same line and are only running one of the pumps, do you have to valve off the suction on the other pump so it doesn't run backwards? ie. will the suction of the pump that is running pull through the plumbing of the other pump if it is not valved off...

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 7:49 am
by aleguy
Probably. But that begs the question of why you have 2 march pumps in-line? Many people use only one march pump for a RIMS or HERMS. The only real advantage of having 2 is that it cuts down on switching hoses from one kettle to another. With two pumps, a 3-way ball valve, or two 2-way ball valves can eliminate any hose moving at all, but it only needs to be done on one pump. The one that moves your mash water around and then pumps it into your boil kettle. If you don't wish to recirculate your boil or pump the cooled wort, there is no need to even have a pump hooked up to your BK.
Clear as mud, I know. But just walk yourself through the steps of a brew day in your head and you'll see what I mean, I think. Think about what liquid needs to go where, and how best to get it there.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:39 am
by Mob_Barley
The stand I have is set-up for two pumps. I plumbed it all out for one (on paper), then realized if I wanted to use the HLT with ice water for the chiller, and also whirlpool the chiller at the same time, I will need two pumps. I've got it down to the minimum number of ball valves, but if I must valve off the pumps, that will take more and I need to account for those.

I'm working it out where I won't have to switch any hoses, just turn some valves to re-direct the flow of water or wort. I like the clean design of the plumbing ie. not having long hoses hanging everywhere. But, that's just my own preferences. There is nothing wrong with the Brutus-10 as originally designed.

PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:42 pm
by aleguy
There's nothing wrong with the Brutus 10 as designed. That's true. I like having all my controls in one place, though. Besides Budrock, who is an experienced welder, ran into all kinds of problems trying to build one. Also, I don't have the scratch for stainless, so I opted for the bed frame stand. as far as switching valves go. Swagelock makes a 316 stainless three-way ball valve in 1/2". I don't know how much they want for one yet, but I'm sure it ain't cheap. If you order one, so you only have one throw instead of two and no possibility of screwing it up, I would suggest you get one with the spherical ball. I would give you a link, but they don't operate that way. you have to download a PDA and then contact a local supplier (there's one in Broussard that I bought my purge valves from.) The purge valves just make it really easy to prime the March pumps, and I'm wondering if that is what you've been calling the pressure-relief valves. The only PR valves I know of in brewing are the ones on the corny kegs.
As far as using the HLT as an ice water bath for chilling your BK, I don't know how well that will work. Everyone else uses a high-flow sump pump from Harbor Freight in a big plastic bucket full of ice water. This has the added advantage of allowing you to clean and dry your other vessels during the boil (if so inclined) so you only have your BK and chiller to clean afterwards.
Having said all that, It's your system and you set it up however you like. Just be aware, there are reasons we do things the way we do, and it's usually not because we haven't tried it another way. Be patient. Carefully observe others (especially where they have problems) and adapt accordingly. We all hope that the next guy's system will be better than the current best. (That gives us a good reason to build another system every five years or so. We like to build stuff.) :wink:

Schematic for plumbing

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:24 am
by Mob_Barley
Here is a "very rough" schematic I drew for the plumbing on my RIMS system. If ya'll can follow it, maybe someone can take a look and see if it makes sense, or point out where it could be improved. Yeastmeister says some of ya'll have systems which use valves to move wort and water around instead of moving hoses from one vessel to another.


PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:32 am
by aleguy
I looked at it. If you think it will work, go ahead and try it. Frankly I'm not sure why you want to do it that way. I'm also not sure that a march pump has a high enough flow to chill your wort quickly enough, but you may be on to something that I just can't see. The proof is in the pudding so to speak.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:08 am
by Mob_Barley
I think the general procedure used by most people is to use the tap water first to get the wort chilled down to around 80 deg, then switch to ice water with the march pump to get the wort down to fermentation temperature, for ales around 66 deg and lagers around 45 deg (basically to save the ice).

When it's all done, all I have to do is turn open and close a few valves, then turn on the pump. The way I have it designed is as good as any other way, unless you can come up with something more constructive than "Frankly I'm not sure why you want to do it that way". I'd be glad to look at constructive reasons why one way is more efficient than another, or why one way will make better beer than another. But as far as "because it's not the way you'd do it" well, that's the whole idea. I get a system that I designed, that is somewhat unique, and that I think will work best for me and the way I brew.