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30A Panel for 4 vessel brewing

 
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Crusty



Joined: 14 Aug 2019
Posts: 11
Location: Australia


PostLink    Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:56 am    Post subject: 30A Panel for 4 vessel brewing Reply with quote


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Hi guys.
I'm curious to know if there's a way I can use the 30A control panel to run a 4 vessel brewery. I'm wanting to know if I can somehow run a small herms vessel instead of using the HLT to control my mash temps. The smaller vessel with the heating element is much quicker for raising temperatures than the HLT with the herms coil. I can still only run two elements so I'm not sure how I can do it. I don't want to modify my panel if possible. I do want to fly sparge too.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10680
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're basically wanting to go RIMS (well, sort of as you're still actually heating the wort indirectly like HERMS).

You want to go from being able to drive 2 heat sources where only one can be on at once (BK and HLT) to 3 (BK, HLT, and separate HERMS vessel) where the HLT and HERMS vessel need to be on at the same time, using your existing control panel that only allows one heat source to be on at once since it's 30A.

I don't see how this could be possible with zero modifications to the panel.

You do do something like use a tankless water heater to heat your sparge water completely separately and use the panel for the BK and HERMS vessel heat source.

Make sure to get one that can actually heat hot enough (168-170F) for what we need for brewing - most do not as there's no reason to go that hot for how a hot water tank is normally used. You usually need to look at industrial ones.

Make sure to read my HERMS vs RIMS FAQ too: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=28112

Good luck!

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Crusty



Joined: 14 Aug 2019
Posts: 11
Location: Australia


PostLink    Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheers Kal.
I'd rather run Herms than Rims but trying to look at better ramp times with the Herms. The full volume in the HLT works well at maintaining mash temps but can be quite slow at ramping compared to a smaller dedicated Herms unit. I agree, I don't think it's possible to do with the panel I have.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10680
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crusty wrote:
The full volume in the HLT works well at maintaining mash temps but can be quite slow at ramping compared to a smaller dedicated Herms unit.


Is it? I don't find it is.

I have 20 gallon kettles and brew ~12 gallons post boil, and don't find ramp times slow. Make sure you're running both pumps at 100% open and don't mill too fine.

Someone else was mentioning their ramp times were slow here: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32294
And they do indeed sound a lot slower than what I get, so something has to be different, either in equipment or process (or both).
They also want to start changing their setup to speed up their slow ramps but I say before doing that, make sure the setup's running correctly. It may be something completely different.

Take a look here on my BREW DAY STEP BY STEP instructions for how fast I ramp: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/brew-day-step-by-step?page=7
In this step I go from 149 mash to 168F mashout. On this 10 gallon batch of 5% ABV beer the HLT takes less than 13 mins to go from 149F to 168F. At that time the MLT has already gone from 149F to 162F and only takes a few minutes more to catch up and reach 168F like the HLT. The only time I've ever thought "wow this mash is taking a long time for the mash to ramp up" is when I brew something massive (11-12% ABV) and that's because of the amount of grain. Even then it's really just a reminder of how much grain I have and doesn't take what I'd consider overly long, just longer than when brewing something ~ 5% ABV.

If this is not the sort of ramps you're getting with similar sized batches and grain, stop and ask why. There's something else at play here causing issues. Best to fix that before throwing more equipment at it as that's just a band aid solution. One common mistake I see people do with their control panels is wire the elements incorrectly to only get 120V at the elements instead of 240V. That results is 1/4 the power output (1375W instead of 5550W). Now you're in Australia I believe so that can't be your issue as you only have 240V.

I'll mention another example of my ramp times on my 20 gallon kettle / 30A setup:

I've been brewing a lot of Weizen lately (https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/pages/weizen-weissbier) and it's a 5% beer that starts with a ferulic acid rest at 113F and then almost immediately ramps up to 152F. Just checking my notes when I brewed this a week or so ago, that 113 -> 152F rise in the MLT took just under 30 mins to go up that 39F and I typically have ~12 gallons in the HLT. Keep in mind that the last degree or so probably takes a good 5 mins (I say it's "done" when both the MLT and HLT say "152"). So it's probably closer to 25 mins.

Let's see if that makes sense:

A 5500W element ramps 1 gallon by 1F in 1.6 seconds. So going from 113 to 152 (39F) for 12 gallons should take 39 x 12 x 1.6 = 749 seconds (12.5 minutes) for just the HLT. But there's the mash water and grain too (also around 12 gallons total) so double that (25 mins) is about right. My real world numbers line up with the math/physics. Good! Wink


This could certainly be faster if my HLT was smaller as you're considering: Basically having a smaller HERMS vessel. But it has to be at least a certain size to fit in a HERMS coil. A catch-22. Not sure how many gallons you'd have in it? Most of the time (as in this Weizen beer) I have ~12 gallons in my HLT. If I could reduce that to 2-3 gallons it would ramp a bit faster but how much faster and would a HERMS coil fit in there? Let's take a somewhat extreme case of the HLT volume being reduced from 12 -> 2 gallons for this smaller HERMS vessel. That's 10 gallons less volume that needs heating so the time saved here for this 113 to 152F ramp would be 39 x 10 x 1.6 = 624 seconds (just over 10 minutes).

Is it really worth having a 4th vessel / extra complexity / extra cost / extra work (extra hose setups and movement on brew day) to save 10 minutes in this extreme case of ramping from 113 to 152F? I don't think so, but everyone has different needs.

A smaller HERMS coil could be used but then heat transfer may get reduced so you're back to square one. As well, lowering the volume from 2 gallons to 1 isn't going to increase time much more (only shortens it by about 1 minute).

For people that do want faster ramp times I always tell them to use our 50A Electric Brewery Control Panel for 30+ gallons (https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/collections/control-panels) that allows 2 x 5500W heating elements per vessel. Even with smaller kettles/batches you can keep one 5500W in the boil as you would now, but put two in the HLT. With twice the heat in the HLT you cut your ramp time in half. That's a much less complex setup as it doesn't require a 4th vessel, extra hoses, or anything other than initial expenditure of a more powerful control panel and one extra heating element. The way the system works is then completely the same as a regular brew day with a 30A panel. No extra cleaning either as the HLT only ever has water in it.

What sort of ramp times are you getting? Maybe you can post your details like this and we see. You should be getting close to ramping 1 gallons by 1 degree F in 1.6 seconds. If not, something is amiss.

Cheers!

Kal

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Crusty



Joined: 14 Aug 2019
Posts: 11
Location: Australia


PostLink    Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the detailed response Kal.
It makes perfect sense.
Cheers.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10680
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Youíre welcome!

But what sort of ramp times are you getting? Maybe you can post your details like this and we see if there's something wrong. You should be getting close to ramping 1 gallons by 1 degree F in 1.6 seconds. If not, something is amiss and we may be able to make suggestions to fix it for you without any complex changes. Itís usually something simple.

Cheers!

Kal

_________________
Our new shop with over 150 new products: shop.TheElectricBrewery.com
We ship worldwide and support our products and customers for life.
Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!
My basement/bar/brewery build 2.0
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