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Thread: 2.5 to 5bbl electric brewhouse- RIMs vs HERMS vs nothing extra?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    west coast
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    2.5 to 5bbl electric brewhouse- RIMs vs HERMS vs nothing extra?

    so my experience is fairly limited in electric brewing. the little nano down in Baja has a colorado system with one vessel setup. there's a recirc arm to pull wort from the below the mash tun insert at the bottom of the kettle and then bring it up to the top of the mash bed for mixing and temp stabilization. thats as far as i know about electric systems.

    we're looking to expand and get a new system ordered, and down here electric is alot cheaper to operate than gas (propane). so, the options i keep seeing are RIMs and HERMs.

    i cant see rims tube doing much other than keeping stable temp during mash. am i missing something there?

    and for HERMS, you're using the hot liquor as heat source, so the temp differential isnt that high (150ish vs 170 in HLT?) so not sure how much heating "power" you'll get from it.

    other than better temp stabilization and step mashing, im not sure i see big reasons to go with either. anybody have some insights on these two features?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Kent, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by brain medicine View Post
    [...]
    other than better temp stabilization and step mashing, im not sure i see big reasons to go with either. anybody have some insights on these two features?
    A RIMS tube and HERMS are both related to mashing, and as you say, there's no big reason to go with either if you're not interested in step mashing. Even if you were, once you get to 5 bbl, it's not a practical way to achieve it; it takes a lot of heat to raise 5 bbl any significant amount.

    I think what you're actually looking for is either a kettle with immersion heaters or else an external calandria for boiling. I don't know if I've ever seen an external calandria that was electric though. It would be a good idea. But if one did exist, it might resemble a RIMS tube. There's a guy that's posted on this previously, named Michael George (see this post) that designs and builds direct fired calandria. You might contact him to see if he has done them in electric, and what that might look like for 5 bbl.

    The immersion heater approach is usually just a set of flanges of some sort on the kettle, and a number of heating elements mounted in them. At 5 bbl, you'll probably find they are three phase heaters, and at a higher voltage to keep the current down. But you can get them down to 5500W mounted in a 1 1/2" triclamp for the home brewing world.

    I've seen a 3bbl electric kettle that was about 24 KW total (4x6KW elements) that reportedly took about an hour to get to a boil from 150F. Stout has a 5 bbl 60KW version, but I don't know how long that takes to get to boil. Probably a lot quicker than 1 hour.

    https://conical-fermenter.com/5-bbl-...nt.html?cat=21

    Keep in mind, 60KW is a helluva lot of power--do you have that much available where you are?

    Also, when considering which is truly more economical, make sure you take into account electrical demand charges. These can add up to more than the actual cost of the power. This is because the utility needs to consider not only how much power you are using, but the time of day you are using it. I would be surprised if electrical was actually cheaper than propane when you take into account demand charges, especially in Mexico. I thought propane was relatively cheap there.

    Regards,
    Mike Sharp

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    west coast
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    As for cost, i was told electric was cheaper by my partners who are experienced restaurantuers. I assume they know the deal. And i dont believe there are demand charges like in CA. We parchased our own transformer out on the street so the power is at a wholesale cost. Their calcs said the transformer pays for itself in a year. Definitely a different utilities situation.

    The system in place now gets a boil (85ish gals) going in under an hour from mash out, not too bad. Especially as its a single vessel, non insulated, and the sparge water maxes out at 135 (no HLT) so i have to do some tricks with the system. If i recall its 75 amps at 230. Although not sure how much more power there is beyond that. have to ask electrician.

    But sounds like im better off with insulated tun vs herms or rims.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Stockton, Ca. 95203. USA
    Posts
    41
    One thing you do want to check is, is your power in Mexico, is it 208 volts or 220 volts or 230 volts makes a difference, and the voltage of your Heating Elements, they should match up, in voltage..

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