A little advice please

Hi All,

I’m very new to brewing and to this forum, so I apologise if this has been covered.

My friend and I are just in the process of building a system. We currently have 3 x 75ltr pots (all with electric elements), Blichhman sparge arm and therminator plate chiller, a couple of pumps and we have have also gotten our hands on a large commercial double door fridge to use for fermentation. We will also be using a 60ltr plastic conical fermenter - one to start with but we will most likely will get a second as we have the space for it in the fridge.

We were just going to use a simple temperature controller to firstly manage the our water/wort temps and then move it to fridge to manage the fermentation when needed, however since the shop accidently added an element to our mash tun we are now considering recirculating the mash to maintain the temp and avoid any hotspots, we think it we just be easier to use a second controller.

Given the equipment we have and our plans we want to get one controller to run the brewery, rather than having multiple controllers and wiring running everywhere. Brewpi Sparkv2 looks really good.

So my question is What exactly do I need to order?
Im in Australia so want to make sure I get everything I need in one order.

Thanks in advance.


Using a separate controller for mashing and for fermentation will be easier to manage.

Did I understand correctly that you have a heating element in your mash tun? That would be a bad idea, if you already have 3 kettles for a HERMS. I would swap the kettle for one without an element.

We are working on a HERMS build guide, but it is not ready yet. But the schematics and some early photos might help you.

Schematics.pdf (122.2 KB)

Hi Elco,

Thanks for the quick reply.

I must have gotten confused and thought the brewpi was capable of managing both the mash and fermentation?
I will have another read through.

Yes, unfortunately the brew shop put an element in the mash tun as well, so all 3 vessels now have an element. We originally planned to just insulate the tun and see how it would hold temp (with the intent of heading towards a HERMS/RIMS down the track), but now that it has an element we were thinking that we could recirculate the water, maybe through the sparge arm.

Perhaps we should stick with our original plan and not use the element or remove it.

Thanks for the pics and schematics should come in handy down the track.

If the shop made the error, I would ask for a swap. You do have a hole in your kettle now, so I am not sure how well you can remove the element.

The whole point of a 3-vessel system is not heating the mash directly. The mash is very thick, so heating it directly will create hot spots and perhaps even scorching. That is why HERMS and RIMS systems do not heat the mash in the mash tun, but externally, away from the thick grain bed.

For HERMS, this is done with the heat exchanging coil in the HLT. This limits to mash to only heat up to the temp of the HLT. For a RIMS, the mash is heated directly in the RIMS tube, but it is assumed that the wort flows quickly enough to not heat up too much.

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Thanks for advice Elco.
Ill do some more reading up but I am still very keen to explore the option of using the brewpi



Hi Elco,
Just wondering how the HERMS build guide is coming along? Just looking at buying a BrewPi Spark V3 and trying to work out what parts to buy to save shipping to Australia. I currently have one of the original kits (not Spark) that I will use for ferment control, but looking to build a design based on your one that is shown via the interactive guide with the automatic valves. Do you have a shopping list of what is needed for your brewery build or anything yet?

Thanks for your awesome work, Please keep it up! :smiley:


Hi Elco,
I am currently working on setting up a semi-automatic all grain HERMS system as well and would appreciate you feedback to the issues below. I am using BrewPi PI-diagram (Schematics.pdf) and BrewPI Interactive Process View running as HERMS with manual valves.
I have however a suggestion when doing “mash-in from boil kettle”. I would prefer pumping the water from the BK through the Lauterhexe at the outlet of the MT (valve 21) at mash-in, rather than going through the inlet of the MT (valve 20). This change might reduce risk of air pockets in the grain, and apparently improve efficiency during mash-in. Would you recommend this change of the mash-in procedure? During mash recirculation I will of course use V20 as inlet for the wort.
As MT I have found an insulated water barrel from Rubber Maid as shown below. My plan is to install the Lauterhexe from inside of the barrel connected to the end of a ball valve through the barrel. The sparge arm is feed through the white lit from the top of the barrel. I have expect that the overall temperature stability is improved quite a lot by use of the barrel compared to a single wall stainless-steel pot.
I can see the pumps are still out of stock with the mashing pump, so I have found a magnetically coupled pump as shown here https://www.themaltmiller.co.uk/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=3197. Would you recommend this pump as an alternative?
My final question concerns the CIP process. Which type of the two manual valves https://store.brewpi.com/mashing/valves are does have the most sanitary design

I don’t see a problem with pumping from the bottom. I always give the grain bed a small stir at the start and give it 5 minutes rest before I start circulation.

Are you sure that cooler can handle the temperature? Maybe stainless is easier to keep clean and you can wrap insulation around it. But that cooler should work too.

The TD5 pumps are back in stock.

The ball valves in our store are sanitary, they have no pockets. But butterfly valves would be best.

Hi Elco
Thanks for your reply. The barrel withstand temperatures to at least 100°C. Many brewers in the US are using this barrel as MT, just have a look at youtube.
Why is the butterfly valve better than the ordinary valve?
When do you use the “one way valve”?

Cheers Ken

The one way valve or check valve just allows water to flow in just one direction.

A ball valve has a hollow ball, which can trap some liquid when closed. A butterfly valve has a rotating plate that blocks flow. Just Google them and you’ll see. Butterfly triclamp valves are used for sanitary applications. On the hot side of brewing, I don’t think it matters much. For the cold side, I prefer butterfly you’ll see that most conicals ship with those.