A forum for those who boldy recirculate where no man has. .... you know the rest
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Post by Fingar » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:27 am

Hi Folks,

So I am toying with the idea of building my own RIMS system... also thought about HERMS, but the copper coil bending issue is a concern at the moment. For the RIMS, the conventional wisdom seems to be that you mount a heating element inside a tube and circulate the wort through the tube and over the temperature controlled element, returning the wort back into the mash tun. There are many great videos out there which show this.

Why does it have to be a tube? Could I not mount a coiled budget-range (ie from a kettle) element inside a small brewing bucket and circulate the wort that way? Or maybe just circulate the wort into the kettle itself to save on building a mini boiler? All temperatures would be controlled with a sensor/switch.

The disadvantage to the above - from what I can see - is that in an open unit, the level of the wort will have to be monitored to avoid an overflow.

I'll be interested in your thoughts on this, especially if anybody has built a similar RIMS system.

Cheers... Fingar

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Post by Kev888 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 11:41 am

It doesn't have to be a tube. Systems like the braumeister, Grainfather and BrewEasy are examples of what is tending to be called 'Kettle RIMS'. Until recently this term and practice has been more common in America where their lower electrical supply voltage means electrical elements aren't as popular, so for RIMS some simply use their gas heated boil kettles instead. The practice has since spread to include electrically powered kettles.

They work out because they are very large capacity and can't normally overflow; you can use a small pot but as you mention you'd need some way of preventing spills (or dry element) if the inlet and outlet rates aren't matched - and the recirculation rate can change as the grain compacts so it will either take much monitoring or automation. Enclosing the element (say in a tube or a pressure cooker type of vessel) is a robust way of avoiding that issue, and doesn't rely on mechanical/electrical devices that can fail and/or add to the cleaning needed. But these can also work, its really just a matter of preference.

Quite a lot of the low-watt-density elements are long and narrow (and low-watt-density is good because more gentle heat spread over a longer/bigger element is less likely to scorch the wort or badly shock the enzymes). A tube is particularly suitable in combo with a long narrow element because it encourages a nice even flow of wort over and close to the element, all moving past/through at roughly the same rate. It is also quite economical with the amount of wort needed to cover the element or fill the chamber - higher gravity mashes may become quite compacted if much liquid is tied up filling the RIMS system, and that hampers recirculation. Usually the tubes are arranged vertically with the element at the bottom so any air pockets don't leave part of the element dry.

These days there is more choice of element though, including some rod elements that can be bent to custom shapes by hand. Other shapes of element and chamber can work very well too, but it can take more thought to get an even flow around the element - if not done well you could get areas where the wort moves slower (getting hotter) or doesn't get very near the element.



Post by Fingar » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:51 pm

Thanks for the reply Kev888... useful stuff. I have done a bit more research on the Kettle RIMS, sometimes referred to as K-RIMS and I think I shall give it a go. With regard to circulation within the K-RIMS, maybe a solar pump would ensure that the wort doesn't have hot/cold spots, or I could possibly just give it a good old fashioned stir now-and-again. I may have to increase the liquor-to-grist ratio to ensure that there is sufficient liquid to circulate around the system. My current method is 2.5:1, maybe 3:1 would be better. I am sure that it will be a bit of trial and error and I'll let you know how I get on.

Cheers... Fingar



Post by danb3434 » Sun Jul 17, 2016 4:20 pm

Did you end up starting this? I'm very interested to hear how it went I want to do something similar.



Post by chrisr » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:21 pm

I happened on this while browsing.

I built my own RIMS, for around £200. Which sounds a lot, but I think it's been well worth it. It revolutionised my brewing. Get its started - you won't regret it.

See viewtopic.php?f=6&t=56070

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Post by LeeH » Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:33 pm

I bought the brewbuilder RIMS with the sight glass. It works great.
Sabro Single Hop NEIPA 25/02/20 CLICK ME to monitor progress with Brewfather & iSpindel

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