I decide to build my HERMS back in 2006 after seeing so many fantastic breweries on the internet (almost all American and not one in the UK). I had been brewing for many years and my plastic brewing equipment was starting to fail on me. The last straw was when, during one session, the boiler wouldn’t boil. I emptied the wort into a fermenter to have a look at the element and the fermenter split depositing a gallon of lovely wort on my garage floor before I got to it.
That was it, I was going to have one of those stainless steel jobbies like I’d seen on the internet.
Well, first off I searched the internet for the best ready made home brewery and discovered the B3 models from Morebeer. However, the cost of these systems is kind of high when you factor in the shipping to the UK from the US and any customs charges. Therefore there was only one thing to do. Build my own!
It took me a couple of months to build and the majority of this was spent sourcing the necessary parts. Back then there wasn’t easy to find the right parts. Certainly the home brew shops didn’t stock things like weldless bulkheads. The situation’s getting better, thanks to the internet improving visibility of the variety of products available in the US, but back then I was on my own.
My HERMS consists of 3 stainless steel vessels; one for the HLT, one for MLT and another for the copper (boiler). The wort is recirculated with a pump through a heat exchanger. A second pump is used to sparge with the liquor from the HLT. Ball valves control the flow of the wort and liquor.
The whole system is mounted on a mild steel stand. I’ve tried to keep the design very simple to enable cleaning and ease of use/repair. I have brewed many batches on this brewery and I believe it to be a well thought out and robust design.
Take a look at the sub page links on the right hand panel of this page to see each of the different parts of the design.
I’ve been brewing beer for over 20 years. Having started off brewing from malt extract kits I’ve progressed through all-grain brews to where I am now; brewing all-grain on a stainless steel, temperature controlled HERMS brewery.
I got the pumps from ebay for about 27 quid each. They are used but are perfectly clean and serviceable. They are Totton GP20/12’s which are magnetically coupled so that I can control the flow with a ball valve on the “out” side without causing stress on the unit.
I use one pump to pump the wort and another to pump clean water for doughing in and sparging. A lot of people seem to use just one pump but this only works if you batch sparge or if you use gravity for sparging in a fly sparge system.
These spinny spargers as in the photo below are no longer imported to the UK so once mine finally wore out I moved to using my return manifold to add the sparge liquor but I still fly sparge of a fashion. I’ve not noticed any impact on efficiency at all in using this method so I’ll stick with it.