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I'm looking into building an automated RIMS system. I think I understand the principles pretty well, but there is one sticking point for me. Since the heating element is container in the pipe, I would assume that you have to heat the original volume of water necessary for the brewing, before you add the grain. So how is this done? do automated RIMS systems usually have an extra hot water res that holds some of the pre - heated water, and then a a series of valves are triggered? I would assume the same is true for the sparge water. You need to add water to the system during the sparge, so where does that water come from?

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For the mash liquor, you could do the strike-temp heating in the mash tun through the RIMS tube before adding grains, and then RIMS to hold/change temp. The sparge liquor is going to be a problem, though; without a second vessel, you'd need to add cold sparge liquor, then RIMS-heat it up to sparge temp, which probably isn't going to do great things for the mash (though I'm not sure of the actual effects).

One alternative would be to try to do a "no-sparge" full-volume RIMS setup, with a sufficiently-large mash tun and corresponding efficiency impact.

I've also seen two-vessel setups that basically use the boiling kettle as a liquor tank, then recirc between the kettle and mash tun, effectively looking to "equalize" the sugars in the liquor between the two vessels during the recirc before fully draining the mash tun and commencing the boil. Though it appears to be more of a HERMS setup, Sean Coates has a great diagram of such a configuration and process: Scoates two-vessel diagram http://caedmon.net/2-vessel_brewing.png

This is more fully described in this HomeBrewTalk thread.

  • wow, great answer ... just to be clear though, the boil kettle had to have it's own heat source correct? also 2b and 5 look more like a HERMS system, or am I missing something . thanks for the info, I'm getting excited about this – user379468 Dec 4 '15 at 15:45
  • Yes, I'm assuming (and the red bar at the bottom of the kettle in the diagrams implies) the boil kettle will have its own heat source. I'm not sure that I've seen a RIMS setup used to do the boil, as well. In general, you do not want boiling in the RIMS tube itself (steam, pressure, badness), so that would mean you can't get the kettle up to boiling temps just via the RIMS – jsled Dec 4 '15 at 16:08

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