An Elegant HERMS Solution: Adding a Chapman ThermoBarrel™ Mash Tun

Why upgrade your brewing equipment? Well, there comes a point when the beers you want to brew may require a more complicated mash schedule.  You may be brewing good beer, but want to brew great beer consistently.  Or, you are good at building things, and just want a new challenge, something bright and shiny to show your neighbors and fellow homebrewers.

For those of you who have decided on building your own HERMS (Heat Exchanged Recirculating Mash System), why not do like Steve Johnson from Nashville, TN did.  Instead of buying a used keg (legally of course) and spending untold hours modifying it to become your mash tun, why not purchase a Chapman Brewing Equipment’#link_2923799s Thermobarrel™ Mash Tun instead. 

Chapman Brewing Equipmant's 15 gallon ThermoBarrel™ Mash Tun

Here are the reasons you should get one:

  1.        It’s ready to go right out of the box, no major modifications needed.
  2.        It’s all stainless steel (sanitary and easy to clean)
  3.        It is well insulated so it requires less energy, saving you time and money
  4.        Allows you to do complicated step mashes quickly with repeatability
  5.        It is very cost effective (how much is your time worth?) and it’s about 30% cheaper than the competition
  6.        A sparge add-on and thermometer is all you need to incorporate it into your HERMS system now
  7.        It’s an elegant solution, and definitely puts your brewery in the category of “Bad-Ass Systems”

As you can see by the pictures, Steve has purchased a Blichmann AutoSparge™ which he connects and disconnects using stainless camlock fittings.  He can use the long return line with float for recirculating and maintaining mash temperatures, and when it’s time to sparge, a quick change-out to the AutoSparge™ and he’s ready to go.  He has integrated two pumps, a small 12-volt pump to pump hot wort and a high-temp March pump to pump hot water through an externally mounted copper counterflow chiller/heat exchanger.  By keeping the heat exchanger out of the HLT and adding a pump, he has simplified his system and made the parts more accessible at the same time.  What a great idea, adding a stainless steel insulated mash tun to your HERMS setup.  If you use an external electric heating source, you could utilize a Chapman Brewing Equipment Thremobarrel™ as your Hot Liquor Tank, requiring much less energy to maintain your hot water temperature.  For those who are “going green” it makes great sense.  For everyone else, less heating cycles and heat-loss means less wear and tear on pumps (one of the more expensive components of any home brewery, and one that goes out at the worst times.)

Steve Johnson, who brews with the Music City Brewers in Nashville, TN, has brewed 5 batches with his new HERMS setup with 15 gallon ThermoBarrel™ Mash Tun and says he absolutely loves it.  He is still tweaking the system, like we all have to do with new components.  Here are some pictures of Steve’s HERMS setup:

Steve's Blichmann AutoSparge
Stainless Camlock Fittings
Copper Counterflow Mounted Externally
Steve's pumps and plumbing
Return Line ready for Recirculation
Chapman's 15 Gal ThermoBarrel™ Mash Tun

For more information about adding a Chapman Brewing Equipment's ThermoBarrel™ Mash Tun to your HERMS setup, click here to go to their website.

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