HERMS - where to find parts

Currently under construction - the goal is to identify where I picked up some of the parts to help someone else in their search. Will have both parts and any tools considered unique to this project.


Kegs (kettles) and associated hardware.

  • Start with basic modifed kegs from http://www.brew-magic.com and look for the Economy Design - Original Series and use the one without holes. Last time I looked they were $130. I had them modified with a special lid from a fabricator.
  • Good 3/8" drill bit for drilling the pilot holes in the kegs
  • Greenlee 1/2" slug buster for 1/2" NPT full couplers from http://www.newark.com. Acutually makes a hole that is 0.855" which is for 1/2" conduit (outer diameter vs. inner diameter). The price is $45.15. I also this on http://www.all-spec.com at one time and paid $30.28.
  • Greenlee 1" slug buster for 1" NPT half couplers (for the hot water heater element). Rather than buying this I turned to an electrician that had the full kit with the hydraulic attachment because it was to expensive to buy the punch for one hole - they should be able to do the 1/2" holes as well.
  • Stainless stell 1/2" full female coupler (accepts male threads from both ends for better flexibility and no risk of backwards installation). Get this from Northern Brewer for $2.50 (part number P205). Also available from More Beer for $3.50 (part number H631).
  • Stainless stell 1" half female coupler for hot water heater element. Get from More Beer for $4.50 (part number H632).
Pumps, Plumbing, etc.
  • Pump 1 is a March 809 magnetic impeller pump. It is used because it is food grade quality, it has a 250F temperature rating and because it is isolated from the motor using an impeller so there is no leakage around a shaft seal. This pump is available for Northern Brewer, Midwest Supplies and More Beer. On the 1/2" MPT ends I used a 1/2" stainless steel tee from More Beer (#H621 for $4.50). I then added two elbows so all female threaded fittings faced the same direction (#P035 for $8.25 from Northern Brewer). Into the female threaded fittings install quick connects (#P017 CPC male 1/2" threads with a male quick connect from Northern Brewer). Plenty of teflon tape was used on the pipe thread fittings to prevent leaks.
  • Pump 2 is also a March 809 magnetic impeller pump. On the 1/2" MPT ends I used a 1/2" stainless steel full coupler - get this from Northern Brewer (#P205 for $2.50) or from More Beer (#H631 for $3.50). Into the female threaded fittings install quick connects (#P017 CPC male 1/2" threads with a male quick connect from Northern Brewer). Again teflon tape was used on the pipe thread fittings to prevent leaks.
  • The 304 stainless 2-piece 1/2" ball valve from Northern Brewer is a good general vavle that was used throughout the HERMS. The part number is #P029 and it sells for $19.99.
  • Thermowells are devices that can be threaded into 1/2" couplers with a long sleeve that goes into the solution for measuring temperatuers. I used thermowells from McMaster-Carr and I used two types. The first type is longer and was used to go deep into the HLT and mash tun. The part number is 3957K38 and has a 6 inch bore. It is 304 stainless steel and has 1/2" threads. The second type is shorter and was used because it could go into a tee (see photos on the description page) and measure the temperature of the wort during the cooling cycel. It has a 2-12/" bore and its part number is 3957K68. The prices are $33.74 for the longer thermowells and $23.55 for the shorter one.
  • The heat exchange coil in the HLT is made from soft copper tubing that came from the home improvement store in a 25 foot length. I used compression connectors that had a 1/2 pipe thread on one end (to thread into the 1/2" full couplers welded onto the kettle)and a compression fitting (or compression connector) on the other end to accept the copper tube. I saw fittings similar to this on the Lowes website (keyword compression - Look for the Anderson Barrows PB968P 1/2"3/8" Compression Connector Item #: 22890 Model: A220/PB968). I first threaded the compressioncouplers into and then attached the comprssion connector and coil on the bottom and then the top. The soft copper itself can be easily bent by hand around a round object - maybe a corny keg?
  • The heat exchanger coil in the boil kettle is used to pull heat out of the wort. I made my own out of some soft copper tubing that I attached garden hose fittings to. You can also use a premade unit such as the #7869 from Northern Brewer for$60.99.
  • The sparge head is used for fly sparging and it is simply a copper tube that is about 2" shorter than the diameter of the mash tun. On one end is a copper cap that is soldered on with lead free solder and on the other end is a fitting for 1/2" thread that goes into the coupler (also soldered on). There are approximately 30 holes so that the wort rains out along the length of the tube with the holes facing down and some slightly outwards. I used one of the smallest drills in my index and calculated the area of the small hole and made sure that the area of the drilled holes was greater than the cross sectional area of the copper pipe so that there would not be any back pressure build up.
  • I recommend connecting to a 220V outlet that has a breaker like the kind used for a hot tub, for example the Two pole QO and QOB Qwik-Gard Circuit Breakers with Class A Ground-fault Circuit Interrupter from Square D. Best to check with an electrician to keep your self safe.
  • The  breaker panel was obtained through Grainger. It is a Square D HomeLine 100A Load Center without a main breaker. I plugged into an outlet of my garage, which already has a 50 Amp circuit breaker so this serves somewhat as a subpanel. I do have individual additional breakers in her (but not the kind with a main). Grainger part number is ID521 and is currently $31.70.
  • The circuit breakers were obtained from home depot for the Square D breaker box. One is a 230V, 20A breaker for the hot water heater element. The remainder of the circuits operate from a 120V, 15A.
  • The power cord is 25 feet of 12/4 ( four 12 gauge conductors - two hot, one neutral and one ground), which was long enough to plug into the garage outlet and to be able to operate outside.
  • The plug going on the end of the power cord is a Pass & Seymour 3867-CC5 that the electrician provided. It was connected in a 50A fashion (but could be done as a 30A). I chose the 50A configuration because I considered the opition of going with a full electric brewery that would allow for a hot water heater element in the boil kettle.
  • For the connection to the 220V hot water heater element a three wire conductor was sufficient since there is no neutral so there are just two hot wires and a ground connection. The wire is 12/3 and the plug and socket are actually labeled as 20A 125V. There are no other plugs in my house like this so I'm not worried about someone trying to plug a television into the brewery - also the price on these things were fairly decent from the local hardware store. 
  • The hot water heater element is a 220V 4500W screw in unit that can be bought at about any hardware storesuch as Lowe's A typical element is about $20.
  • The hot water heater element was a load which my temperature controllers could not handle because of the large current draw. I used an Omron relay from Grainger for $14. The Omron part number is G4B112T1FDCUSRPAC120 and it has a 120V coil to work with my temperature contoller.
  • The temperature contoller units I used is a Ranco ETC-111000-000 that is availble from More Beer and it has no wires so I could hook it up as a dedicated unit to save money. The MoreBeer part number is FE610A for $65. Midwest Supplies has a unit with wires that is the same thing - their part number is D6031 and it sells for $100. There is a different type from Northern Brewer, which is the #40090 Johnson Controls A419 that looks like it should do the trick and it has all the 120V electrical control lines making it useful for other applications.
  • There are plenty of sources of regulators that can be connected to the propane tank. For example Northern Brewer has a part number #7335 for $24 that should do the trick. Mine looks similar to the #H212A from More Beer for $38. Also places like  has regulators like their #172706 for $38, which also has some hose with it.
  • The hose material should be easy to come across - don't remember where I bought mine.
  • I honestly do not remember where I purchased my quarter-turn in-line valve but I may have bought it from a hardware store or Northern Tool. There is a chance that I may have picked it up from Northern Brewer. I see there is a part number #D1870 from More Beer for $11 that has barbed fittings to go into a hose but I prefer the one I have that threaded onto the black iron because I didn't want to have it flopping around. 
  • I used black iron elbow and nipples to get a little distance between the burner element and the the rest of the propane equipment - I believe this was all 1/2" NPT and is readily available from most hardware stores.
  • The burner element was purchased from Northern Brewer but it appears that Northern and Midwest do not have them in stock. The unit I have is similar to the unit from More Beer that is a 92,000 BTU unit (part number H212 for $64) or the 103,000 BTU unit (part number H213 for $90). I built everything up from scratch but it might be just as easy to use a full system like the Hurrican burner from Northern Brewer for $99 (part #7333) and bolt this into the system. This would have the regulator, shroud and hoses all included.
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