It's probably about time that I post a walk through of my brew day. Today Greg and I are brewing my Furry Penguin DIPA.

Brew stand all setup

First thing to do is setup the brew stand and start collecting strike water. Greg built a very nice two tier brew stand that holds three vessels (Hot Liquor Tank, Mash Tun, and Boil Kettle.) Once we get the stand setup with the kettles and propane tank, we collect our strike water from Greg's under-the-sink R/O system.

HERMS heat exchanger filled with water
After we have our strike water volume in the HLT, we fire up the burner under the HLT, and start to heat it to 160-175*. At this point we also plug the heater element for the HERMS heat exchanger into the control-toolbox to start pre-heating the water in the heat exchanger (HEX.)

Crushed grain
As the water is heating, we get our grist prepared. We use a Barley Crusher grain mill to mill our malt. Once dialed in, it gives a fantastic crush, batch after batch.

Strike water filling the mash tun
When the strike water reaches our target temp, we open the valve and let the water flow into the mash tun, which in this case is a converted keg. The keg definitely has a good amount of thermal inertia, so we usually have to heat the water quite a bit higher than our desired strike temp. Now we set the desired strike temp on the PID controller, prime the pump, and start to recirculate the strike water through the HEX.

Mash right after doughing in
Once the water hits the strike temp I turn off the pump, and dough in.

PID is controlling the mash temp
After the grains are stirred well enough, I turn back on the pump, program the PID to the desired mash temp, and let it run undisturbed for the next 55 minutes.

Lots of hops
During the mash is typically a good time to get other things done for the brew day, such as weighing out hop additions, and what not. I also start collecting the sparge water from the R/O system and pour it into the HLT.

When there's around 25 minutes let during the mash, we'll fire up the HLT to heat the sparge water; 170*F is the target.

With 5 minutes left, I turn off the pump, and set the PID to 168*. This will allow the HEX to pre-heat in anticipation for the sparge.

Mash after 60 minutes of recirculating
Once 60 minutes of mashing is up, we change the hoses around so that the wort flows out of the mash tun, and into the boil kettle. The sparge water is pumped out of the HLT, through the HEX, and on top of the mash to rinse the grains. I like to sparge fairly slow, so it takes around 20-25 minutes for a 5 gallon batch.

Once we've collected enough wort, we kill the pump, and fire up the burner under the boil kettle. When the wort reaches a boil, we add our pellet hops in a paint strainer bag to keep them from clogging the pump. Whole hops go straight in the kettle.

Hop bag to contain the pellet hops
This beer has a lot of hops =)

With 10 minutes left in the boil we hook up the counter flow chiller, and re-circulate the boiling wort through the pump, hoses, and chiller to sanitize them. This also allows us to whirlpool post boil if we want.
Chilling setup
Once the boil is done, we kill the heat, and either turn on the chilling water, or allow the wort to whirlpool. For this beer, I want the flameout hops to steep in the whirlpool for 10 minutes.

When 10 minutes of whirlpooling is up, we turn on the hose, which flows through the chiller and cools the wort. The first pass through the CFC drops the wort down to 90-110*F, which gets pumped back into the kettle.

Once the whole volume of wort is under about 120*, we start to pump ice water through the CFC, which drops the output from the CFC to about 60*, which gets pumped directly into the fermenter.

Hydro sample - 1.075
I pitch yeast, seal up the fermenter, and set the temperature on my fermentation temperature controller. And that's my brew day.


  1. Are you in the process of brewery startup? do you have a plan?

  2. Just found this doing a Google search on brewing and saw under your boil kettle your have a piece of metal with a clamp that connects to your ball valve. Could you tell me where you got that or where you got the parts for that? I need something similar to block the heat going to my sight glass and that would work perfect!

    1. My good friend Greg made those. The clip portion is a broom-handle holder; they're meant to hold brooms against the wall (or what not). The hardware store sellsthem. He bolted those to some scrap steel.

      They worked awesome.

  3. Good deal thanks for the update.

  4. Could you find out where to get the clip on broom handle holder? I have searched pretty much everywhere and can't seem to find that kind.


    1. Here is an amazon link to a broom handle holder on Amazon that I think might work. Best of luck in your brewing endeavors!

  5. hi Scott,
    Great blog by the way, I have taken on your many tips for my ipa's.
    I noticed in one of your IPA recipes you mentioned Acidulated malt, but it wasnt in your grain list.
    Is it something you always add to IPA's
    Thanks mate

    1. I add roughly 2% Acid malt to every single beer I brew except for those with a large amount of roasted malt (stouts, porters, black IPAs, etc).

      I consider it more of a water treatment than anything though. I start with reverse osmosis water, so I need the acid malt to bring the mash pH in check. Unless your water needs it, you might not need to bother.

  6. Hi Scott,
    Would you, or your friend Greg, be open to exchanging emails on how you built this HERMS system? I have a gas system that I'd like to incorporate a HERMS coil into, and I'm having trouble identifying how the PID would work with gas to keep it set at a constant temp. My email is




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