My newly added RIMS Tube for brewing beer makes provides another notch in my “gadgetry” belt. In fact, I think I enjoy gadgets just as much as I like the results (beer).
A few months back, I purchased the RIMS Tube for brewing beer from brewershardware.com. I’ve finally had a chance to brew a few batches of beer using this RIMS Tube.
The first challenge was finding a way to mount the rims tube to my current brew stand. I wanted easy access to the RIMS tube but didn’t want it to be in my way. It also needed to be out of the way of my propane burners and pumps. So, I created a horizontal bracket and mounted it just above the pumps. (See Picture)
The second challenge I had was determining what I was going to do for a power source. My home is newer but does not have a 220 volt circuit wired in the garage. My garage circuits are all 15 amps. I decided to use a 120v water heater element with the brewing Rims Tube. This also forced me to purchase a heavier gauge extension cord. During my first test with water, I discovered that a 16 gauge cord didn’t handle the current very well. The extension cord was warm to the touch. I changed this out a 12 gauge cord and eliminated the issue.
Lastly, I had to create the BCS-460 connections. The connections were for the temperature probe and relay for the heater element. I purchased an additional relay and heatsink. Since I had already wired several other relays and probes to the system this was an easy process. I created a separate outlet box specifically for plugging in the water heater element (brewing RIMS Tube). It’s as simple as it gets.
The old – Prior to the RIMS Tube used for brewing, I recirculated during the entire mash process. My temperature probe was installed in the area nearest the “mash return” to the kettle. Temperature was regulated by means of a burner which received propane from a Honeywell brand gas valve. My mash kettle has a false bottom and I don’t worry about scorching the grain. With this process, I am/was able to control the temperature of the mash +- 1 degree.
The new – Wort is drained from the mash tun under the false bottom into the pump. The pump pushes the wort into the RIMS Tube and past the temperature probe and heating element. Wort is passed back into the mash tun nearest the top of the kettle where it passes by another temperature probe.
After brewing several batches of beer using the RIMS Tube, I feel like I still need to tweak “something”. I am not sure exactly what “something” is but the temperature stability is not as consistent as it was on my propane system. During my last batch of beer, I was wanting to maintain a temperature of 154 degrees during mash. The BCS460 was set for +- 2 degrees of this setting but I saw swings as high as 158 degrees and as low as 150 degrees. It also took a bit longer to “Ramp” the temperature to 168 degrees for mash out. Perhaps this is being caused by my using a 120 volt water heater element instead of making this a 220 volt system. I will continue to work out my issues for precision temperature control.
Cleaning of the RIMS Tube after brewing beer is simple. I use a carboy brush on the main tube and a line cleaning brush on the ports. It is easy to rinse and disassemble. The water heater element usually is coated with proteins and such. A simple scrub or soak on the element and all seems to be well.
Overall, I am enjoying the RIMS Tube for brewing beer and will continue to tweak my system settings until it gives me the precision that I am after.