Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

The Therminator... but for HEATING liquids

So I’m kicking around tons of ideas in my mind about how I’m going to build out my all-grain rig — I’ve got the starter 10-gallon cooler set from Northern Brewer, and that works fine and all. But down the road I’d like a more efficient system to help cut down on waste and reduce the amount of work and time spent.

Thinking about the Therminator

got me thinking, “I wonder if this (or something like this) could be used to heat strike and sparge water more efficiently than simply boiling a big kettle.” Between heating sparge and strike water and the 60+ minute boil itself, that’s a lot of propane/natural gas being consumed. It seems to me there are tools or steps that could help improve efficiency and reduce waste.

Is there anything like this for more efficient heating or can the Therminator be used for heating as well? Or maybe I’m off here. It’s a shot in the dark but thought I’d ask.

Additionally, I’ve been thinking that a LOT of heat is just plain lost by having the open burner wide open with just the kettle on top to collect most of that heat (save for what’s lost in ambient heat). Have any of you take additional steps to reduce heat loss with your propane burners for during the boil?

Build an electric HLT and you’ll save alot of propane.
Shave some time by using a timer and thermostat to have strike water ready when you get home from work/ wake up/ etc.

It’s just a heat exchanger, it can work both ways. You would have to use liquid hotter than what you’re trying to heat. At work we use heat exchangers to warm glue. 90*-95* F requires 125* + water depending on the season. I don’t think it would be very efficient for mash temps. As far as heat loss, I’ve been messing around with heat shrouds that direct the heat (not the flame) up the sides of my kegs.

I spent a considerable amount of time scouring various resources on the web and YouTube, looking for different, non-conventional, but efficient means of heating water and minimizing my eco impact. I think I’ve come up with a solution, but right now it’s just a sketch. I’ll likely build a prototype next month and try it out in the bowels of winter:

http://www.pikelakehomebrew.com/2011/11/16/plans-for-a-low-cost-solar-powered-water-heater-for-strike-and-sparge-water/

It uses only the sun to heat the water, and depending upon how it’s constructed, I’ve read testimony of how some have heated up their tank of water (in the dead of winter) up to 180°F.

When I build this I’ll be sure to post my notes and all that here.

Sounds like you are looking to make a HERMS or a RIMS system. There is lots of sites online about these systems.

From a simplistic view, maybe. But my concern to reduce waste (not just time) by increasing efficiencies and reducing my need for non-renewable energy resources.

There are many HERMS and RIMS models out there, but few or none have shown where they take steps to be “Eco-friendly.” If I can create or find a system that is both efficient AND “green”, then I will have met my objective.

I’ve also been thinking along these lines regarding energy ( see: This Thread
http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=102145
).

Solar is nice and I’m going to set a prototype system this winter using glycol/water as the collector medium. I’ll use a plate heat exchanger to transfer the heat to my brewing water.

There are a few guys in my brew club that have bucket heaters. They only use it to heat up their strike water though. I think he bought it from Tractor Supply (used for horse trough water), etc for around $30. He drilled a hole in a cooler lid and just puts that in the water (without touching the plastic inside) and sets it on a timer. Then he’ll have his water heated up in the morning.

[quote=“twohenries”]I spent a considerable amount of time scouring various resources on the web and YouTube, looking for different, non-conventional, but efficient means of heating water and minimizing my eco impact. I think I’ve come up with a solution, but right now it’s just a sketch. I’ll likely build a prototype next month and try it out in the bowels of winter:

http://www.pikelakehomebrew.com/2011/11/16/plans-for-a-low-cost-solar-powered-water-heater-for-strike-and-sparge-water/

It uses only the sun to heat the water, and depending upon how it’s constructed, I’ve read testimony of how some have heated up their tank of water (in the dead of winter) up to 180°F.p

When I build this I’ll be sure to post my notes and all that here.[/quote]
A while back I made a heater similar to this that would heat my kitchen. It was the same concept but with a hollow chamber divided in two. I used metal roofing flashing painted black to collect heat the chamber was covered in plexiglass. Anyways its probably hard to visualize, but on sunny days I had air coming out of it at 160f. Hot enough to melt some corrugated plastic I had in there.

Keep us posted on your project.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com