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This Manual will guide you step by step to making your very own HERMS brewery. Here we will show how to assemble all the components into the three pans and various variations which are possible with HERMS. The focus of this manual will be solely on the assemble of the components.


Hot Liquor Tun

The HLT is used for two purposes. Its first and main purpose is to heat the wort in the mash, and its secondary goal is to contain the sparge water (used to rinse the grains). The way in which it heats the mash is through a coil heat exchanger, this coil will never get hotter than the HLT water and so cannot scorch the wort. Inside the kettle are Mash Tun

Boil Kettle
Mash Tun

General installation tips

This section will briefly explain some basic assembly tips and tricks for those with little or no experience building anything more complicated than Ikea furniture.

Teflon (PTFE) tape wrapping

What is it? The purpose of Teflon tape is to create a watertight seal between stainless parts.

How to use it? This might seem pretty straight forward however from experience we have seen that many people still do it incorrectly. Firstly the direction is important, always wind the tape on in the same direction as the thread. This ensures it will not come off when assembling the parts. We suggest around 5 windings,but this can vary, and so it is good to start with 5 and make a test fit. If it is too loose or tight, adjust accordingly. You will want to keep on tightening until you feel it would not be able to make another whole turn.

You can only apply tape on the male (thread outwards) side of a joint. Apply tape to all parts (which need it) before assembly, this just makes life easier so you are not applying tape to large partially assembled pieces. Only turn clockwise (tightening) direction, doing otherwise may damage the seal and cause leaking When tightening parts such as a HEX Nipple, apply tighten using the two parts which it is connected to rather than tightening the HEX Nipple itself. This way the nipple with find a happy balance once tight when both connected components are oriented properly.

Orienting pumps

There are many pumps which can be used for brewing, however in this section we will focus on the pumps supplied at BrewPi. These are centrifugal pumps with the liquid inlet at the front and outlet at the side. These pumps require gravity to function (not self priming) and so they must be mounted underneath the brew kettles. Make sure when mounting the pump that it is the right way up, meaning the liquid outlet is at the top. This is important in order to remove any air from the system. Side note: if building a brewery with a lot of tubing (ie. more than 5 meters) you may want to consider installing a blow off valve in order to help prime the pump.

One way valve In some brewing setups, one might consider installing a one way valve near the pump to avoid liquid flowing the other way. These one way valves need to be mounted as shown in order to work. Tightening parts Tightening and aligning parts can be quite tricky especially when trying to assemble many valves onto one unit. This really is just a matter of trial and error and learning from your mistakes but here we can list a few tips to help you on your way. Make sure not to apply pressure on previously assembled parts as you may cause them to come out of alignment. Best way to tighten parts is using two tools (e.g. a spanner and a wrench) If there is no obvious place in which to tighten the fitting, then it is possible to use a screwdriver to achieve more leverage as in figure… When mounting valves, pay attention to which way the valve handles are facing, and be sure they will not interfere with other parts when opening and closing.

Drilling/ making holes (done properly!)

What to buy

First of all we recommend buying one or two good bits rather than many cheap ones, as stainless steel is an incredibly hard material to drill through and poorly made drill bits are likely to overheat and break. We recommend using cobalt infused bits (HSS). Using drilling oil (cutting fluid) can help significantly when drilling holes but may be a bit expensive if only drilling one hole.

Order of operations

First you will need to measure and locate where you want the hole to be, keeping in mind the old wise saying, measure twice cut once! After marking this spot with a ‘marker,’ take the center punch, placing the tip on the spot you just marked, and give it a good whack with your hammer. There will need to be a small dent or else the drill bit will slide around and mess up your kettle. If after one whack you still see no noticeable dent, carefully position the tip of the center punch in the same spot again and repeat.

Once there is a noticeable dent, using your small drill bit (anything between 2.5 to 5 mm) drill a pilot hole. The reason you do this step first is because larger drill bits will have a larger dead space (area on tip where no cutting is done) on the drill head (insert picture). These larger drill bit need a pilot hole otherwise they cause too much friction and overheat. It is also important to drill slowly when drilling in stainless steel as it is a very hard material and can cause your drill bit to overheat.

Lastly to get the hole to the desired size you can use either a large drill bit, (expensive and not everybody will have access to it) a stepped drill bit, or a hole punch. We suggest hole punches leave a very clean finish and require minimal effort and tooling.

Tubing options

There are various ways in which the peripherals (valves, hoses, and the like) can be set up. This decision will be partly influenced by price and expertise. The most basic way is using a 3 tiered setup where you can use gravity to transfer liquor and wort. However these systems consume quite a lot of space and have considerably less brewing freedom.

Hose swapping

This is the more basic and cheaper way of the two options and requires only one pump. With hose swapping, you need 4 individual silicon hoses of approximately 1.5 meters each (depending on your brewery). Depending on which brewing stage you are doing you can swap the hoses around so that you can perform a mash, warlauf, transfer your wort to the boil kettle, and perform a whirlpool if need be. This method is very basic and is usually that starting point for most herms brewers.

The upsides are:

Only need one pump (if not whirlpooling in HLT) More overview of what is happening Easy to remove and clean

The downsides include:

Will encounter small spills when changing over hoses Connection points can be hot and cause burns If incorrectly connected can result in your beer all over the floor (has happened to me twice) You will need to invest in quick disconnects, even though it is technically possible without them, quick disconnects make life a lot simpler, quicker and safer. We recommend camlock disconnects.

Valve clusters

Valve clusters are more expensive, but also a much more convenient method for connecting the peripherals. By connecting all kettles to a cluster of valves you eliminate the need to manually switch hoses. In this way you can change from a mash to transferring wort to the boil kettle by changing only a few valves. Advantages:


Automated valve clusters. Assembling valve clusters Assembling automated valve clusters Wort chiller Brewpi-wort chiller coming soon Fermentor Although we do not sell them we do know a lot about them, here are some points to consider: