The system at work behind Crooked Run is a 1 BBL (31.5 US gallon) electric HERMS brewing system called the Storm Machine. The name is derived from my IPA, Storm, a two-time medal winner at some big comps. It is powered by four 4500 watt electric coils which heat water and wort to very precise temperatures quickly and efficiently. It is a Kal clone (built using parts and design from Kal’s site theelectricbrewery.com) that is called a HERMS–Heat Exchanged Recirculating Mash System. Hot water and grain are mixed in a mash, and the sugary liquid (wort) that results is recirculated through a stainless steel coil immersed in hot water that is held at a specific temperature, resulting in a constant temperature for the mash. After one hour, the wort is pumped into the boil kettle. It is brought to a boil, hops are added, and the wort is boiled for one hour. Afterwards, the wort is cooled and transferred to a fermentation tank, and yeast is added.
The system is made of used 55 gallon steel drums, previously used by the U.N. The barrels and frames were welded by a great friend, Michael Clay, a skilled welder, artist, and veritable master of metal. The system is incredible to use–as of right now I have done two batches and managed to hit my gravities perfectly each time. Here are some pictures of it in action: