57L Direct Fire Trio Manifold Options
The Direct Fire Trio as sold requires a few hose changes during the brew process. This simple step simplifies the system immensely, requiring far fewer parts, and allowing the free positioning of your brew kettles on the brew stand. Cost is optimized, cleaning is easier, heat loss is minimized by using silicone tubing instead of stainless steel components, and frictional resistance is reduced by having fewer bends and reducing the overall length in the external circulation loops.
I highly recommend brewing with the standard system a few times to see where you would like to make changes, if at all. For most people the standard design is more than adequate, and if you agree that simple is better, then you will probably not want to make any changes.
If you are still interested in upgrading your system for fewer hose changes and don't mind the additional cost and cleaning requirements, this article will show you a few design ideas and provide the parts lists required to implement these changes.
Intake Manifold Design Considerations
One pump in the three kettle Direct Fire Trio system is used for the hot liquor tank (HLT) to recirculate hot water within the HLT and transfer hot water to the MLT during the sparge process. The second pump is used for both the mash-lauter tun (MLT) and the boil kettle (BK). Because the second pump is used for two kettles, a hose change is required on the pump intake side between the mashing and whirlpooling steps. This hose change can be avoided with a pump intake manifold between the MLT and the BK.
Output Manifold Design Considerations
With the output side of the pumps it gets more complicated. Here are the flow requirements:
- HLT pump back to HLT
- HLT pump to MLT
- MLT/BK pump back to MLT
- MLT/BK pump back to BK
The manifold on the pump output side will need to connect both pump outputs to the HLT whirlpool port, the MLT return port, and the BK whirlpool port. In other words, two in and three out, with valves on each side of the manifold outputs to control the flow. The design examples will clarify things.
Intake Manifold Option
The pump intake manifold is simple and is composed of the following parts:
You will need 1 each of the spool, tee, and elbow, and 3 each of the clamps and gaskets. Please check your pump configuration to determine how best to connect from the manifold to your pump. You may need an additional hose barb or elbow.
Output Manifold Option
The port on the bottom left connects to the MLT/BK pump. The port on the bottom right connects to the HLT pump. In the bottom right side there is an additional tee which provides an accessory attachment point, here you can connect a drain tube, a fermenter filling tube, a thermowell, or a filling valve. On the top left, the elbow connects to the BK whirlpool port. On the top right, the elbow connects to the HLT whirlpool port. From the middle tee on top, the hose connects to the MLT sparge arm in port.
The Direct Fire Trio output manifold is compatible with the input manifold.
Here is the parts list for the output manifold:
You will need: 2 valves, 3 tees, 3 elbows, 8 clamps, 1 end cap, and 10 gaskets. Optionally, you may want to include two Tri-Clamp mounting clamps located at the BK whirlpool valve and HLT whirlpool valve connections. These are to help support the weight of the manifold and help provide stability.
The connection to the MLT sparge arm port can be made with existing hose barbs and tubing from the Direct Fire Trio set. The two pump input connections hardware will depend on which pumps you are using and how you want to connect them.
If you want to add a sight glass, the best placement is between the MLT/BK pump out and the manifold.