I felt that the first post in my homebrewing blog should be a tour of my brewery.
My brewery is a single tier, electric, three vessel system, which is best described as a variant of the popular Heat Exchange Recirculated Mash System (HERMS) design. The standard HERMS design utilizes a coil in the hot liquor tank for the purpose of precise, but gentle mash temperature control. The temperature of the water in the hot liquor tank is maintained at a system specific differential to the target mash temperature, usually 1-5 degrees fahrenheit. During the mashing process, wort is recirculated through the immersed coil, effectively controlling the mash temperature.
In my brewery, I do not use an immersed coil as a heat exchanger. I utilize an external, counterflow heat exchanger. I call this design C-HERMS (Counterflow-HERMS). The advantage of this is that the external heat exchanger doubles as an efficient wort chiller. This design does require two pumps, which would negate the potential cost savings in utilizing a single heat exchanger. The use of two pumps has some additional benefits however. The hot liquor tank in this design is guaranteed to be well mixed since it, in addition to the wort in the mash lauter tun are being constantly recirculated. Two pumps also grants fly sparging abilities (on a single tier system) and requires far fewer hose changes over the course of a brew day.