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General Category => Pimp My System => Topic started by: brewmoor on February 16, 2010, 12:40:41 PM

Title: My all electric brewing system
Post by: brewmoor on February 16, 2010, 12:40:41 PM
I have recently completed my brewing system. It is a single tier, three vessel system. The boil kettle is powered by a 5500 watt element, and controlled by PWM circuit with a dial that I made. The Heat exchanger is powered by a 1500 watt element and controlled by a PID controller. I have created a flow manifold on the front to control where the flow from my pump is going. I incorporated an electric ball valve on the output of the pump to control flow for recirculation. I tried to keep the profile small and compact and in doing so used a hard plumbing concept with quick release camlock fittings to make it easy to remove the vessels for cleaning. Here is my baby.

(http://lh5.ggpht.com/_kOIMRkKxAOA/S3r6nPVKqaI/AAAAAAAABY4/iTJv615B9yQ/Rig.jpg)
(http://lh6.ggpht.com/_kOIMRkKxAOA/S3r6nCmX5SI/AAAAAAAABY8/ijb0AowzvJQ/IMG_02905.jpg)
(http://lh4.ggpht.com/_kOIMRkKxAOA/S3r6ncKEV7I/AAAAAAAABZA/VxF2VhAru9Y/IMG_02972.jpg)
(http://lh4.ggpht.com/_kOIMRkKxAOA/S3r6nhODN7I/AAAAAAAABZE/3gqcQ-CV6DU/IMG_02744.jpg)
(http://lh3.ggpht.com/_kOIMRkKxAOA/S3r9Z2S9C8I/AAAAAAAABZQ/eTfgDHv0XPA/Labeled.jpg)
(http://lh6.ggpht.com/_kOIMRkKxAOA/S3r6ng_pgaI/AAAAAAAABZI/_zfyfZggDqM/IMG_03081.jpg)

You can see my entire build thread on homebrewtalk.com

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/how-about-another-e-rig-150992/ (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/how-about-another-e-rig-150992/)
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: Hokerer on February 16, 2010, 12:48:33 PM
Looks like Homebrewtalk doesn't allow hot-linking so nobody can see your pics.  You need to host them somewhere else for us to see them.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: brewmoor on February 16, 2010, 12:56:31 PM
That is strange! I am seeing them when I look at the post. Cache maybe? I will see what I can do to link from somewhere else.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: brewmoor on February 16, 2010, 01:15:18 PM
I tried to link from my picasa album. Hope this sticks.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: dhacker on February 16, 2010, 01:31:52 PM
Nice job!

I always enjoy seeing the results of the time, energy, and passion folks put into their rigs.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: Hokerer on February 16, 2010, 01:44:37 PM
I tried to link from my picasa album. Hope this sticks.

Looks like that did the trick - pics show up now
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: bluesman on February 16, 2010, 01:49:18 PM
Very neat looking system. Have you tried it out yet? How's is working for you?
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: beerocd on February 16, 2010, 03:30:35 PM
I think the liquid disconnect panel is like the hood ornament on a rolls royce. IOW: nice system, love the liquid panel.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: brewmoor on February 16, 2010, 03:36:20 PM
I have done two batches on it. First batch I had an issue with the homemade false bottom. I tossed it and bought one for sake kegs.

Second batch (yesterday) went really well. The only issue I am still having is figuring out the heat loss when going from BK to mash tun. I account for the grain temp. I think I am getting too much loss from the copper piping. So yesterday I installed thick black pipe insulation to the copper pipes going to the mash tun and going to the heat transfer coil. I think that will help a bunch. It was really cold in my garage yesterday too.

All the electronics work perfectly. The BK gets 12 gallons to a boil in about 30 minutes. I played with the heat coil a bit at mash out and it seems like I could step mash pretty easy if I want. All in all I am happy with it. As soon as I get the process down a bit more, I think the flow for brew day will be great. I don't have much to compare it too. I have been doing full boil partial mash brews until this. This is my first AG setup.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: hop on February 16, 2010, 04:24:41 PM
Holy awesome. Love it. I'm moving toward electric and I wish I could rock something this complex. For now, I'm starting simple.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: babalu87 on February 17, 2010, 11:35:58 AM
Nice
I'll add that I dont see a heat sink for the relays though.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: brewmoor on February 17, 2010, 02:27:40 PM
The heat sinks are there. You can kind of see one of them in the main picture of the rig. Look on the shelf to the right. I cut holes in the box and sealed them to the box. Two SSR's mounted to one big heatsink and the 120v ssr has its own small one. I work in IT. I used some old CPU heat sinks I found on our junk pile. drilled holes and tapped them.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: mybrewshop on February 18, 2010, 03:00:11 PM
Cool.  You do need some "Batman" labels on those switches though.   ;D  I just bought a 30A GFCI for my own electric brew setup that I am working on.  Costs me $128.00.  Yikes!  I also bought 120ft of 10/3 wire that cost me $119.00 Yikes again.  Need to buy my PID and SSR and that will be another $100 or so.  Tripple yikes......and so on. :o
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: beerocd on February 19, 2010, 07:24:33 AM
Cool.  You do need some "Batman" labels on those switches though.   ;D  I just bought a 30A GFCI for my own electric brew setup that I am working on.  Costs me $128.00.  Yikes!  I also bought 120ft of 10/3 wire that cost me $119.00 Yikes again.  Need to buy my PID and SSR and that will be another $100 or so.  Tripple yikes......and so on. :o

I don't think you're allowed to complain about cost when going down this path. To me it's like a guy driving a Hummer (H1) and complaining about gas costs.  ;)
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: brewmoor on February 19, 2010, 09:52:54 AM
My method?  Don't look at the costs. I decided not to add it all up. I have a guess of about $1500 total. I got all the metal from the second hand store. Habitat Reuse Center. I tried my best to be fruggle on this build. I had all the stuff laying around for the circuit boards. I went with PEX and Copper for my piping which is cheaper then stainless. I did all the fabrication myself so I did not need to pay a welder.

I am actually kind of lost right now. I spent so much of my free time over the last 3-4 months on this. Now that I am done. I don't know what to do with myself. Well brew with it of course, but I only need soooo much beer ;D I guess it is time to get the snowboard out.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: redbeerman on February 19, 2010, 01:15:01 PM
That system is way cool.  I'll be going electric hopefully this year (after the deck gets built) and I plan on doing something similar to what you have there only mine will be inside (basement).  Very good job on that.  Inspiring to say the least.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: tankdeer on April 29, 2010, 10:38:15 AM
Curious, what does it cost you (or other electric brewers) to run something like this? I'm contemplating the idea of going electric, but seeing as how gas is usually so much cheaper than electricity, I've had my doubts.

Either way, sweet system
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: Kaiser on April 29, 2010, 01:33:32 PM
Looks very nice and professional.

Do you have to run this on 240V b/c of the 5500W element? Are there any problems with scorching the wort during boiling?

Kai
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: babalu87 on April 30, 2010, 04:49:21 AM
Looks very nice and professional.

Do you have to run this on 240V b/c of the 5500W element? Are there any problems with scorching the wort during boiling?

Kai

Kai, that Pils of mine that you had was boiled on my electric kettle.

I havent experienced any scorching whatsoever and have to say the biggest advantage I have found by going electric is noise............actually lack of.

Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: Kaiser on April 30, 2010, 08:45:57 AM
I havent experienced any scorching whatsoever and have to say the biggest advantage I have found by going electric is noise............actually lack of.

The kind of electric element I'd love to see is a long spiral (just like a small immersion chiller) that sits in the center of the kettle. This would allow a very nice flow where the bubbles rise in the center. This creates even movement of wort that rises in the middle and falls down on the sides. I was looking for such an element when I was thinking about an electric system but I came up short.

Kai
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: babalu87 on April 30, 2010, 08:49:52 AM
I havent experienced any scorching whatsoever and have to say the biggest advantage I have found by going electric is noise............actually lack of.

The kind of electric element I'd love to see is a long spiral (just like a small immersion chiller) that sits in the center of the kettle. This would allow a very nice flow where the bubbles rise in the center. This creates even movement of wort that rises in the middle and falls down on the sides. I was looking for such an element when I was thinking about an electric system but I came up short.

Kai

Might have to make one of those if you wanted it.

Mine looks like this................. I wonder how much bending one could do to it before it failed?

(http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/400/0f/0f29d964-be4a-49fa-bfc3-3089bf1f4da4_400.jpg)

For the $20 or so it might be worth it

Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: tankdeer on April 30, 2010, 09:04:57 AM
Babalu, do you know how much yours costs to operate? Vs propane for instance.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: babalu87 on April 30, 2010, 09:11:56 AM
Babalu, do you know how much yours costs to operate? Vs propane for instance.

Less

I never really figured out exactly how much the propane was because my gas stove, dryer and gas grill all run off a giant tank outside my house and I tapped into that system but suffice to say deliveries were more regular and more volume.

I havent even noticed a bump in my monthly electric bill since I went to the electric boiler.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: tankdeer on April 30, 2010, 09:19:47 AM
Wow. I'm actually shoked to hear that. Thanks - something to keep in mind.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: Kaiser on April 30, 2010, 09:40:42 AM
to boil off 1l of water it takes about 0.6 kWh. If you have 5.5 gal batch and an evaporation rate of ~15% you boil off about 3l or 0.75 gal. This takes about 1.5 kWh and should cost about 20 - 30 cents depending on your cost of electricity.

You'll also need energy to heat water, mash and wort. So in the back on the envelope I think a 5 gal batch would cost you between $0.5 and $1.5 when using an efficienct electric brew system. This is a crude estimation w/o actually runnin the numbers. I had done this at some point to get an idea what it takes to make electric brewing work. One of the main problems is that you'll have to used 240V in order to get sufficient power unless you want to wait a long time for the water/wort to heat. Even worse than that would be a sub-optimal boil-off b/c you don't have a large enough boil element.

Kai

Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: babalu87 on April 30, 2010, 09:52:51 AM
Kai, your about right.
I remember a thread on HBT about a system that was all electric, he was doing 10 gallon batches.

Something like $1 a batch but he was in Texas and electricity comes a third cheaper than ours does.

Electric rates by state:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_6_b.html

Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: Kaiser on April 30, 2010, 09:57:05 AM
The main reason why I was looking into electric was that it is safer to work with indoors. It is also much more easily to automate and I know how to work with electricity. The same level of comfort does not esist for LP or NG.  The main problem for me is being able to build a system that can do decoctions and heat the mash directly.

Kai
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: tankdeer on April 30, 2010, 09:59:25 AM
Very cool. Thanks.

Kai, that is the same reason I am looking at it. We just bought a new house with a basement and I am contemplating moving the brewery down there. Of course I do enjoy brewing outdoors so who knows. One thing I hate is having to buy tank after tank of propane.
Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: babalu87 on April 30, 2010, 10:00:21 AM
Very cool. Thanks.

Kai, that is the same reason I am looking at it. We just bought a new house with a basement and I am contemplating moving the brewery down there. Of course I do enjoy brewing outdoors so who knows. One thing I hate is having to buy tank after tank of propane.

Odd  ;D

Title: Re: My all electric brewing system
Post by: tankdeer on April 30, 2010, 10:04:39 AM
Har har.  :D