Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: pete b on January 27, 2020, 01:13:16 AM

Title: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: pete b on January 27, 2020, 01:13:16 AM
I don’t brew beer nearly as much as I would like to because I don’t have a dedicated brewery so I have to spend too much time and effort lugging everything out of storage, cleaning is a pain, and much of the time the weather makes it impossible or unpleasant. I can manage mead and cider making in the kitchen, but beer making is too much of a chore this way.
I eventually want to build a barn with a brewery but for now I realize that I want to move forward with making a brewery in a room in my cellar. I have a good sense of how to deal with installing a sink with running water but have some questions about other aspects as I only just now have decided this is the way to go.
I want to make 5 gallon batches mostly with the option of going bigger or smaller. I don’t want to pay for a big herms system, I am happy to make use of my current 15 gallon boil kettle and cooler mash tun if it makes sense.
Here are some questions:
Is some type of large hot plate an option? That way I can run a still as well and at any rate I prefer it to a submersed element
Is 240 V necessary?
Is an ordinary home kitchen hood vent, ducted to outside, sufficient to remove water vapor so as not 5o leave moisture?
Any thoughts or ideas unrelated to these questions are also welcome.
Title: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: BrewBama on January 27, 2020, 02:48:03 AM
I used to lug everything from the basement to the deck to brew. I can sympathize with you on the PITA factor. For this reason I moved to a table in the laundry room.

I now use a 240v induction cooktop. I unplug the dryer and plug in the cooktop on brewday. I’ve seen others use a 110v induction cooktop but not sure how well it works. You could augment the 110v cooktop with a heat stick on a separate nearby circuit.

For moisture control I use a homemade vent hood. I bought a double bucket (aka washtub) and a vortex fan. I duct it through a plexiglass covered casement window. When I start the fan I crank open the window.

I clean everything in the laundry room slop sink and store it on the table. Everything I need is right there — no more lugging equipment up and down stairs.

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200127/f4662c5bce5466c469cfe70db599776b.jpg)

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200127/eb04512117e917285fd32bf962b018cb.jpg)

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: pete b on January 27, 2020, 12:17:39 PM
That’s a great solution Brewbama. The 240 volt is not a dealbreaker but my laundry is in an alcove in my bathroom so it’s one more thing to do if necessary. I noticed the tub right away and love it. Do you aerate your wort in the washing machine? Just put it on spin cycle and put the drain hose in your fermenter?
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: ulander6206 on January 27, 2020, 01:32:11 PM
I believe that 110v induction hot plate can work well. see the link https://byo.com/article/induction-brewing/ The ventilation solution shown is crucial. I believe that John Blickmann has written an article on the AHA forum on how to size your ventilation system to ensure that you remove the excess water vapor and allow in the make up air.
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: Kevin on January 27, 2020, 02:49:34 PM
You could go with a coffee urn style system for space saving and ease of cleaning or something like this from High Gravity.

https://youtu.be/VjbSfih9TuY

I have a three vessel herms from high gravity but am considering their smaller 5 gallon version of the one shown in the video for brewing indoors during the winter.
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: BrewBama on January 27, 2020, 03:01:06 PM
That’s a great solution Brewbama. The 240 volt is not a dealbreaker but my laundry is in an alcove in my bathroom so it’s one more thing to do if necessary. I noticed the tub right away and love it. Do you aerate your wort in the washing machine? Just put it on spin cycle and put the drain hose in your fermenter?

LOL. No washing machine was harmed in the production of wort.

You might also consider a Steam Slayer device to eliminate the need for overhead ventilation.

The all in one systems like Kevin suggests could also be an option for the kitchen.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: narvin on January 27, 2020, 04:27:27 PM
I use a steam slayer with the anvil foundry in my basement and it handles the steam completely. You'll still smell the wort... that's the best part though. They've been out of stock at brew hardware for a bit but you can build your own.

The new all in one electric systems are very competitively priced and I'd suggest taking a look at them.
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: pete b on January 27, 2020, 05:48:26 PM
The steam slayer idea is interesting. I suppose having the lid on also reduces the amount of output needed from the heat source. I assume that the amount of steam escaping during hop additions is minimal.
When you say all in one, are we talking grainfather, zymatic etc?
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: BrewBama on January 27, 2020, 06:06:41 PM
...
When you say all in one, are we talking grainfather, zymatic etc?

Yes. Grainfather, Robobrew, Anvil Foundry, Mash n Boil, etc.

https://youtu.be/QnswO3Si6-w


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: denny on January 27, 2020, 06:20:18 PM
FWIW, with the Pico units there is no steam issue
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: mabrungard on January 27, 2020, 06:28:52 PM
I believe that John Blickmann has written an article on the AHA forum on how to size your ventilation system to ensure that you remove the excess water vapor and allow in the make up air.

I don’t think that John wrote something in the forum. He did author an article in BYO on the subject. I happened to review it for John prior to its publication.

If you can place a make up air vent close to your boiling location, you can improve the energy efficiency of your ventilation system by not wasting conditioned air. Do pay attention to the sound attenuation ideas that John makes in the article. A good vent fan does make a lot of noise.

Regarding the 240v question, I strongly recommend going to 240 since that’s the way to get enough power for quicker heat up times. You can get by with 120, but you’ll be happier with 240.
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: narvin on January 27, 2020, 06:34:46 PM
The steam slayer idea is interesting. I suppose having the lid on also reduces the amount of output needed from the heat source. I assume that the amount of steam escaping during hop additions is minimal.
When you say all in one, are we talking grainfather, zymatic etc?

Correct, I only need about 70% power (of 1600w at 120v) on the anvil foundry to keep the boil at a normal rate.  Boil off is still around 1/2 gallon in an hour which is plenty for a 5 gallon batch.
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: Wilbur on January 27, 2020, 06:41:16 PM
I use a steam slayer with the anvil foundry in my basement and it handles the steam completely. You'll still smell the wort... that's the best part though. They've been out of stock at brew hardware for a bit but you can build your own.

The new all in one electric systems are very competitively priced and I'd suggest taking a look at them.

Would you mind sharing a pic? Thinking about putting an Anvil in my laundry/brew room. How much water do you use during a normal brewday? Thanks!
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: narvin on January 27, 2020, 08:22:17 PM

Would you mind sharing a pic? Thinking about putting an Anvil in my laundry/brew room. How much water do you use during a normal brewday? Thanks!

(https://i.imgur.com/QR8CUaX.jpg)

The Anvil lid is pre-fit for a distillation column, and based on the hole size I *think* a 2" triclamp bulkhead would fit without any modification.  You'd then need a 2" to 1.5" Triclamp reducer for the steam slayer.  Instead I used a 1 5/8" knock out punch I already had on the blanks provided to make a hole that fits the 1.5" TC bulkhead.

I got the 9 gallon/hr nozzle but I think the 6gph would have been adequate. 
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: pete b on January 27, 2020, 11:52:54 PM
I believe that John Blickmann has written an article on the AHA forum on how to size your ventilation system to ensure that you remove the excess water vapor and allow in the make up air.

I don’t think that John wrote something in the forum. He did author an article in BYO on the subject. I happened to review it for John prior to its publication.

If you can place a make up air vent close to your boiling location, you can improve the energy efficiency of your ventilation system by not wasting conditioned air. Do pay attention to the sound attenuation ideas that John makes in the article. A good vent fan does make a lot of noise.

Regarding the 240v question, I strongly recommend going to 240 since that’s the way to get enough power for quicker heat up times. You can get by with 120, but you’ll be happier with 240.

I do want to be happy. Probably will get the 240 done.
As far as the make up air intake goes I am glad you mention it. The back wall of the room I will be using shares a wall with my root cellar. I made a passive system to bring cold air into the root cellar so it will be easy to duct through that wall and it will actually allow me to draw air out of there when I want which will allow me to bring more cool air in at night in fall and spring when a few degrees cooler would be helpful.
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on January 28, 2020, 03:26:23 AM

Would you mind sharing a pic? Thinking about putting an Anvil in my laundry/brew room. How much water do you use during a normal brewday? Thanks!

(https://i.imgur.com/QR8CUaX.jpg)

The Anvil lid is pre-fit for a distillation column, and based on the hole size I *think* a 2" triclamp bulkhead would fit without any modification.  You'd then need a 2" to 1.5" Triclamp reducer for the steam slayer.  Instead I used a 1 5/8" knock out punch I already had on the blanks provided to make a hole that fits the 1.5" TC bulkhead.

I got the 9 gallon/hr nozzle but I think the 6gph would have been adequate.
Fancy condenser. Very nice.
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: 69franx on February 01, 2020, 11:39:38 PM
Several months down the road here, any follow up here in the Foundry? Back in stock and thinking about it after the chilly brewday I had 2 weeks ago. Still not seeing much about this specific unit in here.
Who has one?
What do you like about it?
What don't you like about it?
What would you change if possible?
Done any mods on it?
Would you recommend?


Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: 69franx on February 01, 2020, 11:40:37 PM
Are you getting consistent results?
How much did you have to adjust from however you brewed before this unit?

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: oginme on February 02, 2020, 12:35:22 AM
I have the 6.5 gallon version of the Anvil Foundry.  I was sold on the Anvil product over the competitors due to price point, temperature control range, size of the unit which fit my brewing habits (I do 10 liter batches), double walled construction, dual power input capability, and the Blichmann/Anvil customer service which is excellent.

The one thing I don't like is the location and ease of access to the control panel.  If the face were pitched to face upward just a bit, it would make adjustment and operation a lot easier.

Right now, if I were to change anything it would be the head on the recirculation pump to allow for an exit valve to control flow rate rather than the hose clamp.  I have not done any mods on it yet, and this would most likely be the only one that I consider.

I would recommend the Anvil Foundry if it fits your requirements.  The controls are manual and push button.  If you prefer having Bluetooth controls or the ability to set in an automated mash schedule then there are other, more pricey options (Grainfather). 

My process is now well established with the unit after 19 brews.  It took three brews to get the process down and figured out to my liking.  I took another 4 brews to play around with my crush to get satisfactory results.  Since then I have been cruising along and getting very consistent results.  I had previously been doing BIAB on my gas stove (v. high output burner) and this pretty much now mimics that process without all the mess of moving the kettle and wrapping it with insulation for the mash steps.  Having the unit full with water and automatically start heating after setting the delay, means I start mashing in sooner in the mornings when I brew.  This is traded off with a lengthier cleaning process at the end of the brew session, so my net time is the same.
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: chinaski on February 02, 2020, 01:09:38 AM

Would you mind sharing a pic? Thinking about putting an Anvil in my laundry/brew room. How much water do you use during a normal brewday? Thanks!

(https://i.imgur.com/QR8CUaX.jpg)

The Anvil lid is pre-fit for a distillation column, and based on the hole size I *think* a 2" triclamp bulkhead would fit without any modification.  You'd then need a 2" to 1.5" Triclamp reducer for the steam slayer.  Instead I used a 1 5/8" knock out punch I already had on the blanks provided to make a hole that fits the 1.5" TC bulkhead.

I got the 9 gallon/hr nozzle but I think the 6gph would have been adequate.
Fancy condenser. Very nice.
I did exactly what the OP was asking about- keep the kettle and mash tun and move to an electric heat source.  I bought a commercial-grade 240V induction burner, had an outlet wired as part of a renovation, and built the BrunDog condenser (others call it a Steam Slayer).  Super happy with it- plenty of burner power to heat strike water quickly (I use very little of the available power when the lid and condenser are on).  Have some steam when I put my immersion chiller in as then the kettle lid doesn't seal.  Others mount the condenser to the upper part of the kettle wall- thus eliminating this issue...
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: 69franx on February 02, 2020, 01:23:43 AM
I have the 6.5 gallon version of the Anvil Foundry.  I was sold on the Anvil product over the competitors due to price point, temperature control range, size of the unit which fit my brewing habits (I do 10 liter batches), double walled construction, dual power input capability, and the Blichmann/Anvil customer service which is excellent.

The one thing I don't like is the location and ease of access to the control panel.  If the face were pitched to face upward just a bit, it would make adjustment and operation a lot easier.

Right now, if I were to change anything it would be the head on the recirculation pump to allow for an exit valve to control flow rate rather than the hose clamp.  I have not done any mods on it yet, and this would most likely be the only one that I consider.

I would recommend the Anvil Foundry if it fits your requirements.  The controls are manual and push button.  If you prefer having Bluetooth controls or the ability to set in an automated mash schedule then there are other, more pricey options (Grainfather). 

My process is now well established with the unit after 19 brews.  It took three brews to get the process down and figured out to my liking.  I took another 4 brews to play around with my crush to get satisfactory results.  Since then I have been cruising along and getting very consistent results.  I had previously been doing BIAB on my gas stove (v. high output burner) and this pretty much now mimics that process without all the mess of moving the kettle and wrapping it with insulation for the mash steps.  Having the unit full with water and automatically start heating after setting the delay, means I start mashing in sooner in the mornings when I brew.  This is traded off with a lengthier cleaning process at the end of the brew session, so my net time is the same.
Thanx oginme, kind of exactly what I was looking to hear. Not sold on it yet, but it's sounding like a great solution

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: narvin on February 02, 2020, 05:39:58 PM
Several months down the road here, any follow up here in the Foundry? Back in stock and thinking about it after the chilly brewday I had 2 weeks ago. Still not seeing much about this specific unit in here.
Who has one?
What do you like about it?
What don't you like about it?
What would you change if possible?
Done any mods on it?
Would you recommend?


Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

I have the 10.5 gallon version.  The short answer is yes, I'd recommend it, with the caveat that it isn't a fully automated system.  However, it provides excellent control for what I want to do.  Being able to set the power in 1% increments (probably a duty cycle controller) is great, especially given the low but precise power needed for boiling with the steam slayer.  The controls are easy to use (sure, you have to bend over to use the control panel) and the delay timer and temperature set point that turns the heat on and off work very well.  I didn't buy the pump since I already had a few, but I do recirculate.  I haven't had to change recipes really, other than figuring out what the kettle losses and boil off would be for a 5 gallon batch.

As mentioned above, getting the crush right has taken a little bit of experimentation.  I don't think it would matter at all if you were just doing a single infusion, but for recirculating I want to limit grain husks coming through the basket or restricting the flow.  I've considered using a BIAB mesh but held off so far since it will be another thing to clean.  I'm aiming for about 3/4 - 1 gal / minute recirculation rate.  I think less aggressive stirring / clump breaking is helping, vs cooler batch sparging where I can stir the crap out of it.  I'm also still trying to perfect the whirlpool (I use this https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/spincycleoverboard.htm) but so far it's been "good enough" for great beer.

Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: 69franx on February 06, 2020, 03:59:18 AM
So it looks like the newest edition has moved the control panel to near the top of the unit. Just what everyone was wishing for. If this cold weather hangs out, I'm grabbing a Foundry

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: goose on February 06, 2020, 05:16:02 PM
I believe that John Blickmann has written an article on the AHA forum on how to size your ventilation system to ensure that you remove the excess water vapor and allow in the make up air.

I don’t think that John wrote something in the forum. He did author an article in BYO on the subject. I happened to review it for John prior to its publication.

If you can place a make up air vent close to your boiling location, you can improve the energy efficiency of your ventilation system by not wasting conditioned air. Do pay attention to the sound attenuation ideas that John makes in the article. A good vent fan does make a lot of noise.

Regarding the 240v question, I strongly recommend going to 240 since that’s the way to get enough power for quicker heat up times. You can get by with 120, but you’ll be happier with 240.

And use 1/2 the current than a 120 VAC system.
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: Tim on February 26, 2020, 11:16:44 PM
If you went BIAB you could really downsize the amount of equipment and lugging.  Go 240V if at all possible. One of the all in one BIAB systems (like the foundry) would be a great thing. 

If you are adventurous and knowledgeable, you could convert your 15 gallon boil kettle to electric with a 5500 watt element.  You could build an inexpensive simple 240v controller with an Inkbird, MyPIN or Auber PID for probably under $150, if you took the time to really source out the parts and can solder. 

If you try induction, this would eliminate the controller, but you would need a good thermometer for mashing.  You also need to make sure your kettle is induction capable. I was given a couple 1800w, 120V induction cooktops from Aldi and they are not very accurate and temp is set at 20 degree intervals.  I tried to boil a 3 gallon batch and getting more than 4 or 5 gallons of water to boil is almost impossible. I ended up heating it initially with the cooktop and a 120v heatstick.  I would get a 240V induction cooktop for sure.
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: voigt.mike on February 29, 2020, 01:02:58 AM
I love your ventilation hood. That is on my list. I brew in a basement workshop. It has a bathroom exhaust fan that doesn’t seem to do much and a floor drain that works great. That fan is right over where the city water comes into my house. In the coming months, I’ll have a cold water spigot, ventilation hood cobbled from ductwork, and 240v outlet in that spot. Hot water is a taller order, but a 5500w kettle makes hot water pretty quick. I’m currently running a cord all the way from my dryer outlet on the other side of the basement, and schlepping 5 gallon buckets of water for wort and cooling,


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Electric Brewing Questions
Post by: pete b on March 02, 2020, 12:46:45 AM
The price of the Anvil makes it very intriguing. I think though I should get a 240 outlet and a powerful heat source in a hot plate type set up, if possible. I want to be able to put multiple types of vessels on it so not a built in immersible type. Not induction as I need to use both copper and SS on it. Anyone know of a good heat source?