Author Topic: electric kettle  (Read 3267 times)

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
electric kettle
« on: May 03, 2012, 04:33:44 PM »
so i have a preliminary electric kettle made.  4 gallon kettle and 1500 watt element (will get bigger kettle and may go up to 2kw but keep in mind only brew 2g batches usually)  the kettle i got from good will for 2 bones.  just to test if i like the idea of electric.  anyhoo i cranked it up to see how fast it would heat and got stopped by storms after 10 minutes (chicago after all)  i checked the temp on 2g went from room temp to 110 in about 8 minutes.  questions then came up - can i stir this when in my boil, and can i hold a thermometer in it without getting killed while i am heating my strike water.  (i do plan eventually on a little automation)
Don AHA member

Offline Thirsty_Monk

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1842
  • Eau Claire WI
    • View Profile
Re: electric kettle
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 07:52:46 PM »
If you are not familiar with electricity then be safe and do not do it.
Just saying.

Disclaimer: I have 210 gal kettle with 6 electric elements.
Na Zdravie

On Tap At The TapRoom:
Bohemian Pilsner
Bohemian Dark Lager
Smoked Bock
MaiBock
American Brown Ale
Marzen
Root beer

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7225
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: electric kettle
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2012, 11:07:56 PM »
Run it off a GFCI outlet and use a wooden spoon.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: electric kettle
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2012, 07:27:20 AM »
Run it off a GFCI outlet and use a wooden spoon.

i have it fully grounded and run off gfi. my digital thermometer has a braided cable on it so i can shove it in a roast and close the oven door. just  not sure about throwing it in the water. will not be an issue on the final iteration of this as i will probably put in a formal probe for temp control. i want to try a batch this weekend and i don't have it all complete.  will just shut off periodically and check temp.  i also suspect i will put the 2kw in the final kettle.
Don AHA member

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: electric kettle
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2012, 06:07:31 PM »




So first test batch with the electric kettle.  a more formal and safe power box will be put on on the final version.  I was not sure if i wanted to switch to a 2000w element.  the 1500watt brought the 4 gallons of water to 170 within about 40 minutes for the mash.  it boiled well also but the boiloff was less than i was used to and took 90 minutes.  okay though as this was going to be something along the lines of a scottish 80.  my preboil gravity indicated lower than expected gravity (a work in progress) so may be along the lines of a scottish 40.   :( it is also kind of an anti-alt as i am going to use lager yeast (what i had on hand)  the 4g kettle cost 2 -3 bucks at goodwill.

note the first picture is outside on the picnic table. but as this is chicago a storm hit with about 30 minues to go and i moved it inside.
Don AHA member

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7225
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: electric kettle
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2012, 10:51:46 AM »
Hey can you give a few shots of how you put everything together? Just found a 220 outlet that I overlooked and it's in a perfect place.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline noonancm

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 28
    • View Profile
Re: electric kettle
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2012, 06:19:50 PM »
I use two 1500watts heatsticks that I have made and I get a pretty vigorous boil in short time.

Also since I brew in the basement of the house, I shorten the time to heating up the water for the mash by starting off with hot water from the tap (takes about 10 or 15 minutes).

As for the safety issue whenever my heatsticks have gone bad, I found they triggered the circuit breaker immediately. For me the safety issue is not to be in a rush and pull the heatstick out of the water or the wort before unplugging.

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: electric kettle
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2012, 07:10:25 PM »












most of this is taken out of the electricbrewery.com site.  the top pic shows the outside. there is a washer that is between the electrical box and the kettle.  inside that washer is the high temp o ring.

pic two shows the inner stainless nut.  the rubber washer that came with the element is not used.  it was completely leak tight as is;

three just shows the wiring.  note the ground would be attached to the electrical box in the final format.  it was temporarily attached for the first boil.  that is a 1500 watt 120 which was adequate for my use.  it draws 12.5 amp.  it was not so powerful that i need to set up any kind of temp controller or pulse wave modulator to control the boil.  a 2000 watt 120 would draw 16.7 amp which is a little more taxing on circuits.  i would likely have to then also set up other controls to control boil rate.

the next shows the plug.  i used 10 feet of 20 amp water proof chord.  (plug is 15 amp though)  in final version i will reduce this so that it does not extend more than a foot past kettle.  then use an extension chord.  carrying and storing the pot, dumping the wort into the fermenter was a hastle with ten feet of chord.

the last two pics are gratuitious pictures of my jeep i am rebuilding ( 1984 cj7. i am original owner) and my buell blast which is actually a blast.
Don AHA member

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7225
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: electric kettle
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 11:42:31 PM »
I used 110v 1500w heatsticks. Here's a shot from 2007:


And I don't recommend boiling in a cooler.

Thanks Don! I found three sticks could do a 12 gallon batch- so that's about 14 gallons but it took awhile to get boiling. However the sticks are a PITA and I think you've chosen the right approach by modifying the pot instead. Did you use a hole-saw or some sort of step-bit?
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: electric kettle
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2012, 06:35:02 AM »
i used a bi-metal hole saw.  the electricbrewery uses a plug cut out but i had no problem with the hole saw and a little cutting oil.  it was way simpler than expected. i did need to file the edges a bit.  to make the next cover box i will use a two gang box and cut out the holes like they recommend.  the 2 gang box is needed because it is hard to get in to the one gang box to tighten that nut.  i may try one more time now that it is set and not change it.  the 4g kettle worked fine for my purposes.  if i decide to use a bigger box i won't do it tilll i get a chance to go back to ohio and use the drill press. just easier with the bigger hole saw.
Don AHA member

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: electric kettle
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2012, 07:31:41 AM »
also since you are using 3 - 1500watt heat sticks or 4500 watt  i think you can get one element that size and put in a large kettle using the same method, just with 220 power supply. everything else would be just the same. i had planned on getting a bigger kettle for the final version but i was able to heat 4 gallons of strike water in mine and boiled three gallons with no problem in the 4g kettle.  i may just leave well enough alone
Don AHA member

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7225
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: electric kettle
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2012, 09:37:46 AM »
Now you need to think about insulating the kettle. It'll improve your time to boil. One thing I love about electric is that you are putting all the energy directly into the wort. With gas fired kettles I bet the energy loss is above 50%.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: electric kettle
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2012, 12:04:09 PM »
i have pondered insulation, there is one on byo that it looks like he just used that bubble wrap on.  i will probably try that.  i also need to make an immersion chiller that will fit around my heating element.  could also do what the byo guy did and set up a pump and counterflow but really now worth it to me at this point.
Don AHA member