Author Topic: Going Electric  (Read 3347 times)

Offline hairodadog

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Going Electric
« on: January 16, 2013, 08:48:15 AM »
Hello All,

I've been brewing for about 2.5yrs, first extract kits, then after about a year tried AG using BIAB method on a propane burner. I've been thinking about upgrading some equipment and was looking at going electric. having the option to brew inside again is really appealing. Since I'm upgrading anyway, I thought I'd look into brewing more traditionally, HLT/Mash tun... HERMS, etc.

I've been saving up so cost really isn't the issue (to a point... like when SWMBO sees the $$$) and have decided to buy rather than build, but was wondering about some of the "extras" like an autosparge or plate chiller. Are they worth it?

My wort chiller does a pretty good job cooling 5G batches, not sure how it would do with 10G, making plate better option.
And since I haven't sparged, wondering if the auto sparge will save me a headache or is just a neat toy and a waste of $$$.

Offline yso191

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 10:38:42 AM »
I can't speak to the auto sparge since I don't have one and would probably batch sparge even if I did.  However I will say that I really like my plate chiller.  It is much quicker than my old immersion chiller, but the main reason I like it is that the wort goes from hot enough to kill any airborne bugs, to pitching temperature in a closed system.  I know the chance of an infection while chilling with an immersion chiller is small, my strategy is to remove all the small chances so they don't add up to a good chance.

Steve
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 11:02:54 AM »




This is my 4g kettle with a 1500 watt element. no controllers needed as total output is just about right.  i am contemplating making a 6g with a 2kw element.  i mash in a bag.  (use cooler with the grain in a fine grain bag) makes it very easy.  with the 6 g kettle it is a INUSA brand seafood steamer with a ledge in it for the tray.  if the element will fit under the tray i will make it.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 01:19:15 PM »
I'm not surprised with Don's findings that 1500 w is about right for 5 gal.  I have up to 5500w in my kettle, but I have a pulse width modulator.  It helps to be able to turn up the heat input while the wort is heating, but the wort would literally jump out of the kettle if I left that much power delivered to the boil.  It was impressive the only time I did it!!! 

I don't know how much wattage I actually deliver when I'm boiling gently.  I suppose I could observe the amount of time the element is on versus off when the PWM is operating and then figure out what the average wattage is.  I wouldn't be surprised if it was around the 1500w mark.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 02:15:34 PM »
it is somewhat fortunate.  i was just experimenting with the kettle (3 bucks at good will) and the element. i just wanted to get something going and i didn't want to spend the time building a pwm or setting up any automatic controls.  i went with the 1500 over the 2000 just to limit the demand on my household circuit.  i think increasing to the 2000 would only just increase my boil off at this point.
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Offline snowtiger87

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 03:25:49 PM »
Have you looked here?: www.theelectricbrewery.com
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Offline hairodadog

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2013, 08:17:59 AM »
Have you looked here?: www.theelectricbrewery.com
sure did, and when I stopped drooling found www.highgravitybrew.com, closer to my budget. They do all the drilling and what not, all I gotta do is connect the dots and start making beer. and then the question of the extras.... I'm pretty much sold on the plate chiller, but the auto sparge not so sure,

Offline weithman5

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2013, 09:01:09 AM »
those systems are nice, especially if brewing larger quantities.  I only brew a few gallons at a time and have less than 50 dollars wrapped up in my kettle.  i would probably recommend using the punches for the holes like in the electric brewery for a stainless kettle. mine is aluminum and i had no problems using a bimetal hole saw from the hardware store.  use a little cutting oil.  i guess if you buy the system as shown it is not something to worry about.  fwiw. on my kettle i did not use a standard gang box as they show. i used an all weather extension for a gang box.  this is open on both ends and allowed me to use the smaller size and still be able to get in to do the wiring after it is mounted
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2013, 10:33:37 AM »
I don't know how much wattage I actually deliver when I'm boiling gently.  I suppose I could observe the amount of time the element is on versus off when the PWM is operating and then figure out what the average wattage is.  I wouldn't be surprised if it was around the 1500w mark.

You could also just measure boiloff. 1500 W would vaporize 0.63 gal/hr, with no losses.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2013, 12:13:55 PM »
I don't know how much wattage I actually deliver when I'm boiling gently.  I suppose I could observe the amount of time the element is on versus off when the PWM is operating and then figure out what the average wattage is.  I wouldn't be surprised if it was around the 1500w mark.

You could also just measure boiloff. 1500 W would vaporize 0.63 gal/hr, with no losses.

that is about right on.  i usually lose about 0.5g/hr. maybe just a little less.
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Offline hubie

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2013, 12:52:28 PM »
How do you clean those electric kettles?  Do you disassemble and remove the heating element, or clean it intact?

Offline blatz

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2013, 01:32:43 PM »
How do you clean those electric kettles?  Do you disassemble and remove the heating element, or clean it intact?

i clean mine intact.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 01:44:37 PM »
i am very careful with the kettle as it is aluminum and i don't want to screw up the layer on it.  i use a plastic scraper and scrape the scale off the water (okay wort) line  and then rinse, gentle wash cloth.  the element i will use a plastic mesh pad and just get the big gunk off and rinse.  it would be an over kill amount of work to disassemble my element each time.

FWIW, my power cord was made from an old extension cord that i damaged. it is only about 6-8 inches long.  when i first made the trial i used about 10 foot but this made carrying it, cleaning, (and sometimes i will throw in the fridge till the next day) difficult.  there was no reason for this as i can just plug it into another extension chord if needed.
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Offline snowtiger87

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2013, 01:47:08 PM »
Quote
sure did, and when I stopped drooling found www.highgravitybrew.com, closer to my budget. They do all the drilling and what not, all I gotta do is connect the dots and start making beer. and then the question of the extras.... I'm pretty much sold on the plate chiller, but the auto sparge not so sure,

A lot of the cost in "theelectricbrewery" system is in the kettles, especially if you do the work yourself. At $500 a pop that is $1500 right there. I bought the Blichman mash-tun but for the other 2 vessels I got 20-gallon Bayou Classic pots at $120 each.

As for the auto-sparger, I thought about it myself but have never used one in the countless batches I have brewed before so I have not bought one yet. I have heard if you used it with a pump it can sometimes "jump" the valve and override the auto-autosparger.
Brewing since 1989 - BJCP National Rank

Fermenting: McChouffe clone, Samiclaus clone
Conditioning: Belgian Tripel, Barrel Aged Baltic Porter - in sherry barrel, Belgain Easter Ale
On tap: CAP, Dortmunder Export, IIPA, Dubbel Chocolate Stout, Wee Heavy, Whiskey barrel aged Wee Heavy, Baltic Porter
Newly Bottled:

Offline snowtiger87

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Re: Going Electric
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2013, 01:50:12 PM »
Quote
sure did, and when I stopped drooling found www.highgravitybrew.com, closer to my budget. They do all the drilling and what not, all I gotta do is connect the dots and start making beer. and then the question of the extras.... I'm pretty much sold on the plate chiller, but the auto sparge not so sure,

A lot of the cost in "theelectricbrewery" system is in the kettles, especially if you do the work yourself. At $500 a pop that is $1500 right there. I bought the Blichman mash-tun but for the other 2 vessels I got 20-gallon Bayou Classic pots at $120 each.

As for the auto-sparger, I thought about it myself but have never used one in the countless batches I have brewed before so I have not bought one yet. I have heard if you used it with a pump it can sometimes "jump" the valve and override the auto-autosparger.
Brewing since 1989 - BJCP National Rank

Fermenting: McChouffe clone, Samiclaus clone
Conditioning: Belgian Tripel, Barrel Aged Baltic Porter - in sherry barrel, Belgain Easter Ale
On tap: CAP, Dortmunder Export, IIPA, Dubbel Chocolate Stout, Wee Heavy, Whiskey barrel aged Wee Heavy, Baltic Porter
Newly Bottled: