Author Topic: Apartment Home Brewing  (Read 1977 times)

Offline w9zeb

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Apartment Home Brewing
« on: January 16, 2013, 11:58:02 AM »
I posted earlier that I just got my first batch ever into the primary fermenter last night.  I'm happy to report the air lock is bubbling away, so I guess the yeast is at least kind of alive and well.

Looking ahead to my second batch, the electric stove in our apartment was able to bring three gallons of water, and extract to a boil but it took it quite a while.  Have any of you looked at, or used something like this 1800w Induction plate

How do these compare with standard apartment fare large electric burners?  I know ideally I would look at a propane powered burner, but here in Texas that means I need to be at least 25 feet away from the building, and while I'm not opposed to that, it also means doing all of my brewing downstairs and then lugging the fermenter up to the third floor.  I'm not opposed to this, but if it can be avoided I'd like to.

Any sage advice you can offer will be appreciated.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 12:00:27 PM by w9zeb »

Offline blatz

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Re: Apartment Home Brewing
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 12:08:04 PM »
ive a friend who uses a similar induction plate with great success - I'd say go for it!
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Offline repo

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Re: Apartment Home Brewing
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 12:18:22 PM »
Use your next biggest pot (or more) to help you get to a boil faster, then combine them into your kettle. I assume you have more than 1 burner on that stove. A real time saver.

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Apartment Home Brewing
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 12:20:34 PM »
I straddle my 10 gallon pot over two burners on one side of the stove - this has worked for me for years and three different apartments.
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Offline anje

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Re: Apartment Home Brewing
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 01:08:12 PM »
Just so long as you're OK with being limited with the materials used for your brew kettle.
<-- microbiologist brewster n00b.

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Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Apartment Home Brewing
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2013, 11:28:01 AM »
When I was in an apartment, I used two pots to help get the wort up to boil, then combined.  Worked fine.

The induction plate will probably work fine too, although there's a small chance you'll pop the circuit breaker if your apartments aren't well wired.

Offline weithman5

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Re: Apartment Home Brewing
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2013, 12:09:50 PM »
take a look at the last couple of electric kettle threads.  some are very expensive and fancy. however, i made mine quite cheaply and "unpimped"  i can brew anywhere with it and it keeps the damn condensation off the counters/stove top which has been a bone of contention in my brewing.
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Offline hubie

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Re: Apartment Home Brewing
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2013, 12:34:10 PM »
. . . means doing all of my brewing downstairs and then lugging the fermenter up to the third floor.  I'm not opposed to this, but if it can be avoided I'd like to.

I would do whatever you could to avoid this.  It is a real pain lugging 40+ pounds of liquid up and down a single flight of stairs, not to mention doing it in such a way to keep it from sloshing around too much.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Apartment Home Brewing
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2013, 09:20:38 AM »
Where in Texas are you?

I started brewing in apartments before I invaded my now wife's house. I started on those electric coil stoves and it's the same thing I have in my house now that I use from time to time. I've gotten full five gallon boils starting at 6.5 gallons (90 minute boil) in a single pot and a single burner but it took about 90 minutes to reach boil and I had to use the lid to partially enclose the kettle. I also once got 7.5 gallons boiling but I used a second pot to boil and then added that into the kettle to help raise the temperature. That ended up doing some minor damage to the stove that cost about $70 in parts to repair. (So that's something you might want to think about with your apartment stoves. I don't think many landlords would consider that ordinary wear and tear...) Now I do three gallons and smaller on the stove and take anything else outside to the propane burner.

I have heard of people using those induction burners for brewing and they are about as expensive as a propane burner, a tank and a refill of two, so it's a pretty good deal. However, as I understand it you can only use certain kinds of cookware on it because not every pot has the right kind of handles or seams to survive the vibrations. I'd imagine Blichmann and some of the other higher end kettles would be ok (but I would research that first) but I wouldn't trust my regular kitchen stuff or an economy kettle without knowing for sure.
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Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: Apartment Home Brewing
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2013, 08:03:35 AM »
texas brewers unite! 

at medina lake :D

Offline euge

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Re: Apartment Home Brewing
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2013, 10:15:27 AM »
Induction cooktops require that the pots attract a magnet or they won't work.

Years ago I brewed some large batches in my tiny efficiency apt by straddling two elements on an undersized electric range-top. Even now I use two gas burners and the same 80qt in the kitchen. I've boiled up to 14 gallons- it just takes about an hour to get it to boil with the lid on. Less time with 6 gallons.

Brewing anywhere inside also requires good ventilation and airflow. Hopefully one will have a hood vent that communicates outside so the steam has somewhere to go. It would be near-raining in my efficiency...

Ultimately I'd like to get an all-electric system where I could just set everything on the stove and use my fabulous vent hood to evacuate the steam.

I say keep with your current setup if you don't mind steeping and dilution (topping up concentrated wort with water). I've never minded it and have made some fabulous beers by going that route. If you feel like scaling up your system at some point we can all help you with that. If you feel the need for some capital outlay then my recommendation is to first get you some fermentation temperature control for this summer before buying any new kettles or kegging setups.

Right now it is brewing weather here in Texas. That will soon change.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Apartment Home Brewing
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 11:16:46 AM »
Brewing anywhere inside also requires good ventilation and airflow. Hopefully one will have a hood vent that communicates outside so the steam has somewhere to go. It would be near-raining in my efficiency...

During the winter, my windows drip with condensation. I just crack 'em open and carry on!  ;D
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Offline duncan

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Re: Apartment Home Brewing
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2013, 11:18:08 AM »
I, too, suffer from a case of the s***ty-apartment-electric-range and also came down with a nasty bout of the I-am-broke-at-the-moments. Turkey fryer is sort of the assumed next step, but propane can get expensive if you brew frequently and on top of that I am not allowed to have propane on my rental property. Induction place was my next thought, but I could only power 120v and the cheapest one was over $100. Then I found out about heat sticks...

You can build yourself a heat stick for about $30, but you're always flirting with danger when building homemade submersible electronics. I didn't have too much electrical experience before building mine, but I followed some directions I found online to the tee and it is still safely functioning ~10 batches later. I wouldn't go down this road unless you're 100% confident in your work. One mistake could potentially be fatal. (PSA: *ALWAYS AND ONLY USE A GFCI OUTLET*). That is my safety spiel, proceed at your own risk...

I built two heat sticks (120v, 1500w) for about $50 (I only use one at a time; one for back up). They get my 3 gal batch pre-boil volumes (~5 gal) from mash temps to boil in about 15 minutes with the help of my good-for-nothin' range. I haven't tried it with ~7 gal boil yet for 5 gal batches, but I have a second GFCI outlet in my kitchen and I'd just throw two heat sticks in if one wasn't hacking it. For $50, you are getting a hell of a deal. BUT AGAIN!!!! This can be DEADLY if built incorrectly. Be Smart. Befriend an electrician ;)

-d