Author Topic: Electric Brewing Questions  (Read 1018 times)

Offline pete b

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Electric Brewing Questions
« 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.
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Offline BrewBama

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Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #1 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.





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« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 08:57:53 PM by BrewBama »
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Offline pete b

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #2 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?
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Offline ulander6206

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #3 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.

Offline Kevin

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #4 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.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #5 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.


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Offline narvin

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #6 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.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #7 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?
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #8 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


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Offline denny

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2020, 06:20:18 PM »
FWIW, with the Pico units there is no steam issue
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #10 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.
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Offline narvin

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #11 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.
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #12 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!

Offline narvin

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #13 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!



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. 
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Offline pete b

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Re: Electric Brewing Questions
« Reply #14 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.
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