Author Topic: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.  (Read 5089 times)

Offline meistersmudge

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Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« on: January 04, 2011, 05:25:08 AM »
I currently live in a second story apartment and have a balcony that is suitable to brew on. Unfortunately, using an open flame is frowned upon. I typically brew with converted kegs but also have some 10 gal stock pots and a converted cooler. Anyone have any ideas for an alternative to the turkey fryers?

Offline phillamb168

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 06:17:19 AM »
I currently live in a second story apartment and have a balcony that is suitable to brew on. Unfortunately, using an open flame is frowned upon. I typically brew with converted kegs but also have some 10 gal stock pots and a converted cooler. Anyone have any ideas for an alternative to the turkey fryers?

Until I bought my turkey fryer I had been using a ~7 gallon electric boiler which had been repurposed from its original job as a canning aid. Here's the link: http://www.brouwland.com/shop/product.asp?cfid=28&id=2398&dt=24&l=2

I wasn't able to find anything similar on Amazon, but maybe your LHBSS will have something?

Immersion heaters are plentiful but aren't a good idea because the wort would contact the element directly and cause caramelization, off flavors, etc.

You could also (maybe) do an electric coffee urn, as long as it's made of stainless steel.

FWIW, I lived in apartments for several years and always ignored the rules about BBQs and open flame. Put my Big Green Egg up there, which is a pretty obvious indication of fire, but nobody ever said anything (other than "when are the ribs done?" of course ;-) )
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2011, 06:19:30 AM »
Google 'electric brewery' or electric brew kettle' and you'll find a number of links that may be helpful
Mark Tumarkin
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Offline bonjour

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2011, 07:55:26 AM »
Fire gets hotter than any immersed electric element that I know of.  This implies that a turkey freyer would cause more "caramelization" than an electric.

I do know of a brewpub (Hopcat) that uses an electric kettle.

I have heard of heat sticks,  water heater elements mounted in a PVC "stick" being used.  They do draw power and you have to be aware of amperage, most are 220v elements run at 110v if I recall correctly.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2011, 08:05:22 AM »


Immersion heaters are plentiful but aren't a good idea because the wort would contact the element directly and cause caramelization, off flavors, etc.



I run an all electric brewery with low density electric water heater elements. I had some concerns about carmelization at first. Never has been a problem. I now feel electric is superior to gas. Not only do you save a ton of money, the elements also heat about 2Xs as fast as gas.

On my system I have two elements in the BK. I have to turn the one off the top element or it will constantly want to boil over. On my system it works well. But the one thing you may end up running into a problem with is not being able to "feather" the heat, since the elements are either on or off. Also, you will need to spend some money and perhaps hire an electrician. The elements don't run off a standard electrical outlet.

Another thing to consider is to install float switches that automatically turn the elements off when the liquid falls below the level of the element. Running them dry is a sure way to have a meltdown/and or electrical fire.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 08:10:20 AM by majorvices »
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2011, 08:18:23 AM »
I am curious about using heat sticks.  I might consider using them in my new basement brewery.

Since the boiling is localized to only around the heating element, do electric heat stick brewers actually monitor the temperature of the wort in the pot to check and confirm that it too is at a near-boiling temperature?  If its not at a near-boiling temp, then the hop isomerization and the off gassing of volatile nasties such as DMS would not be at a typical rate. 
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2011, 08:23:57 AM »
Controlling a heating element is easy with a PID controller.  But when you're dealing with boiling water, I'm not sure that a PID could properly tell when to throttle the power since the temperature would build to 212F (@ sea-level) and not go any higher.  I suppose that you would set the controller to a set point slightly less than the boiling temp????

I'd appreciate hearing from others knowledgible in this area.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2011, 08:25:25 AM »
The entire volume of wort boils, not just "around the heating element". The entire kettle is raised to 212 degrees. All the volatiles are released just like during a regular boil. If these problems were persistent I certainly wouldn't use it!

Yeah, you can tell the element to shut off at 180 degrees and fire back up again when the element drops. But you can't tell it to turn on at 50%. Its either on or off. In the case of boiling, the wort is either boiling or not.
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Offline dak0415

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2011, 09:15:09 AM »
Yeah, you can tell the element to shut off at 180 degrees and fire back up again when the element drops. But you can't tell it to turn on at 50%. Its either on or off. In the case of boiling, the wort is either boiling or not.

Actually you can!  Some PID type controllers have a "manual mode" by which you can control the % of power going to the element.  You can't control the voltage but you can control the amount of time the element is active.  So in a 2 element/controller system you could have one element set to on/off/limit mode at 100%, setpoint 208deg. and one set on manual mode starting at 100%.  The on/off controller will kick off at 208 and never come back on.  Then as the wort comes to a boil, you can turn down the manual mode element to maintain a rolling boil.  The two controllers could even use the came temperature probe.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2011, 09:21:03 AM »
Yeah, you can tell the element to shut off at 180 degrees and fire back up again when the element drops. But you can't tell it to turn on at 50%. Its either on or off. In the case of boiling, the wort is either boiling or not.

Actually you can!  Some PID type controllers have a "manual mode" by which you can control the % of power going to the element.  You can't control the voltage but you can control the amount of time the element is active.  So in a 2 element/controller system you could have one element set to on/off/limit mode at 100%, setpoint 208deg. and one set on manual mode starting at 100%.  The on/off controller will kick off at 208 and never come back on.  Then as the wort comes to a boil, you can turn down the manual mode element to maintain a rolling boil.  The two controllers could even use the came temperature probe.

Interesting. Gonna have to look into that, thanks!
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Offline dak0415

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2011, 09:44:00 AM »
Keith, are you using 4500 or 5500 watt elements?  What kind of temperature probe are you using?

Check these out
This one would be for your "Boiling" element
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=3
this for the "heating" element
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=106
or this
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=14
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Offline noonancm

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2011, 02:44:04 PM »
I, too, use heatsticks - 2 110watts ones that I use on outlets near the washer and dryer in the basement; I'm on my second set. I'm pleased with them and am able to brew all year long, even during snowstorms in the warmth of my basement.

I did experience carmelization (or at least, some sort of buildup) on the first set I used that really did not affect the beer until the buildup started to flake off and leave a burnt taste - just at the time I started to enter competitions. I started to have moisture problems and had to build new ones.

With the new ones I have been able win awards with Blonde Ale (one year after making them). I have been wiping the heating element to eleminate any buildup. Anytime now that I have a major buildup, it has been when I brew a wheat beer which fortunately I do not care for.

Now here  is my problem: how to build a simple PID controller. Are there any plans available?  I am not an electrician and the beauty  of heatsticks is that they are so easy to make and use.

Offline tubercle

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2011, 05:19:09 PM »
I am curious about using heat sticks.  I might consider using them in my new basement brewery.

Since the boiling is localized to only around the heating element, do electric heat stick brewers actually monitor the temperature of the wort in the pot to check and confirm that it too is at a near-boiling temperature?  If its not at a near-boiling temp, then the hop isomerization and the off gassing of volatile nasties such as DMS would not be at a typical rate. 

 The cooler wort is constantly absorbing heat from the hotter wort try to make the entire pot uniform until all the wort is the same temp and would all boil. It's one of those thermodynamic law things. Heat flows from higher heat ( actually energy) to lesser heat.
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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2011, 05:42:09 PM »
Interesting. Gonna have to look into that, thanks!

Keith, google "pulse width modulation". Neat scheme all around.

Just out of curiosity, what's your boil volume? Around a barrel, right?

The only reason I ask is that we boil 6 bbl using an electric element, maxing out a 50 A circuit, and it's a huge PITA. Averages about 80 minutes to get from mashout to a rolling boil. (And that's only 193°F!)
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Offline euge

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Re: Electric Alternatives to turkey fryer.
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2011, 06:40:34 PM »
I am curious about using heat sticks.  I might consider using them in my new basement brewery.

Since the boiling is localized to only around the heating element, do electric heat stick brewers actually monitor the temperature of the wort in the pot to check and confirm that it too is at a near-boiling temperature?  If its not at a near-boiling temp, then the hop isomerization and the off gassing of volatile nasties such as DMS would not be at a typical rate. 

I have three 115v heatsticks that don't see use anymore. Were I to use this approach again installing them directly into the kettle would work better.

It's giving me new ideas for something small scale- like in the 3 gallon range.


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