Author Topic: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?  (Read 3277 times)

Offline afacini

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Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« on: May 18, 2011, 11:24:04 AM »
Hi there. I'm Andrew. My introductory post didn't make it, so I'll just jump in to the discussion with this one.

So one of the hurdles to agb is finding an adequate heat source. Most just recommend going with a gas burner, but in the case that using a burner is impossible or unsafe (indoors-only, enclosed space, etc.), I am wondering how far one can make a stove-top electric element go.

Given a basic setup of 5gal brew and using an adequate 6-7 gal brewpot, is it possible/practical/intelligent to rely on an electric stove to heat? Granted that it will take a while longer to heat, less precise, etc., but is it still worth it?

Thanks!

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2011, 11:37:35 AM »
Provided you can bring it to a boil, only you can say if it is worth the hassle.  But if that's what you're stuck with, consider scaling down to 2 or 3 gallon batches, it will make things go faster.
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Offline weazletoe

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2011, 11:53:16 AM »
One other route you can go, is to just boil 2 or 3 gallons, then top it off in the fermentor, just like when doing extract.
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Offline afacini

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2011, 11:57:03 AM »
To what extent will that affect your mash efficiency? Seems like if you go anything less than the full-volume when mashing, you'll miss out on important sugars/etc.

Offline weazletoe

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2011, 12:05:40 PM »
I've never done it myself, so I can't answer you that. Might be a candidate for a no sparge mash?  :-\
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Offline denny

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2011, 12:05:54 PM »
Your efficiency will be less like that, but it seems like a fair trade off.  When I started AG I only had a 7gal. post so I was limited to 4 gal. boils.  My efficiency was in the low 60s, but I made some great beer.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2011, 12:56:26 PM »
It really depends on your electric stove and how many burners your kettle spans and how big/powerfull the burners are. I currently have a little apartment size gas stove that wouldn't work at all for 5 galon boils (6.5 or 7 to start with) except that my kettle spans two of them. I have brewed on electric stoves in the past and if youc an get two elements under your kettle or if you have one of the big new boiler elements it would probably work fine. The big problem is when the boil is done and you want to chill it will take a few minutes for the element to cool down. Also if you start to get a boil over there is no option to kill the heat and let it settle you just have to stir like mad.
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Offline tonyp

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2011, 12:59:21 PM »
I did a few full boil 5gal batches on an old electric stove, it took over an hour to get the water to boil initially and had to have it full blast to keep it at a roll but it did work. I'd hate to see how much electricity i actually used.
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Offline Malticulous

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2011, 02:46:20 PM »
My stove top has 2300w coils for the large burners. One of the large burners will boil six gallons in a reasonable time.

Offline Malticulous

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2011, 02:47:49 PM »
I did a few full boil 5gal batches on an old electric stove, it took over an hour to get the water to boil initially and had to have it full blast to keep it at a roll but it did work. I'd hate to see how much electricity i actually used.
Electricity is cheaper than propane--for most of us.

Offline malzig

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2011, 05:34:56 PM »
I have a bottom of the line, cheap-o electric stove we bought 20 years ago when we first moved into our house.  It will boil 4.5 gallons pretty easily but seems to struggle above that.  I make a lot of 3.25 gallon all-grain batches with no problem.  My buddy has a fancy new gas stove and can boil over 6 gallons and makes 5 gallon batches in his kitchen.

Offline tom

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2011, 06:18:48 PM »
Or use 2 pots and boil 3 gallons in each.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2011, 07:21:05 PM »
I used to use a low end electric stove and it took forever to boil even 4 gallons for an extract batch. But how I have a ceramic cooktop with an element that I believe is nuclear powered and it will boil 6.5 gallons as fast as my propane burner. So the answer is - depends what kind of stove you have.
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Offline SpanishCastleAle

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2011, 08:03:15 AM »
Maybe look into building (or buying, if possible) a heatstick to aid your stove.  Here's something to get you started.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Electric stove-top: how far can you go?
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2011, 12:45:42 PM »
I make all my beer on my electric stove.  Mostly 3gal batches with the occasional 4+.

Efficiency is largely about the bound water in grain (0.125qt/lb) as a percentage of the total water added.  If you want 3gal of concentrated wort from 10lb of grain, you could add 4.25gal of water in a no-sparge method.  We'll assume 90% conversion (I don't typically see 100%) of a 36ppg malt mix, so you'd have 10x36x0.9= 324points of sugar in your 4.25gal of water.  Since the grain holds 1.25gal, you'd get 3.0/4.25=70.6% of that sugar in your 3gal.  That'd be 3gal of wort at 229pts in 3gal or 76ppg.  Boil that then dilute in the fermentor to 5gal gal and you'd have a 1.046 OG beer.
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