Poll

Which method do you use for your big-batch brewing?

Steam
Electric
Gas
Bacon
No pants

Author Topic: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?  (Read 2210 times)

Offline tubercle

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2011, 05:56:28 PM »
The only thing steam powered worth having is an Aeroplane.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN0iOkMNZqQ
 
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Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2011, 06:16:17 PM »
The only thing steam powered worth having is an Aeroplane.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN0iOkMNZqQ
 

That brings back some memories.  Saw John Hartford live about 1980.  He passed on at a relatively young age.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2011, 08:53:24 PM »
I have 5.5 BBL electric brewery.
I have six (6) 4500 Watts elements and I need only 3 when I boil.
I can see myself boiling 7 BBL with 6 elements.

Yes it is a pain to clean elements.
PBW and Saniclean do the trick.
I would have one advice.
Put your elements high enough as they would not touch hops when you do the boil.

I use PID ans SSR for temp control of BK and HLT.
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2011, 03:40:34 AM »
@major for the boil I can understand, but what about mash temps? do you recirc?

Edit to say, What I'm really trying to find out is if I should buy one of those BCS-460s or do something different. I had considered 9Kw elements instead of 5,5Kw just because of time interests. Since I'm doing this part-time, shaving half an hour off time-to-boil is very very interesting.

Also to note, most pico/nano systems here use these giant 25Kw propane gas rings. I imagine I'd blow through a standard propane bottle toot sweet with one of those, so yeah, Electric is easiest access.

« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 03:44:07 AM by phillamb168 »
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2011, 05:29:32 AM »
I dough in via an instant hot water heater (which runs on gas). My MT is insulated. I used to recirc for the majority of the mash with little temp drop. Now I just recirc for 10-15 minutes near the end of mash. I don't experience a huge temp drop, maybe 2 degrees during the winter months. I also raise the temp to about 158 - 162 (I am not able to mash out with my set up because I don't have an HLT at this point, the hottest my water gets is 185 from my IHWH which is essentially my HLT).

You might PM Sean (a10t2), he was head brewer at an electric brewery in Colorado and probably knows a thing or two more than I do about electric breweries.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2011, 09:54:28 AM »
Based on what you've been saying Phil, I think if it were me I would go with electric.  Have a timer to get the kettle full of water to near boiling before you get there, blend with cold water to get your strike temp, and pump the rest to the hot liquor tank for sparge water.  Then you only have one heated vessel and one set of elements to worry about.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2011, 10:56:03 AM »
Based on what you've been saying Phil, I think if it were me I would go with electric.  Have a timer to get the kettle full of water to near boiling before you get there, blend with cold water to get your strike temp, and pump the rest to the hot liquor tank for sparge water.  Then you only have one heated vessel and one set of elements to worry about.

I highly recommend the instant hot water heater. You will need natural gas for that. The electric ones don't work quite as well I am told. I fill my MT with hot water right off the IHWH and by the time I am done weighing and grinding the tank is full. Usually I dough in and hit my temp unless I am aiming for a lower temp and them I blend in cold water as Tom mentioned. Saves a ton of time.
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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2011, 11:09:04 AM »
I dough in via an instant hot water heater (which runs on gas).

You mentioned this a few months back and I've been thinking about it ever since. I think it's a great idea.  One question though, how do you handle the ph of your sparge water (since you can't pre-treat the water)?

I hear ya on the installation of steam - in a lot of systems it costs as much as the brew system itself and that seriously surprises a lot of people.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2011, 11:41:01 AM »
Based on what you've been saying Phil, I think if it were me I would go with electric.  Have a timer to get the kettle full of water to near boiling before you get there, blend with cold water to get your strike temp, and pump the rest to the hot liquor tank for sparge water.  Then you only have one heated vessel and one set of elements to worry about.

I highly recommend the instant hot water heater. You will need natural gas for that. The electric ones don't work quite as well I am told. I fill my MT with hot water right off the IHWH and by the time I am done weighing and grinding the tank is full. Usually I dough in and hit my temp unless I am aiming for a lower temp and them I blend in cold water as Tom mentioned. Saves a ton of time.
I could see that, I think it would depend on just how much more expensive gas is compared to electricity.  It's kind of the "hot water heater vs. tankless hot water" question.  I don't have a firm answer to which would be better for my house, let alone a brewery in France. :)
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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2011, 11:44:01 AM »
The only thing steam powered worth having is an Aeroplane.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN0iOkMNZqQ
 

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Offline bo

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2011, 11:53:14 AM »
Based on what you've been saying Phil, I think if it were me I would go with electric.  Have a timer to get the kettle full of water to near boiling before you get there, blend with cold water to get your strike temp, and pump the rest to the hot liquor tank for sparge water.  Then you only have one heated vessel and one set of elements to worry about.

I highly recommend the instant hot water heater. You will need natural gas for that. The electric ones don't work quite as well I am told. I fill my MT with hot water right off the IHWH and by the time I am done weighing and grinding the tank is full. Usually I dough in and hit my temp unless I am aiming for a lower temp and them I blend in cold water as Tom mentioned. Saves a ton of time.
I could see that, I think it would depend on just how much more expensive gas is compared to electricity.  It's kind of the "hot water heater vs. tankless hot water" question.  I don't have a firm answer to which would be better for my house, let alone a brewery in France. :)

If you're comparing a tankless to one with a tank, both electric, then tankless is always more efficient. Gas vs. electric takes some calculations, but it's easy enough to. You do have to estimate the heat losses and they can be significant with gas.

Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2011, 11:56:01 AM »
The only thing steam powered worth having is an Aeroplane.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rN0iOkMNZqQ
 

You know that John Harford was into the steam powered stern wheelers?  He thought those were worth preserving.  

edit - It was a good album.  He looked a little different than in the video.
http://www.bluegrassjournal.com/2008/03/13/bluegrass-classics-aereo-plain-john-hartford/
« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 11:59:02 AM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2011, 12:03:59 PM »
If you're comparing a tankless to one with a tank, both electric, then tankless is always more efficient. Gas vs. electric takes some calculations, but it's easy enough to. You do have to estimate the heat losses and they can be significant with gas.
Efficiency is only part of the equation.  You've got to size a tankless system so it will produce hot water of a given temp at a sufficient rate, and factor in the cost of that system vs. the other and compared to the fuel costs.  Immersed electric elements will be very efficient - if it is on a timer such that the water reaches temp when you need it (as opposed to sitting at temp for extended periods of time) it will save power over what we do at home.

I guess there's some homework for Phil to do :)
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Offline bo

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2011, 12:10:35 PM »
If you're comparing a tankless to one with a tank, both electric, then tankless is always more efficient. Gas vs. electric takes some calculations, but it's easy enough to. You do have to estimate the heat losses and they can be significant with gas.
Efficiency is only part of the equation.  You've got to size a tankless system so it will produce hot water of a given temp at a sufficient rate, and factor in the cost of that system vs. the other and compared to the fuel costs.  Immersed electric elements will be very efficient - if it is on a timer such that the water reaches temp when you need it (as opposed to sitting at temp for extended periods of time) it will save power over what we do at home.

I guess there's some homework for Phil to do :)

If you're looking at the cost of the systems, then a tank type will almost always be cheaper than tankless, but I agree, you have to do your homework, Pay now or pay later.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Steam vs Electric vs Gas?
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2011, 12:12:34 PM »
I dough in via an instant hot water heater (which runs on gas).

You mentioned this a few months back and I've been thinking about it ever since. I think it's a great idea.  One question though, how do you handle the ph of your sparge water (since you can't pre-treat the water)?

I hear ya on the installation of steam - in a lot of systems it costs as much as the brew system itself and that seriously surprises a lot of people.

I don't sparge directly from the tankless water heater. I run off into holding tank, essentially a HLT but there's no heating element, just insulated. I can then sparge with between 168 and 172 degree water depending on temp drop.
Keith Y.
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