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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Electric Brew Kettles
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:58 PM   #1
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Default Electric Brew Kettles

Hi all,
I am an apartment brewer looking to purchase a bigger kettle. Right now I am brewing my beer in two different kettles and splitting my hops up. It's a giant pain in the butt but it works (kind of). I'm finding that it is hard to determine exactly how much wort I need to boil to make a full batch of beer, I usually end up with too much or too little. It's very hard to predict (calculate) evaporation rates across two kettles. My oven setup right now is an older electric range. The turkey fryer is an option but would only work for a few months out of the year due to the cold temps in my latitude during the winter.

What I'd really like to do is get an electric powered brew kettle that would accommodate a 5.5 gallon batch (AG). So this kettle would need to be at least 7-10 gallons. It would also need to operate on 110 volts. I think I'm living a pipe dream to find something like this but I thought I'd see what others are doing in such situations and also if anyone knows if such a thing exists.

Any advice / info on this subject would be greatly appreciated.



Cheers ,

Joe

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Old 04-05-2009, 11:06 PM   #2
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What kind of power do you have available, 20 amp or 15 amp? How many circuits? You can build an electric kettle or use a "heatstick" to supplement the stove. A 15 amp circuit will power a 1500w element, a 20 amp circuit will power a 2000 watt element. For a five gallon batch you idealy would like 3000 - 4000 watts to ahieve boil and somewhat less to maintain boil.

The level of sophistication will depend on your budget and your ability to DIY.

The low end is a 1500 watt heatstick to supplement your stove. The other end of the spectrum is an adjustable automated high watt E-kettle, w/ bells and whistles.

Either will work...kind of depends on your wants, needs, and budget.

As far as I know, nothing like this exists off the shelf, but you can DIY fairly easily if you have the skill set and desire. The power you have available will really determine the best direction to proceed.

OH, use a GFI!

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Old 04-06-2009, 01:34 AM   #3
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Well the power in my apartment is 20 amp. I'd like to keep things as simple as possible since I am renting this place. I can't do a whole lot of modifications. I may be stuck using the two pot system during the winter and getting a turkey fryer for the warmer months.

I've thought about the heatsticks but don't know a whole lot about them nor have I found a lot of good info on them. I haven't found a whole lot of 110 e-kettles available. I have seen plans for 220 versions but they run a fair amount and are a bit out of my DIY comfort level. I have a fair amount of knowledge when it comes to low voltage electric but anything higher than 24 volts DC throws me for a loop. LOL That being said I will probably stick to either out of the box or very simple setups.

As for GFI... I can probably figure out how to put one of them in easily enough. Otherwise their isn't one in our kitchen.

Anyhow, thanks for the advice!! Let me know if you have anymore advice.

Cheers ,
Joe

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Old 04-06-2009, 01:51 AM   #4
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byo has plans for heatsticks. also another option is they make a canners element for electric stoves that is in the 2500watt range here Stove/Oven/Range 8" Canning Surface Element - 5303310285

i myself brew inside on a gas range doing full boil AG brewing

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Old 04-06-2009, 02:20 AM   #5
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That burner setup looks interesting. Our stove is older than dirt though. I can't find the model number on it anywhere. I'd need that to be sure the burner would fit. Otherwise that's definitely a good option. (I'm still considering that...)

I've found a 220 Volt 15 gallon e kettle for about $260 from High Gravity. I'm seriously thinking I'm just going to invest in a turkey fryer burner / kit and call it good until I can get my own setup with 220...

Thanks!!

Cheers ,

Joe

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Old 04-06-2009, 02:37 AM   #6
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Mathematically and practically on this board we have proven that in an uninsulated kettle you will need 3500W of power to maintain a boil and achieve a reasonable 1.5 gallon boil off rate per hour with 7 gals in a kettle.

This being said, 110VAC is quite limiting. You COULD build a couple 2000W heat sticks and have them on separate circuits, but that may not be possible for you.

Boiling that volume, indoors, with electric and only 110VAC will be tricky, I bet you can do it, but you have several factors working against you.

240VAC opens many doors, but alas is reserved for those in homes with 240VAC circuits and 150A or larger panels.

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Old 04-06-2009, 02:57 AM   #7
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It can be done on 110VAC but like 'The Pol' said it is tricky.. You need separate circuits for each element.
Which may or may not be available where you plan on brewing.. Luckily i have them available.. but if you can get 240VAC definitely do that.

I built my BK on it.. with two of these elements: Here

Here is my BK it will get a vigorous boil on 7.5 to 8 gallons

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Old 04-06-2009, 05:48 PM   #8
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Or you can build a power distribution board like this one and use your washer/dryer or stove receptacle to power 4 120V 1650/2000W heat sticks. I'm in the process of putting that one together, it's pretty straight forward... I just need to find me some 8/4 JOOW wire on the cheap.

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Old 04-16-2009, 01:23 AM   #9
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Thanks guys for the advice. I think in my situation for now... I'm just going to keep brewing the way I am brewing and do the e kettle thing when I get a new pad.

Cheers ,


Joe

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Old 05-10-2010, 11:08 PM   #10
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I too live in an apartment with the same limitations. I'm wondering is anyone has tried these type of off the rack heat sticks:

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/elect...1-element.html

or

http://www.homebrewstuff.com/servlet...ent-for/Detail

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