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Old 03-03-2011, 02:50 AM   #1
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Default Electric vs. Propane

Ok, I spent the last couple of hours reading "electric vs. propane" threads. All very informative, covering most differences between both: efficiency, ease of use, etc.

What I want to know is, is there any difference in the quality of the brew?

My point is:

Electric HE's work at a much higher temperature than 212*F.

1. Do they contribute any off flavors (by caramelizing/burning the wort that touches them) in the brew?

2. Are they more difficult to clean up after brewing? Do they accumulate burnt up stuff on their surface?

On the other hand, obviously, a propane heated pot will be easier to clean up than an electric one.

3. Does the flame produce hot spots (and/or, burnt up deposits) on the inside of the pot?

Any other issue, with either system, that might affect the quality, taste, or stability of the beer?

Thanks in advance.



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Old 03-03-2011, 03:01 AM   #2
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1. Nope, non that I have been able to tell...
2. Nope, not really
3. Nope, not really

sorry that they look like jack-ass answers, but I don't notice any flavor differences or major cleanup differences between my electric elements and propane...



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Old 03-03-2011, 03:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosier9 View Post
sorry that they look like jack-ass answers, but I don't notice any flavor differences or major cleanup differences between my electric elements and propane...
Not at all, thank you for replying. That's exactly what I'm looking for: clear, concise answers.
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Old 03-03-2011, 03:31 AM   #4
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No difference. I don't run out of electricity in the middle of a boil. The electric doesn't "blow out" when I walk away for a few minutes ( I brew outside). Electric is cheaper.

I don't clean my elements. The one in my boil kettle sometimes gets an odd film on it, but I just hose everything out... nothing else. Nothing has ever burned in my system... at least 30 batches in it. 5500W elements.

Either one can have problems with DME if it is not stirred immediately when added (I'm an AG brewer, so I don't have first-hand knowledge).

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Old 03-03-2011, 03:32 AM   #5
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I've not found anything burned on the element. I don't think the exterior surface of the element gets much above 212 since it is sitting in wort. It may be a little more in the way than with a propane setup, but I just hose it off the same as everything else, not a bi gchange.

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Old 03-03-2011, 04:48 AM   #6
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Thanks a lot.

So I guess I'm gonna start designing an electric setup, then.

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Old 03-03-2011, 12:11 PM   #7
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With oil prices going up, wait until they start charging $25+ for a propane exchange. Electric is looking reeeeaaaaallllll good now.

Glad my electric keggle BK is almost done!

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Old 03-03-2011, 03:29 PM   #8
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I spend about $2 on electric for a 10 gal all grain batch and a propane tank will run me 3-4 brews. I know that a lot of people on this forum make it seem like one or the other is the greatest. They both have their pros and cons. I use both.

Propane the start up costs can be far less (no PID SSR's and such like electric) and you can go anywhere (outside). Electric you have to be near a suitable power source (30A 240v in my case) and make sure you have the proper power cord. At home I brew Electric, with friends, propane.... It depends mostly on if I have power available or not. I use the same keggle in either case (triclover clamp on the heating element to remove it) so that helps to reduce the cost.

As for your questions I can match color and carmelization with the two (easier to adjust the strength of the boil with gas but still easy o do with elec if you have a PID). Cleaning takes the same amount of time for the two and I feel both are easy. Electric is more complicated to set up but that is just because you are not setting a pot on a burner and turning it on. Electric elements are far more efficient for boils. This is simply because it is completely surrounded by wort (I think they run in the 90% efficiency range). Due to the fact that the flame of a burner interacts with the atmosphere and the pot itself before getting to the wort they lose a great deal of efficiency (I think basic brewing radio listed them in 30-35% range depending on burner.

Hopefully this helps, if you have questions, feel free to ask.

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Old 03-03-2011, 06:48 PM   #9
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There is usually a whiteish film on the elements in the BK, but a short soak and wipe gets them clean. I think the film is protein, it has no taste.

The only time I've ever had issues was once when I tried to step mash by putting a heatstick directly in the MLT. That was bad, malt stuck to the element and it was nasty.

So, BK YES, MLT NO.

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Old 03-04-2011, 02:20 AM   #10
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Thanks again.

I do understand the efficiency differences pretty well. My doubts are about he taste of the final brew.

I come from biodiesel making, where, not only because of the extra efficiency, but also because of safety issues (methanol and open flames don't seem to play well together), electric heating is pretty much the norm. The problem is that, because of the high surface temperature on the HE, it tends to get caked up pretty fast with burnt oil. That's the reason I wanted to be sure the same wouldn't happen with the wort, before I decided to go either way.



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