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Old 08-15-2010, 04:26 AM   #1
B-Dub
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Default Electric way to heat my brew water for mashing?

Hi all,

I am looking for an electric way to heat my brew water for mashing in my first batch of the day. The kettles are all propane, but want to mash in right away in the morning with hot water and then use the propane the rest of the day.

Heat sticks? Are they safe to use on a timer? I know very little about electricty besides it can kill you.

Any thoughts on a simple way to rig up a heating element for 170 deg water?

Thanks for the help,

BW



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Old 08-15-2010, 04:46 AM   #2
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I use a 100 cup (4 gallon) coffee urn.



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Old 08-15-2010, 08:42 AM   #3
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I use the Allied Bucket Heater. My HLT is a 50 qt Marine Ice Cube cooler. I fill the cooler the night before brew day and use a timer to operate the heater. The bucket heaters have a built in safety shut off if they overheat for any reason. It takes several hours to heat 12 gallons of water to boiling. You will need a heavy duty timer that can handle the approximately 10 amp load. The timers can be bought at Home Depot and they are only about $10 or so. The heavy duty timers will be the three prong type. I don't try to hit my strike water temperature with the bucket heater. Instead, I heat the HLT to boiling or nearly so. I then transfer some to the HLt and add enough cold water to bring the temp down to where I need it to be for the dough in. The hot water remaining in the HLT I use for the sparge. Sometimes I will add additional water to the HLT and keep the bucket heater running during the mash if I think I will need additional sparge water. Any excess hot water can be used for cleanup at the end of the session.

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Old 08-15-2010, 12:28 PM   #4
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You might want to look at GreenMontis flash boiler setup as a propane fired alternative. That gives you the ability to heat the strike water and sparge water as needed with a propane fired copper tube coil.

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Old 08-15-2010, 01:08 PM   #5
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That bucket heater looks like a good cheap way to take care of business. I assume it is food grade?

Thanks for the help. Just trying to get some time shaved off my overall brew day to keep the wife happy. Happy wife=more brewing, plus all the other things.

If momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy.

Thanks again,

BW

BW

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Old 08-15-2010, 02:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-Dub View Post
That bucket heater looks like a good cheap way to take care of business. I assume it is food grade?
The bucket heater does not have a food safe rating. The heating element is copper and the heat shield is stainless. I've been using it for a long time and I see no indication of corrosion or anything else that might be cause for concern. I'm not worried about it at all.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:16 PM   #7
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I use the Bucket heaters (2 in a Rubbermaid cooler) .. if I use a timer, I can have the water ready when planned. Makes it convenient for weekend brewing..2 sep 120v GFI circuits

Food-grade ?? I had never considered that.

Is this an issue if it is pre-boil ? Maybe contribute something to the taste ?

If so, are regular water-heater elements rated as food grade ?

I gave up on boiling w/2KW ..just not enough juice, and the time I saved with the timers got sucked up waiting for the 2 heaters to develop a boil...

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Old 08-15-2010, 03:35 PM   #8
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Ditto on the bucket heaters. I set them up the night before and use a RANC) thermostat. There is some straifying of heat through the water though so I usually have to stir it or pump it around and heat it a little more, but it saves a ton of time.

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Old 08-15-2010, 04:48 PM   #9
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I just purchased a 100 cup Westbend coffee urn (6.25 Gallon) for $99 off E-Bay.
Did a couple of experiments... Water in coffee urn is 195 degrees and dispenses at 165 degrees and while it takes around 1 hour and fifteen minutes to heat up.

I also have a bucket heater (Tractor Supply Company) around 35-40 bucks that takes several hours to heat 5-6 gallons to mashing temps.

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Old 08-15-2010, 05:24 PM   #10
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I just built this:
http://www.wortomatic.com/articles/The-Electric-HLT-(or-how-I-built-a-water-heater-in-a-cooler)

I'll be using it for the first time next week, controlled by a Ranco temperature controller.



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