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Old 09-26-2008, 06:35 PM   #1
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Default Krups Espresso Machine Steam Heating Test-Run

Well, I have been trying to get my brewery over to a steam injection mode for some time now. I bought a large pressure canner for other purposes and planned on using it for steam injection in my mash tun for correcting temperatures and step mashing when I want to. This morning I am looking at the Krups Bravo espresso maker that never gets used hardly anymore and the idea comes back from a while ago about using it as a steam injector. Just by looking you can start to think, "no way that would work for that big a mash tun." Well, I decided to run a well-enough documented test just to see the power of such a tiny little until. I mean how cool would it be to have a nice tidy bundled up package of a steam injector compared to the big pressure canner/cookers everyone is using? Numbers don't lie, and I am nowhere near smart enough to figure them out so I decided to post and see what people like kladue and others have to say about what is possible or not possible. I am talking about 5 gallon, then 10 gallon, then 15 gallon type numbers back from you guys type of stuff. So, that being stated here are the hard facts for the Krups Bravo experiment.

I started with 2 oz of distilled water inside my espresso machine water reservoir and set up as you normally would to use the steam (ie. the filter was capped with the steam plug). Then, I measured out 32 oz into a glass pitcher that was tall and skinny to allow as much height as possible for the steam to do its thing. I also added a stainless tube to the steamer nozzle of the machine to get me further into the pitcher. Before I did anything else, I checked the temperature of the water pitcher and had 72*F which is pretty normal tap temperature for this time of the year. Ready for the experiment, I opened the steam valve on the Krups unit and flicked the switch as I clicked my stop watch. Wow, after 21 seconds the machine had air bubbles coming out of the steam tube. At 1 minute and 27 seconds there was a solid stream of steam bubbles with no air and a constant thumping scaring me into thinking the glass would break. I figure this is what you would want to count as the steam heat, so I am going with that for now. The machine did its thing for 4 minutes and 32 seconds until it quit and I stirred the thermometer and checked the temperature. I couldn't believe it, 2 oz of steam got 32 oz of water up 58*F in only 4.53 minutes. Now if I could only wrap my head around the numbers to see if I could ever scale this up for step infusion temperatures or simply just to boost a mis-struck mash-in. This would be the part you guys start in and help me out, lol. Starting........now.


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Old 09-26-2008, 07:23 PM   #2
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My first question would be how much water the steam generator can actually handle at one time. If you can only fit 2oz of water in there at once, heating a whole mash would likely take many refills. And can the espresso machine handle continuous back-to-back steam cycles without damage?

Just a quick back-of-the-envelope, if you think of heating 4 gallons of water (which may be close in thermal mass to a mash for a 5g batch, with 3g of water plus grain), it's 16 times larger than your sample, so if your sample went up 58F then 4g should go up 58/16 = 3.62F with the same blast of steam.
That may not be so bad if you just want to correct the temperature a few degrees but it would make any kind of step mashing a painful process if you can only make 2oz of water into steam with each 'cycle'.

If you CAN fit much more water into the boiler at once, then the next question would be how long it takes to go through a full steam cycle with much more water in it.

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Old 09-26-2008, 09:16 PM   #3
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I'll make your experiment even easier for you. Read the label on the back and post how many watts the espresso maker is. I'll guess it's between 1000 and 1250 watts. Steam is a heat transfer mechanism so take it out of the equation and look at your source and target.

Assuming 100% transfer efficiency, a 1000W thermoblock will provide enough energy to heat 1L of water 1degreeC every 4.2 seconds. Your experiment raised 1L of water 32C in 180 seconds, not counting the 1.5 minute heat up time. This effectively transferred about 700 watts of energy. Good for coffee, but not beer.

A 1000W thermoblock will never beat a canner on a 10000btu (3000W) burner, the capacity for heat just isnt there. Sorry

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Last edited by Joe Camel; 09-26-2008 at 11:00 PM. Reason: watts to heat calculation 4.184kJ to raise 1L water 1C
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Old 09-26-2008, 11:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Camel View Post
I'll make your experiment even easier for you. Read the label on the back and post how many watts the espresso maker is. I'll guess it's between 1000 and 1250 watts. Steam is a heat transfer mechanism so take it out of the equation and look at your source and target.

Assuming 100% transfer efficiency, a 1000W thermoblock will provide enough energy to heat 1L of water 1degreeC every 4.2 seconds. Your experiment raised 1L of water 32C in 180 seconds, not counting the 1.5 minute heat up time. This effectively transferred about 700 watts of energy. Good for coffee, but not beer.

A 1000W thermoblock will never beat a canner on a 10000btu (3000W) burner, the capacity for heat just isnt there. Sorry
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Old 09-27-2008, 08:17 PM   #5
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Yep, it is a small espresso maker that I am now thinking may be too small for much of anything, but it is really fun to play with. It is only a 800W unit so that wasn't far of from what you posted Joe Camel. Today, I reused the same water and did 4 oz of steam in the maker. Went from 74*F to 166*F in 7:15.

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Old 09-27-2008, 08:23 PM   #6
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I love the thought process though!

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Old 09-27-2008, 09:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Camel View Post
I'll make your experiment even easier for you. Read the label on the back and post how many watts the espresso maker is. I'll guess it's between 1000 and 1250 watts. Steam is a heat transfer mechanism so take it out of the equation and look at your source and target.

Assuming 100% transfer efficiency, a 1000W thermoblock will provide enough energy to heat 1L of water 1degreeC every 4.2 seconds. Your experiment raised 1L of water 32C in 180 seconds, not counting the 1.5 minute heat up time. This effectively transferred about 700 watts of energy. Good for coffee, but not beer.

A 1000W thermoblock will never beat a canner on a 10000btu (3000W) burner, the capacity for heat just isnt there. Sorry
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Old 09-28-2008, 01:53 AM   #8
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Wortmonger, sorry if I came of as a dick in my reply, that wasn't my intent, I really just wanted to run the numbers for you and show that your canner was the better steam idea. Sometimes I post before proofreading. It is a neat idea and would probably work with a more commercial version with more juice behind it.

The beauty of the canner over the thermoblock is that your espresso machine makes steam real time, so it's only going to be as good as an 800W hotplate in terms of heat. With the pressure cooker system, you can "bank" heat in the pressurized water to be released instantly on demand. With 15L of water in the canner, I was getting about 3000W of heat from the steam alone, enough to heat a 10 gallon batch mash by 2C per minute.

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Old 09-29-2008, 05:23 PM   #9
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Yeah, I am really just looking at this thing as a package thing compared to the canner. I know this won't get me anywhere close to steps, but the fact that I could raise the water temperature as much as it did impressed me. Oh, and you just sounded informative without sappy-ness, not like a dick-head, lol. I am a bit of a prick sometimes so it doesn't bother me, but I took no ill-thought to your comment. I really enjoy your info and you can "kick me in the balls" anytime you feel the need , well as far as information you are spitting at me goes that is.

These tests are fun, I am just imagining a bought and easily modified type of thing that one could mod up with little effort to get into maybe in-line wort heating with steam through the use of such a machine. I am very happy on the other hand about the ability of the canner to do everything I need it to. This bad boy has gotten some use since Christmas. 40 minute pot roasts, canned wort for starters, and now I'm rigging it for steam infusion. I am very happy with the $90 delivered price of this beastly-23qt canner. I still think how cool it would be to have a screw top pressure cannister big enough for what I want to do, and it be self contained like the Krups machine is. The canner holds no romance from a view-point with all the tubing coming out of it and it sitting on a burner beside the tun. Since it is possible to turn on the Krups and let the pressure build until you need it, I figure the math behind what would be needed size-wise for everything would be real handy to have.

Ok, so since the lil' Krups Bravo is not up to much more than fun to play with, lets say we have a pretend 10-12 gallon (37.85-45.43L) end batch we want to brew. Since we want the "machine" to be up to all tasks, what size would be needed for 20# grain in a mash tun with 5.5 gallons (20.82L) of strike water (1qt/#) in it at tap water temperature of 72*F (22.2*C) to 95*F (35*C)? I never use a acid rest, but lets just say the machine has to handle everything. So, then to get from 95*F to 130*F (54.4*C) what would you need power and steam volume-wise? I know most will typically use it for mash out and strike correction, but I wonder about everything for those who would want to use it. What size and steam volume would be needed to get from 130*F to 158*F (70*C)? What about 150*F (65.6*C) to 172*F (77.8*C)? I have read the threads about steam injection and know that my canner would be up to the task, but if one could put a single-filled vessel like the Krups on the side of your tun, what would that size be? It is just curiosity for me, but I would really like to know exacts. I am basing everything on the fact that you can build the steam pressure and keep it until needed. Joe, no need to make it nice and fluffy in your response, lol. Give it to me full bore, lol.

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Old 09-30-2008, 05:46 AM   #10
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Glad to hear no hard feelings and glad to see you're still thinking about this.

Any steam injector will do what you ask, even your Krups, the question is how fast do you want it done? 1F per minute? or faster. That's where you're going to need the power.

The steam injector from your espresso is real time heat, so it would be the same as dropping in a heat stick or direct fire. It's all about watts at that point. A Watt is a Joule of energy per second. 4.184 joules will heat 1 gram of water by 1C. So a 1000W heater will deliver enough energy to heat a liter of water by 1C every 4.2 seconds.

So if you want to heat 21L of water by 1C every two minutes (about 1F every minute), then you would need something that delivers 732W (21000/120)*4.184. If you want twice as fast, double the wattage. This is about the heat delivery I spitballed for your thermoblock, so I guess looking closer, your Krups could work but you'd be looking at 30 - 40 minute ramp times between steps and I'd think you might burn out the heater by making it work that hard. I guess if you went with 5 gallon batches and halved the mass you needed to heat, your times would drop by half and you'd have a 2F per minute ramp.

Cheers

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