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Old 09-06-2009, 03:41 AM   #1
Scut_Monkey
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Default What Kind of Brew System Should I Construct?

So I am at the point right now where I'm tired of having a completely unpredictable brew day. It seems that I'm constantly making these makeshift assemblies during the brew day simply because I don't have a designated brewing area and I don't have a designated brewing system. So I'm researching what type of system I would like to construct. I'm not looking to make an eye candy brewing system just complete functionality. My questions are rather open ended, I'm simply looking for advice and experiences that others have gained.

1. My first and most pivotal question, electric or gas? Brewing in the garage with the garage door open for ventilation got kind of old last winter. I'm thinking an all electric setup like The Pols would be nice.

2. What would be the disadvantages of an all electric setup? Any advantages besides no propane expenses and no ventilation needed?

3. I'm thinking a HERMs system for simply wort clarity purposes and repeatability with temperatures. Any advice?

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Old 09-06-2009, 03:55 AM   #2
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If you have time to be patient, electric is fine. Do you have a 220V circuit in your garage?

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Old 09-06-2009, 04:03 AM   #3
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I hate the "what is best for me" threads... because, none of us have any idea what you value in your brew day.

#1. electric is nice, IMHO there is no drawback except you NEED to know how to wire things. Oh, and you need a 240VAC circuit that is AT LEAST 30A in your garage brew area. It is quiet, clean and very controllable.

#2. HERMS is good, so is RIMS... the plus to HERMS is that your HLT is also your HERMS HEX which means you arent running a RIMS heater AND an HLT heater during the brew session (more efficient)

#3. electric is EASY to control... controlling gas with valves and pilots is much more complex IMHO

#4. electric is much cheaper to operate... it costs me $1.12 in electricity to brew a beer on my system

#5. no gas to buy, store, or use (against code) in your garage


There have been so many electric rigs built on HBT, all of the info and or expertise you would need to finish this project is at your finger tips

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Old 09-06-2009, 04:04 AM   #4
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I have one just a few feet away threw an unfinished framing wall with some insulation. I can easily tap into it for brewing with an ~8 foot cord. I'm not sure what lengths are standard for a 240V cord but this is what I have as of now.

Is electric really that much slower than NG/propane system for a 5 gallons. Just going off of what The Pol says heis only slow time is heating up the initial 10 gallons of HLT water which takes 90 minutes. After this it seems that an all electric HERMS would be just as quick as any other system. No?

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Old 09-06-2009, 04:06 AM   #5
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Hmm I'm not sure what the amperage rating is for the 240 my dryer is running off of. I'll have to check.

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Old 09-06-2009, 04:07 AM   #6
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its not true that you dont need ventilation with electric
all that boil off has to go somewhere.
it will condence and make everythign sweat and get damp
that makes mold and mildew
you still need ventilation

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Old 09-06-2009, 04:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scut_Monkey View Post
I have one just threw just a few feet away threw an unfinished framing wall with some insulation. I can easily tap into it for brewing with an ~8 foot cord. I'm not sure what lengths are standard for a 240V cord but this is what I have as of now.

Is electric really that much slower than NG/propane system for a 5 gallons. Just going off of what The Pol says heis only slow time is heating up the initial 10 gallons of HLT water which takes 90 minutes. After this it seems that an all electric HERMS would be just as quick as any other system. No?
Yes, it is just as fast as a NG or LP system. The only time is the 90 minute heat up for the HLT initial volume. Of course you can shorten the time with a larger element, though some who have used them wish they had used something smaller.

I fill my HLT the night before and set the temp. I go to bed... when I wake up it is ready to mash in when I am ready. No fuss, no oversight
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Old 09-06-2009, 04:08 AM   #8
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oh and i plumb NG in to my brew house and it is so wonderfull
fast clean cheap heat.

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Old 09-06-2009, 04:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scut_Monkey View Post
Hmm I'm not sure what the amperage rating is for the 240 my dryer is running off of. I'll have to check.
Your dryer should he 30A and up... maybe even 50A
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Old 09-06-2009, 04:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pol View Post
Yes, it is just as fast as a NG or LP system. The only time is the 90 minute heat up for the HLT initial volume. Of course you can shorten the time with a larger element, though some who have used them wish they had used something smaller.

I fill my HLT the night before and set the temp. I go to bed... when I wake up it is ready to mash in when I am ready. No fuss, no oversight
From my viewpoint this is not really a downfall because you aren't wasting your time playing with yourself while you're waiting for the water to heat up. You can go get breakfast while it heats up. If it took a long time for the brew kettle to heat up after mashing that would be another thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clayton View Post
oh and i plumb NG in to my brew house and it is so wonderfull
fast clean cheap heat.
I do have a NG hook up about 12 feet away and I can easily plumb into it. I have debated this route as well but like I said I would rather brew with comfort in the heat than with the garage door open. I suppose I could find a way to ventilate the garage but it would include putting a vent into my garage door which would look less than stellar.

I was not aware that you need ventilation with an all electric brew setup. Is this indeed true?
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