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Old 10-03-2011, 04:16 PM   #1
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Default 120v 5 gal questions

Hey guys, Long time lurker, new to joining the conversation.

I have been brewing extract batches for ~4 years now (my first batch was in my nasty college apartment sophomore year lol), and have recently decided to make the AG plunge. I have been doing considerable amounts of research and have decided that I will be building my setup a little at a time, but that I wanted to go electric from the beginning. For the time being, I do not have access to a 240v outlet, and don't imagine I will for quite some time. My plan is to do 5 gal full volume batches, and I wanted to know if I would be able to use a 120v element to do so. (I have no aspirations of ever going to 10 gal). As it stands, I have a 10 gal rubbermaid cooler as my MLT, and am looking to pick up a 10 gal ss pot for my HLT/BK (I will get 2 so I can dedicate the two, but that is for a while later).

Back to the original question: can I do 5 gal AG batches with a 120v element, and what would I need? I imagine that I would need a ranco controller of sorts to be able to monitor the temps, but all that is useless if I can't boil with a 120v element. I essentially want to do electric batches with as little change to my electrical situation as possible.

I apologize for the long winded post, but am trying to be as specific as possible. Thanks for all your help guys!!

Prost!

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Old 10-03-2011, 04:40 PM   #2
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If you have a 20Amp outlet go with a 2000watt element, You might want a 1500watt heatstick also to reduce your time to boil (plugged into a 2nd circuit). For your kettle look at the Bayou classic 36qt w/spigot (& basket if you want to BIAB). Good price & a solid kettle. you can remove the spigot & install the element with no mods.

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Old 10-03-2011, 05:10 PM   #3
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A 2000w with an insulated kettle will work. I run that on my HLT.

I use 2 x 1500w heat sticks without insulating in the BK and they boil perfectly when both at full power so no need for a temp controller.

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Old 10-03-2011, 05:33 PM   #4
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I used to have 2x 1500w elements in a keggle, and it was okay (not what I would call a strong boil). I moved them to a different pot, and the boil is just horrible. I suspect its because larger diameter of the new pot.

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Old 10-03-2011, 05:34 PM   #5
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I also use two 1500w heat sticks plugged into two separate 20A outlets. I reach boil temps pretty quickly and get a really vigorous boil. No controller is required.

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Old 10-03-2011, 06:01 PM   #6
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How will I know what my outlets are rated at? I will be brewing in the basement near the breaker, so hopefully I will be able to get the access I would need. Would I be able to use a 2000w stick in a BK and get a boil? My only concern there is that I don't know if I will be able to get the outlet access for two 1500w sticks.

My ideal (abbreviated) brew day would be to heat the water to strike in the 10gal pot, mash in the cooler, drain into bottling buckets, batch sparge, drain again and then pour all my wort into the aforementioned 10 gal pot and do my boil in there, chill, drain into my carboy, ect.

Is this an implausible goal?

Thanks!!

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Old 10-03-2011, 07:36 PM   #7
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check the circuit breakers on the circuits you will be using for the size of the breakers.

If the breaker box has room adding a 220v line shouldn't be that expensive and opens up what you can do. Unfortunately it sounds like you are in a rental. are your circuits equipped with a gfci? do you have ventilation where you will be boiling?

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Old 10-03-2011, 10:13 PM   #8
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I'm not in a rental, worse-- I live with my folks. The italian don't-touch-anything-in-the-house kind of folks. hahaha. I could talk to them about adding a 240v, but I hope to be moving out in a few months and would like to take my gear with me.

I do have ventilation, but no idea what gfci is. hahaha, will it say it near my breaker? (i'm going to check it out when I get home tonight and will post what I see.

Thanks!

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Old 10-03-2011, 10:23 PM   #9
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If you are brewing near the panel, and the panel is inside, it would be super easy to add another circuit and it could be whatever voltage or amperage you want it to be. However, I'm all for getting information together for a 110v system. I would love to use my stove to help get the wort to a boil and then use an element with controller tocontrol the boil. Also to maintain mash temperatures for biab.

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Old 10-03-2011, 10:44 PM   #10
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Ok, so lets go hypothetical...

say, by the grace of god, I am allowed to add a 240v breaker-- Is that easy for someone who is moderately handy (def competent, but electricity makes my head swim sometimes), how much is it going to effect my power bill, can I run a 3000w HLT (((AND))) a 3000w BK at the same time, on the same line?

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