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-   -   30 amp or 50 amp? Pros and cons (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/30-amp-50-amp-pros-cons-336531/)

shroomzofdoom 06-20-2012 01:02 PM

30 amp or 50 amp? Pros and cons
Putting together the pieces for a my new electric brewing rig and now need to install my breakers and spa panel.

Before I do, I'd like your thoughts on the pros and cons of a 30 amp vs a 50 amp setup. Not sure if this thread exists elsewhere, but I did search a bit and came up with a few close to it, not exactly what I am looking for though...

Here's what I have so far, please correct where I am wrong and feel free to add anything I missed:

30 amp
-Cheaper control panel, no need for breakers in the panel
-Cheaper for extension cord. My rig will be about 35 feet from the spa panel. (assuming 8/4 SOOW for 30 amp?)
-Cheaper GFCIs
-If RIMS brewer, this could be all the power you need

-Can only run one element at a time (5500w @ 240=roughly 22 amp draw; 4500w @ 240=roughly 18.75 amp draw?) which makes heating strike water for HERMS a bit of a dance
-Future expansion to 50amp not simple, could mean significant control panel and wiring upgrades
-Longer brewday

50 amp
-Can run two elements simultaneously (assuming 5500/4500)
-Faster brewday, faster time to heat
-More flexibility in choosing elements, more configurations: 5500/4500, 4500/4500, etc
-Ease of future expansion

-Cost of breakers/extra wiring in control panel
-Cost of extension cord (assuming 6/4 SOOW for 50 amp?)
-Cost of spa panel and GFCIs

My conclusion is that the HERMS brewer looking to do 10G batches has fewer options and that 50amp is really the way to go.

What did I miss gang?

onthekeg 06-20-2012 01:09 PM

I don't recirculate my mash, but if I did I would use HERMS. That said, 50 amp is worth it if you have room in your panel. It allows so many more options with back to back brew days etc.

jtkratzer 06-20-2012 02:30 PM

I went 50 to heat the strike water in the BK and HLT and run two pumps at the same time.

Not entirely necessary for single batch brew day, but once I get better at managing the process, I can see myself taking a full day to knock out 20 gallons in back to back batches.

stlbeer 06-20-2012 03:02 PM

What JT said. Also, if you're already running wire for 30 amps, running a bit larger wire for 50 amps will future proof your wiring. You can always run a 30 amp panel and upgrade from there, but changing out the wiring in the walls would be pain. - unless you won't have to do that. It comes down to what you think you will do.

thughes 06-20-2012 03:24 PM

No option for eBIAB?

EarthBound 06-20-2012 03:47 PM

I chose HERMS-50 amp because of doing consecutive batches. 30 amp is fine if you're doing single 10G batches, but if you wish to power the HLT and the BK at the same time, you're going to need 50 amp.

Homercidal 06-20-2012 04:37 PM

One of the cheapest GFI options is a Spa Panel from Home Depot... which comes as a 50 AMP. The rest of the stuff isn't that much more expensive compared to 30 amps. I say, why NOT go with 50 amps?

BetterSense 06-20-2012 04:55 PM

Can somebody explain HERMS and RIMS to me?

jtkratzer 06-20-2012 05:16 PM


Originally Posted by BetterSense
Can somebody explain HERMS and RIMS to me?


HERMS uses a heat exchanger, usually a copper coil submerged in heated water and the mash water never comes into direct contact with a heating element. RIMS heats directly by passing the mash water over an electric heating element. RIMS is almost exclusively electric, HERMS can be done with any heat source.

wilserbrewer 06-20-2012 05:19 PM

RIMS is short for Recirculating Infusion Mash System.
HERMS is short for Heat Exchange Recirculating Mash System.

A HERMS will rely on a heat exchanger, in most cases the hot liquor tank (HLT) in which a copper coil is placed, in other cases, another external vessel that is filled with a heating medium (water) in which a copper coil is immersed. The mash water is pumped through this coil, picking up heat from the surrounding water, and returned to the mash lauter tun (MLT).

A RIMS system relies on a form of direct heating where the mash water (wort) is pumped through a small tube in which an electric heating element has been installed. The mash water is pumped through this tube, past the heating element, and heated to the proper temperature prior to returning to the MLT.

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