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Old 11-13-2012, 01:15 PM   #31
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You should be able to get a very vigorous boil with 4500W in 5-7 gallons of wort.

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Old 11-13-2012, 01:47 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slakwhere View Post
the only limitations i see for my electric system:
1) cannot do back to back batches.
2) decoctions. again, i don't do these, but i didn't identify this was an issue. i could always use a little banjo burner when i wanted to, but electric isn't conducive to this.
I have absolutely no regrets for my system either. Best brewing decision I ever made.

I wanted to touch on the above statements too. I worked off of Kal's pioneering (thanks Kal!!) and kicked my design up a notch so I have the capability to run two 5500w elements simultaneously. This has huge benefits if you are a back to back brewer (I am) or if you work with large volumes of water (consistently brew 10+ gal batches. My set up is 60amp, powered off a subpanel with two 30 amp gfi breakers to achieve this. I say all this because I built my first controller very simply and found it wasn't enough. Consider where you want to go and what you want to do before you take the plunge. i.e. build the panel that you will grow into (cause they aren't cheap to build). If you aren't the building type, Kal just released his 50amp prebuilt version.

Decoctions (IMHO) can easily be done on electric system, so long as you use a propane burner to cook your decoctions (haha). Probably not a big issue if you are coming from gas to electric. I heat my decoctions on my old gas burner and it works well to add into the steady mash temp I maintain on the electric side.

one last comment. If you plan on doing lots of step mashes I would recc. looking into RIMS (I have a herms). you can make step mashes work on a herms, but they aren't ideal. A herms is designed for single infusion mashes and that is where it excels. There is only one brew I do that requires step mash, so I am ok with dealing with that when the time comes.

Good luck!
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:00 PM   #33
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You should be able to get a very vigorous boil with 4500W in 5-7 gallons of wort.

Kal
I think the issue I'm experiencing might be due to the element height, leaving an excessive amount of "dead space" below the element. In the middle of a very vigorous boil, if I flip on the pump and cycle wort from the bottom of the keggle to the top, it immediately stops boiling for 3-4 mins. I've tried adding insulation to the bottom of the kettle with little improvement. I've even considered adding some type of electric heating element in the bottom of the kettle, but haven't been able to find any formable/shape-able immersion elements.

I've looked closely at your videos and have noticed that my wort never forms as clean of a protein break as yours does.

For now I'm moving from an electric keg to a gas-fired Stout Kettle. In a few years, I'll probably punch a hole in the side of that and install an electric element just to compare.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:12 PM   #34
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I like to step mash, so I was already thinking I would go the rimms route. Cidah, you mention that you upped it to two 5500 for doing 10+ gallon batches, and maybe others can chime in. From looking at kal's sight, I was under the impression that 10 gallon batch's (which for me is really 11 gallons at end of boil, usually 13 1/2ish gallons preboil on average) would be no problem on one element? your reason for the upgrade?

I step mash my sours and high gravity beers, so I had decided that rimms was the way to go. Agreed, I was already planning on over building the panel with the thought easier to grow into than add later, and since i currently have a perfectly functional propane brutus clone I brew on, it is helping in my patience to build the panel out completely first.

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Old 11-13-2012, 08:25 PM   #35
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i step to mash out temps with a single 5500W in a herms setup for 12 gallon batches. from 154 to 168 in about 10 min. so a rims would for sure do it.

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Old 11-14-2012, 02:28 AM   #36
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I also step mash with my HERMS quite nicely. I have 11kW in my HLT/HEX so I do it in half the time slakwhere does

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Old 11-14-2012, 01:22 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emc View Post
I like to step mash, so I was already thinking I would go the rimms route. Cidah, you mention that you upped it to two 5500 for doing 10+ gallon batches, and maybe others can chime in. From looking at kal's sight, I was under the impression that 10 gallon batch's (which for me is really 11 gallons at end of boil, usually 13 1/2ish gallons preboil on average) would be no problem on one element? your reason for the upgrade?

I step mash my sours and high gravity beers, so I had decided that rimms was the way to go. Agreed, I was already planning on over building the panel with the thought easier to grow into than add later, and since i currently have a perfectly functional propane brutus clone I brew on, it is helping in my patience to build the panel out completely first.
I only use one 5500w element for my boils (typically 11g or 13-14 preboil). What I was saying is that I have two elements, one for the HLT and one for the BK. I can run those elements simultaneously. This allows me to boil and heat strike water, or maintain a herms mash while boiling another beer. The key difference in my system is that you can fire two 5500 elements at the same time, which allows me to do back to back batches, among many other things, to speed up a multiple batch brew day.

FWIW: I have boiled about 22-23 gallons with the lid on my insulated pots with one element (on accident). I pulled the lid off and the boil continued to roll.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:34 PM   #38
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I am not saying that you can't gain heat in your herms tank quickly, but the question is how long does it take for your MT to equalize to your step? This is something that has been discussed at length in these forums. How long should a step take to be an effective step mash? i.e. your step mash "starts" when the entire grain bed is at the step temp, so if it takes you 20 minutes to rise to that temp, you are at 20 for the rise, and the time of your step.

If you push your recirc too fast you will compact the grain bed, if you go slower it takes forever to increase the temp in your MT evenly across the grain bed. How does this lag time and inconsistency affect the enzymes, per the step?

A step from 154-168 isn't really a step mash or that crucial it is just a mash out step. I am talking about making steps from a protein rest to sach rest, etc. For example for my witbier (the only recipe I consistently do a step mash for) the schedule would look like this:

Step 1: 113F (5 minutes)
Step 2: 144F (35 minutes)
Step 3: 154F (20 minutes)
.....

The hardest and longest step would be from 113 to 144F. It would take for ever in a herms, no matter how fast you recirc through and no matter what your element size. The only way I can make it work quick is to mash thick and add hot water to boost the temp.

The only other way is to overheat your hersm. So heat to maybe 160F and run your mash water through that quick to bring up your step quickly to the whole tun. But does this denature the enzymes some since the wort going through the coil is getting over heated then dumped back into a cooler body of mass in the grain bed? It still isn't a quick step by any means.

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Old 11-14-2012, 02:03 PM   #39
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Cidah can you highlight the steps you go through to do your step mash on the witbier?

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Old 11-14-2012, 03:20 PM   #40
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Just to throw in a data point here;

I do a Wit in my HERMS, which is a single 220V 5500W element.
I run a step from 122F to 154F, which takes almost exactly 30 minutes to rise. That's with a 16.12lb grist at 1.5 qt/lb, recirculating with a march pump wide open the whole time. The beer turns out fantastic.

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