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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Can this be done? E-HERMS/Coolers
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:50 PM   #1
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Default Can this be done? E-HERMS/Coolers

I talked with a buddy that works at a local brewery (Blue Pants in Madison, AL) about my goal to get better and really dial things in for consistency and he said he would stay at 5 gallons rather than trying to upgrade to 10 gallons in the process. My plans were keggles + gas + strut stand and all that but I think I want to go the electric route honestly.

Is it possible to go with a HLT with 240v element but wire it up for 120v to begin with, that will be suitable size in hopes of my house having 240v when I buy? The cost isn't so much more for future proofing the setup, but I'm thinking it may be best running dual 120v elements instead. Something like dual 1650's. I think if I run three 10 gallon coolers, with 1 being a heated HLT and 1 being my BK...I could get away with 3 coolers and not have to mess with big heavy kegs.

Can someone double check my thought process please?

1) Heat water in HLT and pump to MT for dough in.
2) Recirculate wort from MT through CFC flowing HLT liquid to keep mash correct temp.
3) Sparge from HLT while draining to BK
4) Collect all wort and continue with boil schedule.

Am I missing something or will it work as I envision?

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Old 04-17-2013, 02:09 PM   #2
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I'm not a huge knowledge bank for this kind of info, but: I use two coolers and a 15g kettle. One igloo cooler has a 1500W 120V heating element which is used as my HLT. My mash tun is just a converted igloo. My kettle has the 5500W camco 240V element in it. I have it hooked up as 120V and it needs a little help from the stove to get 7 gallons boiling.

I plan on using my HLT, pump and CFC to maintain mash temps but haven't figured it out myself yet. I know steps 1,3 & 4 work.

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Old 04-17-2013, 02:56 PM   #3
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You can run a 240v element at 120v, but keep in mind that it will only generate 1/4 of the rated heat output. So if you put in a 5500w 240v element and push it at 120v, you'll basically have a 1375w element. Depending on how much water you're trying to heat, and how well insullated your kettle is, that may or may not be enough to get a boil.

Running 2 1650s will require either a 30a circuit, or two 15/20a circuits - you need to make sure you're running them off separate circuits / breakers. You may or may not have that ability in your planned 120v area.

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Old 04-17-2013, 03:00 PM   #4
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I just want to do 5 gallon batches, so what would be needed heat stick wise to get to a boil? It seems like a single 1650 might take forever?

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Old 04-17-2013, 03:35 PM   #5
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I am going through similar calculations on doing a 5 gallon batch, and I think, heating to boiling and heating to strike temp probably needs 220V to get the amps down like said above. Otherwise probably would take an hour or so to do those things.

I am doing a hybrid system with propane for now, with planning on just maintaining mashes which can be easily done with a herms coil and a large plug in 1200 Watt coffee urn as HLT, I think.

In order to figure it out, you can do a calculation of the energy required and then divide by your wattage:

5 gallons is about 19kg water
going from room temp water(20C) to mash temp of 155 for example (68C)
wgt water x heat capacity x temp difference = energy required

Energy (Joules)= (18925 grams water)(4.18heat capacity of water)(68-20)=

3800000 Joules divided your 1650 stick = 2300 sec or 38 minutes.

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Old 04-17-2013, 03:40 PM   #6
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Ya, wish I knew my living situations future so I could buy to suit. Guess it's time to wait a while longer to grow into something else.

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Old 04-17-2013, 06:51 PM   #7
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2x 1650W should work although it will be slow for 10 gallons. I have a single 3000W element in my 50 litre kettle. At some point I will upgrade but it's fine for now.

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Old 04-17-2013, 06:55 PM   #8
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This will be for 5 gallons. I'm still just not sure what route I want to go.

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Old 04-17-2013, 07:15 PM   #9
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If it helps, I wanted to go full electric, but then realized that unless I go to kegs to brew in, it wouldn't be worth putting all that time and effort in to hooking it up.


That being said, I just bought yesterday the 25' SS coil, a $28 coffee urn with 1200 Watt element, a used PIDcontroller off someone on here (which started the madness), a $45 dollar food grade 12V solar pump. I'm gonna need the silicone tubing, some wire, a relay probably 20amp, steal a thermocouple at work, and a number of other electronics things I have no idea about. But at least I can upgrade most of the stuff without dismantling anything a few years down the road.

2cents

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