I want to know what people have had good success with for working with 10-20 gallon batches. I have one circuit with 50 amps 240vac and another 30 amp 240vac available to me and both single phase. I know that a 5500w element will work fine for 10gallon batches but what about 20 gallons? Is it reasonable to attempt to heat the 20 gallons with a 5500w element? I can make provisions to add a second element to the BK to aid in boiling the larger batches if I need to. I just want to make sure I have realistic expectations.
If you have a 50a, 240v circuit available and want to go with big batches, then use two 5500w elements. For 22 gallons, from 60F to boiling with 5500w will take more than 90 minutes, half that with 11000w.
1 gallon of water is 8.34 BTU so 20 gallons is 166.6
BTU. Going from 60 to 180*F will take 20016 BTU ( 5887W). A 5kw element will take a bit over an hour(64min) to heat up. And Another 16min to go to a boil from Mashout. This all ignores heat loss through the kettle so it'll take longer, how much depends on your setup
1°: Graham's English Cider ; 3°: Blackberry Melomel, ; Conditioning: Banana wine, Cider, Orange/Clover blossom mead, Cyser, JAOM, In like a Lion RIS ; Drinking: Cider, In like a Lion RIS
If you have the power available, I'd say put as much wattage into the kettle as you can. You won't regret it. This would likely be around 10 - 11 kW for your 50 A circuit depending on what else you are powering at the same time.