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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Electric Kettle Apartment Brewing
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Old 06-05-2011, 03:38 PM   #1
bthorn9435
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Default Electric Kettle Apartment Brewing

I would like to know if there is a simple way to build a
boil kettle utilizing hot water heater elements / 120V that I can
temp control for my brewing needs. I don't want to have to switch
the element on and off to control boiling I would prefer to be able
to temp control it without over complicating the process. I recently
switch to allgrain and the split boil is ok but it add a lot of work to brew
day. Can any kettle be converted for this use, I have a cheap starter
brew kettle at the present time. If I proceed down this path should I upgrade
or would a smaller Keg work better. All I am concerned about are 5 gallon batches. Given my situation I will not be moving to 10 gallon for a while.

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Old 06-05-2011, 03:56 PM   #2
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If you can find a 1/4 barrel keg, which is 7.5 gallons, it should be easy to take to a welder a nd have him throw a 1-1/2" half coupling on the side towards the bottom. The half coupling will allow for a standard screw in low watt density water heater element. Purchase a PID controller here and purchase two solid state relays (one for each leg of 220) and wire it up. If none of this makes sense, the simple answer is NO. Electricity and beer is very dangerous combo. It only takes one phuck up to kill you dead. So, be safe

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Old 06-05-2011, 03:59 PM   #3
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Well it so happens that I work in the electrical field and I fully understand your
concern. Water and Electricity are not good bed fellows.

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Old 06-05-2011, 05:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djsethall View Post
...take to a welder a nd have him throw a 1-1/2" half coupling...
Just to clarify, you would need a 1" half coupling or 1" NPS (pipe straight thread) locknut. Not 1-1/2" for a standard water heater element.
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Old 06-05-2011, 05:45 PM   #5
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I use a Penrose kettle with a 1" half coupler welded on the side for my boils and I do it indoors. I screw in a 5,500 watt heating element and I can do anything from 5-12 gallon batches with this. I control it using a PID. It does require the use of a 30A 220V electrical outlet so unless your apartment has one of these or you can do your boil next to a dryer outlet you won't be able to do it.

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Old 06-05-2011, 05:46 PM   #6
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Simple, buy this pot

http://cgi.ebay.com/Thunder-Group-AL...item3a623ddbef

buy a lock nut and oring here

http://www.bargainfittings.com/index...ory&path=36_38

go to home depot and buy a 2000w element and the cord, plug, and misc. supplies to install the element.

drill pot, install element and plug into 20 amp GFCI.

IME 2000w will produce a decent boil for 5 gallons w/out a controller.

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Old 06-05-2011, 06:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthorn9435 View Post
I would like to know if there is a simple way to build a
boil kettle utilizing hot water heater elements / 120V that I can
temp control for my brewing needs. I don't want to have to switch
the element on and off to control boiling I would prefer to be able
to temp control it without over complicating the process. I recently
switch to allgrain and the split boil is ok but it add a lot of work to brew
day. Can any kettle be converted for this use, I have a cheap starter
brew kettle at the present time. If I proceed down this path should I upgrade
or would a smaller Keg work better. All I am concerned about are 5 gallon batches. Given my situation I will not be moving to 10 gallon for a while.
This is a question that I posed to myself and spent quite a bit of time contemplating. The following may not be the road you end up taking but it is how I have decided to proceed:

I decided to upgrade my basic stove-top, all-grain process to be capable of performing full boil volumes. After looking into how I might accomplish this (as I am currently in an apartment) I decided to build an electric brew kettle. As I do not wish to build something that I will end up having to completely upgrade later I have decided to build this, one kettle at a time. I will not build the MLT or the HLT until I have the space to put such a system together properly. However, building the BK now will give me a start on the system and provide the boil capacity I currently desire for my 5.5 gallon stove-top batches.

You may ultimately wish to go with a smaller 120v system but as you probably have 240v access (which your stove is likely connected to) you do have the option. I should also point out that going this route is not really a "simple" (or inexpensive) way of accomplishing your goal. I just thought I would share how I have decided to proceed within a similar environment.

Good luck!
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric_pwb View Post
Just to clarify, you would need a 1" half coupling or 1" NPS (pipe straight thread) locknut. Not 1-1/2" for a standard water heater element.
Yup, you're right. My RIMS body tube is 1.5" and i got confused
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