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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Electric VS Nat Gas (not propane)
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:02 AM   #11
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I'm fairly new to brewing and still dialing-in my current gear, but I will say this... In all the years I've been cooking, using electric has always been an issue. Gas, has always been a dream. This is even true on fairly new stoves/ovens (my mother has one of the glass top stoves thanks to my cheap-ass sister)... With gas, I can execute tiny changes to the flame, and get immediate results (or damned close to it). With electric (haven't used a high grade induction burner yet) you always have lag time and making as fine adjustments takes a LOT of time on the hardware.

While this might not be true with the elements in use for brewing, I can't see ever switching to electric... At least, not until I'm able to have the accuracy (and quick reaction time) that gas provides me.

Something else you might want to consider... Complexity of the heating hardware. With gas, you have very little involved, at least when you compare with electric. Gas stoves are known to last for decades (and longer) where I've yet to find any electic range/stove/oven that can last even half as long.

Restaurants tend to use gas more than electric for more than a few reasons. One is the control you have over the heat/flame. Another is the life span of the hardware (you can have commercial grade cookers that are 100+ years old and still working like a champ). One more is the ease of repairing said cooking equipment. Repair services are far more apt to stock parts that go into a range of gas units, where they might only stock one or two of an item that is unique to an electric unit. Also, with gas, you can usually visually tell if the item is good. With electric, there could be a fault in it (from the factory) that you won't know about until you go to install/use it...

For me, it will take a LOT to be convinced to even try using electric cookers for brewing or regular cooking.

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Old 12-29-2010, 02:25 AM   #12
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It's completely different in brewing.

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Old 12-29-2010, 04:03 AM   #13
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yeah I agree that its completely different in brewing... IMO I'm fairly positive that accuracy and quick reaction time of an ssr controlled electrical system can't be touched by gas... high-frequency switching does wonders... switching to electric has been a joy for me...

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Old 12-29-2010, 04:53 AM   #14
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Electricity is free if you have solar photovoltaic.
This picture was taken 5 years ago, long before the siding was stained and the yard manicured. I have not paid an electric bill since and have a surplus of $400-$500 year that the Cali Gov. has mandated payback for excess in 2011.
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Anyway, going all electric and it will be free.

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Old 12-29-2010, 08:03 AM   #15
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Wow, I can see both sides... Still not sure which way to go.

I am familiar and comfortable with gas... Don't like the heat and open flame or carbon monoxide. It likely is somewhat cheaper. But perhaps not enough to get excited about. And even if it is 5 bucks a brew session, that really is not a deal breaker (at least for now - friggin economy). I am leaning towards the electric side...

It is still difficult to let go of this and go electric. Maybe I am a cheaper sob than I am willing to admit.

I think the problem is for me that gas "seems" nearly free. But admittedly i have no idea what my actual natural gas cost is per brew session. We have the new hi tech electric and gas meters, i think it is time to find out when i brew on Thursday. I assume I can get before and after readings and get the cost per therm (or whatever, cubic foot??) and do a quick calculation.

I really appreciate the comments. Any more words of wisdom? I got to make a decision soon - this is driving me nuts...

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Old 12-29-2010, 02:08 PM   #16
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Jim,

Why not look at a combination system? Use electricity to maintain the HLT and HERMS/RIMS system and boil on gas. Nothing says that you can't change in the future. If you are using kegs for HLT and Boil Kettle you can put elements inside and with some heat shielding put flame underneath. IMO electric RIMS gives me the best temperature control for the mash but the boil doesn't matter how the heat is applied.

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Old 12-29-2010, 02:42 PM   #17
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I've been brewing brewing AG for about 2 years now with a Brutus 10 style setup. The first year I was brewing outside on the patio and in the summer it was a hot sweaty mess, in the winter it was to cold, the wind messed with my flame control, my tank would freeze up, and it took longer to to achieve my desired temps. Then, I spent about $600-$800 on parts from Ebay and made the HLT and BK electric and controlled them with a BCS-460. I have a 12x10 shed that became my brewshed. Brewing indoors has made a huge difference in my brew day. I'm brewing much better/consistent beer due to the temperature control. I can have conversations with my brew buddies without the roar of jet burners, little heat is given off, and I can heat 13 gallons of water in my HLT to 180 in about 20mins with a 5500 watt element. I run 2 5500w elements at different times for total combined time of about 3 hrs a brew. I have not noticed one jump in my electric bill and at $.09 kwh it cost me about $1.50 a brew day. Even if it cost me $7 a day to run electric it would still be worth the control benefits and also not having to deal with a hot keg, brewstand, and the heat dispelled. Also, in my brewshed I have windwo AC unit, and a portable propane heater so I'm always comfortable no matter what the season.

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Old 12-29-2010, 10:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
While this might not be true with the elements in use for brewing, I can't see ever switching to electric... At least, not until I'm able to have the accuracy (and quick reaction time) that gas provides me...

For me, it will take a LOT to be convinced to even try using electric cookers for brewing or regular cooking.
You do realize that when people talk about electric brewing we are talking about elements mounted inside of a kettle in direct contact with the wort. This system is far more responsive than gas because you don't have to wait for the heat to be conducted through the bottom of the kettle. It's far more efficient than gas and is very close to the heat transfer efficiency of induction (which essentially turns the kettle into the element).

Jim, I'm sure you probably already run some other natural gas appliance in your house, but if you don't, you need to factor in the cost of natural gas access. Where I live, it costs $20/month for natural gas; even if I don't use any. I only use natural gas in the winter, so I get ripped off during the rest of the year. I was going to have the gas disconnected during the warm months, but the company wanted ridiculous fees to turn the gas on and off
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Old 12-29-2010, 11:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger9913 View Post
I've been brewing brewing AG for about 2 years now with a Brutus 10 style setup. The first year I was brewing outside on the patio and in the summer it was a hot sweaty mess, in the winter it was to cold, the wind messed with my flame control, my tank would freeze up, and it took longer to to achieve my desired temps. Then, I spent about $600-$800 on parts from Ebay and made the HLT and BK electric and controlled them with a BCS-460. I have a 12x10 shed that became my brewshed. Brewing indoors has made a huge difference in my brew day. I'm brewing much better/consistent beer due to the temperature control. I can have conversations with my brew buddies without the roar of jet burners, little heat is given off, and I can heat 13 gallons of water in my HLT to 180 in about 20mins with a 5500 watt element. I run 2 5500w elements at different times for total combined time of about 3 hrs a brew. I have not noticed one jump in my electric bill and at $.09 kwh it cost me about $1.50 a brew day. Even if it cost me $7 a day to run electric it would still be worth the control benefits and also not having to deal with a hot keg, brewstand, and the heat dispelled. Also, in my brewshed I have windwo AC unit, and a portable propane heater so I'm always comfortable no matter what the season.
Exactly. Well said.

(It also helps that I live in Seattle, and as a previous poster mentioned, have access to ridiculously cheap electricity.)
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Old 12-30-2010, 07:57 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
Electricity is free if you have solar photovoltaic.
This picture was taken 5 years ago, long before the siding was stained and the yard manicured. I have not paid an electric bill since and have a surplus of $400-$500 year that the Cali Gov. has mandated payback for excess in 2011.
Attachment 18599
Anyway, going all electric and it will be free.

Sparky, that is a sweet setup.
What are the ballpark costs for those panels and gear?
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