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-   -   Electric vs Natural Gas Homebrew Setup Cost (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/electric-vs-natural-gas-homebrew-setup-cost-240319/)

TheBrewBros 04-17-2011 03:42 PM

Electric vs Natural Gas Homebrew Setup Cost
 
Hey guys, I've been here a little while, mostly reading, but I think it's time for a post.

I am at a very important crossroads here. I am really debating whether my homebrew setup will be electric, natural gas, or simply propane. Living in IL, I would like to retain the possibility to brew inside, otherwise I'll miss a good 6 months of the year. That leads me to electric.

However, after doing a tiny bit of research, I see things like the Electric Brewery and think that there is no way I can afford to build an electric setup. I would like you guys to give me a real rough estimate of the cost to setup your electric brewing system (with a link to the build, or a pic, or something) so that I can finally make up my mind.

If electric is as much as I thought, then I'll just go another route. But I need the info first. Thanks in advance, guys.

Dane
The Brew Bros

P-J 04-17-2011 03:48 PM

The cost really depends on the equipment that you already have as this sets the possible design you could use. Also your method (AG or extract) would help sort it out.

One more thing. What power source do you have in your brew area? If you have a 240V it's a lot easier.

Please let us know.

Tiber_Brew 04-17-2011 03:59 PM

Here is a link to my electric build thread. (It's also in my signature)

There is a rough parts list with a total cost, along with plenty if pictures showing what I did and how. There are quite a few knowledgeable people who posted in my thread, including P-J.

My build cost significantly less than something like Kal's "The Electric Brewery," so don't be too scared. Mine could also be done for a lot less if I used cheaper switches and didn't bother refinishing the control panel, ect... Walker has a full electric setup that I believe he said cost something around $600. He'll correct me if I'm wrong.

Depending on what you already have as far as equipment and utilities, a full electric build could be done for pretty cheap if you don't shoot for anything fancy.

TB

TheBrewBros 04-17-2011 03:59 PM

I will be brewing all grain exclusively. I have three sanke kegs that are being polished and fitted with a sight glass, thermometer and ball valve each, all weldless. I will be running two pumps as well.

For power, I talked to my landlord (who is really strangely into helping me build this brewery) and he is having two dedicated outlets (15A 120 & 30A 240) run up and placed exactly where I need them for my setup.

So, as far as all that is concerned, I'm pretty sure that short of nuclear power, I am setup for any and all systems...I just need to plan one.

rosier9 04-17-2011 04:04 PM

Kal's Electric Brewery is the cream of the crop, 95% of us have nowhere near as much invested. The major difference between most lp or natgas setups and electric setups is the degree of automation.

For $200ish you should be able to build a system with 2 elements, one PID controlled and one manually controlled.

I think I have around $500 in a BCS-460 controlled box with 3 elements and 2 pump outputs.

Up front costs may seem high for an electric system, but if you build an apples to apples system a gas system will cost at least the same and still cost considerably more per batch to run.

TheBrewBros 04-17-2011 04:32 PM

Hey Tiber_Brew, do you have the plans you used for your single tier build? the ones that made "building a breeze"? That would really take the guesswork out when I have my stoner welder build it. He usually gets off track midway through and I end up with a really cool, half functional sculpture...

Also, would you be willing to build a counter flow chiller for sale purposes? If so, how much?

P-J 04-17-2011 05:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheBrewBros (Post 2845529)
I will be brewing all grain exclusively. I have three sanke kegs that are being polished and fitted with a sight glass, thermometer and ball valve each, all weldless. I will be running two pumps as well.

For power, I talked to my landlord (who is really strangely into helping me build this brewery) and he is having two dedicated outlets (15A 120 & 30A 240) run up and placed exactly where I need them for my setup.

So, as far as all that is concerned, I'm pretty sure that short of nuclear power, I am setup for any and all systems...I just need to plan one.

That is great news for you.
See if you can get him to do your 240V 30A run as a 4 wire run with a 4 prong outlet. Get a GFCI breaker installed in the mains panel as well. All of this will make your setup a lot safer and MUCH easier to wire and control.

For cost: Take a look at this Excel spread sheet that I made up:
Brew_Parts_Order_Form.xls
I filled in the items that should get you to where you want to be, including the project box from Auber Instruments.
It's just at $278 as is. You can use the TAB key to navigate to the quantity fields to change them.

Here is a diagram that you can use to get there as well.
(Click on the image to see a full scale diagram- printable on 11" x 17" paper)


http://www.pjmuth.org/beerstuff/imag...52-5500w-s.jpg

I spent a little bit just now making this for you.

Hope it helps,
P-J

P-J 04-17-2011 05:37 PM

A CFC will work just fine with your system. Just a heads up though. You will need to have a HERMS coil in your HLT as you will be mashing in a keg setup. I suggest that you make that coil out of 1/2" OD copper tubing. (ACR copper). Once that is built, you could also use it as an immersion chiller to save some $'s.

TheBrewBros 04-17-2011 06:10 PM

That's freaking awesome, P-J! Thanks a ton for working that up for me! I know the electrical setup that you mention will be a breeze, like I said, he's willing to do whatever I want. He's actually having an electrician come out exclusively to wire up my brewing setup. I will simply tell him that's what I want him to do...The best part is, he will be wiring it up in exchange for a custom homebrew for his fishing club!

milldoggy 04-17-2011 06:30 PM

I spent the last 4 months building my kal clone. I put about 3000 in it. I did a few thinga different, here is my build. I really enjoyed the build. Had some come to jesus moments. I have done my third batch and I super impressed with the system. I will never go back to fire. Electric is very nice!

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/rev...-clone-237568/


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