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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Be Gentle
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:22 PM   #1
LTownLiquorPig
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Default Be Gentle

Still an extract kit brewer (Cooper's, adding my own hop additions) but starting to seriously think I'd like to move into AG. Gotta say after lots of digging on here I'm not enamoured with the idea of propane outdoors. I don't have much time to brew in the summer, and winters here would be less than appealing to brew in as well. So electric seems to be the ticket. I can brew indoors, year round (evenings in the summer with no flies!)

My plan is to create brew space in the basement, and start off with an e-kettle with some type of temp control, then mash in a cooler, then boil in the same kettle. What I have going for me is the area swmbo will allow me is beside the main panel, so adding a 240V outlet would be fairly cheap and easy. Same goes for a range hood.

Here's my question: how can I build a kettle that will give me flexibilty to do 10 gallon batches, with a fairly simple temp control to get to mash temps, then boil as well, on the lower end of the budget range. I have a buddy who's a welder and a buddy who's an electrician, but I'd rather not approach them until I solidly understand what I'm asking of them. I've been digging through posts for a couple weeks and can't find what I'm looking for.

For clarity, I'm not interested (at this point) in anything more than the single kettle and cooler set up. No pumps, just kettle.

Thanks for any help folks!

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Old 11-30-2012, 06:12 AM   #2
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Why not use a heat stick? You can get a 4500 or 5500 watt 240 volt water heater element, and mount it in the heat stick for minimal cost. Your kettle stays intact, so there are no fittings to buy, weld, or leak. Here's a podcast: http://www.cedarcreeknetworks.com/heatstick.htm or another page: http://lovebrewingcompany.com/brewing/diy/heatstick/ These are 120 v, and for 240 you would need different plugs, and 12 gauge cord. Talk to your electrician before you buy them.

I actually used 4) 120 v heatsticks to brew 10 gallon batches until I got my natural gas powered brewstand set up. That meant having 4 separate circuits close at hand, which worked in one part of my basement (as long as no one tried to run a hairdryer in the bathroom!). You need GFCI circuits, which were pre-existing in my basement. If you have to install the circuits, one 240 v spa panel (think Home Depot) would probably be the cheaper way to go. IIRC, my highest cost item was the 12 gauge cord.

If you want simple power control to the thing, it doesn't get much cheaper than this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/10000W-220v-...item2a24b0182e

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Old 11-30-2012, 10:12 AM   #3
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Thanks for the help! I've probably seen all the info I need spread throughout the forum, but I didn't know how to suck out the info I wanted from the individual threads. Thanks!

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Old 11-30-2012, 01:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTownLiquorPig View Post

Here's my question: how can I build a kettle that will give me flexibilty to do 10 gallon batches, with a fairly simple temp control to get to mash temps, then boil as well, on the lower end of the budget range. I have a buddy who's a welder and a buddy who's an electrician, but I'd rather not approach them until I solidly understand what I'm asking of them. I've been digging through posts for a couple weeks and can't find what I'm looking for.

For clarity, I'm not interested (at this point) in anything more than the single kettle and cooler set up. No pumps, just kettle.

Thanks for any help folks!
In a word, Keggle ...
Procure a 15.5 gallon keg, and cut the top out . Install a 5500 watt (low watt density) heating element, a drain spout, and a thermometer in it.
You'll also need to build a controller for the heating element...this would be purely manual control
search for PWM controller
hope that helps
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepyCreekBrews View Post
In a word, Keggle ...
Procure a 15.5 gallon keg, and cut the top out . Install a 5500 watt (low watt density) heating element, a drain spout, and a thermometer in it.
You'll also need to build a controller for the heating element...this would be purely manual control
search for PWM controller
hope that helps
Understanding the controller lingo is where my big cconfusion really is. I want something simple, set my temp and let it happen.....

Heat sticks intrigue me, but I like the idead of element in kettle, then cord to control to wall. Makes it seem more secure in my mind....
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:52 PM   #6
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IMO , you won't be able to set n forget .....the boil is pretty much a manual control type of affair ...you'll want to turn it up to max to get it toward boiling temp, and then watch it and turn it down when the hot break starts, then adjust as necessary for the rest of the boil .

...'course, when heating strike n sparge water, you'd prolly just max it out and then turn it off .

the PSR-25 device from United Automation is an easy build with only the device, a Potentiometer, and perhaps a amp meter ...(and a heat sink) ...see the wiring below.



mount it in a box and you're brewin!

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Old 11-30-2012, 08:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepyCreekBrews View Post
IMO , you won't be able to set n forget .....the boil is pretty much a manual control type of affair ...you'll want to turn it up to max to get it toward boiling temp, and then watch it and turn it down when the hot break starts, then adjust as necessary for the rest of the boil .

...'course, when heating strike n sparge water, you'd prolly just max it out and then turn it off .

the PSR-25 device from United Automation is an easy build with only the device, a Potentiometer, and perhaps a amp meter ...(and a heat sink) ...see the wiring below.



mount it in a box and you're brewin!
Make sure to include GFCI
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:16 PM   #8
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No set and forget. I've just seen people saying it's hard to get an even temp throughout the water for mashing without some kind of temperature control.

The project won't happen tomorrow, but hoping to turn Christmas gift cards into parts!

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Old 12-02-2012, 07:55 AM   #9
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I put together a couple really simple electric pots for a couple of my buddies very similar to the diagram above I used this ssr kit ebay item (140553987088) and a $10 two pole contactor with a on & off switch

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Old 12-03-2012, 02:53 PM   #10
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You can add temp control to the previous design by using a ranco temp controller or pid to enable/disable power to a contactor for the 220v power. In my design I use the $10 version of the phase angle control available on eBay or amazon. Some pids have manual mode so you can use a regular ssr instead of phase angle for boil control.

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