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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > How to build a 5 gal, 110v eBIAB kettle
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:10 PM   #1
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Default How to build a 5 gal, 110v eBIAB kettle

After a few PM's about my setup, I am creating this thread to help people like me who 3 months ago had no idea where to get started on a simple, cost effective method of brewing 5 gallons of beer with an electric DIY kettle.

There are numerous threads on HBT that cover similar builds, and of course there is Kal’s website that is perfect for 3 vessel, 220v systems, but this covers a simple setup that you can use almost anywhere in your house.
Either BIAB or you can heat strike water in it and mash in a cooler, and transfer back for boil if you'd like to.

You will need to use 2 separate circuits (good extension cord) and they both need to be GFCI. I am not getting into GFCI, you can do it at the breaker, plug, or inline that is up to you.

Parts required for Kettle:

42 qt or larger turkey pot with basket strainer:

42 qt aluminum http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-...9414911&sr=8-5

44 qt stainless http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-...9414911&sr=8-4


Element(s):


I am using (2) 1,650 watt elements because I wanted to use existing 20A circuits, and 1,650 watts on 110 volts draws 15 amps allowing me a little room to spare.
http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/EME...754?Pid=search

Element mounting:

(2) total 18-8 Stainless Steel Wide-Rim Shim .075" Thick, 1-1/2" ID, 2-1/4" OD

http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/118/3250/=g9xtsl

(2) total Type 304 Stainless STL Locknut 1” NPS

http://www.mcmaster.com/#4464K586

(4) total Silicone O-Ring AS568A Dash Number 217

http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/118/3484/=g9xuds

(2) total 1” threaded pvc coupling

http://www.amazon.com/Genova-30128-1...9415486&sr=1-4

(2) total 1” threaded pvc plug

http://www.amazon.com/Genova-31810-W...9415611&sr=1-9

JB Weld-JB Quick

http://www.amazon.com/J-B-Weld-8276-...sr=1-1-catcorr

Clear Silicone sealant

http://www.amazon.com/Clear-Food-Gra...sr=1-1-catcorr

110v 3 wire/3 prong appliance cord at least 15A rating

http://www.amazon.com/PETRA-90-0306-...9416197&sr=1-1


Step Bit for holes in kettle

http://www.amazon.com/Neiko-Titanium...9416446&sr=1-2


Kettle drain parts:


Weldless bulkhead (note you need to add SS valve and valve end, I used a barbed hose adapter for mine)
http://www.bargainfittings.com/index...&product_id=91



Now since my kettle is already built, I can only give you a few build pictures. Also, this covers the 44qt stainless kettle from Bayou Classic. You will want to verify any and all dimensions if you buy a different brand or size kettle.

First thing you need to do is drill 3 holes in your kettle. 2 for the elements and 1 for the drain. Element holes are 1-1/4” and the valve hole is 7/8”. Go slow and use lots of cutting oil on the bit, because it will only last one hole if you burn it up.

Mount the valve as seen here: http://www.bargainfittings.com/image...t1-500x500.jpg

You will need to put a slight bend in the elements sideways so that they don’t hit each other when you put them in the kettle. I simply put one on the corner of a piece of lumber and bent it slowly with my hands. They are soft and bend easily. Careful not to go to fast or far because they will break.

Install the elements in the kettle as shown:









(I used bulk wire and extension cord ends for my kettle, but an already made appliance cord works just as well)




This setup allows ~7.5 gallons of boil volume w/o getting scary.
I boil off at exactly 1 gallon per hour with both elements wide open.
1 element will not maintain a rapid boil.
It takes 28 minutes to get 7 gallons of 68 deg water to 160, and 53 to get to rolling boil.

So for $200.00 you can be brewing in an aluminum kettle. $250.00 for SS, and add another $100.00 and you can control mash temps.


My controller is a PID based on jkarp's Countertop Brutus 20 located here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/coun...s-20-a-131411/ This is what I used to build mine. If you can't figure it out I can post some pics.

Here is a link to a picture thread I posted the other day that is a complete all grain brew day. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f85/pict...-ebiab-303827/

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Old 02-16-2012, 08:45 PM   #2
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Very nice write up and e-kettle. Did you consider one 2000w element? While excellent documentation has been done on advanced 220v electric brewing using controllers, there is not much information about a simple 120v electric kettle. I suspect with an inexpensive 10 galllon aluminum pot and a 2000w element someone could build a very affordable budget minded e-kettle cheaply and easily. Sort of what the Model T was to the auto industry.

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Old 02-16-2012, 08:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilserbrewer View Post
Very nice write up and e-kettle. Did you consider one 2000w element? While excellent documentation has been done on advanced 220v electric brewing using controllers, there is not much information about a simple 120v electric kettle. I suspect with an inexpensive 10 galllon aluminum pot and a 2000w element someone could build a very affordable budget minded e-kettle cheaply and easily. Sort of what the Model T was to the auto industry.
When I was doing research, general consensus was that a 2,000w element was not adequate for a 5 gallon all grain (6+ gallon wort) boil.

If you want to do 5 gallon extract batches with a 3, 4, or maybe 5 gallon boil volume, the 2,000w single element should work.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:01 PM   #4
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Thank you for this! I've been piecing together information for a simple electric BIAB build exactly like this.

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Old 02-16-2012, 11:46 PM   #5
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very nice!! So you just basic plugin and unplug from the wall to control everything? no fancy controls right?

Also, I'm guessing there are no problems with JB weld while boiling? health concerns or reliability?

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Old 02-17-2012, 12:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ApolloSpeed View Post
very nice!! So you just basic plugin and unplug from the wall to control everything? no fancy controls right?

Also, I'm guessing there are no problems with JB weld while boiling? health concerns or reliability?
You don't need a control at all to brew with this setup. This is what you do if you are BIAB.
  1. Fill kettle with water and plug in BOTH elements and heat water to strike temp
  2. At strike temp, unplug BOTH elements and dough-in
  3. Check temp and either add cold water if high, or plug in ONE element to raise temp to mash temp
  4. Once at mash temp, unplug ALL elements and wrap with towel/blanket/sleeping bag/bear skin rug, etc
  5. Plug in one element when you need to raise temperature, then unplug it when you hit it (it will take a few minutes to both lose and gain temp)
  6. After mash is complete, plug in BOTH elements and raise to mash-out temp, then unplug BOTH elements
  7. Once mash-out is complete and grains removed, plug in BOTH elements and bring to a boil, and leave that way until boil is complete


I built a PID controller based on jkarp's design simply to hold my mash temps w/o me needing to babysit the kettle for 60-90 minutes. I set the temp I want, plug in only 1 of the elements to it, and walk away.

Here is a pic of the PID controller. I only need one element to hold mash temp, so one element is plugged into this, and the other one is unplugged completely during mashing.

(In this picture, both elements are plugged in, one directly in the wall, the 2nd into the PID. I am heating the water to strike temp here [currently 77deg], and it goes faster with both elements. I unplug the element that is plugged into the wall about 2 degrees short so that I don't over shoot my strike temps)



Here is a shot of the PID 10 minutes into my 90 minute mash. It will turn the element on and off to hold whatever temperature is set (GREEN numbers)




The JB weld is on the outside of the kettle only. It doesn't come into contact with wort at any point. It simply holds the 1" threaded coupling onto the water heater element.
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:15 AM   #7
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@disintegr8or

Awesome build and write up! This is very similar to my design except I am not using a PID yet.

One thing others might consider:
You will be fine with the high density cameco 2000w elements. I use two and have no problem with scorching. They are shorter and you will not need to bend them. Cheap too!

I'll eventually post some pics. I used the same water proof box with two switches, one controlling each element. The elements plug into the box. I also have two small indicator lamps indicating when an element is active.

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Old 02-17-2012, 02:54 AM   #8
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Awesome!

Thanks a heap!

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Old 02-17-2012, 03:28 AM   #9
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Do you think one 1650w element would be enough to mash AND boil 4 gallons? what do you use to keeo the weight of the basket + grain off of the elements? Thanks for the awesome thread, man!

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Old 02-17-2012, 12:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skelator View Post
Do you think one 1650w element would be enough to mash AND boil 4 gallons? what do you use to keeo the weight of the basket + grain off of the elements? Thanks for the awesome thread, man!
I've never tried it. I will dump 4 gallons of water in my kettle and try one element and let you know what happens.

The basket sits on a rim made in the pot so the bottom of the basket is actually about 5" from the bottom of the kettle and it doesn't hit the elements.


Edit, One 1,650w element will boil (rolling boil) 4 gallons of 68deg water in 56 minutes in my kettle.

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