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Old 06-14-2011, 12:37 AM   #1
matts
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Default Induction Burner Recommendations?

I am doing some research into induction burners. There's quite a range of options and prices out there. Would like to get around 3500W. I don't know what companies are reputable and whether there is a burner that homebrewers have had success with.

I recognize that I will probably have to make a stand to hold the weight of the kettle, but to me that is worth not having a couple heat sticks. Those things kind of sketch me out. I also would rather not have heating elements in my brew pot.

Here's one for $179:
http://www.webstaurantstore.com/avantco-ic3500-3500-watt-countertop-induction-range-cooker-208-240v/177IC3500%20%20%20208*240.html?utm_source=Google&u tm_medium=cse&utm_campaign=GoogleShopping

Was also thinking about getting three of these and putting them in a triangle configuration (with some sort of stand to hold the weight, but also keeping the pot in contact with the burners).

http://www.amazon.com/1800-Watt-Portable-Induction-Countertop-8100MC/dp/B0045QEPYM/ref=pd_sbs_k_4

Any suggestions, criticisms of this line of thinking are welcomed.

Thanks,
Matt

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Old 06-14-2011, 03:05 AM   #2
Gwitz
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Well, from my understanding these things work by creating an alternating electric field that heats up the pot, the catch is they dont work very well on non ferrous metals. Common brewing kettles are made of 3 series stainless which is non ferrous. So unless you can stick a magnet to whatever you're brewing in its not gonna work well.

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Old 06-14-2011, 03:26 AM   #3
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Ah, I see. Just tried to stick a magnet to my Polar Ware and it didn't stick at all. Lots of misinformation out there on induction-compatible pots.

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Old 06-14-2011, 03:45 AM   #4
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The induction idea has caught my attention a few times. Aside from the obvious requirement of having to bond a magnetic layer to the bottom of the kettle. Which there are a few more pricey 5+ gallon kettles on the market for induction cooking if this is not possible.

Most of these units have a temperature control feature. I'm just guessing, but, couldn't this same feature be controlled or automated with an analog output such as an SLC500 or labJack and some fancy computer footwork?

How does an induction element control the temperature?

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Old 06-14-2011, 04:07 AM   #5
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I am putting together an induction set up as well. How big of a brew kettle are you planning on using? Must be pretty big if you are thinking of using three burners. I won’t have mine set up for at least a month so I don’t know from experience but I would think one 3500w burner centered would be better than three 1800w burners missing the middle of the pot. As I am sure you already found out there is not much info on using induction burners with large stock pots. I went with a bon chef 3500w drop in range that I got through the hbt classifieds. As for a pot, I went with the bayou classic 44qt with basket and spigot for biab. Partially because it is biab ready but mostly because it was the only kettle I could find that is skinny/tall vs wide/short to fit on the burner better. I am not as worried about the weight as you are. During my research I didn’t find anything bad about the Avantco. The thing I didn’t like was that it was only 12 inches wide.

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Old 06-14-2011, 04:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevkev5 View Post
I am putting together an induction set up as well. How big of a brew kettle are you planning on using? Must be pretty big if you are thinking of using three burners. I won’t have mine set up for at least a month so I don’t know from experience but I would think one 3500w burner centered would be better than three 1800w burners missing the middle of the pot. As I am sure you already found out there is not much info on using induction burners with large stock pots. I went with a bon chef 3500w drop in range that I got through the hbt classifieds. As for a pot, I went with the bayou classic 44qt with basket and spigot for biab. Partially because it is biab ready but mostly because it was the only kettle I could find that is skinny/tall vs wide/short to fit on the burner better. I am not as worried about the weight as you are. During my research I didn’t find anything bad about the Avantco. The thing I didn’t like was that it was only 12 inches wide.
My pot isn't that big, just a Polar Ware 42 qt. It's also a skinny/tall pot. I just figured that one 1800w probably wasn't enough so I would go with three to get somewhat even coverage.

That Bayou Classic 44 qt appears to be 304 stainless steel according to an Amazon listing. Are you sure that will work with induction?
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Old 06-14-2011, 04:31 AM   #7
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I had the same concern and posted this:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/induction-ready-brew-pots-248761/
The conclusion was that as long as a magnet sticks it is good to go.

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Old 06-14-2011, 05:01 AM   #8
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Cool! Please keep me updated how it goes! Might have to get one of those.

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Old 06-14-2011, 10:21 AM   #9
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There have been several threads that are in depth. I did a fair amount of research w/ it.

The skinny: Definitely go with the highest wattage (3.5k W). You'll need 240v service for that as the highest 120v is 1.8k W and while that may (may) maintain a mash temp, it'll take all day long to heat up strike water from the tap, 5 gallons of it. This is as per tech's advise at both companies listed below (the best ones on the market). Another thing is that most of these have a chip that 'autodetects' pot size - don't work with larger than 14" bases- you have to check into that. Some guys are doing well with the really cheap ones you can get off ebay to brew with DME and I think that's a great idea, but if you are trying to mash with this thing, you need one that goes into temp mode (rather than 'power levels', of which some only have 10).

The best price to performance ratio at 1.8k W is Vollrath Mirage 59500. It has a great timer on it and 100 power level settings. It also can zero in on a temperature which is what you really need if you're going to mash with this. In temp mode, control is every degree. The only other one that gets you that is the high end Cooktek Apoggee. Pretty pricey. Unfortunately, the Vollrath doesn't come in a 3.5k W (in the Mirage line, and I don't think the other more commercial ones have temp mode).

I wanted to go with the Mirage 1.8k more for the purposes of doing sour mashes outside, holding at 100* for 48 hrs. Gave up. Maybe in the future. I'm spent...

Of course, if you want to go all out, you could marry a control box to one of these (~$3k ea):

{Models: MSP7000-200 / MSP8000-400
The CookTek® Back of House 3-Phase series establishes the benchmark for high volume boil and simmer applications. The free standing large induction stock pot range will boil five gallons (19 liters) of room temperature water in 15 minutes or less!}

free_standing_large_induction_stock_pot_range.jpg  
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Old 11-01-2011, 01:19 AM   #10
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I've only been brewing for a month (just did my third batch last night) and have ONLY used induction to do this.

Yes, all the reports are true... to go from "room temperature" to boiling takes about an hour and a half (I wrap my brew kettle with a makeshift blanket and leave the lid on for a good portion of it to keep in heat), but it eventually boils and can keep it there with the heat at about 50%

I use one of these:

Iwatani 1800


As SankePankey indicates, the CookTek line is (in my mind) the Rolls Royce of cooktops (though much better in terms of reliability than a RR). I have one of their other units and probably will for the rest of my life. Apart from brewing, I also cook a lot of complicated meals and the control I have with the CookTek is amazing.

As for the temperature modes, I wouldn't rely on those too much. Both of my cooktops have a temperature setting, but since it's being monitored through the ceramic top, it has a pretty wide "swing".

Not sure if you could do a thermostat connection without some hacking. Mine (I have 3 different models) all get powered up in "standby" mode so anything that shuts off the power would need human intervention to resume.

That being said...

There are benefits over gas apart from efficiency, blah blah. For one thing, I can leave a towel near/on the "burner" without a hassle. The handles don't really heat up (apart from the pot itself heating it up), and I can do this in a closed garage which is handy since some neighbor kids with REALLY POOR "boundaries" won't come wandering over and, oh, CLOSE MY GARAGE DOOR ON ME. (Yes, they've done it. It's kinda like Lord of the Flies.)

Where was I... Oh yes... No tanks to refill, etc.

The 220v models are tempting idea since I have a spare 220v circuit where a gas clothes dryer would be. (I prefer to think of it as a "dedicated brewing circuit".) Maybe someday after I fix a hundred other things which are more pressing.

I'll probably go with gas at some point but, until then, my little Iwatani is doing the job... if a little slowly...

--Daniel
"Wait, I can make this stuff myself? Why didn't I do this sooner?" - Me

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