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Old 03-22-2011, 02:03 AM   #1
Navy_Brewer
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Default New Electric BIAB system (Wiring Check Please)

I have been lurking for a while and have decided to take the plunge shifting to electric brewing. I am setting up an electric BIAB based in the 44 Qt Bayou Classic Pot. Seems to be perfect for my batch size (5 gal into keg) and I have made several great beers so far using it on a propane burner. I am looking at a 240VAC 5500 watt element as I have little patience and may want to move to 10 gallon batches some day.

I have enclosed my wiring diagram and my control panel layout (8x8x6 conduit box from Home Depot) for a sanity check. I may use a .50 cal ammo can instead for the control panel but I have not yet decided or procured one from work.

I will try to document as much of the build as possible for those that are interested in a mid level, BIAB set up.

Thanks and I look forward to contributing here.

wiring-diagram.jpg   panel-3.jpg  
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Old 03-28-2011, 01:53 AM   #2
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Is this going to be a single vessel setup? No sparge full volume style?

Edit to add: Forgot to mention I have the same kettle so I am curious about your build.

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Old 03-28-2011, 11:10 AM   #3
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I just finished wiring a .50 cal ammo box for a control panel. The overall size is great. But the opening is small, so you either need a few extra joints in your fingers or very dainty hands to easily get everything in there and hooked up. You end up with components on top of each other, so the stuff on the bottom is hard to get to. If I did it again, I'd go with a box that had a larger opening.

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Old 03-28-2011, 04:32 PM   #4
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Yes this is a single vessel system. The grain is put in a bag inside the boiling strainer basket that came with the pot. That is lowered into about 8 gallons of water heated to strike temp. Mash for one hour then remove basket. Boil remaining 7 gallons as any other batch and cool to 6 gallons for 5.5 in the fermenter.

So far that has made 4 great beers so I am officially getting rid of my keg based 3 tier set up. I will keep my keg fermenter though as I can do a double batch (10 gal) for beers I like or dilute for 10 gallons of a lighter beer.

I got the heater element in the pot last night. A water heater wrench is critical as I could never get it sealed up until I invested in one. I am using Kal's meathod though I put the o-ring inside the pot in the groove of the locknut. Still deciding on a bottom drain or keeping it in the side. i think I will try the side for a couple of batched before I commit to drilling the bottom of the pot.

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Old 03-30-2011, 11:17 PM   #5
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Here is the start of my control panel. It is a 12x12 PVC box from home depot. I tried a couple of layouts on the tape and when I was happy cut using a step bit and dremel tool.

I also tested my pid and found it was not registering correctly. After troubleshooting with auber, it has to go back. Luckily they are sending a new one and it is in the mail already. Very happy with their customer service. Spend the extra $10 and buy from them over chinese junk.

image-1689568142.jpg   image-4112359368.jpg   image-4127288899.jpg  
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:44 PM   #6
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Well everything is moving along fast. So here it is up and running. I stayed up late a couple of nights to do the wiring once everything came in. Water went from 59 to 152 in 20 minutes. Up to mashout in 10 and to boiling 10 after that. The whole reason for building this was to speed up the brewday and simplify. I think I accomplished that well.

Only problem I ran into was my wiring for the alarms. I wasn't thinking and wired all the alarms to one buzzer and did not realize that when one goes hot to power the buzzer, it reverse powers the other lights/switches. I will either have to split the alarms to individual buzzers or find some way to prevent the reverse power. Is there such a thing as a diode for A/C?

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Old 04-04-2011, 10:41 AM   #7
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The system looks great and that is exactly what I plan to do this summer to help save time on brew day. Question: I plan to get the bayou classic 44 qt. with the basket just as you have and I plan to do 5 gal. batches using the (BIAB) method, have you found that the 44 qt. has plenty of room for (BIAB) 5 gal. batches or now that you have brewed with this system would you suggest the 60 qt? Thanks.

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Old 04-04-2011, 11:16 AM   #8
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Depends on the beer style you like. I think I can max out at about 12 lbs of grain, which gets me a 1.060 beer. To go higher means a thicker mash and the resulting efficiency drop (currently 80% for 1.060) and adding water. If you like really big beers then you may want the 60 qt. If I were to do it again, I would probably get the 60 but I found a great deal on the 44.

The big beers I like all use sugar to boost gravity (Belgians and Pliney) so I am ok. The beauty of an electric system is changing pots is relatively easy. I made mine with a 240V 5500 watt element so I am good up to 55 gallon drums.

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Old 04-04-2011, 11:33 AM   #9
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How do you keep the steamer basket above the heating element?

Also wondering what's the pump used for? Transfer to the fermenter? recirc pump?

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Old 04-04-2011, 01:39 PM   #10
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The steamer basket rests on a lip inside the pot. You can make it out in the picture above. It leaves about 3 inches of space under the bottom for the element, thermometer and drain. I am looking to follow Scuba Steve's lead in getting this closed in to replace the bag but will let him do the research on the best method. I am concidering though using anysizebasket.com though as it would be easier to clean than several pieces of wire mesh bolted together. If I do go this rout I will probably cut off the bottom of the basket and make a false bottom with it to keep the basket and immersion chiller from resting on the element/temp probe.

The pump is for recircing during the mash, whirlpool chilling, and transfer to fermenter. This could be done without the pump except that:
1. This should maintain better temps throughout the mash as I do not intend to insulate, only let the PID fire and maintain temp. Recirculation at the least will provide more uniform temperatures.
2. I had it anyway.

I hope to get the first brew done next weekend. I will take lots of pics and post them.

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