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Old 11-30-2013, 03:44 AM   #1
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Default Bips Electric Brewery Build

Hey. So recently I have been doing a lot of research on the whole electric brewing movement and I have to say that I want to do that I have been a homebrewer for over 8 years and have been doing all grain batches for the last 3 years. But I have to say that I am getting tired of standing out in the cold or rain or snow while brewing on a sat/sun morning. Well recently I had to redo my basement due to mold and have and official unfinished side that I can do whatever I want with according to my wife . So I would like to create an area where I can do my brewing indoors. Thankfully I was able to create my bar on the other side that has a double custom kegarator/fermentation chamber under the bar top.

So I was thinking about designing my control box first. I feel that I can see myself wanting to have room to upgrade in the future and think that going bigger with the box to start is a good idea. I only have one boil kettle(8 gallon mega pot and 10g rubbermaid mlt) and dont' want to mess with them just yet so I think I will pick up a bigger kettle to work with that will allow 10gallon batches in the future and go Biab to start. But I want to have the flexibility to maybe go for a full herms system down the line. Anyone else ever do this? Was looking at the http://www.ebrewsupply.com/ebrew-kit...0a-kit-85.html kit or maybe piecing together my own.

Budget wise, I have about $500 to start with to make a control panel and one e-kettle (220v 5500w). Is that doable? My brother is going to run the 220v from the panel for me.

I feel like I have been reading through the http://www.theelectricbrewery.com site everyday but still a little confused. I would love to go as advanced as they are one day but want to start small but don't want to waste money on things that will not be used farther down. I want to plan for the big picture but make it functional sooner and smaller and add to as time goes by.

Thanks for your time and look forward to hearing back from you!

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Old 11-30-2013, 03:56 PM   #2
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So, unfortunately I think you're going to have to start small for $500.

To set yourself up for future expansion, you'll want to run 6/4 so that you can handle a 50 amp service. Not sure how far your run is but I spent almost $200 in 6/4 alone.

Also, aside from the larger kettles and wire, you're going to need:
- a NEMA enclosure ($100)
- a spa panel or GFCI breaker ($100+)
- BCS-460 ($200)
- PID, SSR, other components, wiring ($100+)
- Heating Element, some sort of element housing, etc ($50-150)
- ventilation ($100+)

All said and done, you'll be looking at almost $1000-1500 with the kettle added in. A lot of folks may spend twice that.

Personally, if I were on a limited budget, I'd get the 220V 50amp run done, get your larger kettle, and go with a simple DIY controller like this:

http://www.stilldragon.com/diy-controller.html

That should be able to get you to your $500 budget and allow you to expand easily in the future with minimal loss in not-so-useful equipment.

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Old 11-30-2013, 04:41 PM   #3
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I disagree - I think a 30 Amp service is fine. With 30 Amps you can run your mash tun, hot liquor tank or brew kettle with plenty of power to spare to run things like recirculation pumps & electric valves.

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Old 11-30-2013, 05:01 PM   #4
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I disagree - I think a 30 Amp service is fine. With 30 Amps you can run your mash tun, hot liquor tank or brew kettle with plenty of power to spare to run things like recirculation pumps & electric valves.
Correct, as long as you run no more than one 5500w element at a time.
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Old 11-30-2013, 09:49 PM   #5
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Not disagreeing with you guys at all. However, since the OP doesn't really seem to know what he will need for his future HERMS system, running a 50A service leaves him with the most flexibility in the future.

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Old 12-01-2013, 02:51 AM   #6
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I have no problems running a 50amp service to my space. Cant hurt. And the run is 8-10' from the box so not to worried about wire costs.

I am thinking about maxing out the control panel to start. That way I can pick and choose what I plug into it. Thus allowing me to upgrade the brewing equip.over time. I did pick up a 16gallon Bayou classic today for about $120 and plan on using that as my initial electric boil kettle and continue to use my 10gal rubbermaid cooler for my mlt and my 8gallon megapot for the new hlt. And then eventually upgrade these 2 to the same Bayou classic pots.

How are these pumps? Thanks for the great reply. I think that I will plan to go big on the control panel to start. That way I will have the flexibility with what brew pots that I am using.

Today I got a great deal on a brewpot. 16 gallon Bayou Classic with 1/2" ball valve for around $120. I figure I will use this pot to drill and install my first element and use as the initial boil kettle. Should be good enough for 10gallon batches. And I will continue to use my current setup till the new boil kettle is ready with the control panel. At that point I will transfer my current setup to the electric system. (8gallon megapot and 10gallon rubbermaid cooler) for my Hlt and Mlt. But will most likely pick up 2 more Bayou classic pots.

Is it possible to remove a heating element from a pot and put into a new pot?

Is the 2 PID 30a 2 element Kit from Electric Brewing Supply a good starting point for the control panel? Or am I better off piecing myself to keep the costs down?

Is it possible to remove a heating element from a pot and put into a new pot?

Is the 2 PID 30a 2 element Kit from Electric Brewing Supply a good starting point for the control panel? Or am I better off piecing myself to keep the costs down?

And how are these pumps? http://greatbreweh.com/Beer_Pump.html

Thanks

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Old 12-01-2013, 03:22 PM   #7
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Is it possible to remove a heating element from a pot and put into a new pot?



Thanks
I would consider getting one of these kits to install the element in your pot.

http://www.brewhardware.com/rimsherm...6-elementparts

It may cost a bit more up front but if you switch pots you can always just get a block-off plate for the triclover port and continue using the old kettle while moving the element to a new kettle by simply adding a new port.
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I would consider getting one of these kits to install the element in your pot. http://www.brewhardware.com/rimsherm...6-elementparts It may cost a bit more up front but if you switch pots you can always just get a block-off plate for the triclover port and continue using the old kettle while moving the element to a new kettle by simply adding a new port.
I agree. That's the way to go if you're going to go weldless.

Rather than go with the kit from eBrewSupply, I found it was cheaper to piece together one of PJ's diagrams... something like this:


image-1294338796.jpg

I just didn't wire up as many 120V receptacles.

I don't know anything about the pumps you listed. I have two of the new steelhead pumps from NB (pretty sure they're just rebranded chugger pumps) and have had good luck with them so far. Others may weigh in on those pumps though.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:16 PM   #9
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Not disagreeing with you guys at all. However, since the OP doesn't really seem to know what he will need for his future HERMS system, running a 50A service leaves him with the most flexibility in the future.
I'm just thinking of the cost. I once thought I would need a 50 Amp feed and my brother in-law, who helped me run power said "You won't need it, and it's going to cost you twice as much plus the heavier wire is harder to run". He was right.
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Old 12-05-2013, 03:26 AM   #10
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Default Planning my build

So after the info given I have been working on my plans for my electric brewing setup. I am going Medium in size but with room to allow upgrades. I am going to go with a Single Tier Herms setup with a 5500v element in the Hlt and the BK. I am going to incorporate my current equipment to start which will be a 8 gallon Megapot-HLT, 10gallon Rubbermaid-MLT, and 16gallon Bayou Cooker_BK. I am not sure if I will be running 30amp or 50amp just yet. My brother(eletrician) is coming this weekend to let me know my options on that one. I also have 2 pumps showing up next week.

This weekend, I am starting with the plumbing, and will be drilling my kettles and connecting weldless fittings with cam-lock disconnects to all. I am also hoping to find some of this discount copper from Home Depot to get started on the Herms coil.

I am pricing out the electrical stuff now. To start I am going with PJ's suggestion of this setup:



But I am planning on getting a big enough enclosure in case I wanted to add some more automatic stuff or other fluffers

I was wondering about a temp sensor though. If I am going to start out with one to run my hlt with, would it be better to install in the kettle itself or in the outlet somewhere? Thinking about the Herms setup.

Will post pics once they are ready

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