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Old 01-25-2011, 10:32 PM   #1
ayoungrad
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Default Purchase an electric heat source???

I live in an apartment without outdoor space and only a ceramic/glass-top stove (my kitchen only has about 16 square feet or less of open floor). I am able to bring 3-3.5 gallons to a boil on my stove and have made some good beers but I'm thinking about moving to full boil. I am going to try splitting my batches into 2 pots and that will likely work in the short term but it has its obvious drawbacks.

Assuming I will quickly tire of this I have started looking into a new electric heat source. From what I see, there are heatsticks, electric brew heaters and convection heat plates amongst a few others.

Heatsticks seem to have a limited lifespan according to some and don't seem to be sold in ready to use format. It seems many are not standard U.S. voltage or require a dedicated outlet?

Electric brew sticks seem to cost about $150-200, which I don't mind paying but I have never seen reviews of them.

I saw in a couple of places that the convection heat plates have difficulty with big volumes.

Is there any good solution? In a nutshell, what I'm looking for is a powerful electric heat source that I can use in my tiny kitchen to create rolling full boils and end up with 5.5 to 6.0 gallons after a 60 to 90 minute boil. And I'd like to buy it ready-to-use for under $500. It this possible? Or is this what everyone on here is looking for?

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Old 01-25-2011, 10:42 PM   #2
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There are some places that sell them, for example, I found High Gravity brewing will let you build your own brew kettle with electric. They also sell heat sticks. I can configure a 62 quart electric kettle with a ball valve, thermometer, and element for about $300.

http://www.highgravitybrew.com/Produ...ewery-c276.htm

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Old 01-26-2011, 12:29 PM   #3
ayoungrad
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Thanks. I looked briefly. A few things that would be great if I ever move into a bigger place and in the meantime, a bunch of options as well.

Thanks again.

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Old 10-18-2011, 05:02 PM   #4
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Wow, this site is great, Jawbox, any experience with any of their electric heat sticks?
This is exactly what I was looking for.

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Old 10-18-2011, 05:41 PM   #5
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If you want to do full boils quickly you'll need to use at least a 3500 watt heating element in my opinion, 5500 watt is better. However, these require a 240V/30A electric service (standard dryer outlet). If you can get access to a dryer outlet you'd be good to go.

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Old 10-19-2011, 02:15 AM   #6
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Check out this link. (Amazon link at bottom of this post) It may be a fairly reasonably price option for you. I have this setup, and it's worked well for me. Not perfect, but perfectly workable. It will keep a rolling boil on about 6.5 gallons and get there fairly quickly. I think the heating element's around 1650 watts on 120 volts.

Caveat: The heating element is not failproof. Mine burned out after about a year's fairly heavy use. 14-18 sessions. I thought the whole setup was toast, but when I called the manufacturer I found that they'd ship me another heating element ( heatstick, really) for $28.00 post paid. The new unit worked great, and I'm back on track.


An additional thought: The heating element just hangs over the side of the liquid vessel. The bracket the heating element hangs on trips a switch on the back of the heating element that allows it to turn on. It seems to me that the heating element safety switch could be easily bypassed by an external wedge to close the circuit. That way the heating element could be used in any metal vessel, not just the Cajun cooker, as it's a fully enclosed and grounded unit.

So, if you already have a nice aluminum or stainless wort cooker, you could call the Cajun people and just order the $28.00 heating element and hang it on your existing pot. It's probably cheaper, and better made than most heat sticks.

BTW: I cracked open the heating element that went bad on me. The electronics for the thermostat control and the LED readout were the problem. I was easy to I.D. the key wiring and rewired the unit to bypass the thermostat and readout elements and connect the 120v and ground directly to the calrod. Works fine and will use for a backup or to heat additional water in a stainless steel pot I already have.

I've ramble on here, and may have lost the thread, am on homebrew number 2, my limit, so bare with me. If you have questions, let me know, I'd be glad to provide further details.

http://www.amazon.com/Cajun-Injector...8989165&sr=8-1

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Old 10-19-2011, 02:23 AM   #7
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I used the same electric fryer set up for my first AG batch. Came out really good.

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Old 10-19-2011, 02:39 AM   #8
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How long does the Cajun heater take to heat strike water ?

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Old 10-19-2011, 02:45 AM   #9
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About 30-45 minutes depending on the volume of the strike water and the initial temperature of the water. Just a guess — I'm retired and ain't in to the timing thing too much anymore. The cooker's not going to set any speed records, but it's up to most tasks, just takes a little more patience than propane would. I think the convenience trade-off's worth it though.

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Old 10-19-2011, 02:52 AM   #10
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Deleted because someone else beat me to the punch.

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