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Old 04-09-2011, 02:19 PM   #1
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Default Reality is setting in ... I need some advice

I am trying to get started in electric brewing but I don't have any real electrical experience beyond wiring up a few light switches. So here's my current situation.

I just got my final quote from my electrician to run the power to my planned electrical brewing area and I think I need to re-evaluate my original plan. As I had just recently received a $1,000 bonus from work I wanted to have a basic electric brewing setup for around that amount. Initially I wanted 2 5500 watt elements in my HLT, and 2 5500 watt elements in my boil kettle (this would require 2 separate 30 amp 240 volt circuits). Of course this was before I started reading and learned about PID's, SSR's, heat sinks, control boxes, and all the switches, lights, and alarms I will need. The dollars add up fast!

In any case, step one was to get the appropriate power to my brewing area in my basement. I asked my electrician for a quote as described below.

75 feet from my breaker panel I needed:
2 - 30 amp 240 volt GFCI circuits, with a total of 4 receptacles.
1 - 20 amp 120 volt GFCI circuit, with a total of 4 receptacles.

The quote came back as $700. Wow, that took a much bigger bite out of my budget than I had planned on. So I called my electrician this morning and asked him to provide another quote that removed one of the 30 amp 240 volt GFCI circuits and the two receptacles that went to it. I am hoping that will get the cost down to the $500 range.

My goal is to get the right power configuration to my brew area so that I don't have to revisit that expense as my the brewing equipment side grows in the future. Then I need a usable brewing configuration to get me started, one that allows me the capability to grow in the future too. I did purchase "The Complete Guide To Building Your Home Brewery" from theelectricbrewery.com and I am trying to digest all that information. In the meantime, I would love to get some advice and direction on how to get started in electric brewing from people in this forum that have been down this road already.



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Old 04-09-2011, 02:23 PM   #2
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I"m no electrician but thank goodness I have a friend who is!

I'll ask him to give you the specifics, but we started with a "spa panel" box- the kind people use for hot tubs. I have one 50 amp circuit. That is what my control box is plugged into. It looks like an outlet for a dryer.

In my control box, I have the "plug ins" for the pump, BK, HLT, etc. Does that make sense?



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Old 04-09-2011, 02:24 PM   #3
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I'm not sure what your batch size is, but I can do 20 gal batches easily with one 5500w element in the HLT/BK

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Old 04-09-2011, 02:36 PM   #4
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I was just about to say, I use a single 5500 element in each vessel and I bring up to 14 gal of hot liquor to temp in about 30 mins. That is some serious wattage you are talking about

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Old 04-09-2011, 02:42 PM   #5
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I was just about to say, I use a single 5500 element in each vessel and I bring up to 14 gal of hot liquor to temp in about 30 mins. That is some serious wattage you are talking about
I had a 1500 w element in my HLT which wasn't big enough. I'm now at 5500 w in the HLT which is rocking. I have a 4500 w element in my keggle, but I"ve never boiled more than 14 gallons.
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:16 PM   #6
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Based on my home wiring experience, i suspect most of the cost is running all the wire. I would look into running a single 50 amp line, then install a sub panel (on the wall or on your stand) to break out the circuits you need for your brew system.

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Old 04-09-2011, 05:02 PM   #7
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Depending upon the difficulty of the run (romex, conduit, wall penetrations, etc.), yes, that is about the cost. Wire is not cheap these days.
Like LordUlrich said, run a single 60amp line back to the area, then go from there. Not sure if you are running other circuits in the basement or only need power for your electrical panel (only).

I am building a 60 amp electrical system and will spend about $4K, but that is for everything and doing-it-myslef. Plus, we have an electrical/solar contracting company, which helps.

My advice would be to have the panel installed by your electrician buddy. Ply him with free beer and see if you can get a "cash" discount on the install. Then, do all the branch circuits and panel wiring yourself. You will learn a ton.

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Old 04-09-2011, 06:02 PM   #8
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Unless you're doing back to back batches or really large batches having more than 30A is kind of overkill. Do you have a need to run more than 1 5500W element at a time? If not then chances are you can just use 1 30A 240V receptacle and then split the power off inside your control panel for everything else you need to run. If I'm not mistaken Kal's brewery runs of a single 30A plug.

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Old 04-09-2011, 08:11 PM   #9
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I have 7500W in my brew kettle and that's plenty for 10-11 gallon batches (boiling 13 gallons). 11000W is overkill for anything less than 15 gallons. Even for what we boil, we shut off one burner to maintain a reasonable boil.

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Old 04-09-2011, 08:41 PM   #10
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^^^^
His first post said he wants (2) 5,500W elements. So, assuming back-to-back batches,etc.



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