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Old 04-24-2013, 09:15 PM   #1
jamesmp
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Default Smallest, cheapest electric rig possible for 1 gallon

I've been thinking about the rising interest in 1 gallon and small scale brewing and as everyone here tends to point out - that sure takes a lot of time for a teeny amount of beer. I do know a number of people who are casual brewers though and like doing things small, either as a passing hobby or due to equipment constraints which got me to thinking, how small, cheap, and easy could I make a one gallon all grain setup? Think Mr. Beer meets Braumeister.

What do you all think would make an ideal system to make 1 gallon batches as easy as possible? 110v is easy since there's less liquid, and at that size there are a number of commercial products that could be repurposed. Does anyone know of a good appliance with enough space for a grain bag or basket and a heating element that would be suitable for boiling a gallon? What about smaller kettles and elements that could be custom done? Cheap temperature controllers?

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Old 04-24-2013, 10:14 PM   #2
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If you are only doing one gallon batches, then why not just do it on the stove? That is assuming you have access to a kitchen. IF you don't have a stove then a cheap hotplate would work. What exactly are you looking for? All grain? Extract? BIAB? There's plenty of people that brew in their kitchen with minimal start-up expense. What goals do you have with this electric system? Automated temperature control?

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Old 04-24-2013, 10:36 PM   #3
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Those induction hot plates allow you to control temp.
Should work well for small batches, 1-2 gallons.

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Old 04-24-2013, 10:56 PM   #4
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Induction burners are great. I use one for 3 gallon BIAB batches, no scorching, good temp control...

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Old 04-25-2013, 02:04 PM   #5
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It's a theoretical exercise at this point.

I'm looking for all grain, as easy and cheap as possible. If that means BIAB then great, if there is an easier or cheaper way then that's even better. To me, it would need some automation to keep it easy.

Do you all really feel that using an induction cooktop is the easiest and cheapest way possible?

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Old 04-25-2013, 03:01 PM   #6
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I would think induction is a good call. 1800watt burners would be more then enough, you could get like a pid and probe if you wanted, but after a few batches I think you could dial in your temps pretty well.

With only 1-4lbs of grain why not BIAB. I can't think of how a multi vessel system would be any easier, and you can double you grain for a buck if efficiency is an issue...

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Old 04-25-2013, 03:08 PM   #7
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For 1 gallon finished batches, I'd probably use a hot plate controlled by a PID/SSR and use the BIAB process in a 3 gallon pot.

A close second alternative is to mash in a large crock pot (also on a controller), still use a voile bag for the grain. Mash over, dunk the grain bag into some water in a stove top pot, then pour the wort left in the crock pot into the stovetop kettle.

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Old 04-25-2013, 03:39 PM   #8
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What about this: http://www.amazon.com/Masterbuilt-20.../dp/B002JM1ZMY

That's an electric turkey fryer. It has a basket that lifts out, stainless steel heating element, a timer, and a temperature dial that supposedly goes down to 125. Drain spigot in the back. Anyone used that? It looks like it would make a reasonable single vessel 1 gallon system for about the cost of one induction plate or temp controller.

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Old 04-25-2013, 05:24 PM   #9
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That turkey fryer could be the quick sollution you're looking for, as long as you can control the temperature accurately, and as long as you can have the element on with the lid open - part of me thinks there may be a cut-off like your washing machine has, and that it kills the element when you lift the lid. Should be easy enough to defeat.

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