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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Talk about Single Vessel Electric All Grain
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Old 04-14-2012, 05:14 PM   #1
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Default Talk about Single Vessel Electric All Grain

Basically the title is trying to attract the attention of folks who have done this already. I know I've seen a few projects detailed and if I weren't so lazy, I'd be able to find them all but I also wanted to use this as a scratch pad for ideas in case I'm missing something.

I'm not ditching my 3 vessel system just yet, but I do want to play around with a single vessel "BIAB-like" system for giggles. I'm intrigued by it.

There are a few things on my checklist to work out.

Vessel size

After working out the numbers, I'd need at least 20 gallons to pull off a 10 gallon batch of ~1.075. That's assuming 70% efficiency with a total in-vessel volume of 18.5g during the mash.

Actual Vessel selection

Harder than I first suspected. Most 20 gallon pots are either square or a bit wider than tall. I don't think I like this idea given the fact that the elements have to sit below the basket. I'd rather have something 16" diameter and 22" tall or 17" D and 21" high, etc.

Basket size and mesh
My initial thought on this was to just find an economy stainless pot that was about 1-2" smaller in diameter, punch a ton of 1" holes in the bottom and line it with a disc of 16x16 mesh. However, I'd want this basket to double as a hop containment during the boil so I started leaning towards something with mesh on the sides as well to get better circulation. I will be hoisting the grain out in this basket so it has to be relatively sturdy. The places that custom make baskets are cool and all, but I'm not paying $250.I'd sooner buy some stainless flat stock and the Harbor Freight ring roller. I guess the benefit of making it is that it can accommodate any pot size I end up with.

Power
I'm planning on two 4500w LWD elements from lowes. I'm just a little puzzled if it's possible to make them both clear each other without staggering vertically. I want the basket to sit as low as possible.

I'm not going to get into too many details on the wiring and control just yet, but the modes will be 9000w Strike, 2250w mash, 9000w boil ramp, 4500w (PWM manual mode) boil.

Pitfalls? Am I copying anyone's system without knowing it?


Some links for easy reference later:
Scubasteve's http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/sing...rewery-158608/

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Old 04-14-2012, 05:55 PM   #2
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Why not use a stainless kettle that comes with a basket? Bayou Classic has an 82 quart stainless kettle that comes with a basket (which I assume is also Stainless?). The basket could be lined with stainless mesh.

From the description: "Bayou Classic 82 quart large steamer stock pot. Specifically made for boiling, frying and steaming. These pots are made of 304 stainless steel. They are great for your indoor or outdoor chef, and they are one of the most versatile pots on the market. Use the basket to boil, steam, or fry all of your favorite foods, or remove it for those large helpings gumbo or stew. 18.75" diameter and 17 high. 82 Qt capacity. 20 Gauge steel. Perforated steam/boil basket. Vented lid. Basket sits on the bottom. Basket and lid included."

This kettle isn't quite as tall as you are looking for, but there may be others out there that come with a basket. The baskets I have that came with my kettles would likely be able to sit above elements as the baskets are about 2-3" shorter then the kettles.

I've only just started looking into electric brewing, I'll follow this thread. I'm a complete novice when it comes to electricity, I've wired 2 temp controllers, but that's it. I hope you end up pursuing this and add it to your website/make videos - it would really be helpful for those of us with little knowledge who are sick of filling propane tanks.

I trade off between brewing 5 gallon (in a 15 gallon kettle) and 10 gallon batches (in a 20 gallon kettle) - full volume mash BIAB. I line the basket that came with my kettle with the voile bag. I end up getting basically the exact same efficiency when brewing 10 gallon batches as I do 5 - about 81% mash efficiency, 68% brewhouse (I leave a gallon of wort/trub behind). The 20 gallon size is perfect, even if you were trying to make a real high gravity batch you could work around the potential size limitation a couple of different ways.

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Old 04-14-2012, 06:13 PM   #3
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I sketched up an idea. I've been watching BIAB buils too with interest. I was thinking about how to not have the element all the way at the bottom but still be able to insert the basket all the way to the bottom. Just an idea. I didn't take the time to show the other mesh areas.

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Old 04-14-2012, 07:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnchorBock View Post
Why not use a stainless kettle that comes with a basket? .....


This kettle isn't quite as tall as you are looking for,
That's the only reason why I haven't jumped on these just yet.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:21 AM   #5
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I made a basket from food-grade plastic formed into a cylinder which is just slightly smaller than my kettle. It's held together with small SS hardware and has a SS false bottom attached to the bottom. It hangs on the top edge of the kettle and the FB is above the electric element which was mounted as low as I could get it in the kettle. The plan is to recirc constantly during the mash.

No pics yet - construction is in progress and the idea still has to be tested. If it doesn't work, then it's off to plan "B" (which I haven't thought of yet).

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Old 04-15-2012, 12:42 AM   #6
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I'm planning on copying this build to keep everything on 110v:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/how...kettle-304914/

I'm going with the K.I.S.S. principle. Instead of a basket, I'm planning on placing a perforated aluminum piece (like the one at the bottom of a pressure cooker/canner) at the bottom with the addition of some stainless bolts to keep it above the elements. Then I'm just going to hang my bag in there. The BIAB bag I made from a curtain is plenty strong so I see no reason for a steam basket.

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Old 04-15-2012, 01:13 AM   #7
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I'm hoping to have the system take up to 30lbs of grain and I don't feel comfortable with a bag lifting that weight.

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Old 04-15-2012, 01:22 AM   #8
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I did a bayou classic 62 quart w/ steamer basket eBIAB. I'll take pictures when get home.

-single 5500w 250v ULWD
-single auber PID
-single pump for in kettle RIMS

Works great!

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Old 04-15-2012, 01:30 AM   #9
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Here's mine; a 15 gallon rig with single 5500W element. 5500W is plenty of horespower for a 15 gallon pot, I have to believe 2 x 4500W is going to be over-kill for a 20 gallon rig.

I hit a few snags that had to be worked through and learned a lesson or two along the way...

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/sin...-build-275238/

BTW, I think if you follow along with ScubaSteve's single vessel build I believe you'll find he gave up on the SS mesh and settled on a bag/basket combo.

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Old 04-15-2012, 02:35 AM   #10
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Thanks for the links. The scorch issue you had is what i hope to avoid by running the two 4500w elements in series during the recirc. It is plenty of power with an insanely low watt density. I realize 9kW is overkill but I have 50 amps to work with and I might as well use it to ramp temps twice as fast. If I have to go with a single element, I'd configure the control to allow for running on 120v during the mash.

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