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Old 12-16-2012, 03:45 AM   #1
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Default What is electric brewing explained

Iv seen some units advertised but still have no idea what any of this means

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Old 12-16-2012, 03:45 PM   #2
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The answer to that can be very complex or very simple. Seeing as I am not real sure what you exactly want to know, I will go the easy answer. Electric brewing is the use of electricity to heat/boil the water/wort. This would take the place of propane/natural gas, or used in addition to increase the heating capabilities and time frame in which to hit your temps.

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Old 12-17-2012, 12:02 PM   #3
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The best place to start out if you're curious about electric brewing is www.theelectricbrewery.com - easy to read, full of information, and free.

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Old 12-17-2012, 05:28 PM   #4
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the Electric Brewery is a great place to start for information and it would be great to be able to plunk down $6000 and be setup in a couple weeks.

but how about some tips for building a brew-as-you-go budget e-brewery? from the ground up, a little bit at a time. Not really scrimping/going cheap on parts, but something you can build over time, but still be able to use to brew a batch every month or so.

budget $50-100 a month, plus once-a-year big purchases with Christmas bonus/tax refunds

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Old 12-17-2012, 06:11 PM   #5
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If you look at the website, there's a lot more there than a link to 'plunk down $6000'... He links to every component, every fitting, EVERYTHING. If you wanted to budget yourself, you can easily use his list and adjust from there. Kal even goes so far as to describe what parts of his panel weren't really required but he put in because he wanted them, like the PID to monitor temps in the MLT, or the timer, or the volt/amp gauges. If you just want a budget solution, there was a guy on here that built an 'electric brewery' using a Homer Bucket from Home Depot and a water heater element and it cost him about $45 total... may end up costing him his life, but hey - it was cheap...

Building a 'brew-as-you-go' type panel may be difficult. Do you start with only 1 PID and swap sensors between kettles? You could theoretically do a full e brew without any PID or RTDs - it's all about how much you want to simplify life. PIDs just turn power on/off to your element to maintain temperature - you could flip a switch on and off as you watch an analog thermometer in your pot and get the same effect, though the PID will do it better and with less effort... So say you want a PID - do you put it in a box sized for 1 PID and then trash the box when you decide you want a second for the BK? Or do you start with a full size box and cut holes as you decide to add stuff, rewiring it every time you add a component?

There's a lot to consider, which is why most folks seem to save up their money and buy parts and then build it all at once.
-Kevin

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Old 12-17-2012, 06:32 PM   #6
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I've done exactly this. I've used Kal's information to electrify one kettle with one sensor. I controlled it with one PID and SSR. I used it as a HLT, moving the water from there into an IGLOO MLT, and draining the MLT into a better bottle while I sparge. Once the HLT was empty of all the sparge water, I put the wort from the better bottle in and used it as a BK. It's an inexpensive way to start, to get most of the benefits of electric brewing for closer to a couple of hundred dollars.

From there, when time and money permit, you can make another kettle, and create a real HLT, with HERMS. You can still use the same PID and SSR to control it, since you don't have to heat the HLT and the BK at the same time. Given even more money, you can add another PID and SSR and control them independently. Add a pump or two if/when you can afford it.

Building an incremental system takes some creativity and planning, but it's not all that hard. Kal's information is invaluable and a great set of tools to build from.

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Old 12-17-2012, 06:38 PM   #7
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Cromwell has it nailed - have your end goal in mind, then start deleting components that you don't _NEED_ until you get to a point where you can't cut any more. That's what you need to start with, but always keep your end goal in mind. For example - if your end goal is back-to-back brewing and you're going to need 50a to run it, put in a 50a breaker to start, even if you only have one element and won't add that second kettle for another year. Spend money smartly.
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Keg 2: Belgian Wit (Failure)
Keg 3: American Pale Ale
Fermenting: Belgian Wit (Take 2)
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cromwell View Post
I've done exactly this. I've used Kal's information to electrify one kettle with one sensor. I controlled it with one PID and SSR. I used it as a HLT, moving the water from there into an IGLOO MLT, and draining the MLT into a better bottle while I sparge. Once the HLT was empty of all the sparge water, I put the wort from the better bottle in and used it as a BK. It's an inexpensive way to start, to get most of the benefits of electric brewing for closer to a couple of hundred dollars.

From there, when time and money permit, you can make another kettle, and create a real HLT, with HERMS. You can still use the same PID and SSR to control it, since you don't have to heat the HLT and the BK at the same time. Given even more money, you can add another PID and SSR and control them independently. Add a pump or two if/when you can afford it.

Building an incremental system takes some creativity and planning, but it's not all that hard. Kal's information is invaluable and a great set of tools to build from.
THIS is helpful, thanks, Cromwell.

your 2nd post, BNB, was helpful, too, as is your eHerms, "We can rebuild it" link; thank you

the END GOAL, really, is The Electric Brewery. not anything deleted. Just a bit smaller, at a reasonable, affordable pace, with the ability to brew with it as it is built. like your WORK IN PROGRESS

back to your "We can rebuild it" thread: is that picture your old rig? or new?

the write-up is pretty much where I think I need to start, except smaller; i'm going 5 gallon batches.
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drinking: Maibock, DB8Point IPA Clone, Belgian Wit, Rain Delay IPA, Wojtkowiak Piwo, CLB's Barleywine, 8Hearted Pale Ale, O'Rob's Dry Irish Stout - bottle conditioning: DB8PT Session Ale, Otto M. Gourd Pumpkin Barleywine, Jewel Thieves Apple Wine, Wojtkowiak Grodziskie - bulk conditioning: barleywine

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Old 12-17-2012, 09:18 PM   #9
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That was my original rig... propane, single HLT/BK and a cooler MLT, single pump.

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15gal American Pale Ale
20gal Belgian Wit (10 dumped)


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Keg 2: Belgian Wit (Failure)
Keg 3: American Pale Ale
Fermenting: Belgian Wit (Take 2)
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrogNerd View Post
but how about some tips for building a brew-as-you-go budget e-brewery? from the ground up, a little bit at a time. Not really scrimping/going cheap on parts, but something you can build over time, but still be able to use to brew a batch every month or so.

budget $50-100 a month, plus once-a-year big purchases with Christmas bonus/tax refunds
I get asked this all the time. "How can I build this in a staged approach". It can be done but would most likely cost considerly more than just saving up your money and doing it once.

A good example is the control panel or box. You need to know where you're going in the long run because you need to make the cuts (and paint if you want to) up front because you can't do that *after* you start wiring.

With different stages or steps to getting to the end goal, your brewing process will change each time so there'll be a lot of figuring out along the way. It'll be a lot more work over the long run as it takes a few brews before you start to "settle in" and understand your system. Problem is that by the time you do that you may be moving on to the next "upgrade". Your setup will be in constant change. It'll be more work for you and you may not feel 100% comfortable with the setup until you get down to the later stages.

Personally, I would simply keep using what you already have (since you likely know it well) and save up so that you can do it all in one or two steps instead of $X/month. Or start building the new setup bit by bit, month by month, just don't use it until it's done. Many have done this. It's the multi-step staged approach that is very difficult (the "add $50/month and keep using it" approach).

Either way, good luck!

Kal
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