I'm working with a partner to begin electric brewing. One route that he proposed was taking a hot water tank and using that. We might have to replace the element for a larger one, but could we use the tank, controller and element for brewing?
Are you wanting to use it for the hlt? Thermostats on hot water heaters are pretty simple, not that accurate.
This can be easily remedied with an aquastat or any other homemade thermostat. You may want to be sure of what your getting into though. Most heater tanks are made of glass lined cast iron. I recommend new not used due to this fact. The glass wears away fairly quickly and the ports can be a point of rust intrusion.
Hot on left, cold on right, $^*t rolls downhill, and paydays on Friday. You're now an apprentice plumber.
The placement of the element in hot water tanks may be a little high...I wonder if the liquid below it would be adequately stirred. For HLT this is no big deal. For boil kettle can you get the element lower?
(Just looked at my own water tanks)
The bottom element of the two-element tank is pretty close to the bottom so it may be OK. Are you going to cut the top off of it or something? It's handy it will have a drain and valve port ready to go.