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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > Element Sizing for Electric Boil Kettle
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Old 08-12-2010, 06:13 AM   #1
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Default Element Sizing for Electric Boil Kettle

I am trying to get all of the parts together for an all electric system and I am just trying to figure out how many gallons I can boil with a single 5500 watt 240 V element. I just have a single 30 amp circuit available so much bigger is out of the question but I am trying to decide between mounting it in a 15 gallon boil pot for 10 gallon batches or if I could possible make a 15 gallon batch happen with just that element.

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Old 08-12-2010, 01:10 PM   #2
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You probably can, but it will take a while to heat up. Insulation would be a good thing to have.

70F-170F would take 40 minutes on 15 gallons without any heat loss.

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Old 08-12-2010, 02:07 PM   #3
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It can easily be done. You have to remember that for a 10 gallon batch your probably only heating 6 or 7 gallons of strike water. Then while mashing you can heat the remaining sparge water. So even though it will take 40 min to heat 15 gallons of water, you don't have to heat it all at once. For a 15 gallon batch i'm guessing you'd need closer to 10 gallons of strike water and that'll be a bit longer.

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Old 08-12-2010, 02:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pickles View Post
It can easily be done. You have to remember that for a 10 gallon batch your probably only heating 6 or 7 gallons of strike water. Then while mashing you can heat the remaining sparge water. So even though it will take 40 min to heat 15 gallons of water, you don't have to heat it all at once. For a 15 gallon batch i'm guessing you'd need closer to 10 gallons of strike water and that'll be a bit longer.
? You making no boil AG batches pickles ?:P
I should boil it, but would just take longer than more power. You could always make a 2000W heat stick to accompany the boil pot and plug into a separate standard 110/20A outlet. Then when you reach boil, pull it out.
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfkriege View Post
70F-170F would take 40 minutes on 15 gallons without any heat loss.
When I sparge into the BK its already at 170F or close to it. I was referring to what jfkfriege was saying.
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:36 PM   #6
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Here is a thread that contains a spread sheet that will give you boil times for different amounts of water and wattage elements. Play around with the numbers and figure out what will work for you. Good luck.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ok-i-give-174284/

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Old 08-12-2010, 02:47 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help, time is not a huge issue. I just want to make sure I don't buy too small of a boil kettle when I could have actually gotten away with slightly larger batches.

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Old 08-12-2010, 10:17 PM   #8
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I'll will be trying out a ten gallon batch with three 2000 watt heat sticks soon. Hopefully that is enough.

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Old 08-12-2010, 10:20 PM   #9
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I have a 5500 watt element in my BK. My keggle is only 15.5 gallons, so the biggest batch I've ever done is 11 gallons. I had no problems getting 13 gallons to a boil with that element.

As someone else mentioned, the wort going into the BK is in the 150s (or higher during the sparge) so you only have to bring the wort from, say, 160 to boiling. As soon as the element is submerged, I turn on the element to get to boiling during the sparge. It doesn't take too long.

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Old 08-12-2010, 11:15 PM   #10
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I have a 5500 watt element in my BK. My keggle is only 15.5 gallons, so the biggest batch I've ever done is 11 gallons. I had no problems getting 13 gallons to a boil with that element.

As someone else mentioned, the wort going into the BK is in the 150s (or higher during the sparge) so you only have to bring the wort from, say, 160 to boiling. As soon as the element is submerged, I turn on the element to get to boiling during the sparge. It doesn't take too long.
but you don't run it at 100% during the boil do you? if you do, what's your boil off rate?
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