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Old 04-02-2009, 02:12 AM   #1
edwar281
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Default Insulated Brew Pot w/Silicone

Read a lot of threads with people adding various types of insulation around a brew pot. No one seemed to have any homerun recommendations.

Any thoughts on using a silicone sheet (rated 450F) around a 6 gallon pot?

Anyone have any experience with the stuff or recommendations on manufacturers?

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Old 04-02-2009, 02:59 AM   #2
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With the high weight and density of silicone I would bet the R factor would not that high, JMO.
I sure would not want any of the toxic smoke fumes from it in my wort or be breathing any of it should it start to smolder or catch on fire from a propane or natural gas open flame burner.

I used a silicone coating around the open exhaust stacks on a alcohol burning outboard motor when I raced mono-hull years ago. On startup it smoldered and had a bad smell but kept a seal against the block and water jacket against the exhaust stack plate. With brewing, no way would I use it except for a floor mat to stand on.

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Old 04-02-2009, 06:28 PM   #3
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Default Ceramic Top

Should have mentioned that I'm brewing on a ceramic stove top. After mash, the lid goes on the brew pot and is boiling in 20-30 minutes. But after the lid comes off, I'm not able to keep a good rolling boil. With silicone rated at 400F and starting two inches above the pot, I'm not too worried about burning. The R is really what I'm curious about. If it doesn't actually insulate, then there's not much of a point. Considering the stuff is used in all kinds of baking forms and as pot holders, I would imagine it does a decent job.

Any other thoughts?

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Old 04-02-2009, 08:01 PM   #4
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The R-is fairly poor
You can use a silicone sheet to bake on and still get browning at the contact surface - so its not nearly as good as metal but you could probably do better with some sort of wrapped fiberglass product or some Nomex if you could find some.

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Old 04-03-2009, 12:10 AM   #5
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What do you think of a welders blanket?

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Old 04-03-2009, 01:05 AM   #6
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FWIW, I tested a kettle jacket made of a single layer of Reflectix for the first time today. Without the jacket, I brought 3 gallons of water (I can't do full boils on my electric stovetop) to a rolling boil in 55 minutes. With the jacket, I got it to a rolling boil in 50 minutes. I'm a little underwhelmed by gaining 5 minutes, but I already shaped the jacket, so I may as well keep using it.

Oh, and there was no visible damage to the Reflectix (only rated to 180*F), but I hear it does wear out over a year or so.

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Old 04-03-2009, 02:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwar281 View Post
Should have mentioned that I'm brewing on a ceramic stove top.
Any other thoughts?
Sorry boss, without repling in a sarcastic way you threw a curve at us / me by not showing all the pieces of your puzzle to us. How can we answer when we get pieces of many puzzles mixed into on puzzle to solve?
If It were my equipment I would add a metal liner with a 2-3" thick space between the kettle and fill it with expandable foam. I would also have metal rings top and bottom of the kettle so the foam is protected by tin or light gauge sheet metal. Add many holes to inject the foam, what extra comes out trim off then seal the holes shut. This would increase the R factor a lot better than silicone or a welding blancket.
Not to be a wise ass just that I have worked around different materials over the years with my wide and crazy background of hobbies and the construction trades. Best of luck. CJ.........
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:30 PM   #8
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I actually gave expandable foam some consideration as well. Are there versions that have enough fire resistance? The stuff I have laying around the house is highly flammable.

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Old 04-03-2009, 01:25 PM   #9
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You are going to lose a lot of heat through the top. I suspect that any heat that you are able to prevent from escaping out the sides, will just be forced upwards and lost.

If you are having problems keeping a boil, personally I would suggest either making smaller batches, doing a more concentrated boil, or move to a larger burner. You can also search for instructions on building an electric heat stick to use in addition to the stove. For a good write up, check out: How to Build an Electric Homebrewing Heatstick Audio Tutorial Podcast and Step by Step Photo Instructions

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Old 04-03-2009, 02:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HomebrewJeff View Post
You are going to lose a lot of heat through the top. I suspect that any heat that you are able to prevent from escaping out the sides, will just be forced upwards and lost.

If you are having problems keeping a boil, personally I would suggest either making smaller batches, doing a more concentrated boil, or move to a larger burner. You can also search for instructions on building an electric heat stick to use in addition to the stove. For a good write up, check out: How to Build an Electric Homebrewing Heatstick Audio Tutorial Podcast and Step by Step Photo Instructions
I was going to say the exact same thing.
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