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Old 03-13-2010, 01:39 PM   #1
bodhi314
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Default Tiny Brew (TB) - "Research Brewing System"

I'm nearing the completion of the my small scale electric system - so thought I would share with those that have inspired this creation.

I have to re-build the electric enclosure (SSR too hot for smallest version) this weekend, perhaps get to brew sunday??!! Pictures forthcoming....

Ideas, comments?

I have a question:

1) Where do I get an inline fuse for this system??



TinyBrew (TB)

Concept:

All-grain small batch (pilot type - 2 gal, bottled) PID controlled electric water heater element, no sparge, no chill (all the aussies are doing it this way!) for under $200.... did I mention stainless was requirement?

Proposed brewing process:

Heat full boil volume in pot to mash temp (dough in) - pour off sparge water into cooler - heat to sparge with heatstick. Place milled grain in nylon paint bag - into stainless fryer bucket, and into pot - (held in suspension with "S" hooks for handles). Steep. Remove Basket - Place into 'Sparge'. Stir. Steep. Remove basket/Discard Grain. Combine volumes. Boil/add hops.

That's the mash and boil - the no chill is pretty cool -

get a $7 container (for food shipping: http://www.usplastic.com/catalog/ite...=searchresults - or search "2.5 gallon natural") - these are apparently what they call - hot fill I think (they can be heat sanitized)

allow wort to cool to 190F - stir like mad to aerate (or use oxygen infuser) drain off into container. Squeeze out air. Seal and cool to room temp. Starter - stir. Pitch. add airlock. Add vodka - russian of course. Ferment til OG.

Oh yeah then drink


Actual build report:

I gathered alot of parts -

stainless pot ($59 - kitchenfantasy.com - 26QT tall, includes stainless basket, requires dremel modding to remove basket handle. It's fun. Bottom is too thin for gas fired/moving it around alot, but for stationary electric, perfect - if I did it again - apply "buy once" theory, get heftier pot.)
electric water heater ($9 - Home Depot - 2000W/120V - wish I had 240 available)
12GA Electrical extension cord ($20 - HD)
SSR ($10 - Ebay)
PID + Watertight Thermo ($65 - Auber)
Enclosure ($9 - Home Depot)
GFCI ($13 - Home Depot)
Weldless Fittings ($65 - bargainfittings.com )

No.

I did not make it within budget = $255.

It works


I drilled the pot using step-bit for smaller holes and a holesaw for the element. I now owned a pot I intentionally poked four holes in:




1) 1.25" for heater element (holesaw)
2) 7/8" for ball valve
3) 1/4" NPT clearance for thermometer - I used the step bit until it fit, don't remember dimension.
4) Small 1/4" bit hole for ground connection.

Yes.

It leaked after assembly, most of the weldless fittings ( www.bargainfittings.com -- they are great )needed to be tighter than I thought they should. The ground hole was the major pain - could not figure out how to seal it and allow contact with wall material of pot. Never did figure this out. Turns out -- water is a great conductor, and its touching the whole pot Bonus.

I originally wanted to cram everything into the smallest enclosure I could manage physically (it fit and worked) - after the first water heating ramp - I shut it down and was working on cleaning up the wiring - dam SSR was hot! I guess the larger Amp draw you pull, the more heat the SSR takes on - empirical knowledge. Needs bigger enclosure to run for a couple hours straight - create heatsink, check..

This is where I currently am - hope to brew this weekend!

Pliny the Elder Clone anyone? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/plin...stions-125517/)

Scale to rig....

bk_inside.jpg   rust.jpg   basket.jpg   pre_weld.jpg  
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Old 03-13-2010, 09:41 PM   #2
HarkinBanks
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Why electric? For small batches you can easily brew on your stove. I got a 5 gallon SS pot at Boscov's for $16, add a $5 paint strainer from HD and I BIAB small batches for $21. Also, there is no need to do no-chill with small batches, they cool in your sink in about 10 minutes with ice water. If I was going to spend over $200, I would go full batch, but to each his own.

One other note, check your breakers with that 2000w element. I blew two of them on 20amp breakers, they draw a lot, but my house has old wiring so I scaled down to 1500w elements. Also, I would get a 40A SSR with a heatsink if you don't have one already.


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Old 03-14-2010, 06:18 AM   #3
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I personally like the idea a lot. I am building a 2.5 gallon electric rig at the moment as well, and like the ability to do small test batches on a system that is PID controlled.

If you are able to, I would just go with an electric version of BIAB, and not deal with a second pot. Heat water to dough in, add grain to the paint bag/fryer bucket, place into kettle, when converted put the PID up to 170, when at 170 take the bag out, boil, etc. To me at least that would be easier and give you good results. You might lose some efficiency when you do a barley wine, but you are doing small batches, so it is less of a hit.

Also, with your cheap pot, it should not be a problem for direct fire that the bottom is thin. The real purpose of a thick bottom on a pit is to spread out heat for more viscous liquids. For wort, it really shouldnt matter.

I would love to see some photos.

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Old 03-14-2010, 07:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bodhi314 View Post
The ground hole was the major pain - could not figure out how to seal it and allow contact with wall material of pot. Never did figure this out. Turns out -- water is a great conductor, and its touching the whole pot Bonus.
this statement scares me
please explain this further
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarkinBanks View Post
Why electric? For small batches you can easily brew on your stove. I got a 5 gallon SS pot at Boscov's for $16, add a $5 paint strainer from HD and I BIAB small batches for $21. Also, there is no need to do no-chill with small batches, they cool in your sink in about 10 minutes with ice water. If I was going to spend over $200, I would go full batch, but to each his own.
There are certainly cheaper ways to do all-grain - cheapest route was not requirement. My budget was mainly set to keep me from buying a Blingman and finding out later that my keggle system is all I really wanted anyway.

Oh - and I got kicked out of the kitchen years ago...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarkinBanks View Post
One other note, check your breakers with that 2000w element. I blew two of them on 20amp breakers, they draw a lot, but my house has old wiring so I scaled down to 1500w elements. Also, I would get a 40A SSR with a heatsink if you don't have one already.
I'm in a little beach shack essentially - I think this concern is what has prompted the question about inline fuse - any ideas?
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jppostKW View Post
this statement scares me
please explain this further
Originally I wanted to ground to wall of of the pot - I could not after four revisions (+trips to HD) get a water-tight seal - the way it is set up now has a brass 6-32 screw holding two washers and rubber washers. Like a small weldless fitting.

Connected to the outside of this is the ground for the element.

I tried metal to metal, large diameter silicone oring with copper wire underneath - and my original colossal failure was a HD stop to grab the fiber washers - learning curves

So my logic is now - this is a monitored system, only powered up containing water - which is a conductor and would touch both the pot and the ground connection.

Your fear now raises my general level of doubt - what are your thoughts here?

Am I walking a very thin line?
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Old 03-15-2010, 01:40 AM   #7
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Get a real ground connection before you think about firing up the rig. There is the potential for very bad news.

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Old 03-15-2010, 01:43 PM   #8
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Firstly water is not a very good conductor. As a matter of fact pure water is not a conductor at all. If you experience a ground current you risk electrocution. I hope you used a GFCI.

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Old 03-15-2010, 02:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawdustguy View Post
Firstly water is not a very good conductor. As a matter of fact pure water is not a conductor at all. If you experience a ground current you risk electrocution. I hope you used a GFCI.
GFCI - definitely.
Understood - VERY thin line - thanks gentlemen - I will post some pictures tonight.

I will also do some more searching on the board for ideas to ground a pot - I've seen the keggle ones that are drilled into the bottom rim - but this doesn't help me in this situation.

If anyone has quick leads - would be helpful - I have a hole that needs to seal and ground.
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Old 03-15-2010, 03:43 PM   #10
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For an inline fuse try looking at auto parts stores or radio shack.

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