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Old 11-11-2009, 02:58 AM   #1
Hermit
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A friend introduced me to brewing and I've been doing some research and looking at building what I need. The usual back and forth in terms of what I want. But.....

Will a 1500 watt 120 volt hot water element be adequate for for a 3.5 gallon boil? I am going back on forth with starting 'standard' with 5 gallon batches and maybe going smaller with 3 gallon batches to keep the process more manageable and may try more recipes that way.

I'm assuming 5000 watts would do a 6.5 boil OK?



 
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:02 AM   #2
The Pol
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3700 watts will boil 7 gallons

1500W would be close, if you had some decent insulation.



 
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:24 AM   #3
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If you can manage it, a 2000w element is likely a start for smallish boils, you will need a 20 amp circuit. Problem with being watt challenged is that it will take near forever to boil, and then be a weak boil at best. Of course, a big 240v, 5500w element on a controller is preferred, but a simple 2000w element will do some work. 2 elements at 2000w each is even better. 1500w will be slow and require an insulated kettle w/ marginal results.

I also have an electric turkey fryer that is only 1650 watts. It will boil 6 gallons but it takes a looong time and needs to be partially covered to maintain a boil. I guess what I'm saying is that being on the low end of wattage is not fun and adds time to your session.

To your question, 5000w will boil 10 gallons.


 
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:29 AM   #4
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There is a guy here that swears he boils 5 gallon batches with 2,000W so... apparently it can be done.

 
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:46 AM   #5
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Like I say, I'm still in the planning stage. My buddy left me with 6 gallons sitting in my basement fermenting. He knows I'm a junkie for all kinds of DIY projects. Damned him anyhow..... I met him because we both build telescopes..... I'm really resisting the urge to have another LARGE project going..... That is why I was thinking of 3 gallon batch sizes. Easier to do, but you have to do them more often. A lot will come down to what I can scrounge and put together. I'm the kind of guy that prefers to build as much as I can before I let the moths out of the wallet.

 
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:50 AM   #6
The Pol
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There is a guy here with a killer 3 gallon indoor no sparge electric brew rig! You need to hook up with him.

 
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pol View Post
There is a guy here that swears he boils 5 gallon batches with 2,000W so... apparently it can be done.
I haven't seen any 2K elements but that is barely outside the range of the
RANCO ETC-111000. If I go with 2 1.5K I could use both to get up to boil and see if one would maintain IF I went the 3 gallon route. Do you know of any comparable controllers that handle more current? This one claims a differential of 1 degree so I thought I could also use it to maintain mash temps.

 
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pol View Post
There is a guy here with a killer 3 gallon indoor no sparge electric brew rig! You need to hook up with him.
If he doesn't pop in or no one remembers his handle I'll try doing some searches.

 
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:56 AM   #9
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yah the Ranco or A419s are only good to 1500W.

For 2000 and up youd probably need a PID and SSR combo.

 
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pol View Post
There is a guy here that swears he boils 5 gallon batches with 2,000W so... apparently it can be done.
Probably can be.... but according to my math 7gal(pre-boil) would take about 40mins to bring to a boil with 2kW and 95% eff. No thanks.
To match my propane burner you need about 5.5kW... which is one of the very few reasons I have not gone electric yet. The biggest one being the place I'm renting now has no 240 hook-up available and well I'm renting so no mods.



 
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