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Old 04-07-2011, 01:00 PM   #1
WahHooJames
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Feb 2011
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Since natural gas isnt an option where I am, and the fact that I am going to be brewing in a somewhat enclosed space, I'm wondering if an electric brewhouse merits some investigating before I make the purchase and continue with my brewhouse build. In an enclosed setting with propane I'll need air out (hood fan) and fresh air in. I'm wondering of the price difference is worth it to install an electric brewery to avoid that? Even with electric do you still need that much ventilation.

I know commercial breweries use electric kettles but would my concern at a 12 gallon batch size be caramelization or uneven temperatures?

Thought would be greatly appreciated

 
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:28 PM   #2
stevo155
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Jun 2008
Derry, NH
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Check out Kal's site:

http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/

He was just on The Brewing Network last Sunday ( 4/3/11 ) so there may be some useful info in there as well.
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Old 04-07-2011, 02:21 PM   #3
Cpt_Kirks
 
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Using heatsticks, I have never seen any caramelization, even with very light beers. I usually brew 10+ gallon batches.

I don't know why uneven heating would be an issue. Are you planning on using direct heat in your MLT?

The only ventilation issues are steam and odor, and they are very minor.

 
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:31 PM   #4
HHP
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt_Kirks View Post
Using heatsticks, I have never seen any caramelization, even with very light beers. I usually brew 10+ gallon batches.

I don't know why uneven heating would be an issue. Are you planning on using direct heat in your MLT?

The only ventilation issues are steam and odor, and they are very minor.
I would say that brewery odor is not an 'issue'.

I have been looking into both sides, electric or propane and I am quickly coming to the conclusion that electric brewing is worlds better. Its much more flexible, much easier to automate (if that's your thing, and I'm thinking its mine), silent (my propane burner sounds like a jet engine), and there are no tanks to fill. Plus the cost per batch is like 4x cheaper (assuming you have reasonably price electricity).

If you are reasonably competent at wiring things, electric is the way to go, especially because you will be brewing in an enclosed space.

 
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:06 PM   #5
Pick
 
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Electric, hands down. No messing around with overpriced propane, and no worries about running out of fuel during a brew session. A no brainer, unless you have free, unlimited propane or natural gas.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:47 PM   #6
Bernie Brewer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pick View Post
Electric, hands down. No messing around with overpriced propane, and no worries about running out of fuel during a brew session. A no brainer, unless you have free, unlimited propane or natural gas.

For you, maybe. Not necessarily for everyone. Electric is more costly to build. Propane is more costly to operate. Electric is stationary. Propane is portable. I can take my rig somewhere else if I want and don't have to worry about whether they have a power supply big enough to handle my rig. Electric can be made more automatic, while propane needs more attention. There is good and bad with both, so to say that one is "hands down" better than the other and a "no brainer" is completely subjective. It may be so for you, but not necessarily for someone else.
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:59 PM   #7
finger123
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Mar 2011
Charlotte, NC
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I am also considering an electric setup however I am concerned about the caramelization issue. Has anyone encountered caramelization with an internal element. I am interested in high gravity beers which I would think would be more susceptible. I like the advantages of no propane, indoor brewing, less noise, no carbon monoxide risk, less fire risk, no tank refills, less extraneous heat while brewing on hot days, no pilot lights to monitor, no explosion risk, no soot on the pots, etc. Can anyone speak to the caramelization issue?

J

 
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:14 PM   #8
EarthBound
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie Brewer View Post
For you, maybe. Not necessarily for everyone. Electric is more costly to build. Propane is more costly to operate. Electric is stationary. Propane is portable. I can take my rig somewhere else if I want and don't have to worry about whether they have a power supply big enough to handle my rig. Electric can be made more automatic, while propane needs more attention. There is good and bad with both, so to say that one is "hands down" better than the other and a "no brainer" is completely subjective. It may be so for you, but not necessarily for someone else.
I agree completely. It takes different strokes. I'm glad that I will be transporting my propane brewstand to the my local brewery for Big Brew. I'll be happy to show it off. However, I do plan on upgrading my brewstand with electric features (5500W elements, controlled by PIDs) because I believe brewing with electric is overall better. It's safer, cheaper (AFTER start-up cost!), and easier, IMO. I've already built a heatstick to get a boil going quicker... WAY quicker.
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