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Old 09-10-2011, 03:45 PM   #1
Jester
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Default New to Electric brewing - 5 gallon setup questions

I have been brewing on and off for the past 7 years and recently had to relocate to an apartment. With that I am not going to be able to use a propane burner to do brewing anymore. Since being here, I have tried to get a 5 gallon boil going on my stove and it will not get above a slow simmer.

I am now researching what I need to convert my system to electric... Most of the systems seem to be running a 240V element. I am looking to stay 120V. Any suggestions on an element?

Now..... Just to ask some questions about running a 240V element. Can I use a 5400watt 240V element on 120V? I read that it cuts the output to .25 of the output at 240V. If I used a 5400wall 240V element and run it on 120V, could that get 6-7 gallons to a boil? I am asking this because I have already started collecting sanke kegs to go up to larger batches, but that wont happen for 2 years when I get out of grad school. It would be nice to be able to just move the element to the sanke and jump up to 240V once I am ready to go up in batch sizes.

Any info, opinions, and suggestions are appreciated. Thanks.

Jester


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Old 09-10-2011, 04:29 PM   #2
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In my opinion it would be better to wait until you have the ability to use 240V/30A service. A 20A 120v circuit could be used I suppose but you'd really be maxing out the circuit and it would have to be dedicated anyway. You wouldn't be able to use a very big heating element on that type of service so it would likely take a long time to get stuff boiling and up to mash temps.


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Old 09-10-2011, 04:33 PM   #3
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Your right that the 5400 will be cut to 1350 watts. This will probably bring your 6-7 gallons to a boil, but it will take a ridiculously long time. You will be better of with a 120v element rated at 2000w or so...
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Old 09-10-2011, 04:44 PM   #4
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Jester,
Couple of questions for you.

Do you have a clothes dryer outlet available to you?
Your stove - is it an electric range?

If either one is a yes, there is a way for you to have a setup.
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Old 09-10-2011, 04:52 PM   #5
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You could also build a heat-stick to supplement your stove. I use (2) 2000 watt heat sticks currently as my heat source and it produces a vigorous boil for my 5 gallon batches. You can use up to a 2000w 120V element in a 20A outlet. Search heat stick on the forum to see ideas on how to build them. You could also permanently install one in the kettle if you are inclined. Just get the 1" elemnt nut from bargainfittings.com. One should be more than enough for your needs when used in concert with the stove element. Good luck!
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Old 09-10-2011, 04:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P-J View Post
Jester,
Couple of questions for you.

Do you have a clothes dryer outlet available to you?
Your stove - is it an electric range?

If either one is a yes, there is a way for you to have a setup.
That's very true, a dryer outlet is all you need and you're in business. A range outlet is typically a lot bigger than 30A, so I suppose that could somehow be used too, but I don't know the specifics.
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:04 PM   #7
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I like electric range outlet or supplementing with heat sticks.

You could get an electrician to run and additional outlet from the stove to someplace close by your sink. Have him do a surface mount gfci outlet and do it in a way that can be removed easily when you move out.
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:26 PM   #8
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I use a 1500W heatstick to assist my stove in the winter when I don't feel like freezing my nose off. It works great
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P-J View Post
Jester,
Couple of questions for you.

Do you have a clothes dryer outlet available to you?
Your stove - is it an electric range?

If either one is a yes, there is a way for you to have a setup.
Sadly I do not have laundry or laundry hookup in my apartment and my range is an old 1970s electric range with push buttons (no knobs to control the temperature) and it is all built into the cabinets with no access to the electrical connection. I consider myself really handy and I cannot find a way to get to where this thing is plugged in or wired.
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Old 09-10-2011, 05:55 PM   #10
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Hmm, well it sounds like a supplemental 1500-2000watt heatstick may be your only option unless you can convince your landlord to install a 30A outlet somewhere


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