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Old 11-29-2011, 04:20 AM   #1
GregKelley
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I'm an extract with special grains brewer. Have my own grain mill and buy my extract in bulk. I typically do 5 gallon batches with a propane burner.

I'm very curious about doing it electric for all the reasons repeated on this forum. My question is how fast will it boil 5 gallons? I would assume that the gravity of the wort may have an affect on the time. I usually perform a late extract addition to maximize hop usage. Also, how rigorous of a boil will these electric systems create?

I'm thinking of starting with just a boil kettle handled by a PID in manual mode. If all works well, I might switch to all grain again powering it by electric elements.

 
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Old 11-29-2011, 05:42 AM   #2
zacc
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I'm using an electric system with converted 15 gallon kegs and normally do 10 gallon batches. I'm using 5500w electric elements like the ones Kal uses on theelectricbrewery.com.

I havent timed it but i would say boil time on my system is faster than when i used propane. Usually on brew day I get up, fill the kettle and set the PID to my strike water temp. Then I'l go make breakfast, coffee, look over my recipe etc. By the time i get back to check on the water its usually right at strike temp or close to it.

You won't have any trouble maintaining whatever kind of boil you like with the right size element. During the boil i put mine in manual mode at about 75%, this gives it a nice rolling boil.

My electric system is still fairly new, I've only done about 7 batches on it. I would highly recommend electric and wish i would have done it sooner. The only real issue with an electric system is ensuring it's built safetly. A lot of people are scared of electricity but really anthing can be dangerous if the right precautions aren't taken. Just make sure your confident in what your doing and if you have any doubts have an electrician look over it.

 
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Old 11-29-2011, 12:27 PM   #3
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Brewmation has a chart on their site that shows boil times, with the different size elements on one side and the number of gallons on the other. But no matter which element is used, 5 gallons is around 14-17 minutes with a temperature rise of about 100F.
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Old 11-29-2011, 01:29 PM   #4
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I would guess that for a 5 gallon batch, assuming about 6.5 gallons boil volume that it usually takes my system about 20-30 mins to reach full boil. That's starting at a temp of around 160-170 after sparging. I have a single 5500watt heating element. If you're starting from tap water temps it would probably take 45 minutes or so? I've never timed it though so its hard to say for sure.

It seems quicker than when I used to use propane though.

 
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Old 11-29-2011, 01:33 PM   #5
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It depends on the size of your element of course, but I have a 4500 w in my BK in I reach a boil pretty quickly but never timed it. I go from tap water (45-50 degrees) to 180 degrees with a 5500 w element in the HLT in about 20-30 minutes. But that's way more than 6 gallons- more like 10-15 gallons.
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Old 11-29-2011, 02:25 PM   #6
audger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rico567 View Post
But no matter which element is used, 5 gallons is around 14-17 minutes with a temperature rise of about 100F.
not exactly sure how that makes sense... more power = faster temp rise. its usually pretty linear. a 2000w heater is going to be about half as fast as a 4000w heater. i suppose an ultra high density element might boil the water at its surface which would decrease heat transfer, but there is no way a 2kW element is going to boil water just as fast as a 5.5kW element, all else being equal.

it takes 5900 BTUs to get 5 gallons from 70 degrees to boiling (not accounting for heat lost to evaporation or radiaton thru the pot)(the formula is [5gal x 8.3 x (212* - 70*) ] ).

an electric element puts out around 3400 BTUs/hour, per 1000 watts (so a 4kW element is 13,600 BTUs/Hr).

divide 5900 by the BTUs/Hr your element produces. multiply that number by 60 and you have how many minutes it takes to boil 5 gallons starting at 70 degrees.

 
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Old 11-29-2011, 04:13 PM   #7
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There is a nice excel spreadsheet that actually lets you plug in your numbers to get time to boil, time to temp, find the actual wattage of your true voltage, etc. so you can figure things out. It is called "electric heat". Do a search for it. I found it on here a few years ago and it has been a great tool.

That said, I punched numbers into it real fast and a 5500w element, at 100% power, will raise 7 gallons of 170F wort to a boil in 8 minutes at (a conservative) 95% rate of efficiency.

A 3500w element on the other hand, all else being equal, would take 13 minutes.

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Old 11-29-2011, 04:58 PM   #8
rico567
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audger View Post
not exactly sure how that makes sense... more power = faster temp rise. its usually pretty linear. a 2000w heater is going to be about half as fast as a 4000w heater. i suppose an ultra high density element might boil the water at its surface which would decrease heat transfer, but there is no way a 2kW element is going to boil water just as fast as a 5.5kW element, all else being equal.

it takes 5900 BTUs to get 5 gallons from 70 degrees to boiling (not accounting for heat lost to evaporation or radiaton thru the pot)(the formula is [5gal x 8.3 x (212* - 70*) ] ).

an electric element puts out around 3400 BTUs/hour, per 1000 watts (so a 4kW element is 13,600 BTUs/Hr).

divide 5900 by the BTUs/Hr your element produces. multiply that number by 60 and you have how many minutes it takes to boil 5 gallons starting at 70 degrees.
What I meant was the time spread wasn't much, no matter which element was selected. If you have issues with the chart, take it up with Brewmation.
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