I want to share with the community my brew kettle setup. One of my brooding topics recently has been time efficiency. I get distracted easily. If a HLT or kettle ain't heating up quickly enough I may just wander off.
My '73 electric stove isn't my ideal heat source, but it's all I got. My brew kettle is a 40qt aluminum tamale steamer from my local grocery store for $25. It feels like it could crush like a soda can, but this little mother is tough. I consistently boil 7 gallons.
When my larger heat element crapped out on me I could only use a small one. Surprisingly, a small element on HIGH could boil 7ga, but no where near boil over. It took damn near 1 hour to go from 170 to boil. I decided to try insulating my kettle.
Of the material I researched Thermo-Tec 14130 (link below) seemed the best. I ordered this and some foil tape. Luckily, the insulation blanket could be folded once and wrapped around my kettle without cropping. I simply foil taped her up and set her to heat.
With my larger heat element back I ran a test using 7 gallons of 90 degree tap. I reached @160 in 45min. @170 to boil in 30. Water really started rolling 5min after boil. The kettle even held a good boil for close to 1min after flameout.
I picked up a 10 ga water cooler MLT and now use my 5 ga water cooler as HLT for my fly sparge. A 20qt SS pot now heats water alongside the kettle for mash water. I estimate my next brew day to take 6 hours from heating water to yeast pitch.
Be one with your brewery.
(1.1) Cut out a hatch in the lid, reattached with Hinge. A nice adjustable vent.
(1.2) Insulation skin damage. Accidentely turned the wrong heat element on til redhot. Lil foil tape gone fix that
(1.3) Foil Tape
(1.4) Left the bottom untaped. I currently stovetop boil.