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Old 11-06-2012, 02:22 AM   #1
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Default Double Batch with 30 Amps - HEX in BK for strike water?

Been a while and never really got around to a solid plan for double brew days (12 gallon batches last a while in our house since my wife is now pregnant!) but here's an idea I just thought of during last brew day:

Leave a heat exchanger hooked up in the BK during the boil, and use a temp controller on my HLT pump to recirculate the HLT water as well as maintain a boil. I have rolling boil with the PID set to 55-60% of 5500 watt power, if I ramp that up I should be able to transfer heat over to the HLT without losing a boil. I can pinch down the flow rate with a ball valve in order to maintain a boil. Just a matter of how slow is too slow?

The last couple of brews I have been maintaining a full HLT at 170 during sparge, this leaves me with some hot water at the end of the session to use for cleaning. I guess I could probably use that leftover water as strike for the first mash, and let the BK boil and heat sparge water for the hour long boil (and mash).

Anyone done something like this?


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Old 11-06-2012, 05:00 AM   #2
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I have been thinking the same thing. How to do a double batch only using 30 amps. I was thinking a putting an extra switch that can only turn on an extra ssr when boiling. if you use a normally open ssr for the bk, have the switch control a normally closed ssr for the hlt. So if your boil is set to 60%, your hlt will be running at 40%. I figured that would be enough to heat it to strike temp during an hour long boil. I don't see why this wouldn't work, both elements would never be on at the same time, they would just be flipping power back and forth. You wouldnt have precise control, but if you have a thermometer in your hlt you can just flip the switch off when it gets up to temp. Maybe someone can chime in if this is possible. I'm no electrical engineer.


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Old 11-06-2012, 12:37 PM   #3
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Hmm that is an interesting idea too.

While I wouldnt really mind doing the whole thing manually, I think digital controlling could be possible as well:

Im sure in your method one could hook up a temp controller on the output side of the 40% SSR leg. Once the HLT hit the desired strike temp, it shuts off the power and your back to only using 60% for the boil.

Similarly, in my pump and HEX method, a temp controller is set to turn on the pump when the temperature is too low. Once the set temp is reached it shuts off the pump. You would need to manually throttle a ball valve to get a flowrate slow enough that it does not interrupt the boil.

We are both in it for the same reasons (why have all that power if you cant use it for something?), but I'm thinking more mechanical and your thinking more electrical.

FWIW I am a civil engineer so that doesnt help us much either lol.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:49 PM   #4
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Easy theoretical calculation... we know that 60% of 5500 (3300 watts) can keep a 10 gallon batch boiling. How long does it take the other 40% (2200 watts) to heat up 10 gallons (approx volume of sparge water needed for average 10 gallons brew) from say 70 to 170 degrees? Without doing the math, I found this thread that has some information that says it takes anywhere between 50 and 90 minutes. I think that is reasonable. Plus like I said before I usually have some more hot water left over in the HLT so that starting temp would be higher, say around 100?
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:32 PM   #5
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Hmm I'm in the middle of testing my mechanical HEX theory, and it seems I forgot one important part of thermodynamics - ENERGY REQUIRED FOR PHASE CHANGE!

Got 14 gallons up to a boil in the BK with HEX immersed. Have 10 gallons sitting in the HLT connected to the HEX. The instant that I turn the pump on, the boil stops because it is cooling down the BK water. I thought it may be because I was starting so low in temp, so I let it run for a while to equalize temps, but it still wasnt working at HLT @ 100F.

My idea isnt looking very good.... Im currently attempting it at a higher HLT temp to see whether I can even boil while maintaining 170 (sparge temps). I will update when Im done.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpr121 View Post
Hmm I'm in the middle of testing my mechanical HEX theory, and it seems I forgot one important part of thermodynamics - ENERGY REQUIRED FOR PHASE CHANGE!

Got 14 gallons up to a boil in the BK with HEX immersed. Have 10 gallons sitting in the HLT connected to the HEX. The instant that I turn the pump on, the boil stops because it is cooling down the BK water. I thought it may be because I was starting so low in temp, so I let it run for a while to equalize temps, but it still wasnt working at HLT @ 100F.

My idea isnt looking very good.... Im currently attempting it at a higher HLT temp to see whether I can even boil while maintaining 170 (sparge temps). I will update when Im done.
I think you would have to recirculate through the hex at a trickle for this to have a chance and in that case it really wouldnt heat up the HLT water.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:27 PM   #7
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In theory, as long as you extract heat from the BK at a rate less than you put heat into the BK from the element, you should be able to achieve your goal. It takes 4.13 (ish) joules to heat 1 gram of water 1 degree celcius. We can look at the specific heat of water and do some math. Assuming 10 gallons of water weighs 37.8kg, and assuming you're going from 100*F to 170*F (38.89*C change) then it comes out to requiring 6159KJ of energy. That works out to about 1.71 kWh, or 1710 Watts in an Hour. So, let's say you want to get your water up to temperature during the hour long boil, you'd pull 1710 watts of the element's 3300 available watts out through the HEX. That leaves you 1590 watts to maintain boil.

Of course, this is all theoretical. I have no idea how much energy it would take to maintain boil, how much energy is lost to the environment, what the efficency of the heat element actually is, etc. But, in theory, a heater putting out 3300 watts of energy could boil the water and heat through the HEX.

Or, I have no idea what I'm talking about.
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:01 AM   #8
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I had to quit my testing today, but its not looking good. I had the temp in the HLT up to 165 and every time I turned the pump on the boil stopped. So if the plan was to decrease total time during a double batch day I dont think this is the best idea.

FWIW I am using a 5500 watt element, not 3300. I really think this isnt going to work the way I planned due to the temperature differential. Electrically like JRems idea might work however.
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:25 AM   #9
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I am not sure your setup. Assuming you are boiling in a keg conversion.

I would guess if you made a heat ex changer that was wrapped on the outside of the boil kettle (not in the liquid) your theory would work out. You would get enough heat transfer from this to get what you want in the HLT without slamming the boil liquid. You would still have to play with flow rates, but the metal of the kettle will act as a capacitor and you will not kill the boil I would guess.

Again... just a guess
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:53 AM   #10
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I'm glad you tried it out. I don't think your hex method will work out, even when running boiling wort through my counterflow chiller to sanitize instantly kills the boil. With my method I was just trying to get the strike water heated, not keep precise mash temps, so as soon as the boil is over I can dough in and start the mash. When I get a chance I'll try to work it out I'm sure it can be done. I searched but haven't seen anyone try a setup like I described.


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