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Old 11-08-2012, 06:37 AM   #1
Jul 2011
Madison, WI
Posts: 14

I have been browsing the electric brewing forum for a while as I am intrigued by electric brewing setups but they all seem to be three vessel HERMS or RIMS configurations. Does anyone have just a simple electric boil kettle and cooler mash tun?

A little background about my situation. I currently brew all grain on my electric stove top with a 5 gallon kettle and mash in a 5 gallon cooler. I would like to move out of the kitchen so I do not stink up the place when I brew, making the SWMBO happy, and also be able to brew larger batches. Propane is not an option for me because I live in a townhouse and there is a city ordinance that prevents those who live in townhouses or apartment-like complexes from having a grill or anything that uses a propane tank larger than 1lb.

I had a 30A service installed in my garage with a 240V outlet and a kill switch. I was thinking of getting a 15 gallon 4500W electric kettle from here:
Do I need any sort of control panel if I am just boiling wort? The only thing I found was that running the element at full tilt would increase the boil off rate a bit, but that is easily compensated for by adding extra water pre-boil. What have others who have made similar setups done?

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Old 11-08-2012, 09:48 AM   #2
Nov 2010
ohmihachiman, Japan
Posts: 825
Liked 92 Times on 69 Posts

Why add water pre boil? More energy to boil it off. Add it post boil.
"Beer, well respected and rightly consumed, can be a gift of God. It is one of his mysteries, which it was his delight to conceal and the glory of kings to search out."

The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield

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Old 11-08-2012, 10:46 AM   #3
Feb 2010
Posts: 387
Liked 14 Times on 10 Posts

I have a 4.5k watt ULWD element in my 14 gallon BK because I thought I'd have a problem fitting a ripple type in my flat bottom kettle. I run it at 90% and my boil off is less then what I got with direct fire propane. I think that you could start with 13 gallons pre boil and not have a problem with a boil over with your kettle size if you keep an eye on it and skim it hot break.
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:20 PM   #4
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May 2007
Jersey Shore, New Jersey
Posts: 9,803
Liked 1522 Times on 1155 Posts

Elements are cheap and easy to install in kettles. If you are running over power you will need a large kettle and won't be able to boil too close to the rim. Just ballparking, but I would see a 3500w for 5 gal batches and a 4500 for 10 gal. Yes your concept is sound but not fashionable to those that are capable of building a controller.

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Old 11-02-2015, 12:28 AM   #5
Nov 2012
Reisterstown, Maryland
Posts: 39
Liked 4 Times on 4 Posts

I built one earlier this year out of a keg and a hot water heating element. Dealing with the Hot Break problem was my main concern. and I found a kit from Stilldragon which included a box, a potentiometer, and an SSR with a heat sink and instructions. The kit cost less than $40, and allows you to control the amount of the amount of power going to the element.

Here is the link:

The main expenses were 2 circuit breakers, 100 feet of 10-3 wire, and lesser costs for electrical boxes and miscellaneous parts. Once you get above 20 amps, the cost of wire, plugs, and other electrical hardware goes up considerably, but once I got the system together I haven't looked back, and only use propane for brewing events.

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