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Old 11-08-2012, 06:37 AM   #1
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Default Simple Electric Setup Help (Electric Boil Kettle and Cooler Mash Tun)

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
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Why add water pre boil? More energy to boil it off. Add it post boil.

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Old 11-08-2012, 10:46 AM   #3
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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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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
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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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