Anyone want to comment on my proposed setup? I'm looking for input on anything I might have missed, improvements and thoughts on a few undecided steps.
Background: My current system is a 10g polarware kettle on the kitchen stove and it can straddle 3 burners so boiling isn't an issue. So why am I here? My wife has celiac and I'm always nervous about cross contamination in the kitchen, all my equipment is stored in the basement and I have a 2nd kitchen in the basement. So I think I should be brewing in the basement. When we were remodeling the main kitchen and tearing into the ceiling and walls of the basement kitchen, I kept this in mind and had gas, electric and water set up for any future use.
What I want to do:
Maybe the easiest solution would be to stick with what works and say, "Honey, let's replace the 4 year old stove and I'll just put it in the basement." There are the typical concerns about using gas in the basement, so I'm looking at going electric. This sketch is based off the countertop brutus.
It's an electric (not shown), 2 tier system. with an DIY exhaust hood. The boil kettle (BK) is a 40qt kettle and will be fired by 1 mounted heating element (1500 - 2000 W) and 1 heat stick (1500 - 2000 W). I have two 120V outlets with dedicated, separate 20 Amp breakers (shown on the drawing). The MLT is a 10g cooler. I can either heat up the strike water with the heat stick or if I'm in a hurry I can use both elements in the BK and pump the strike water into the MLT. The BK will then be filled with sparge water. After the mashing process, the MLT will be drained into a bucket to hold the 1st runnings. Then the sparge water will be pumped to the MLT and the 1st runnings will be manually dumped into the BK. The MLT can be rotated to drain the 2nd runnings directly into the BK. Both elements will be used to boil and the pump will then be connected to a Jamil Whirlpool Chiller. And finally, the pump will be disconnected and gravity will again be used to transfer into the fermentation vessel.
Will I regret using only a 40qt BK? I brew 5 -6 gallon batches and I think I'm more likely to brew a 3 gallon batch than a 10 gallon batch. But I think I'm going to have the coupling welded when I have some other welding work done. I'm pretty sold on my batch size, but there is the nagging thought that if I'm going to have the welding done, I should go bigger. Of course, I don't have a bigger kettle on hand, so maybe I just take my chances and just sell my current BK if I need to upgrade.
Why not 2 welded elements? My thought here is that if I ever get 240Vs, I'm only going to need one element, so I can just move the heat stick to full time HLT duty. Also, I can still use my BK on a gas stove, if needed and keeping the heat off one element box is easier than keeping it off two.
I still have my 5 gallon MLT. I could make this 3 tier and eliminate the 1st runnings bucket.
I have an extra 3/8 immersion chiller. I could use the BK to power a HERMS and use the 1st runnings bucket as a grant. I also want to build a temperature control box as some point for roasting coffee and sous vide, so it might as well control a HERMS.