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Old 11-28-2007, 07:56 PM   #1
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Default questions regarding all electric brewery

I want to do AG brews in my basement. An all electric heating system seams to make the most sense. I have a few questions.

I plant to use a 5 Gallon HLT cooler heated with one element, a 10 gallon MLT heated with another element and a stainless pot with possibly 2 elements to heat to boil.

Question 1, is there a way to automate the temp control on the HLT and MLT? If so, what kind of controllers and relay are needed?

Question 2. When heating maintaining temp in the mash, I am assuming you only want to add a small amount of heat at a time or you risk scorching the mash near the element. Since it is in a cooler, I am assuming only a very small amount of heat is needed. Do you use a large element set to a very low wattage or do you use a smaller element?

Question 3. How many watts does it take to boil 5 gallons of wort?

I am going to be brewing about 10 ft from my service panel and I have room to add 3 dedicated 20 amp circuits or even go 220 if needed.

I plan to use pumps like the brutus 10 design in BYO to move the liquid around.

Let me know your thoughts or point me to someone who has somewhat automated the process with electrics.

Thanks

Linc


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Old 11-29-2007, 04:11 AM   #2
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Default Some almost answers

Boy, you don't ask anything difficult, do you?

I am looking at going all electric also, for the same reasons you gave. I'll answer your questions as best I can, and give you a few more options.

1 - You can control the temperature. What kind of relays/controllers you use is up to your bank account and how picky you are. Heating the HLT is easy. Just run a thermostat to a relay. In the MLT, you need to keep from scorching the wort. Try and keep your watts/sq. in down to a low value. You may want to use a PID controller here if you can spare the money, but that adds up quick.

2 - Use a small heater. A large heater is asking for problems.

3 - I would use 2500 to 3500 watts. Keep the watts/sq. in as low as you can get it to prevent scorching and darkening of the wort.

Now, why are you using an insulated MLT? Why not use a recirculating system such as RIMS, HERMS or any of the other 3, 4 or 5 letter acronyms for keeping the MLT at temperature? Some people on this site also use steam injection for heating.

If you plan to boil, you will need to go to 220 Volts. Lots of current. Make sure you understand grounding VERY well before you try and wire this. Ground fault circuits would be a great idea too, but they will not help too much if you don't know how to ground. Electricity and water don't mix well, so this can be dangerous if you aren't experienced.


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Old 11-29-2007, 04:17 AM   #3
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I once calculated the specs for an electric brewery and found that I would have trouble with the commonly available stove top heating elements. For the 10 gal brewery that I thought of, they were to weak to get o a 10% boil-off rate. I couldn't find large enough immersable heating elements that wouldn't cause scorching.

Let us know what you find. I'm very interested as electric would also be my way of brewing in the basement.

Kai
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Old 11-29-2007, 04:20 AM   #4
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I could swear that orfy has an electric keggle, with the heat coming from an element that is mounted right through the bottom of the keggle. It looks a little like one of those electric charcoal starters from years ago...

ETA:
Here another one, but not the one I saw before...
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Old 11-29-2007, 04:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ma2brew
I could swear that orfy has an electric keggle, with the heat coming from an element that is mounted right through the bottom of the keggle. It looks a little like one of those electric charcoal starters from years ago...

ETA:
Here another one, but not the one I saw before...
Hey that's ME


I got two elements in my HLT, they are only 2000w (I bought it set up already so i may be a little off on that one) But i still have to run them off of two separate circuits to keep them from tripping the breaker. I can keep a pretty good rolling boil with one when it is warm out, when it is cold i would have to use two. I usually only go up to 180 at the highest anymore.

I would say that if you are setting up in your basement, unless you really wanted to do complicated multi step mashes you wouldn't need to have a direct contact element in the MLT. I would go with a HERMS set-up like Bluemoon said, it is easy enough to control the temp in an electric HLT, you can run a pump and a copper coil inside your HLT to do step mashes. That is actually the direction I would like to head in when I can afford it.

Cheers
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:13 PM   #6
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I have a post from a while ago that detailed much of my build. It's an all electric 2.5 vessel RIMS system with a 2x3 foot space requirement. It lives in my basement and has served me (and the neighbors, cousins, coworkers...) very well. Could be done on the cheap, but my advise is to get as close to the best that you think you'll want at the outset so you can spend your time brewing and tweaking recipes, rather than constantly rigging and fixing your setup.

~M~
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:13 PM   #7
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D'oh! Fergot the link..

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/all-...ew-rig-169671/


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