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Can't get a boil with new brewpot...bucket heater?

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Chaos_Being

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I recently got a 8gal "Megapot" from AHBS so I could start doing some stovetop AG batches (I did a stovetop partial mash before with success.) Unfortunately, it turns out that my electric stove is not up to snuff! I have one of those glass/ceramic topped ones- I never had a problem getting a decent boil of 3-3.5gallons (I believe I even did 4 once) with my old 5 gallon pot, but I couldn't get 6, or even 5 gallons to boil in my new pot. It would get within a couple of degrees of boiling, and never go past a simmer. If I cover the pot, it boils, but if I take the lid back off, it is back to a simmer within a few minutes. I tried insulating the pot with some Reflectrix as I saw on another thread here, but I still couldn't get a boil (although the water did heat up faster.)

I've been looking for ways to add a little extra heat, and of course came across the instructions on making your own heatstick. However, I don't really want to go that route- I'd rather not make my own electical device that is to be submerged in water :p I did, however, come across this 1000w "bucket heater" for sale off of several websites:

Amazon.com: Allied Precision #742G 1000W Bucket Heater: Home Improvement

Has anyone used this with success? A few of the reviewers on Amazon seem to have had luck with it, and it claims that it will heat water to a boil (of course, I'd still have my stove on high.) I read of a few people who claimed that it wouldn't boil water, but I think they were trying to use the heater on it's own- I would still be using my stove too.

The other option would be to of course get a propane burner (my brother in law has a turkey fryer burner that would probably work,) but I'm trying to keep my brewing indoors if at all possible. I'm hoping to find a way to get this to work soon, because the pot wasn't exactly cheap...and I've already bought grain for two batches :(
 
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bad coffee

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I have the same 8 gallon pot from AHS. I have to put it on two burners to get it to boil. If I'm not careful I burn the reflectix off as well. But I am using gas, not elec.

Are you using one coil or two?

B
 
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Chaos_Being

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I'm only using one coil- none of them seem to be spaced well enough to effectively use two (the pot will only cover half of each hot spot.) The "spots" are all different sizes too, so that doens't help things. Ironically, I was happy to see the nice glass-top stove when my wife and I bought the house, now I kind of wish I had the gas range in my old crappy apartment :p

Do you think 1000w would be insufficient? After all, I only need 3-4 degrees to hit 212F. (I'm not really sure how much additional heat/power I would need.) The main thing I don't want to do is spend more money on something that isn't going to work. I agree that the 2000w heatstick would definitely do the trick, but i'm still pretty leery of building one, at least right now.

Thanks for the feedback so far!
 

Homercidal

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Wow, that sounds like a real problem. I got a propane turkey fryer and used it two weekends ago for the first time. I was leery of brewing in the garage, but TBH it was much better than the kitchen. You may have to end up going that route.

One thing you might try is to insulate around the kettle. I've seen others do it here. I doubt it would be effective enough, but it's about the only thing I can think of short of replacing the stove!
 
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Chaos_Being

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Yeah, I tried insulating the kettle, which only made the water heat up to 4 degrees shy of boiling faster :p I've thought about adding another layer or two of Reflectrix, as the outside was still pretty hot, but I think the real problem is not enough heat, and too much water surface area that is dispelling said heat.

I saw mention of a really nice looking electric heater that NB sells...unfortunately, it is pretty close to $200, and I don't really feel like spending that much money.

I'm starting to feel that I may have to go the outside brewing route, at least with my AG batches. I've already proven that I can do PM on my stove (and the beer was good, too!) My brother in law already said that I could try using his turkey fryer burner. I would just need to decide if I want to brew in my garage (I'd have to clean it first though...which I need to do anyways,) or if I want to get a bit of concrete block to create a brewspot in my backyard (I have a spot like that already where my gas grill is, I could always move the grill temporarily if need be.) I could brew in my driveway of course, but then I'd have to deal with the nosy neighbor factor.

If the bucket heater would work though, that would be great- it's cheap, and I can stay indoors.
 

adamjab19

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Brewing outdoors is great! Inside, my house gets hot and it's crowded. Spend the money and get a propane tank and burner. Sounds like it will be cheaper than a heating element anyway. It's really the best route to go.
 
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Chaos_Being

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I just broke down and ordered a SQ14 burner from Amazon. I had borrowed my brother in law's old turkey fryer burner today, but unfortunately it had been moved from the garage to an outside deck and left unprotected at some point. The burner was rusted and filled with water and dead pine needles :( Needless to say, I couldn't get any sort of clean burn from it, so I said F it and just ordered one. Hopefully I'll be trying it out next weekend!
 
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