Coffee urn for HLT?

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HairyDogBrewing

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Has anyone tried this?
I've been heating 10-11 qts of strike water on the stovetop.
But it takes about 45 min to go from 120 to 170.
I'd like to be able to get the mash going sooner.

Coffee is brewed at about 190 and served at about 160.
Plug into a timer and presto - hot water when I wake up on Saturday morning.:ban:

Maybe it would be more fun to MacGyver something,
but I'm saving duct tape for my bamboo hang glider. :cross:
 

ScubaSteve

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This has been looked at, but the challenge is finding something that will heat a large volume. You'll need about 7 gallons to make it worthwhile. You're better off looking into a heat element and a cooler; The Pol has a nice thread on making an electric HLT with 115VAC.
 

ChshreCat

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I was thinking about that myself. I used to work at a place that had this huge coffee maker that held at least 5 gallons... maybe closer to 10. It was freakin' huge and got it piping hot.

My other thought was one of those in-line water heaters.
 
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HairyDogBrewing

HairyDogBrewing

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I don't mind the time it takes to heat sparge water.
That can be done during the mash.

A 50 cup (9.4 qts) or 60 cup (11.3 qts) would do for strike water.
They might have larger ones at the restaurant store.

Are there any other show stoppers?
 

ScubaSteve

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I wonder what the price is for something like that....you might be able to find it cheap at a restaurant supply, but seriously...you could get a large SS pot and heating element and just build one yourself.
 

Revvy

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As a proponent of experimentation, I think it would be just plain "skiffy" if this would work.

I've seen old large coffee urns even really cheap at goodwill and other second hand stores, even flea markets sometimes have them cheaper than even restaurant supply stores.
 

ChshreCat

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I was reading another thread on here where a member was experimenting with the boiler from a home espresso machine. Didn't turn out to be doable because of the limited supply in them.

Then I was at the espresso stand at work and noticed that they feed their steam machine from corny kegs full of water.

Got me wondering...
 

eriktlupus

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i just found a 84 cup (@4g) commercial style maker for 10 bucks at a habitat restore. gets water to 200 in @30min, will be putting it into practice on a brew tomorrow.:D
 

Revvy

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i just found a 84 cup (@4g) commercial style maker for 10 bucks at a habitat restore. gets water to 200 in @30min, will be putting it into practice on a brew tomorrow.:D
Cool deal Buddy!!!

Can't wait to hear how it works in your system!!!

:mug:

Talking to the British Brewer that was on here briefly, British homebrewers use large coffee urns in their setups quite often...I wish I could remember the thread..
 

Revvy

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*wonders if he should point out the search feature to Revvy*

:D
*Wonder's how many lives 'cat has left* :D

I tried, but I can't recall the word title in the thread...I did a post seacrh for urns and didn't find it....she used a brand name for the urns and I think i called them by the same name...but for crikey sake I can't recall...it was a thread about demoing brewing at adult community and senior centers
 

eriktlupus

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this worked pretty good. easier to fill up the night before and turn it on when u get up rather than wait for yourself to wake up then measure and fill a pot on stove. the capacity is good but i would like a little more room in there say a 100cups or so would be perfect for a 5g batch with a little left over for flushing and such.

I will continue using this for brewing:mug:
 
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HairyDogBrewing

HairyDogBrewing

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Well, I gave up on trying to find big, cheap, used urn.
The restaurant supply store had a 101 cup by RegalWare for $109 + tax.
I ran a test with the basket in to see what temps would result.
It heated 4 gallons from 60F to 212F in 76 minutes.
Steady 2F per minute up until 180F.
Then 4 min to 200F :confused:
5 more min to 210F then 5 more min to 212F and 5 min at 212F before it switched over to the warming element.
The temp dropped to 200F in the first 15 min,
then lost 2F per 15 min after that.

It definitely heats faster than my electric range.
But the basket makes to much racket to use when I'm sleeping.
I'm going to run another test without the basket.
 

eriktlupus

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i found mine heated a little slower without the basket but was infinitely quieter. took around 75-80 min till switch off at 205 but i dont need that hot so it makes it in about 55-60 min till strike temps. next brew i'm gonna use an outlet timer on it to start about 1/2 hr before i get up in the morning.
 
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HairyDogBrewing

HairyDogBrewing

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I brewed a batch of APB today.
The coffee urn did a good job of heating 3 gal strike water from 120 to 170 in 20 minutes.
Heated half the sparge in the urn and half on the stovetop.
The urn was ready way ahead of the stove.

Another thing I noticed:
The temp in the coffee urn doesn't keep rising after I turn it off.
On the stovetop I have to turn off 2-3F before or move it away.

So far I'm happy to shave off a few minutes from the brew session.
But it doesn't really maintain any ideal temperatures.
It might be possible to "hack" it and adjust the set points,
but I think I'll look into a Love/Ranco/PID.
 
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