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joelshults

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I haven't done anything with electric brewing but am planning on going electric when I step up from doing partial boils on my stove.

My question has to do with the electric element coming into contact with different things inside the kettle. Not contact with wort, I don't want to start another thread on caramelizing wort with an element.

Specifically, is it ok for metal to touch the heating element? Will this cause the element to burn out or short or anything like that?

Also, I've heard that direct contact with the element can melt the bags people use for BIAB. Besides ruining your beer with melted plastic and not being able to separate the grain from the wort, can this cause any damage to the element?

If you are using a heat stick, is it ok for it to touch the side of the pot or rest on the bottom?

Thanks for the help!
 

techrunner

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the element is simply a resistor, and there shouldn't be an issue with it touching other than scorching the bag. its electrically insulated, or the water (wort) would be able to short it to the kettle walls.
 

jkarp

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Unless you let the element run dry, the wort is carrying away heat just as fast as the element can generate it. In other words, the element temp isn't much above 212F and far below the melting point of hop or grain bags, spoons, or anything else you'd normally put in a kettle.
 

jkarp

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It will melt nylon hop bags. Speaking from experience...
Also speaking from experience - I must have uber-atomic-magical-extra-special hop bags. Mine sit right on top the element for 90 minutes. Never, ever, ever had one melt.
 

Walker

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It will melt nylon hop bags. Speaking from experience...
Also speaking from experience - I must have uber-atomic-magical-extra-special hop bags. Mine sit right on top the element for 90 minutes. Never, ever, ever had one melt.
I'm with jkarp on this. I was worried about the bags when I was building my system. When I did my first wet-test, I decided to see what happened. I weighted a bag down with stainless steel measuring cups and draped it directly over the heating element. I had a LOT of the bag in direct contact with a 5500W element.

Boiled it for 30 minutes and the bag came out completely unharmed.
 

jkarp

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Nylon has a melting point of 509F. Something's seriously wrong with TheAleMaster's system if he's hitting this...
 

HossTheGreat

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Very interesting...I'm in the process of converting my keggle to electric and have been racking my brain about how to keep the bag off of the element. Mine is a 5500w ULWD, so from what you all are saying it looks like I don't even have to worry about it....good to know.
 

SankePankey

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A 32 quart Bayou Classic stainless steamer basket is roughly (11.5" D X 11" H) the same size as a 5 gallon paint strainer bag. Just sayin :) That's what I'm doing to keep er off the elements. And it holds the hops up so that they drain.

Contact with metal is fine. In fact, you increase the surface area of the heating element. My brewmation's false bottom is directly attached to the mash element, turning the whole false bottom basically into the the element itself.
 

Yambor44

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jkarp said:
Nylon has a melting point of 509F. Something's seriously wrong with TheAleMaster's system if he's hitting this...
If he is running his PID on manual, could the element get to that melting temp if left alone at 100%?
 

samc

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Not all Nylon has the same melting point, and it would appear that as it ages it becomes less able to withstand the heat. That would be my take on the subject and I'd avoid contact if possible for long term safety of not having a melted nylon stout. It's also possible that TheAleMaster had a cheap not so Nylon bag.
 

Homercidal

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Nylon has a pretty high melting point. I HIGHLY doubt that ANY of it melts are around 212F. I can check with the molding guy out back, but I've never seen nylon melt under 400F. Granted, that is not nylon "thread", but I've molded plenty of other nylon and it's usually pretty hot compared to lots of other plastics.
 

Zen_Brew

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Just thinking out loud, could the poster who melted a hop bag be using a high density element? Generally most of us on electric are using low or ultra low density elements which spread the heat out over a larger surface area of the element. The low density elements are often folded back upon themselves to account for the longer length.
 

Homercidal

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Just check with the guy who consulted his book. The lowest melt point for any nylon that he could find was like 480F He thought that a heating element could do this if there were no water involved. But 480 degrees is a long way from 212...

He wondered if the bag were a blend of nylon and something else. Maybe a polyester blend??
 

jkarp

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I'm the "never leave it alone, curious type" and when I was developing my system I tested the element temp while submerged. A meat thermometer, pressed against the HWD element running at 100% read between 210 and 215. Water boils at 199 at my altitude. It's safe to say the wort does a good job of rapidly carrying away the heat the element generates.
 

TheAleMaster

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I really have no idea what it was made of. I thought it was from Northern Brewer. Could have been another that came into my possession along the way. All I know is that it was caught on my element and had a burned hole in it.

Take it for what you wish.
 

orangehero

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I made my bags from an old curtain, I believe it said 100% polyester on it, but also never have problems with melting.
 

TheAleMaster

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I had another of the same kind of bag melt. Could be cheap, could be a nylon-something else blend, I don't know. Regardless, that was the last of those bags and I have new ones that are supposed to be 100% nylon.

 

Pick

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So, I take it that if I drop my copper immersion chiller in my new keggle with 5500 watt element, there is no danger of shorting anything out, or electric shock, if everything is grounded properly?
 
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So, I take it that if I drop my copper immersion chiller in my new keggle with 5500 watt element, there is no danger of shorting anything out, or electric shock, if everything is grounded properly?
Right. The element in the keggle is the same as the element on top of an electric stove. I've tossed pans on those things without a second thought.
 
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