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The Mad Hatter

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Here is what I would like to do. I want to use electricity to heat my HLT and my boil kettle. I am using a cooler for my MLT. If I am understanding correctly, I need a 240v element for my boil kettle. Does this need to be a special kind of element? What has everyone been using?

Also, for the HLT, does this need to be a 240v element. or would a small 110v element work? On the HLT kettle I was thinking of using a controller like the love controller so that I could hold the temp in the HLT at what ever I needed for sparge water temp. It this also possible? Thanks for the information, I appreciate it.
 

Orfy

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I've been asked for info but I am reluctant because water and electricity can kill.

Plus UK electrics are different to US electrics.

This is my KISS take on it


 

k1v1116

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You right not give it out info, if people arent informed they wont try it. just look how well abstinence only education has worked for us in the states:D
 

EdWort

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Since I have power to the brewhaus, I am seriously thinking about getting an electric HLT. I'm looking at this one.





Services

I emailed the company and they will sell an 18 gallon HLT for $324 complete.
 

WOP31

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You don't "NEED" a 220v element for your boil kettle. Will it work better/more efficiently? Yes it probably will, and given that you are in Lincoln NE (got a buddy that lives there, nice place BTW) You are probably wanting to set this up so you can brew inside during the harsh winters there.

I have two 110V (1500W) elements in my HLT and one of them can maintian a boil with about 14 gallons of water in it, just takes a little longer to get there. I have taken to heating some of the water on my burner and adding it too my HLT to help raise the temp quicker. All said and done it takes about 20-30 min to get 15 gallons of water up to about 165deg for mash in.

The controller would be the way to go on the HLT, i wish i had one for mine. If you are doing the work yourself, make sure everything sealed really good with some silicone, and everything is grounded and running off of a GFI outlet.
 

Chriso

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Hey! Good to know I'm not the only one working on this idea! :D (Sorry I'm late to the party, I was in Missouri all weekend)

I, too, am looking at creating a 240V rig... SWMBO is encouraging me to go all-electric in the basement so that I don't have to use propane all the time. (No "good" patio to brew on, plus a spare room in the basement at my disposal) ... I'm considering a 240V Hot Liquor Tun made from my existing Keggle. At first, it will probably just be On/Off, but eventually I'll add a Love or a Ranco or something to control the temperatures for me. For the boil kettle, though.... I really would like to find a nice-quality hot plate capable of boiling a 10 gallon batch. I'll be switching to a nice stock pot soon, probably with sandwich bottom, and I'd like not to have to drill a hole for an element. I'd like to use the pot for outdoor propane brewing when I travel to friends' garages.

I considered using 120v but most of our existing circuits are already pretty heavily used, and we don't have that many circuits. But we have 3 seperate 240V circuits already present, of which only 1 is used, and the breaker panel is less than 20 feet from what will soon become my brew room.

@ TMH, You can get these elements at a Home Depot or a Orscheln's or Tractor Supply Co.... They're pretty cheap, between $10-20 ea.
 

slnies

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I would say you guys are all on the right track. Electric is cool, easy, and done right a lot less PIB. I started with an electric mashing set up. It is awesome, mostly because it is easy. An electric HLT is on the way, and the boiler is already here. I am experimenting on different control set ups, but in general a on/off LOVE control is overkill for the boiler but perfect for the HLT. If any of you are interested, you can get a PID for about $89 at Automation Direct for your MLT. I only recommend this one because you can program your whole mash schedule into it, and let here run. Other wise a 40 dollar unit off of ebay is perfect. For both the HLT and the boil kettle I would recommend 240V elements run at 240V. But I will say that I have been reading what some of the other fellow brewers are up to, and 120 volts will get the job done, even on large batches. Anyway I look forward to seeing the next post of success. S.
 

slnies

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Since I have power to the brewhaus, I am seriously thinking about getting an electric HLT. I'm looking at this one.





Services

I emailed the company and they will sell an 18 gallon HLT for $324 complete.
Orfy,
That looks like a pretty sweet set up. I would even be interested in that if I did not already have the time invested in a modified keggle. Thanks for the pics. S.
 

summersolstice

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Since I have power to the brewhaus, I am seriously thinking about getting an electric HLT. I'm looking at this one.

I emailed the company and they will sell an 18 gallon HLT for $324 complete.
This could be used in the laundry room since it requires a 220V dryer plug. At the risk of sounding stupid, and not really understanding such systems, would you still be using propane for your brew kettle? If so, what's the advantage of an electric HLT?
 

EdWort

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This could be used in the laundry room since it requires a 220V dryer plug. At the risk of sounding stupid, and not really understanding such systems, would you still be using propane for your brew kettle? If so, what's the advantage of an electric HLT?
I'll still be boiling with propane at the moment. Orfy lists a few advantages but for me it is less propane used, less heat created in the brewhaus, and more precise temperature control which is very important for mashing.
 

drez77

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The advanatges I found when I swaped to all electric was being able to brew inside the garage. But the bigest advanatge for me is no more "roar" from the propane burner. The noise would get to me after the brew day. I love just setting my temperatures and having the system maintain them for me. I find I brew more now that I have my electric setup.

Mike
 

Chriso

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For me, a large portion of it comes down to safety. Right now, when I preheat my water, I run a propane burner unattended in an enclosed indoor space. Yes, it has some ventilation, no, it's not anywhere near as well-ventilated as BierMuncher's basement, and no, if it blows out I might not notice immediately. When I'm getting ready to dough in, I'm still inside grinding grain and racking kegs and cleaning fermenters and weighing hops..... The simple ability to flip a switch, then press a button for my desired mash temp, and have it safely and automatically heat to that temp, is a very attractive feature, and one that I think -- like drez -- will enable me to brew more often, and less stressfully.

I'm considering going with the pre-assembled Brewmation unit like your new one, EdWort. I really like the design, the only reason I never bought it before was I didn't like the 11 gallon capacity. Thanks for finding out the inside scoop on the 18 gal. :)
 

The Pol

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I have a 120V 1500W element in my HLT and I use it to heat my strike water, HERMS water and sparge water. It works fine, takes about 90 mins to heat up, then is just runs. I am looking at running 220V in my garage and upgrading my element. I dont HAVE to, but it would be nice, and it would be cheap since my neighbor can do it for me.
 

Ecnerwal

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I really would like to find a nice-quality hot plate capable of boiling a 10 gallon batch. I'll be switching to a nice stock pot soon, probably with sandwich bottom, and I'd like not to have to drill a hole for an element. I'd like to use the pot for outdoor propane brewing when I travel to friends' garages.
It's not really boiling 10 gallons, but I boil in a 40 quart pot (8-8.5 gallons, usually - more than that can get hairy from the boilover POV) on a typical electric stove with a typical "canning" heavy duty element. Electric stoves that are not in mesh with the decor of new kitchens can often be gotten for free or $50, and the canning element was about $30. Perhaps $50-60 now, taking a quick look online. Plus you get a few extra burners to play with and an oven.

<Edit-add> Canning elements are typically 2500-2600 watts. Here are some real industrial 240V hot plates running 5000-15,900 watts, but I shudder to think what the prices (which they don't choose to list) are:

http://www.wenesco.com/hotdrums.htm
 

JVD_X

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I'll still be boiling with propane at the moment. Orfy lists a few advantages but for me it is less propane used, less heat created in the brewhaus, and more precise temperature control which is very important for mashing.
If you brew indoors... how does one easily dispose of the spent grain?
 

Chriso

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Have you seen his rock stone path through his forest? It's food for the deer, and the stones are the "skillet" :)

Me, I march from the porch all the way down the lot, around the back to my compost pile. Doesn't matter if i'm indoor or out.
 

TimGrz

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So using an electric element in your boiling kettle does not effect flavor by adding caramelized flavor or changing the color?

/tg
 
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The Mad Hatter

The Mad Hatter

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Hey! Good to know I'm not the only one working on this idea! :D (Sorry I'm late to the party, I was in Missouri all weekend)

I, too, am looking at creating a 240V rig... SWMBO is encouraging me to go all-electric in the basement so that I don't have to use propane all the time. (No "good" patio to brew on, plus a spare room in the basement at my disposal) ... I'm considering a 240V Hot Liquor Tun made from my existing Keggle. At first, it will probably just be On/Off, but eventually I'll add a Love or a Ranco or something to control the temperatures for me. For the boil kettle, though.... I really would like to find a nice-quality hot plate capable of boiling a 10 gallon batch. I'll be switching to a nice stock pot soon, probably with sandwich bottom, and I'd like not to have to drill a hole for an element. I'd like to use the pot for outdoor propane brewing when I travel to friends' garages.

I considered using 120v but most of our existing circuits are already pretty heavily used, and we don't have that many circuits. But we have 3 seperate 240V circuits already present, of which only 1 is used, and the breaker panel is less than 20 feet from what will soon become my brew room.

@ TMH, You can get these elements at a Home Depot or a Orscheln's or Tractor Supply Co.... They're pretty cheap, between $10-20 ea.
Maybe sometime we will have to hook up. I usually do a "Homebrew Wednesday" at my place after work with a few guys that I let "Sample" what I have.

Thats what I was thinking of doing was one from the Home Depot, and rigging a love controller to it. I have an Electrician buddy that said he would help me out. It will be a great winter project.
 
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The Mad Hatter

The Mad Hatter

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This could be used in the laundry room since it requires a 220V dryer plug. At the risk of sounding stupid, and not really understanding such systems, would you still be using propane for your brew kettle? If so, what's the advantage of an electric HLT?
For me personally, the advantage is being able to do everything in the basement in my brew room without the dangers of the fumes from propane or natural gas. Now I am doing it on the stove with partial mashes. I have nearly all the gear to go all grain, but only one propane burner, and one bottle. Plus with a sink in the brew room means no more carying full buckets and carboys up and down the stairs. I dont care for that much. And I just like the clean and simple look of the electric brew system.
 

wilserbrewer

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Electric HLT...simplest approach is to drop one of these little immersion heaters

Norpro Instant Immersion Heater Coffee/Tea New Electric - eBay (item 280269202693 end time Oct-20-08 05:29:06 PDT)

into your HLT (cooler) the night prior to brewing. I played w/ one since I had it in the garage. I think it took 5-6 gallons to sparge temps but would only go so high due to heat loss on the cooler.

I currently use 120V 2000W elements for heating and boiling 1/4 barrel (9 gal pre boil) batches.

Two 20 amp 120 V circuits will power a home brewery.
 

Germey

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I have a related question about the elements.
Can you bend the elements to whatever shape fits your needs? It looks like people have, I was just wondering if it is difficult or you need to be careful about them breaking?
Thanks,
 

MrNate

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If you brew indoors... how does one easily dispose of the spent grain?
You know, that was one of my big questions, too. I think a big dump valve and a peri... perial... concrete pump would work. You'd have to add water to the spent mash, of course. But theoretically I think you should be able to do it that way.
 

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For reasonable size mash tun - carry it out to the compost heap, chicken yard, horses or cows etc. and dump.

For an unreasonably large one, scoop grain out into buckets, then see above.

Too citified to have a compost heap or chickens? Dump in the trash, I suppose, or put in a nice clean clear bag (perhaps it came shipped in one) and go looking for hungry folk.

Since I'm feeding mine to the chickens and considering making some bread incorporating the spent grain as well, I've eaten a bit of it (in part to decide how much to put in the bread), and it would beat the heck out of starving.
 

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I've been bagging a couple pounds out of each batch. Call me crazy, but it's my emergency ration. As long as SWMBO keeps some flour, sugar, and yeast in the fridge, and as long as we have a gallon of water somewhere, we can make rudimentary grain bread. Good 'nuff for a day or two.
 

slnies

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Is that a SSR?

It looks mechanical to me.
Not quit. An SSR dose not require a USB port for control. It is much more simplistic. They are like normal relays, but they use a solid state medium instead of a mechanical one to do the switching of the larger current. I believe what is pictured in the link above is a relay and an interface. The relay dose not look Solid State. There is no heat sink to dissipate heat. SSR's create a lot of heat so in a board set up a mechanical relay is usually used, but remember that is all in the design. S.
 

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slnies

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Regardless - that seems like a pretty easy way to control the element does it not? There are only three relay terminals, so I am guessing that you would use one for the common, and one for the live? Assuming that your could write some software to control the heating element you could use the following tun:

MiniHot Liquor Tank [hlt15] : Minibrew, Manufactured by the Hobby Beverage Equipment Company

and add an element to it.
I think that I will choose to disagree. On the grounds that programing is only easy if you know how, and are good at it. I am no programer, so a SSR and a PID will do the job. No programing needed. Set the dead band, hit auto tune, and when the PID is finished, push the button until I have the right temp and the PID does the rest. Don't get me wrong, if you have the know how then the USB device has a lot of cool factor. But cool for me follows the simple KISS rule, and programing busts that all to hell.
Cheers, S.
 

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I contacted Brewmation for printed materials. Looks like just what I want. Seems easier than the BrewMagic system, and less $

How do you handle the steam when brewing in the basement ? A Dryer vent ? I do have a window close by the room I hope to convert ...

This will be a real man cave - just need to hire an electrician, plumber, sheetrocker and a BANKER!
 

Brewing Clamper

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I contacted Brewmation for printed materials. Looks like just what I want. Seems easier than the BrewMagic system, and less $

How do you handle the steam when brewing in the basement ? A Dryer vent ? I do have a window close by the room I hope to convert ...

This will be a real man cave - just need to hire an electrician, plumber, sheetrocker and a BANKER!
Keep us updated! I want to know what I'm missing out on...
 

Chriso

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I'll keep you posted too! Got my order in for my 18gal BrewMation HLT, and I've got my new kettle too! Now I just need..... Electric line + outlet, Electric stove with canning element, March Pump, and to rig up an exhaust vent.
 

Orfy

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Hey Orfy, Is your boil kettle element wired straight to the plug and always on when plugged in? This is what I'm thinking of starting with, a 5500W 240V element on my BK straight plug in. Thanks.

Yes but I don't know if i would recommend it.
If I wasn't a KISS follower I'd make some additions adjustments.
I would definitely recommend a float switch.


If you notice I now us a keggle. I set the first plastic one on fire!!!!!

I have a PID/SSR built for it but haven't got round to commitioning it.

It's dead easy to leave it until it's neer temp. Wait a minute or two untill it hits temp then pull the plug.

On the odd occasion I leave it too long and it goes over temp I just make a cold water addition.

KISS baby. :rockin:
 

Brewing Clamper

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Yes but I don't know if i would recommend it.
If I wasn't a KISS follower I'd make some additions adjustments.
I would definitely recommend a float switch.


If you notice I now us a keggle. I set the first plastic one on fire!!!!!

I have a PID/SSR built for it but haven't got round to commitioning it.

It's dead easy to leave it until it's neer temp. Wait a minute or two untill it hits temp then pull the plug.

On the odd occasion I leave it too long and it goes over temp I just make a cold water addition.

KISS baby. :rockin:
That sounds good. I'm starting with a boil kettle so I'll be using my keggle. I won't worry about the HLT for a while because I do want to have a temp controller on that. Thanks for the help...
 

Ecnerwal

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IMHO - if you are using an unswitched plug-in element, walk over to your circuit breaker box, turn the breaker for the socket off, plug it in, turn the breaker on, when hot, turn the breaker off, when done, turn the breaker off and unplug.

Those plugs are really not meant to be used as switches.

If the breaker panel is far away (or is, god forbid, a fuse box) buy a small switch (disconnect) box or breaker box and wire it in (or have it wired in, if you are not too handy) before the socket. Shop carefully and it's like $30 or so.

Arcing and sparking and wet hands....
 

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Mine is, god forbid, indeed a fuse box. X_x Don't know about bc's though. That's why I'm glad I'm going the Brewmation fancified route. :p
 
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