Electric HLT

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dwalsh27

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Hi all,

I am upgrading my brewery and pretty sure im going with the 80 L Brewtools. Id like to be able to sparge directly from a HLT but can seem to find a cheap electric kettle. Alot out there with 2 ports but i dont really wanna go through the trouble of adding a third for a heating element which would need a controller as well.

Anybody recommend something i can use as a 10 gal HLT? One with a 1.5 inch sanitary port would be great (or 34mm).

TIA
 

Murph4231

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There are multiple options available to you. My first suggestion is don't buy cheapest. This piece of equipment should last you a life time. Look into Spike Brewing for the best IMO. But SS BrewTech and More beer offer great options as well. Look at a variety of options and choose quality over cost. You'll be glad you did.
 

Golddiggie

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I have all Spike+ kettles and am very happy with them. They weld in the fittings needed before shipping. Those are for the element, HERMS coil, extraction diptube/valve and recirculation tube and valve. Makes integration easy.

I tried using the BrewBuilt controllers for a bit, but found them lacking. The sensor they use in the HTL control panel can't be installed through wall. It has to be dropped into the HLT, or inserted into a thermowell. IMO, that's a poor choice. I switched over to a complete panel from Electric Brewing Supply and it's great. Not cheap, but well worth it IMO.

In my experience, going cheaper initially means you'll end up spending more in the long term. Since the cheap items tend to fail, or piss you off, making it necessary to replace them with better versions. Which is how it costs you more in the longer term.

I might be migrating the control panel to their touch screen version. Provided I get a bit of information about them. Basically, I still want/need the SCL pump control on the panel.
 

oakbarn

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Look at this:



HLT: Bigger is Better!! You can NEVER have enough hot water,
 
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If you already found your kettle You can pretty easily go weldless on your heating element. Or weldless on your ball valve. Then realistically it's as easy as drilling a hole. the weldless ball valve is pretty easy it's just a 7/8 inch hole. Install the kit and you're done.

Just a thought.

Cheers
Jay
 

Golddiggie

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I will mention that once you go with TC/sanitary fittings, you won't want to switch back to NPT/threaded fittings. With TC fittings you can completely break down your setup for cleaning. It's easy/fast to remove fittings and almost as fast to put them back on. No dealing with Teflon tape, or anything else, and having to worry about getting things tight enough to seal fully. I've been in that fight before and refuse to do it again.

Where you can get NPT/weldless fittings to seal, when done 100% right, the margin for error isn't all that great. If the hole is a little bigger than the fitting threads (not all fittings are true 1/2" NPT) or just a little out of spec, you'll have leaks. You can spend not a small amount of time chasing those down trying to correct the issues. As I said, been there, done that, didn't even get a stinkin t-shirt. :p

Yes, TC fittings are more costly when you order kettles, since they require welding into place. But if you have a friend that TIG welds, that can solve your issue right there. ;) I'm lucky in that I do have a friend that's a welder (he has his own welding business) and also works for beer.
 
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dwalsh27

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If you already found your kettle You can pretty easily go weldless on your heating element. Or weldless on your ball valve. Then realistically it's as easy as drilling a hole. the weldless ball valve is pretty easy it's just a 7/8 inch hole. Install the kit and you're done.

Just a thought.

Cheers
Jay
I don't have anything yet. Don't have to room for a 3 tank setup, only 2. That's why I am thinking a good all-in-one and then a kettle for a HLT. Don't want to spend to much on the HLT. Looking at the Brau Supply for the kettle (it got 4 TC ports) and cheaper controller. I don't need much of a controller for a HLT, so thier 240V 2500W element.
 

Golddiggie

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For the HLT controller, you need something that will accurately control the temperature. Especially if you have a HERMS coil inside it to keep your mash temperature stable and correct. Otherwise, look at getting a RIMS for controlling the mash temp and use the HLT for sparge.

IMO, if you have room for two kettles next to each other, you could go for a two tier stand and have the HTL above the MT. I have my current brew stand taking up just over five feet (horizontal) of floor space (16" stand depth). I could take the control panel mount off the stand and store that one it's end (I installed feet on the stand for that). I've just been leaving it setup since June. If I need to use what's behind it, I'll move it out of the way.

Why would you use a 2500W (240v) element? The elements that Spike sells (for their systems that are not the Nano) are 240v 5500W. Of course, you need to be able to feed them the power levels (30amps per element).
 
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dwalsh27

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For the HLT controller, you need something that will accurately control the temperature. Especially if you have a HERMS coil inside it to keep your mash temperature stable and correct. Otherwise, look at getting a RIMS for controlling the mash temp and use the HLT for sparge.

IMO, if you have room for two kettles next to each other, you could go for a two tier stand and have the HTL above the MT. I have my current brew stand taking up just over five feet (horizontal) of floor space (16" stand depth). I could take the control panel mount off the stand and store that one it's end (I installed feet on the stand for that). I've just been leaving it setup since June. If I need to use what's behind it, I'll move it out of the way.

Why would you use a 2500W (240v) element? The elements that Spike sells (for their systems that are not the Nano) are 240v 5500W. Of course, you need to be able to feed them the power levels (30amps per element).
I brew in a garage that is separate from my house, only have 50 amp total out there. Most batches I'll be only heating 30L of sparge water.
 

Golddiggie

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I brew in a garage that is separate from my house, only have 50 amp total out there. Most batches I'll be only heating 30L of sparge water.
Higher power level elements means you'll get to your target faster/easier. Even with 'only' 50amp of power, you can do the 30amp feed to a 5500W element. ;) You say 'only' 30L (or 8 gallons) or sparge water, but that's at this point. The elements I have in my Spike+ kettles can easily move to larger kettles. I'm sure I'll be looking to upgrade from my current 15 gallon MT and HLT to 20 gallon versions within 12 months. At this point, I almost fill the HLT to the limit (I put it to the 14 gallon mark) for using the HERMS coil as well as providing sparge water. Even though I rarely use more than half of what's in the HLT, it's available. Plus, I can run that into the BK at the end for making up hot PBW solution.

IMO/IME, having a larger HLT is never a bad thing. Even if you only use half of the water from it for brewing, you'll use the rest of it for cleaning and such.

BTW, I'm brewing in my 1/2 car garage (under the house/duplex). It's a garage that can't hold any adult size vehicle (maybe a mini or stupid car, but nothing of any size). I use is as my brewing area and metal working area. I need to be space efficient wherever possible. Which is why I made my brew stand like I did. Plus I can't get easy access to a wall to mount the control panel there, so I made an arm for it to attach to the brew stand. Current stand is made from mild steel that I welded up. Next will be stainless steel (lighter) that a friend will be welding up for me.
 
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dwalsh27

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Higher power level elements means you'll get to your target faster/easier. Even with 'only' 50amp of power, you can do the 30amp feed to a 5500W element. ;) You say 'only' 30L (or 8 gallons) or sparge water, but that's at this point. The elements I have in my Spike+ kettles can easily move to larger kettles. I'm sure I'll be looking to upgrade from my current 15 gallon MT and HLT to 20 gallon versions within 12 months. At this point, I almost fill the HLT to the limit (I put it to the 14 gallon mark) for using the HERMS coil as well as providing sparge water. Even though I rarely use more than half of what's in the HLT, it's available. Plus, I can run that into the BK at the end for making up hot PBW solution.

IMO/IME, having a larger HLT is never a bad thing. Even if you only use half of the water from it for brewing, you'll use the rest of it for cleaning and such.
Good point. The B80Pro take 2 x 20 amp ccts (they don't draw all that and you can limit the cct amperage) and I have a regular hot water heater as well. And never talked about heat yet as I live in Newfoundland! So alot of big loads on that 50 amps! It does make sense though. I can limit the element through the controller as well and when there are no other loads I can max it. Spike does have a nice kettle but they don't seem to carry a basic controller. What would you match with it? The Blichmann's are sold out right now.
 

Golddiggie

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For a batch I used the BrewBuilt HLT controller. Until I went and got the Electric Brewing Supply control panel that does everything. The panel feeds both of the elements (I bought the 50amp 'double batching' panel). I had an electrician come in and install the needed 50amp outlet, with breaker, when the panel was ordered. Of course, I also have another pair of outlets in the garage for my compressor and milling machine (sharing a 30amp breaker). Plus some 120v power as well.

I do notice the house lights dim a bit when the elements are powered (they cycle on/off as needed during the run). Which means I'm pretty much at the limit of what the service feed is providing. Next place I plan to get either a dedicated service for the brewing area/garage/shop, or make sure the main feed is large enough to easily handle everything.
 
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