Induction Brewing - 2.5g with Recirculation

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sammy33

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I was inspired by some other threads on HBT to try induction brewing. I got the idea of adding a recirculation system to a kettle like the Bayou Classic and using a Mirage Cadet induction cooktop from Vollrath. Kind of a hybrid of the EBIAB system like the one from High Gravity Brew minus the controller and the element.

The Cadet has good temp control specs starting at 100F and going to 400F in 10 degree increments. It is 1800 watts, 120v so a dedicated 20 amp circuit is needed and I have two in my kitchen.

My goal is to have good control of temps for step mashing, be able to do decoction mashing and recirculate the wort with the BIAB method. This will be for 2.5 gallon batches.

Here is my dream system idea. :fro:

induction-biab-re-circ.jpg
 
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sammy33

sammy33

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I ordered the induction burner last week from the Webstaurant Store and it was delivered today. I also grabbed an induction ready 5.5g kettle from wally world last week so I am ready to test the boil times and the ability of the system to hold temps.

Here is the new kettle (next to my old 4g kettle) and the Mirage Cadet cooktop.

tramontina-kettle.jpg


cadet.jpg
 

geoffm33

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Looking forward to updates. I am planning an induction setup for 5 gallon batches with the IC3500 so interested to see your progress here.
 
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sammy33

sammy33

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geoff - That IC3500 should give you plenty of horsepower!

I am still up in air about a kettle. Notice the 5.5g I got has a glass lid. Not going to drill that for the recirc return.

It's a toss up between the Megapot 1.2 8 gallon or the Bayou Classic 8 gallon brew kettle. Looks like the Megapot might have a better thermometer but the Bayou Classic comes with the screen and the false bottom which may come in handy.
 
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wobdee

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I have the Mega pot 8 gal that I use for my 3 gal batches and my old Burton 1800w induction plate couldn't keep the boil unless the lid was partially on. I think the kettle was a bit too wide, maybe the Bayou would work better?

You may also find you don't need a circ pump or even need the heat on to maintain mash temps. My kettle has no problem holding mash temps 45-60 minutes. These induction plates do work great for step mashing, no scorching and a nice even heat rise.


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
 
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sammy33

sammy33

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I tested the induction burner this evening to see what kind of heating times I could expect. I started with 3.5 gallons of 50F tap water. It took about 30 minutes to get to strike temps around 165F and another 15 minutes to get to a rolling boil.

This was with the lid off and no insulation on the kettle! This is comparable to my stove heating times with the upgrade canning element I have with the lid on! Not bad for only 1800 watts and the boil was more aggressive than what I get on my stove.

I have some reflectix that I can wrap the kettle with. Perhaps this will speed the heating a bit?

I'm all about the pictures. So here's a couple shots showing the setup and a pic of the boil action.

cadet2.jpg


cadet-boil.jpg
 

sumbrewindude

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Man that's a lot of bling on that counter.

Nice looking setup, Sammy. I'd brew as is - see what setting you need to hold a 150 mash temp on the unit, I'd bet there's a combo on there sometwhere that's a happy spot for it.
 

Owly055

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I've drilled glass many times successfully. All it takes is a drill press, a steel rod, and some lapping compound. Chuck your steel rod (the diameter of the hole) in the drill press. Set your piece of glass on something that will support it well..... a sand bag for example. You put a very light pressure on the glass, squirt water on it steadily, add a bit of lapping compound occasionally........ It doesn't take long. They make special bits, but I've never had one. You want to do a few test pieces before doing anything important.... a bit too much pressure and you have a train wreck......... It's never happened to me yet.

H.W.


geoff - That IC3500 should give you plenty of horsepower!

I am still up in air about a kettle. Notice the 5.5g I got has a glass lid. Not going to drill that for the recirc return.

It's a toss up between the Megapot 1.2 8 gallon or the Bayou Classic 8 gallon brew kettle. Looks like the Megapot might have a better thermometer but the Bayou Classic comes with the screen and the false bottom which may come in handy.
 
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Owly055

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Induction heating is a subject of interest to me in an entirely different context (metal casting). I have thought a great deal about it with regard to brewing. It would seem an ideal system for RIMS / HERMS type systems as opposed to a resistance element. You could get away from the concentrated heat of the element by having a stainless steel coil laying on an induction unit. A friend of mine built a demand microwave hot water heater from a microwave oven years ago......It was successful, but everything he did was successful. I look forward to hearing your results.

H.W.
 
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sammy33

sammy33

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Man that's a lot of bling on that counter.

Nice looking setup, Sammy.
I have arrived at brewing nirvana! Someone used the word bling to describe my brew setup. :ban:

Thank you my friend. :mug:

I'd brew as is - see what setting you need to hold a 150 mash temp on the unit, I'd bet there's a combo on there sometwhere that's a happy spot for it.
I think you are right. I goofed around a bit with the temp controls and held around 170F for some 15 minutes (mash out) after I tested the boil. Could likely do the same for other temps; for instance acid rest at 100F, protein at 120F and of course conversion at 150F to 160F.

I am wondering if adding a step to my mash profile may compensate for the reduction I am seeing in BIAB efficiency? This is also why I am considering the pump for recirculation and I like my brewing toys. :D
 
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sammy33

sammy33

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Owly - I have actually drilled glass before for my other hobby...reef aquariums. The glass was the standard soda lime (green glass) and I used a diamond saw on a handheld drill. I am wondering if this glass lid may be tempered since this is a heating application?

There are quite a few folks here on HBT that are induction brewers. It was not apparent to me at first but after looking around I found 'em. The 3500 watt induction thread is one of the larger ones if you want to see some other setups.

Cheers :mug:
 

Owly055

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Thanks for the heads up.... I like the possibilities as far as eliminating elements and flame. Induction could be a bridge between RIMS and HERMS. I haven't tried tempered glass drilling. The shatter factor is far more critical.... though I expect that with care and fine compound my economy technique would work.

H.W.
 
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sammy33

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Lindsersnuff - The Cadet has a lower starting temp starting at 100F with the Avantco lowest temp starting at 140F. The Cadet has a max pan size of 14" with the Avantco at 10.25". These are the main reasons.

With that said I am planning on getting the Avantco for a second induction burner to do decoctions. I plan on moving my brewery out of the kitchen and into my basement and will need the second cooktop for this. Only other thing I am missing in the basement to make this work is a utility sink.

Note the Avantco has a significant bang for buck at $100 less than the Cadet!
 

kevink

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The lid obviously had holes drilled through it somehow to attach that handle. Check this guy out for some dirt cheap but totally adequate diamond hole saws. I bought an assortment from him to drill through granite and they worked great. Use plenty of water and a drill press if possible. Don't be afraid that they ship from Hong Kong.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/lau***/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

If you're afraid to drill through the glass you can always drill through the top of the kettle right below the lid.
 

sumbrewindude

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I was going to guess that the pan/"element" size alone was worth the switch - that can make a huge difference with an extra 2 inches of excited metal all the way around on getting water to boil. The 100F start temp though is great for dealing with a protien rest for step mashing.

Still, at a 100 bucks less that's the cost of a kettle - man, that's a hard decision.

Hey Sammy, if you get a chance and feel brave (don't let the SWMBO catch you, I don't want to be held responsible for "The Wrath"), can you try and get 4-4.5gal of water boiling on that puppy? You'll be close to the top of that pot. Doesn't have to be a massive boil, just enough to move the surface/"shimmer" if you dig what I'm saying.

I bet it can....
 

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A simple but effective glass drill is copper pipe if you can work around the standard copper pipe sizes. Any soft pipe/tubing like aluminum or copper works. The only hard part is to build a mandril to hold the tubing. I once had a metal lathe and turned an aluminum step that went from the ID of the tubing and stepped down to 1/2" to fit the chuck of my drill press. The earlier idea of a sandbag to support the glass top is good. Build a small dam around where you want the hole out of kids play putty/plasticine and fill that area with a little motor oil and mix in a bit of valve grinding compound. As mentioned earlier.. LIGHT PRESSURE and slow speed. The grit embeds itself in the copper and forms a glass grinder. You periodically lift the handle of the drill press to allow new oil/compound to flow into the spot and not overheat the cut. Works like a charm.
 

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sammy33, sounds like I am in a similar situation to you. I'm currently in the kitchen doing 2.5 - 3 gallon BIAB, but looking to make the move to the basement as well. Also need to get a utility sink down there first though. I invested in a 10 gallon induction kettle from Bru Gear's (http://www.bru-gear.com/) kickstarter, so I have some time since that is not expected until June.

Looking forward to hear how your induction burner performs after you get used to it.
 
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Lindsersnuff - The Cadet has a lower starting temp starting at 100F with the Avantco lowest temp starting at 140F. The Cadet has a max pan size of 14" with the Avantco at 10.25". These are the main reasons.
Ah, those are good reasons. I am probably going to get one of them, and the pan size and starting temp of the Cadet might make it worth the extra money for me. I'm moving to the basement from the kitchen for small batches during the cold months. Looking forward to not having to drag all my equipment upstairs. Thanks!


Hey Sammy, if you get a chance and feel brave (don't let the SWMBO catch you, I don't want to be held responsible for "The Wrath"), can you try and get 4-4.5gal of water boiling on that puppy? You'll be close to the top of that pot. Doesn't have to be a massive boil, just enough to move the surface/"shimmer" if you dig what I'm saying.

I bet it can....
I'd be interested in seeing this, too, if you're willing to try.
 

geoffm33

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Ah, those are good reasons. I am probably going to get one of them, and the pan size and starting temp of the Cadet might make it worth the extra money for me. I'm moving to the basement from the kitchen for small batches during the cold months. Looking forward to not having to drag all my equipment upstairs. Thanks!




I'd be interested in seeing this, too, if you're willing to try.
I'm looking forward to migrating to the basement as well. I'll be doing the IC3500 for 5.5 Gallon batches. My basement stays about 65-70F year round so that'll be the new brewery. Definitely sick of bringing everything up and back down every brewday.
 

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Geoffm33 - you aren't kidding about the bringing everything up and down. I'll have to count how many trips I make sometime, and it's always for the little crap that I forgot to grab when bringing the MLT/Kettle/IC up...
 

geoffm33

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Geoffm33 - you aren't kidding about the bringing everything up and down. I'll have to count how many trips I make sometime, and it's always for the little crap that I forgot to grab when bringing the MLT/Kettle/IC up...
It gets ridiculous. I used to bring the full kettle downstairs to use the hose faucet on my utility tub with the immersion chiller. Realized how dumb that was and bought an adapter for the kitchen sink.
 
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Hey Sammy, if you get a chance and feel brave (don't let the SWMBO catch you, I don't want to be held responsible for "The Wrath"), can you try and get 4-4.5gal of water boiling on that puppy? You'll be close to the top of that pot. Doesn't have to be a massive boil, just enough to move the surface/"shimmer" if you dig what I'm saying.

I bet it can....
I'd be interested in seeing this, too, if you're willing to try.
Will do the test this weekend. Can likely squeeze 5 gallons in there.

I grabbed one of these Fermwrap Carboy Shields from the LHBS. They had it on clearance for $4 so I couldn't resist. Looks like Reflectix to me. I will wrap the kettle before I do the test. Should help hold the temps and get to that 5ish gallon boil.

CarboyShield3.jpg
 
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sammy33

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sammy33, sounds like I am in a similar situation to you. I'm currently in the kitchen doing 2.5 - 3 gallon BIAB, but looking to make the move to the basement as well. Also need to get a utility sink down there first though. I invested in a 10 gallon induction kettle from Bru Gear's (http://www.bru-gear.com/) kickstarter, so I have some time since that is not expected until June.

Looking forward to hear how your induction burner performs after you get used to it.
Welcome to HBT dattac! :mug:

What are the dimensions on that kettle from Bru Gear? Didn't see it posted on the site. Love how they are promoting induction brewing!

The utility sink was pretty easy to get SWMBO to agree to. "Hey honey...would you like a sink in the brewery I mean in the laundry area?"
:cool:
 

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I bought an induction burner at Costco last week for $55. It is 1800 watts and heats to 450. It is a little small, but with insulation it should be fine. I will also use a heat stick to bring it up to a boil.

They don't show the burner on their website. I found it when I was look for vitals vaults which they also sell at some Costcos. Just thought I would give a heads up...
 

sumbrewindude

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Will do the test this weekend. Can likely squeeze 5 gallons in there.

I grabbed one of these Fermwrap Carboy Shields from the LHBS. They had it on clearance for $4 so I couldn't resist. Looks like Reflectix to me. I will wrap the kettle before I do the test. Should help hold the temps and get to that 5ish gallon boil.
Yep, that's Reflectix. You could have also used a cheap sunshade for a car's front window (same stuff), or I probably could have sent you some - we get it at work occasionally in packing - but you actually paid less for it than it would cost me to ship it too you.

Personally, I want to try either a section of Evazote foam (it's a nitrogen CCF foam pad, usually for ultralite hiking/mountianeering), or some 5mm neoprene from Rocky Mountain Fabrics. Both would be fantastic insulators for the size, but they're way more expensive than Reflectix.

I would caution against the 5gal boil attempt - even with thermal expansion in a 5.5gal pot you'll be dangerously close to the top of the pot should it start boiling. I'd hate to see your really nice new plate get soaked for the sake of SCIENCE!!! 4.5gal is fine for me. :mug:
 

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Here is a link to a boil demonstration of my induction brewing setup. I plan on adding Reflectix to the saucepan and lid, this should reduce boil time by quite a bit.

 
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Isn't Reflectix only rated for around 180 degrees? I use it on my Blichmann 20 g and 15 g SS kettles that I use for my mashtun and HLT. It works great for those vessels, but don't think I'll use it on my boil kettle.
 

gwjames47

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Isn't Reflectix only rated for around 180 degrees? I use it on my Blichmann 20 g and 15 g SS kettles that I use for my mashtun and HLT. It works great for those vessels, but don't think I'll use it on my boil kettle.
In the video background is a 22 qt. induction pot with the foiled bubble wrap. I don't know who the manufacturer was, It originally was an automotive sunscreen in the clearance aisle at WalMart and cut it to fit, this is the pot I used to brew in and I have had the wrap off to clean up the pan underneath the wrap, it showed no damage from numerous boils.

I plan on doing two more videos, one starting with hot tap water vs. the 62 degree water used in this video to see how much this reduces the time to boil and another with the sauce pan and lid covered with Reflectix.

This is from a FAQ on the Reflectix website:

What is the Temperature Range of the Product(s)?

Reflectix® Reflective Insulation, Radiant Barrier and Foil Tape can be installed in environments with a range of -60 degrees to 180 degrees F.

I don't know if the material on the 22 qt. pot is the same material, it appears to be the same.


TheSaucePanBrewer
 

14thstreet

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I was going to guess that the pan/"element" size alone was worth the switch - that can make a huge difference with an extra 2 inches of excited metal all the way around on getting water to boil. The 100F start temp though is great for dealing with a protien rest for step mashing.

Still, at a 100 bucks less that's the cost of a kettle - man, that's a hard decision.

Hey Sammy, if you get a chance and feel brave (don't let the SWMBO catch you, I don't want to be held responsible for "The Wrath"), can you try and get 4-4.5gal of water boiling on that puppy? You'll be close to the top of that pot. Doesn't have to be a massive boil, just enough to move the surface/"shimmer" if you dig what I'm saying.

I bet it can....
My brother just purchased an 1800W Avantco and the Chefmate 20qt available at Target. I confirm that we boiled 4 gallons of water with two layers of Reflectix (not on the cover). The boil wasn't massive but entirely adequate in my mind. It took us a bit longer than we expected until we noticed we started on setting 6/220F. We bumped it up to full and then went to boil. Kept the lid half on and kept the boil going but you might keep it with the lid off. I'm tempted to get one now!
 

sumbrewindude

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Great to hear 14thST. I'm really leaning toward the Avanto unit, just because it'll let me put an extra hundred to an 8gal Megapot. Finding a tall/narrow based 6-8gal induction capable pot is a real pain in the kiester, let me tell you. Since I mash in a 5gal cooler anyway, I'm not overly concerned with holding temps like the BIAB guys/gals are.

Thinking that I could use my IC as a makeshift HERMS eventually if I need to step-mash anything.
 
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Gearing up for another test. The Reflectix material was not quite big enough to wrap the kettle. I cut off a good 7" or so from the top so I have some left over to make a patch. Couldn't find my duct tape so SWMBO is picking up some for me. Will finish the patch when she gets home and then fire the system up for some more testing.

reflectix-wrap.jpg
 
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Ok...the reflectix is a champ! Here are the results of the requested 4.5 gallon test just for sumbrewindude and Lindsersnuff. :mug:

Started with 4.5g of 61F tap water. Took about 43 minutes to get to 165F mash in temps. Note this was with the lid on.


Another 19 minutes to get to a nice boil. Total time was just over an hour from 61F to boil. Not stellar heating times but workable for that volume. Another thing I noticed is the boil was rocking when I removed the lid but would slow down after minute or so. With the lid partial on it would maintain a nice rolling boil.


I am out of homebrew right now. My Kristalweizen I recently brewed is still conditioning so I popped an Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils for the test...gotta do whatcha gotta do. :D


PS: I dusted off the nice camera for these pics in preparation for the March '14 Photo contest. Click the linky below in my sig for more information if you are interested.
 

sumbrewindude

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You da man, Sammy. :D

So it looks like it can boil 4.5gal with a modded cover (or one that's half off). I'd feel confident with a 3gal brew with that setup. I have no idea how guys are doing 5+ gal with them, though - and I'm really glad you didn't try to boil 5gal in that pot. You'd have a wet counter for sure.

Man, do I go with the 1800 or the 3500. Argh...
 
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Good question. You do small batches and I see you on the big 1 gallon thread quite a bit. It seems you are looking to get some larger batches in your pipeline however. I would have gone with the 3500 watt induction but not certain it was required for me maxing out at 2.5g batches nor do I have a readily available place to plug one in. I love the control of temps the 1800 watt Cadet offers and that was way out of my price range on a 3500 watt unit.

If I was going to do 5g batches I would really be looking at a 3500 watt bad boy like the Avantco IC3500. That would certainly get you the rockin' boil! Do you have access to a 240v outlet? Are you willing to install one or have one installed? That is my limitation. The quote I got was $290 from a local electrician to get one installed or unplug the dryer. :drunk: Sure SWMBO would love that. :rockin:
 

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How much did you have to keep the lid on to maintain a good boil? I had to leave mine on about 3/4 with my 1800w Burton and I worried about possible DMS not being boiled off. No more worries with my 3500w burner for my 3 gal batches.
 
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wobdee - for the first test I did the lid was not required. That was a 3.5g boil with no lid and no insulation.

For the 4.5g test boil I had insulation and the lid on about 3/4. It would boil with the lid off but was just a shimmering boil.

I also noticed the unit was cycling with the insulation. With the lid off, it would crank for a couple minutes and I would see a good boil and then it would slow down to a shimmer for a couple minutes. It cycled like that the whole time I was testing the boil. I am guessing this is the logic in the unit using only the required power. The top of the unit was HOT! This might be from the insulation extending all the way down to the base of the induction unit. Perhaps if I shortened the insulation to expose an inch or so of the pot at the bottom would keep the thermal sensing from cycling?
 

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I just wonder if it will be enough, I'm currently brewing a 3gl Pilsner (BIAB) and I started with 5 gal of strike water. I guess you could always hold some back and top off later to get a better boil.
 
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Not certain what the boil off rate is on this new setup? I am basing my tests on what I got on my stove which was about a half gallon an hour. I guess this setup may boil off a bit more so hence the 3.5g test. Assuming that I get about a gallon an hour that yields at least 2.5g into the fermentor.

I guess I need to fire it all up again to dial it in before I brew on it. I need to calibrate a new dip stick for the new pot anyway. Make a new equipment profile for Beersmith and probably some other things I haven't thought of yet.

First brew on this system will probably be Wednesday or Thursday night this week and probably again next weekend. I am thinking a Maibock since I can lager now. :) Then maybe an ESB or English Mild next weekend.
 
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