Induction Brewing

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Figgy15

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Hello all...

Hope everyone is having and will continue to have a great holiday season. I was hoping to get as many of your opinions as possible about something.

I just brewed an 8 gallon cider with a buddy. He has a 1500 or 1800 watt induction cooktop. We decided to use that with my Bayou Classic Kettle. Just after an hour, the temp was at 180F...still not boiling. Now, I would love to get away from using propane and switch to this type of heating.

I did research into my type of brew pot and tried to see if an earth magnet would stick to the pot...it didn't. But I've read that it doesn't mean it won't work with induction. I believe it is 304 grade SS. So I'm confused lol. I normally only brew 5 gallons so I was wondering if it took to long to heat due to the amount of liquid. We also had to plugged into a traditional 120V outlet.

I would greatly appreciate any help.

Thank you all in advanced.
 

AF1HomeBrew

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You need a tri-clad bottom on your kettle for it to work with Induction.... Spike Brewing & Bru-Gear are a few of the companies manufacturing Tri-Clad kettles for the home brewing community. To boil with induction you will need a cooktop that is 220 v. 120v cooktops are sufficient for maintaining mashtun & HLT temps.
 
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Figgy15

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You need a tri-clad bottom on your kettle for it to work with Induction.... Spike Brewing & Bru-Gear are a few of the companies manufacturing Tri-Clad kettles for the home brewing community. To boil with induction you will need a cooktop that is 220 v. 120v cooktops are sufficient for maintaining mashtun & HLT temps.
Is there anyway I can get a bottom piece to add to my kettle? I just got it and really don't want to purchase another one.
 

KTBrews

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You need to go with a 3500 watt unit to properly get a vigorous boil on anything over 5 gallons. I just ordered the Avantco 3500W, but will also need to fork out $100 for an electrician to convert my wall plug to 240V.
 
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You need to go with a 3500 watt unit to properly get a vigorous boil on anything over 5 gallons. I just ordered the Avantco 3500W, but will also need to fork out $100 for an electrician to convert my wall plug to 240V.
And this would work even if my kettle isn't magnetic?
 

AF1HomeBrew

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Is there anyway I can get a bottom piece to add to my kettle? I just got it and really don't want to purchase another one.
I've seen cast iron and Stainless Steel diffusion plates that you can use... I've tried the cast iron plate and it didn't work very well so I returned it... and I didn't try it on a kettle, but a non-induction non-stick frying pan...couldn't even cook an egg with the pan and diffusion plate.
 
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Figgy15

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For my Mashtun I use an Adcraft induction plate to maintain temps in my Bru-Gear 20 G kettle. I use a BCS-460 to control the induction plate.
WOW amazing setup! I appreciate your thoughts on this.
 

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You need to go with a 3500 watt unit to properly get a vigorous boil on anything over 5 gallons. I just ordered the Avantco 3500W, but will also need to fork out $100 for an electrician to convert my wall plug to 240V.
3500W is what you need. They are 240V, so you do need access to such. Do a search, there are a few threads on the IC3500. I have one and use it for a lot more than brewing beer.

I ran my own 240V/20A circuit to the kitchen. About 4 hours work, if you know what you're doing. And 3 hours to locate the right socket, NEMA 6-20R. HD doesn't stock them, and Amazon only had ivory and brown. I needed white. Electrical supply Cos. have them.

I've seen cast iron and Stainless Steel diffusion plates that you can use... I've tried the cast iron plate and it didn't work very well so I returned it... and I didn't try it on a kettle, but a non-induction non-stick frying pan...couldn't even cook an egg with the pan and diffusion plate.
Those "diffusion" plates are useless. They turn efficient induction into inefficient conduction. Avoid!

As long as the stainless has enough iron in it, induction should work, even if a magnet doesn't stick. I know 18/8 SS does NOT work. Only one way to find out for sure.

Again search for a thread on induction reports, many pots have been cleared to work well with induction. A triple ply is not really needed, but it does help to spread the heat more than single ply, which also tends to tweak a bit from the local heat generated, and could be more susceptible to scorching. Many use single ply with good success, and the efficiency may be a little higher too than 3-ply.
 
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Figgy15

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3500W is what you need. They are 240V, so you do need access to such. Do a search, there are a few threads on the IC3500. I have one and use it for a lot more than brewing beer.

I ran my own 240V/20A circuit to the kitchen. About 4 hours work, if you know what you're doing. And 3 hours to locate the right socket, NEMA 6-20R. HD doesn't stock them, and Amazon only had ivory and brown. I needed white. Electrical supply Cos. have them.



Those "diffusion" plates are useless. They turn efficient induction into inefficient conduction. Avoid!

As long as the stainless has enough iron in it, induction should work, even if a magnet doesn't stick. I know 18/8 SS does NOT work. Only one way to find out for sure.

Again search for a thread on induction reports, many pots have been cleared to work well with induction. A triple ply is not really needed, but it does help to spread the heat more than single ply, which also tends to tweak a bit from the local heat generated, and could be more susceptible to scorching. Many use single ply with good success, and the efficiency may be a little higher too than 3-ply.
Thanks bro great info. I'm wondering if converting my kettle to electric using a heating element would be better. What do you think?
 

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Thanks bro great info. I'm wondering if converting my kettle to electric using a heating element would be better. What do you think?
When using a heating element you'll also need a controller to regulate the power sent to the element. Either a 4500W or 5500W ULWD element should do for 7 gallon boils. Again, those are 240V, so a dedicated circuit and this time WITH GFCI is needed to power the elements. Most install a $70 Spa Sub Panel since they include a GFCI breaker, which is almost prohibitively expensive (~$200) if you were to add one to your main panel directly. Plenty of threads on element powered systems.

I mostly brew 5-6 gallon batches and went for the easy route, induction plate in the kitchen. Occasionally I brew 11 gallon batches with that same plate but need to keep the lid on half way and slip an "insulation jacket" around the kettle to retain a good rolling boil. Still boils off 1.5 gallon an hour, and no trace of DMS to be found.

I also use the plate for cereal mashes, heating sparge water and decoctions while the main mash sits in the cooler mash tun. Very universal.
 

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Since these heat plates are not made for big kettles, I've designed a "floating" shelf for my induction heat plate to rest on and become part of my brewstation. It's spring loaded... The cool thing with induction is that it doesn't need to make contact with the heat plate to do it's job. Obviously the closer the better.... I let the kettle rest on the side and when the kettle is filled the springs take on some of the extra weight but stays level with the brewstation base.

FloatingShelf.jpg
 

AF1HomeBrew

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other photo's showing the "floating" shelf and the brewstation. For my HLT (Top Shelf) I use a regular hot plate since my Blichmann's aren't induction capable.

bstation.jpg


shelf1.jpg
 

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@AF1HomeBrew
How does you BCS control the induction plate? Just by turning it on and off?

The IC3500 needs to be hacked (not easy) to be able to use an outside controller. It does have an OK controller built in, although it's not servo. It measures the temperature of the glass plate in the center.

BTW, I like the spring loaded heating platforms!
 

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@AF1HomeBrew
How does you BCS control the induction plate? Just by turning it on and off?

The IC3500 needs to be hacked (not easy) to be able to use an outside controller. It does have an OK controller built in, although it's not servo. It measures the temperature of the glass plate in the center.

BTW, I like the spring loaded heating platforms!
Yes the BCS controls several things... the mashtun induction cooktop, a RIMS's module, the HLT cook top hot plate, and my chugger pump. Using temp probes inside the kettles & RIMS module, the BCS regulates the temps that I set or program. When mashing, I have it programmed to keep the pump on for recirculating, and regulating the temps in both mashtun and RIM's module.

The reason I bought the Adcraft induction cooktop is because there is a dial on the front of it allowing you to control it. The dial allows you to control the amount of watts or to turn it off. So when the BCS turns it off and on it knows what to do. Another nice feature when it does kick on, you hear a short beep coming from the induction cooktop. The induction cooktop also has an LED on the top showing the amount of watts that it is set at...Most induction cooktops don't have this manual control feature so when it's turned off and then back on it doesn't know what to do.
 

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Yes the BCS controls several things... the mashtun induction cooktop, a RIMS's module, the HLT cook top hot plate, and my chugger pump. Using temp probes inside the kettles & RIMS module, the BCS regulates the temps that I set or program. When mashing, I have it programmed to keep the pump on for recirculating, and regulating the temps in both mashtun and RIM's module.

The reason I bought the Adcraft induction cooktop is because there is a dial on the front of it allowing you to control it. The dial allows you to control the amount of watts or to turn it off. So when the BCS turns it off and on it knows what to do. Another nice feature when it does kick on, you hear a short beep coming from the induction cooktop. The induction cooktop also has an LED on the top showing the amount of watts that it is set at...Most induction cooktops don't have this manual control feature so when it's turned off and then back on it doesn't know what to do.
That surely is a good feature on the Adcraft, resuming where it left off.

I haven't found the conclusive answer on how induction plates regulate output. I'm under the impression when it cycles on, it's always at full power, and regulates total power output by switching off at varying intervals. I clearly see boil surges when the plate goes active, then it dies down until the next on-surge.

Nice setup, like the simplicity of the control panel too. So you just remote into the BCS?

BTW, I hope the OP doesn't think his thread is being hijacked by us, we're just supplying information on different approaches. :D

Why did you choose induction vs. ULWD elements? I reckon the Adcraft is more $$ than the IC3500. Have you measured the output (amps drawn) at full power?
 

AF1HomeBrew

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Nice setup, like the simplicity of the control panel too. So you just remote into the BCS?

BTW, I hope the OP doesn't think his thread is being hijacked by us, we're just supplying information on different approaches. :D

Why did you choose induction vs. ULWD elements? I reckon the Adcraft is more $$ than the IC3500. Have you measured the output (amps drawn) at full power?
Yeah - sorry if we hijacked your thread....

Yes, just a web browser away from controlling/monitoring the system. As far as why I choose to go with Induction was after we redid our kitchen. We went to a Wolf/Sub-Zero store in Chicago and ended up purchasing their induction cooktops for our kitchen. I liked the flatness of the induction cooktops for using on my brewstand, compared to the regular hotplates like the one I have for my HLT. I like how it should be more efficient, and if you take your kettle off of it will shut off within so many seconds (like for cleaning & you forget to turn things off before hand).
 
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Figgy15

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When using a heating element you'll also need a controller to regulate the power sent to the element. Either a 4500W or 5500W ULWD element should do for 7 gallon boils. Again, those are 240V, so a dedicated circuit and this time WITH GFCI is needed to power the elements. Most install a $70 Spa Sub Panel since they include a GFCI breaker, which is almost prohibitively expensive (~$200) if you were to add one to your main panel directly. Plenty of threads on element powered systems.

I mostly brew 5-6 gallon batches and went for the easy route, induction plate in the kitchen. Occasionally I brew 11 gallon batches with that same plate but need to keep the lid on half way and slip an "insulation jacket" around the kettle to retain a good rolling boil. Still boils off 1.5 gallon an hour, and no trace of DMS to be found.

I also use the plate for cereal mashes, heating sparge water and decoctions while the main mash sits in the cooler mash tun. Very universal.

Well it looks like the ic3500 is the way to go then. I agree, a lot more easier to deal with. My question is that my kettle is 13 diameters...the ic3500 says it supports up to 10.5. Will that be a problem in ur opinion?
 
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Figgy15

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When using a heating element you'll also need a controller to regulate the power sent to the element. Either a 4500W or 5500W ULWD element should do for 7 gallon boils. Again, those are 240V, so a dedicated circuit and this time WITH GFCI is needed to power the elements. Most install a $70 Spa Sub Panel since they include a GFCI breaker, which is almost prohibitively expensive (~$200) if you were to add one to your main panel directly. Plenty of threads on element powered systems.

I mostly brew 5-6 gallon batches and went for the easy route, induction plate in the kitchen. Occasionally I brew 11 gallon batches with that same plate but need to keep the lid on half way and slip an "insulation jacket" around the kettle to retain a good rolling boil. Still boils off 1.5 gallon an hour, and no trace of DMS to be found.

I also use the plate for cereal mashes, heating sparge water and decoctions while the main mash sits in the cooler mash tun. Very universal.


Well it looks like the ic3500 is the way to go then. I agree, a lot more easier to deal with. My question is that my kettle is 13 diameters...the ic3500 says it supports up to 10.5. Will that be a problem in ur opinion?
 
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Well it looks like the ic3500 is the way to go then. I agree, a lot more easier to deal with. My question is that my kettle is 13 diameters...the ic3500 says it supports up to 10.5. Will that be a problem in ur opinion?
 

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Those "diffusion" plates are useless. They turn efficient induction into inefficient conduction. Avoid!

As long as the stainless has enough iron in it, induction should work, even if a magnet doesn't stick. I know 18/8 SS does NOT work. Only one way to find out for sure.
What if you put the induction plate *inside* the kettle, with the wort?

I just bought a new kettle; it has a heavy bottom and a magnet sticks to it, so it should be good with induction. Looking at cheap 1800W units; trying to figure out if that will work if I insulate the kettle, and make a little stand to keep most of the kettle's weight off the inductor.
 

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Well it looks like the ic3500 is the way to go then. I agree, a lot more easier to deal with. My question is that my kettle is 13 diameters...the ic3500 says it supports up to 10.5. Will that be a problem in ur opinion?
13" will be fine. My 8 gallon kettle is 14" wide, my 15 gallon is 17". No problem with either. I dunno where that 10.5" restriction comes from, or why it would matter. The actual heating area inside the pot ends up to be a disc about 6" in diameter. That's where all the heat is generated, all 3500 Watts! It's all dispersed from there.
 

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What if you put the induction plate *inside* the kettle, with the wort?

I just bought a new kettle; it has a heavy bottom and a magnet sticks to it, so it should be good with induction. Looking at cheap 1800W units; trying to figure out if that will work if I insulate the kettle, and make a little stand to keep most of the kettle's weight off the inductor.
If those induction plates are stainless that could work as long as it is within 1/2" from the top of the glass plate.

1800W may work but is a bit skimpy. It will take a long time to heat 6-7 gallons to boiling point for 5-6 gallon all grain batches. You probably need to insulate well and keep the lid on part way during the 60' boil to keep it "rolling," which is usually fine. Do a search, there are a few threads on people using the 1800W units.

Mind you, some of those cheaper plates are only 1500W.

If you can, get the 240V/3500W plate. It's more future proof. I cook soup, stews, and sauces on that plate too. It's great for stir frying, although a bit messy (splatters everywhere and no hood to catch the vapors).

Some people make "surrounds" onto which the edges of the kettle rest. The glass plate is a mere fraction of an inch lower. It has to be within 1/2" from the bottom of the pot to work. The closer, the better.
 

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The Lizard ^ is absolutely right. You gotta go 3500W for boils, 1800W is only good to heat mash/sparge water up to 170F from my experience.
 

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Yeah - sorry if we hijacked your thread....

Yes, just a web browser away from controlling/monitoring the system. As far as why I choose to go with Induction was after we redid our kitchen. We went to a Wolf/Sub-Zero store in Chicago and ended up purchasing their induction cooktops for our kitchen. I liked the flatness of the induction cooktops for using on my brewstand, compared to the regular hotplates like the one I have for my HLT. I like how it should be more efficient, and if you take your kettle off of it will shut off within so many seconds (like for cleaning & you forget to turn things off before hand).
I was more wondering about you choosing induction vs. ULWD "water heater" type elements inside the kettle. Agree the flat surface is great, and it doesn't get glowing hot. I've seen a picture where the guy had disassembled a stove and bolted the coils to the sides of his 20 gallon kettle. True ghetto style!
 

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Thanks bro great info. I'm wondering if converting my kettle to electric using a heating element would be better. What do you think?
I'd go this route because 240v is not needed. Just install 2 x 1500 watt elements in your kettle and you can use any standard household outlets. You just need access to two 15 amp circuits, which is easily done with extension cords you probably already gave laying around the house. Get a couple of those GFCI outlet converters and you'll be good to go.

I routinely boil 7.5 gallons with this type of set up with one element running flat out and the other at 70% power. And brew days are usually 3-3.5 hours. Heating to strike and to boil are fast. I usually don't have time to weigh and mill my grains before it gets to strike temp.

Just my 2 cents. Let us know which route you take.
 

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I was more wondering about you choosing induction vs. ULWD "water heater" type elements inside the kettle. Agree the flat surface is great, and it doesn't get glowing hot. I've seen a picture where the guy had disassembled a stove and bolted the coils to the sides of his 20 gallon kettle. True ghetto style!
I wanted the heat source to be outside the kettle.... Thru the years I've tried different "water heater" elements in my RIMS modules, and even a bucket heater in my mashtun, but they didn't last long and were a pain to clean. Also I didn't want a hot spot in the kettle. I could use a water heater element in my Bru-Gear kettle since I have an extra TC port for it, but the induction works fine.

If I would have waited a bit, and known that Blichmann was going to create something like the BoilCoil I'd probably be use something like that.
 
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Thanks everyone for the info. Love my home few community lol! I'm strongly moving towards converting to electric. I like the idea @TexasWine had. I'm not looking to spend money on another brew kettle to use with induction especially being that I just got this Bayou one.

I just worry how it's going to effect me using my immersion chiller.
 

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1800W may work but is a bit skimpy. It will take a long time to heat 6-7 gallons to boiling point for 5-6 gallon all grain batches. You probably need to insulate well and keep the lid on part way during the 60' boil to keep it "rolling," which is usually fine. Do a search, there are a few threads on people using the 1800W units.

Mind you, some of those cheaper plates are only 1500W.
I have a 5500W "ghetto" HLT that will bring a bucket of cold water to a full boil usually faster than I'm ready for it. The induction plate just has to bring the already-hot wort to a boil and keep it there. It *seems* like 1800W should do it; that's what, about 6000 BTU's? The 10000 BTU burner on my gas stove will boil 5 gallons (barely), and that's without wrapping the pot in insulation. Most of that heat probably goes up the side of the pot and is wasted.

The only 110V induction hob that I've found that's designed to take a 14" kettle is only 1500W :( The others all look too small -- but still maybe something I can work with.
 
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I've got both a 50 ft immersion chiller and a plate chiller. I tend to use the immersion chiller for simplicity. Just plop it down in the kettle. Works fine.
I really appreciate the help. And thank you to everyone else for you help.
 
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