Induction cooktop as a giant bain marie?

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AlZilla

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You know, it's said that the only dumb question is the one you didn't ask. So, this can't possibly be a dumb question, right?

I have an 8 gallon boil kettle I want to use on an induction cooktop. But it's not induction friendly.

I can not use an induction disk because the bottom of the kettle is recessed about an inch and wouldn't make contact with the boiler.

The Not-Dumb Question:
Can I set the kettle into a larger, induction-ready stock pot and use the whole thing as a bain marie?

Ignoring for the moment the possible weight issue, I'll burn those bridges if I get past this one.

Thanks
 

NTBeer

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I don't see any reason why you can't do that if you want. But you likely won't get the inner pot to a boil. Which is kind of the point of a bain Marie.
 

IslandLizard

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Did you recently read Cat in the Hat, perhaps?

But you likely won't get the inner pot to a boil. Which is kind of the point of a bain Marie.
One could achieve higher temps in the (inner) brew kettle by using oil (e.g., paraffin oil) in the stock pot jacket, instead of water. But it's greasy, and messy.

In that scenario it should be properly called a Bain Paraffine or Bain l'Huile then. ;)
 
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AlZilla

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Did you recently read Cat in the Hat, perhaps?


One could achieve higher temps in the (inner) brew kettle by using oil (e.g., paraffin oil) in the stock pot jacket, instead of water. But it's greasy, and messy.

In that scenario it should be properly called a Bain Paraffine or Bain l'Huile then. ;)
I think I'd have a very big mess on my hands ...
 

IslandLizard

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You're saying cooktop, as in a kitchen range, or a countertop induction unit?
How many watts?
[Edit] From your previous threads I gather you bought and installed an Avantco IC3500, right?

What's your typical batch size, 5 to 5.5 gallons?

I'd buy a new kettle that works on induction and never look back. Heating is instant that way.
On the contrary, a "Bain Paraffine" is slow responding, due to the mass of the oil jacket. Plus you'd be dealing with hot oil that's easily 240F to get your wort to boil in the insert. Definitely a Cat in the Hat method, IMO. ;)

For 5.5 gallon batches (in the fermenter), not BIAB, a 10 gallon kettle would be ideal. For induction I'd say using a triple ply bottom would be best. It remains perfectly flat and reduces potential scorching. That 6" heating circle in the bottom gets unbelievably hot.
For 10 gallon batches (non-BIAB) a 15 gallon kettle would be the minimum.
 
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AlZilla

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You're saying cooktop, as in a kitchen range, or a countertop induction unit?
How many watts?
[Edit] From your previous threads I gather you bought and installed an Avantco IC3500, right?

What's your typical batch size, 5 to 5.5 gallons?

I'd buy a new kettle that works on induction and never look back. Heating is instant that way.
On the contrary, a "Bain Paraffine" is slow responding, due to the mass of the oil jacket. Plus you'd be dealing with hot oil that's easily 240F to get your wort to boil in the insert. Definitely a Cat in the Hat method, IMO. ;)

For 5.5 gallon batches (in the fermenter), not BIAB, a 10 gallon kettle would be ideal. For induction I'd say using a triple ply bottom would be best. It remains perfectly flat and reduces potential scorching. That 6" heating circle in the bottom gets unbelievably hot.
For 10 gallon batches (non-BIAB) a 15 gallon kettle would be the minimum.
Indeed, I did get the Avantco. I generally don't make beer so my batch sizes are all over the place. 1 gallon to 30, depending on what I stumble into. I have a propane-fired 30 gallon boil kettle outdoors when I need capacity.

I have never used an induction cooktop and was pretty disappointed when I discovered my favorite boil kettle wasn't going to work. I'll probably see if I have a couple of smaller kettles and try the water bath trick but (based on comments here) don't expect it to work. So, it looks like I'll be throwing another wad of cash at this money-saving hobby ... :)
 

IslandLizard

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Some of your smaller kettles may work on induction. You've got to try them to find out.

I got some 9 liter IKEA pots that work great on it. I use those for making starter wort, and general cooking, soups and stews. There's an induction ready symbol on the bottom.

Another kettle I have is a cheap $40 8 gallon Polar Ware, with a single ply bottom. A magnet won't stick to it anywhere, but it works A-OK on induction. Go figure.

I think I mentioned before, I also have a 15 gallon MoreBeer Heavy Duty, triple ply bottomed kettle, same as the 8, just larger. It works fine on the IC3500 for 10 gallon batches, it just takes longer to get that volume to a boil.
 

bracconiere

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I thought about more plates but getting the exact height would be a challenge. And maybe costly.

two cheap plates, and steel wool inbetween? as a spring? not sure if that's induction freindly, but they do sell stainless scrunchies don't they? i'm not seeing a double boiler being good for a boil.....
 

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I thought about more plates but getting the exact height would be a challenge. And maybe costly.
two cheap plates, and steel wool inbetween? as a spring? not sure if that's induction freindly, but they do sell stainless scrunchies don't they? i'm not seeing a double boiler being good for a boil.....
I know you guys mean well, but don't understand induction.
 

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[Rephrased -mod] These conversations about induction cooktops will get more prevalent. The only way to get the performance, control, and energy efficiency from electricity is by using induction heating over coil or even non-induction ceramic cooktops.

Induction cook tops for brewing are actually pretty darn good. The downside is the need and expense of converting to induction compatible cookware. I can bring a large stock pot full of wort to a rolling boil in a few minutes. Doing a three or four gallon "brew" is actually pretty easy in a big stock pot. Plus, the ability to precisely control the temperature to prevent a boil over is excellent. If you have an induction cooktop or induction hot plate it is worth the investment in an induction compatible pot to use it to brew.
 
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Dancy

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My 11 gallon Bayou Classic pots are induction capable. (1044 and 1144) I'd buy an induction friendly pot before I did a Bain Marie with a non induction pot.
Agreed. Before my Mash & Boil, I used an 8 gallon induction ready Caribou Classic on an 1800 watt induction cooktop. By the way, one CAN do 5 a gallon batch with an 8 gallon kettle but a 10 gallon kettle makes sense for higher gravity beers. Adding a lb or two of DME to an AG brew can help.
 
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AlZilla

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The issue in the OP's case is that his kettle doesn't have a flat bottom, it's recessed inward.
Exactly, Lack of research bit me in the tail. But, I used the induction cooktop making soup today and I can't believe how fast it'll bring a couple gallons of 45F water to a boil. Even at 3100 watts. Now I really, really want to use it.
 

brewman !

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Exactly, Lack of research bit me in the tail. But, I used the induction cooktop making soup today and I can't believe how fast it'll bring a couple gallons of 45F water to a boil. Even at 3100 watts. Now I really, really want to use it.
Plus there is no element in the pot to scorch the wort or burn a bag on. And the heating is very gentle and even, even at high power settings.

Thing1, in my sig, uses a 5KW induction coil.
 

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Plus there is no element in the pot to scorch the wort or burn a bag on. And the heating is very gentle and even, even at high power settings.
You still need to watch out, that 6" circular area gets unbelievably hot. Even with stirring often while scraping the bottom, I tend to get a little stickiness right on that small 6" area occasionally. That's even on a thick tri-ply bottom.
 

brewman !

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I forgot that some induction coils are very small. Mine is 5KW on a 12 inch coil.
 

IslandLizard

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I forgot that some induction coils are very small. Mine is 5KW on a 12 inch coil.
The coil in the IC3500 is about 9-10", but at the inside of the kettle it seems to concentrate in a 6" disk that gets super hot, and sometimes develops a sticky medium gray deposit that is easiest removed with BKF.
 
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AlZilla

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The coil in the IC3500 is about 9-10", but at the inside of the kettle it seems to concentrate in a 6" disk that gets super hot, and sometimes develops a sticky medium gray deposit that is easiest removed with BKF.
I noticed this in my soup making adventures yesterday. When I had a vigorous boil, it was very much concentrated in the center.
 

Tsoukan

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Based on my recollection of high school physics a Bain Marie won't work. Water stays liguid until 100c and as more energy is added it starts to boil - phase change from liguid to gas - as it boils it stays at 100c until it is all steam and then the temp can start to rise again. With the gap at the bottom your inside vessel will never likely obsorb enough energy to push it into boiling, it will likely happily sit at 100c or slightly below due to natural evaporation at the surface sucking heat energy away. I think your stuck looking for a new kettle.
 
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AlZilla

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Based on my recollection of high school physics a Bain Marie won't work. Water stays liguid until 100c and as more energy is added it starts to boil - phase change from liguid to gas - as it boils it stays at 100c until it is all steam and then the temp can start to rise again. With the gap at the bottom your inside vessel will never likely obsorb enough energy to push it into boiling, it will likely happily sit at 100c or slightly below due to natural evaporation at the surface sucking heat energy away. I think your stuck looking for a new kettle.
Yeah, it would seem so. Poor planning on my part...
 

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