Induction cooktops to go all electric?

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I think I brewed my 3rd batch of beer in the dead heat if a North Carolina summer before I realized how incredibly awesome it would be to have an electric setup, even if it was still in my garage. From there, I started reading this electric brewery website and of course drooled over the shinny stuff. I do not have 5k+ to drop on this kind of setup and likely never will.

Reading this thread on the 3500 watt induction cooktop I wondered if I could buy two of those for my HLT & boil kettle, and have a pseudo electric setup?

I envision brewing on my kitchen table indoors. There are two windows I can open for ventilation and I would pack up everything once I was finished. I don't have a basement and the only other place I could see having a setup that I wouldn't have to move around is in the garage, which is still an option in spite of NC summers.

I'm fully open to suggestions, even if someone trumps my belief that to go electric will cost $5k+ up front. I will need to hire an electrician who can make sure my house can carry the load of the two 220v induction cook tops and of course install two plugs. Not certain that is even a possible idea for me in terms wiring.

I realize there are tons of threads on this but what I've successfully done in the last month was read myself into circles and basically ended up not sure what to do or where to go with all the information.
 

Pie_Man

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The March-April issue of BYO has an article about induction heat brewing. It seems doable. The author in the article uses a $200 1800-watt 120-volt induction element for five gallon batches. If you have a 240-volt outlet, you can use a larger induction element which allows you to brew larger batches.

There are certainly ways to go electric much cheaper than $5K. I have read plenty of threads in the Electric Brewing forum of those doing that. Keep in mind that the Kal setup is not only electric but also a HERMS system with pumps and recirculation and temperature probes, all that. You could easily make a simple electric BK and continue to mash in a cooler, or whatever setup you currently use bypassing all the bells and whistles of a full blown Kal build.

To have have two elements running at once, you need a 50amp breaker. The Kal system only uses one element at a time with a 30amp breaker. It shouldn't cost too much for electrician to add an outlet of the proper amperage and voltage assuming your panel can handle the load.

BTW - Your induction link goes to the electric brewery homepage.
 
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^ Fixed the link, thank you.
I read that article and definitely did see that if I wanted to do pretty small batches and didn't want to hire a guy to get me a plug, then the 1800W would work out. I figured though, best to just get something larger now so I am not longing to do a bigger batch later. I've learned in my short time brewing to try and really look forward instead of looking at the now. It was the BYO article that got me amped about induction.

I didn't catch on that I could do all electric (non-induction) for < $5k. I think the nice shiny websites that showcase these amazing HERMS, RIMS, electric systems really convoluted my own research.

In terms of amps and such. I intended to continue to use my cooler MT. When I am brewing now I only use one burner outside. In my mind though, I wondered if it would shave off a little time if while I was sparging, I could also be heating the wort. The reason I never did was sometimes I'd have to blast the HLT with heat to bring it back up to temp during sparging. Two burners seemed like a good idea. Also, I would like to use pumps and stop forcing myself to lift 5+ gallons of water constantly. I can, I'm physically capable, but if I don't have to I would like not to. :)
 

Rockn_M

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You can put as much into an electric brewery as you want. I have opted to go full bore. I am in the process of building the brew table (should be finished this weekend weather permitting). I am also slowly aquiring the parts needed to build a Kal clone for the control box. The first thing to do is decide what do you really want to do. Do you want a complete HERMS\RIMS system or keep with what your doing but with the ability to control the temps better. There are a lot of things that you can cut costs on. For example, I found some inexpensive pumps on ebay that I will be using instead of the Chugger pumps that are pretty expensive.

As for the power supply I've seen people utilize the dryer plug for the 220. I'm not sure if this is an option for you or not but it's another way you can save a bit of money.

Good Luck!
 

CountryGravy

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I personally am quite interested in going the 220V/3500W route with a controller and recirculation.

I've been working on pricing out. I'm a single-vessel BIAB'er, so all-in-all it isn't nearly so complicated for me.

However, I'm trying to figure out how to do temp control. I have not used an induction top on a regular basis, and I don't know how I would use the controller to turn it on and off. I assume when it is turned on from an off state, there is some sort of startup that happens where it automatically goes to the lowest settings. Maybe I'm wrong. I also worry that constant on/off would damage the unit.

Anybody have any idea on that?
 

Pie_Man

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You probably won't save too much time heating wort while batch sparging. You can get around that issue too by heating your sparge water a few degrees higher than needed, then heating your BK while the sparge water loses a few degrees. Similar to what you probably do now with one burner. Although, it's up to you.

A few elements with controllers, then eventually a stand with the manually operated pumps should suit your needs.

Keep reading through the Electric Brewery forum and you'll probably find a few ideas to guide your future electric setup. I am doing the same myself now.
 

Pie_Man

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However, I'm trying to figure out how to do temp control. I have not used an induction top on a regular basis, and I don't know how I would use the controller to turn it on and off. I assume when it is turned on from an off state, there is some sort of startup that happens where it automatically goes to the lowest settings. Maybe I'm wrong. I also worry that constant on/off would damage the unit.

Anybody have any idea on that?
I think most quality induction units have a potentiometer, or some other mechanism, to adjust the power to the induction element. That should serve as a temperature controller of sorts. After a little practice, you'll probably figure out where to set the controller for 150F, and to boil, adjusting up or down by taking a temperature reading. Should not be any worries about running these things for a few hours during a brew day, that's what they are designed to do.
 

CountryGravy

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I think most quality induction units have a potentiometer, or some other mechanism, to adjust the power to the induction element. That should serve as a temperature controller of sorts. After a little practice, you'll probably figure out where to set the controller for 150F, and to boil, adjusting up or down by taking a temperature reading. Should not be any worries about running these things for a few hours during a brew day, that's what they are designed to do.
Thanks! I appreciate your input.

:mug:
 

andyphil27

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I'm also interested in the induction setup, if for no other reason than to have an indoor option here in NJ when it's 20 degrees outside (like right now) that isn't my stove. I'll have to check out the BYO article. I need to do research on what kind of wattage I'll need, but in general it seems like a great idea, especially since I already have an induction ready pot.

As for Electric setups on the cheaper side, I have a friend who just set up an eBIAB rig that is pretty sweet and not that expensive. He chronicled the whole thing in a thread here. You're clearly not doing BIAB, but this could be a cheaper way to get into it and then expand as you get pumps, etc.
 

sammy33

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I could see a setup like that working well. I would definitely incorporate a pump to do the horizontal transfers.

I just started induction brewing myself and I am hooked. I have an 1800w cooktop with a 5.5 gallon kettle and do BIAB. I am turning it into a recirc system with a pump.

Are you brewing 5 gallon batches? Larger? You have a Bayou Classic right kettle right?
 
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