Insulating kettle during boiling

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hendenburg2

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So I just tried my first BIAB, and most everything went well, except for one thing:

Even at full blast, my stove (electric) could only keep my kettle (6 gallons, mostly full) at a bare, slow boil. We're talking practically a simmer. I tried putting the lid (mostly), but that only did so much. Temperature variations in the mash were't a problem (only lost 4 degrees in the hour), mainly because the electric stovetop helps store some heat.

Does anyone have any good ideas for how to insulate the sides of the kettles? I'm trying to come up with a good idea that doesn't also risk getting burned/melted by the stove.
 

Soyben

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Not sure how you could insulate your kettle to solve that issue. When I brewed on my stove I would usually boil about 3.5 to 4 gallons and then top off with water to my desired
final volume. You do loss some hop utilization, I think I tended to use about 15% more hops versus full boil. But beers turn out just fine.

One other issue to think about, if you have a smooth top glass stove you could be pushing your max weight limit with a full 6 gallon kettle on there. My stove top is rated for about 50 pounds.
 
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hendenburg2

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Huh, would that work with BIAB? I'm trying to think of how to get enough fermentable sugar out of the grains using only 3.5 to 4 gallons of water and no sparging. My first batch used 14 lbs of grain, mashed with 4 gallons, sparged with 1.5, added 1 gallon of ice post-boil, a final fermenter volume of around 5.5 gallons, and ended up with an OG of 1.05

As for the weight rating, yeah, I'll have to check. This could especially be problematic because my apartment complex doesn't allow open flames on our patios (so using a non-stove heat source is pretty much a no-go).
 

MuddyBrown

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You can reduce the surface area of the boil. Use a stainless steel bowl, add a bit of water, cover with tin foil. Float bowl in wort. I've used this method a few times in the past to maintain a better boil. Remember that your boil off rate may change.
 
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hendenburg2

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You can reduce the surface area of the boil. Use a stainless steel bowl, add a bit of water, cover with tin foil. Float bowl in wort. I've used this method a few times in the past to maintain a better boil. Remember that your boil off rate may change.

It would certainly lower the surface area available for evaporating, but it could be offset by an overall increase in the boiling rate. Though I think the majority of heat loss comes from the sides, to the ratio of 2*height/radius, though of course it is more complex than that, since you have evaporate cooling off the top and a higher temperature gradient on the sides of the vessel.
 

PsychoBiter

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Try wrapping it in a few layers of Reflectix....maybe just the top 3/4 so you don't melt the bottom. But I doubt you would without a open flame.

Or get a single burner induction cooktop.
 
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Ceramic insulation blanket. Lots of thicknesses and sizes available. Mineral wool is also an option, but probably not as good around liquids.

http://a.co/g3RfDy3


upload_2018-1-18_13-11-36.png
 

cbier60

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Have you used ceramic insulation? Fibrous, leading to itching, possible material in beer, and subject to absorption of spills make this seem like the wrong material for insulating a kettle. It's certainly more cost-effective than most other options, so I'd like to hear the pros.
 

brewshki

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I would get a camp burner. They are cheap, work great, and the threat of a boilover in the kitchen is gone.
 
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Have you used ceramic insulation? Fibrous, leading to itching, possible material in beer, and subject to absorption of spills make this seem like the wrong material for insulating a kettle. It's certainly more cost-effective than most other options, so I'd like to hear the pros.

I haven't. I was going to recommend mineral wool, because I've seen that mentioned on this forum, but then I found this. My system is electric, so I can just use reflectix.
 
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