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Low watt density element necessary for boil?

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KevinP

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I can see lwd/ulwd being desirable in a rims tube or in the mlt but is it really needed in a boil kettle?
 

augiedoggy

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I can see lwd/ulwd being desirable in a rims tube or in the mlt but is it really needed in a boil kettle?
anywhere the wort touches the element its better off being an ULWD element since it is not as hot because of the increased surface area... this reduces the likelyhood of the wort being scortched as soon as it comes into contact with the element surface... I believe if the wort is constantly being stirred a regular element might be ok but I bet it also depends on whats in the wort.
Its not important in the HLT where your dealing with just water.
 

Hamaki

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It is important. When I was first assembling my electric keggle setup I had a couple of high watt density elements on hand and got impatient waiting for my Camco to arrive. I did a batch with a high density element in the BK. It was pretty bad - charred flavor. Never again.

Edit: I use a high watt density element in my HLT with no problem.
 

wilserbrewer

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Just my experience, I have used HWD elements, 2000w 120v for years, too any batches to count.

Scorched one batch where I paused the boil after collecting the wort. I believe all the trub settled and scorched bad.

Other than that. No problems. Still using HWD.


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Hamaki

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Just my experience, I have used HWD elements, 2000w 120v for years, too any batches to count.

Scorched one batch where I paused the boil after collecting the wort. I believe all the trub settled and scorched bad.

Other than that. No problems. Still using HWD.


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That's interesting, have you done the math to figure out how many watts per square inch? My 4500W, 240V unit was about 220W/sq inch. I believe the Camco ripple I use now is supposed to be like 50.
 

Bobby_M

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Perhaps the better question is why NOT use ULWD elements when they are generally available for not much more money than HWD? A scorched batch is worth $30 plus time you won't get back.
 

jleiii

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Perhaps the better question is why NOT use ULWD elements when they are generally available for not much more money than HWD? A scorched batch is worth $30 plus time you won't get back.
Because you can't find a good ULWD that fits your pot? I have a Mega Pot 1.2 8 gal, and it's only 12.5" in diameter. I've been watching all the threads related to this for some time, and LWD is as good as it gets in this length.
 

augiedoggy

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Because you can't find a good ULWD that fits your pot? I have a Mega Pot 1.2 8 gal, and it's only 12.5" in diameter. I've been watching all the threads related to this for some time, and LWD is as good as it gets in this length.
unless you mount them in the bottom of the pot.
also I have found the elements can be bent.
 

jleiii

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unless you mount them in the bottom of the pot.
also I have found the elements can be bent.
Then they stick out the top. The ULWD is still too long.
Bending is an option, but you risk damage or early failure.
 

Bobby_M

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Because you can't find a good ULWD that fits your pot? I have a Mega Pot 1.2 8 gal, and it's only 12.5" in diameter. I've been watching all the threads related to this for some time, and LWD is as good as it gets in this length.
You're not looking hard enough. Lowes Utilitech 5500 watt, measures 9.5" and is a full foldback LWD, Camco's 2932 is also 5500 watts and is a little lower in density at 12.25" installed. Those are just two that I have here for samples and I'm sure you'd find more.
 

augiedoggy

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Then they stick out the top. The ULWD is still too long.
Bending is an option, but you risk damage or early failure.
How small is that pot? I cant make head or tales of "1.2 8" If it were me I would put spending the $50 for a bigger pot on my wishlist... You'll likely want to upgrade anyway... This is why I try not to spend a lot on hardware like this myself... I already want to go bigger than the $70 stainless 13gallon pot I have now...
 

wilserbrewer

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Perhaps the better question is why NOT use ULWD elements when they are generally available for not much more money than HWD? A scorched batch is worth $30 plus time you won't get back.

Your right Bobby, but old bad habits die hard!
When I started E brewing back in the stone ages, there was very little information available, and you kind of figured it out on your own. There were examples of people using HWD elements with success, so I went that direction and have had pretty good success. There are also reports of scorching with lower watt density elements FWIW.

120v HWD elements are available everywhere for less than 10 bucks, ULWD are available mail order for around triple that price. Still not much money relatively speaking!

The one time scorch I had was a double batch, 15 gallons, around 18 gallons pre boil, that I paused the brew session running only 4000 watts, so the ramp time sparge to boil was a long time...way too long in hindsight. My elements were trying to heat in thick settled trub soup way too long and the proteins burnt bad. Under normal conditions I have not had issues.

Always clean heating elements well after use, as I also believe allowing build up is a major factor in scorching!

Surviving a dry fire may be another benefit of ULWD elements, the HWD are pretty scary when they go pop.





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jleiii

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You're not looking hard enough. Lowes Utilitech 5500 watt, measures 9.5" and is a full foldback LWD, Camco's 2932 is also 5500 watts and is a little lower in density at 12.25" installed. Those are just two that I have here for samples and I'm sure you'd find more.
I'm not looking for LWD, those are a dime a dozen. I don't see how the Camco qualifies as ULWD. If it has 11" of heated length, times 4, and about 3/8" dia, it's 52 sq in. At 5500 watts, that's 106 w/in2. That's LWD territory. The Ripple elements are down around 50.
 

jleiii

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How small is that pot? I cant make head or tales of "1.2 8" If it were me I would put spending the $50 for a bigger pot on my wishlist... You'll likely want to upgrade anyway... This is why I try not to spend a lot on hardware like this myself... I already want to go bigger than the $70 stainless 13gallon pot I have now...
"Mega Pot 1.2 8 gal, and it's only 12.5" in diameter" If you've never heard of the Mega Pot I guess you have a point, but 8 gal and 12.5" are pretty obvious.

If I wanted a bigger pot then I'd be researching bigger pots, not heating elements. I'm quite happy with my pot size.
 

ChocolateMaltyBalls

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I learned to love my ULWD element the first time I forgot to turn off the HLT element while sparging. I've dry fired both elements a few times on accident, they're still going.
 
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