My Electric Home Brewery Build

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skarude

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Hello All,
I just recently joined this site and I wanted to share my craiglist purchase and get everyones thoughts on my plans. I have not brewed in a few years so I am almost starting from scratch. I didn't have a kettle large enough for full boils etc. So I recently started looking for options to build an all electric brewery in my basement.

Last week I scored 3 old above ground pool filters that I think are going to a great job.

This is a picture of these pots with all the pool equipment still attached.



After I stripped them down they are starting to look ok. Still need alot of TLC.



The holes in these seem to be the perfect size for hot water heater elements and i have ordered some SS nuts and o-rings to test that out shortly. I am not sure if I should just use 2 elements in the HLT and BK or try to use the second hole for something else. I tried to find some examples of people using 2 240v elements but haven't stumbled upon it yet so I am not sure how I would control that just yet. Anyhow I would love to get some thoughts on these.
 

The Pol

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Looks like a good solid start on an electric brewery. What is the volume of the filter housings?
 

Bobby_M

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If I had to take a guess, they look like they're about 14" diameter by 26" high (judging by the bike wheels) ~17 gallons. Sounds about right to me for 10 gallon batches.

The big decision now is HERMS or RIMS on the mash tun. Since you're not direct firing, I would suggest bottom drains on all 3 vessels.

Put a sight glass on the HLT and boil kettle.

There are a lot more folks on here familiar with electric but I know enough to ask how much of your electrical service do you have to spare? Running dual elements on the HLT will be fast, but make sure you have amperage to support it.
 

TommyBoy

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That vessel with the openings on the top half would be great for the HLT HERMS coil connections.
 
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skarude

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I have not been able to confirm the exact volume of these but I think Bobby is close. I filled the one with the holes up high all the way up to the first hole and it held 10 gallons so I think to the top is going to be slightly less than 20 gallons.

I have been trying to figure out the best way to get these making beer ASAP so I was planning to use my old cooler setup to mash in for now. This will probably give me time to decide between HERMS or RIMS. Trying not to let the spending snowball too quickly so swmbo stays happy, but I already spent $110 at Bargain Fittings.
 

ClaudiusB

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Monster Mash is using pool filters too.
Here is his well done system.
You can tell he is a perfectionist.





More pics

Cheers,
ClaudiusB
 
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skarude

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I have seen Monster Mashes System and drooled over it in the past. Actually his system is what inspired me to search craigslist for pool filters.
 
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skarude

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I got some parts at the end of last week and wanted to share.




I added 2 2000w Elements to one of the tanks for a water test.

 
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skarude

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looking closely you can see this looks like it was made for 2 elements to bolt in.





I am really not sure what elemement configuration I want to use. It is looking like 2 2000w 120v elements in the HLT and 2 4500w 240v elements in the boil kettle. I would prefer to use 2 3000w elements in the BK so I can pull a 30 amp outlet to my brewing location rather than a 50 amp, but I cannot seem to find 3000w ULD elements. I have also considered a single element but I am not sure what the cleanest way to close the second hole would be.
 

missing link

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You can close the second hole in the boil kettle by screwing in a plug. Not much concern over it harboring icky stuff since it all gets boiled anyway.

Or add a site glass or a thermometer by bushing it down to 1/2"

Linc
 
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skarude

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A plug is a good idea I have been going back and forth on that but it probably makes sense. I was planning to hide all the electrical connections in the back so I am not sure about the site glass. I may see if I can find a plug the right size as this would really simplify the electrical portion of the design.
 

the_Roqk

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I'm not sure if this link will help you out or not. But since I'm starting to get my own "stuff" together for my electric brewery, and have made some recent purchases. I found this at amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006299I6/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

I didn't get that one but did get a 5500 watt (ripp) and a 4500 watt. Both are LDW elements. I will use the RIPP in the boil kettle and the other in my HLT. So far this has been a pricey build. But... I do love this "hobby". Keeps me sane.


Hope this will help you out.
 
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Brewmoor

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How would you like to control your system?

If you go the way I went you can build/buy a PWM circuit to control the BK. My opinion is that it is simple when you don't need to hit a specific temp and hold it. You can just turn the dial to where you need it and keep things boiling. It would be very easy to make it control two elements. You could also use a PID for this.

As for the the HLT. You should go with a PID. It too should be able to control two elements. Just split the signal to two SSR's, one for each element.

The other popular way is to use a computer based system. Aurdino, BCS, Brewtroller, or something like it. I don't have any experience in this so I can not say much about it.

Do you need two elements in each? If not I would just go with one 5500w and put a plug in the other hole or use it for something else. It would make things much simpler to wire.

Good luck on the build. Those are some sweet vessels to build upon. I can not wait to see how this progresses.
 
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skarude

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Wow...I forgot all about this thread. I have actually come full circle on these vessels in the year since I posted this originally. I actually put them to the side and used a propane/keggle setup for a while but I have started purchasing more parts for the E setup. In fact most of the components are just now starting to come in so I will try to put some updates on the build in this thread.
 

lustrum

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I know this is coming a bit late in the game, but I never thought of using pool filter housings for kettles and was curious to know if there is a certain type of pool that uses these? The pool filters I have seen have poly or plastic housings.
 

robrob

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I had not seen these either until I bought a house with a pool just recently. These seem to be DE pool filters DE stands for Denatured Earth. Not sure if other types of filters (sand) use them as well but my DE filter has these type housings.
 

thezepster

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stainless steel filter housings would be hard to come by these days. I used to work at a pool store and the only stainless steel filters I ever saw were no less than 7 years old. All the major companies switched to resin housings. There could possibly be a company out there that still makes them, though. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) filters would be the best size and shape for brewing. Good luck!
 

robrob

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stainless steel filter housings would be hard to come by these days. I used to work at a pool store and the only stainless steel filters I ever saw were no less than 7 years old. All the major companies switched to resin housings. There could possibly be a company out there that still makes them, though. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) filters would be the best size and shape for brewing. Good luck!
That makes so much more sense! I could not figure out how you denatured earth!!! I should stop listening to my pool guy.
 

thezepster

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haha thats ok man you would be surprised at the other things people would call it. anyway, I believe that i was wrong on my last post after looking at skarude's pics over one more time. Those are definitely cartridge filter housings. DE filters open from the middle and are much bigger. Cartridge filters open from the top like those do and are about that size. DE filters probably wont work due to the fact that they open from the middle and require a large rubber o-ring to seal. My mistake, and again, Good Luck!
 

onthekeg

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I had not seen these either until I bought a house with a pool just recently. These seem to be DE pool filters DE stands for Denatured Earth. Not sure if other types of filters (sand) use them as well but my DE filter has these type housings.

Actually DE is Diatomaceous Earth. Oh, sorry, I see that was answered above!
 
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haha thats ok man you would be surprised at the other things people would call it. anyway, I believe that i was wrong on my last post after looking at skarude's pics over one more time. Those are definitely cartridge filter housings. DE filters open from the middle and are much bigger. Cartridge filters open from the top like those do and are about that size. DE filters probably wont work due to the fact that they open from the middle and require a large rubber o-ring to seal. My mistake, and again, Good Luck!
So is there any chance of finding some of these these days? Or are they getting too old to be found? What do I search for?
 
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