My Stove Sucks

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Gold_Robber

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Awesome. Thanks a bunch!

I was more fishing for the kind of heat source, gas, electric (open) coils or electric flat top.
Mostly in respect to possible ways to insulate those pot(s).
With gas, open flames, using any kind of insulation around the pots or kettle is totally out of the question. They're a fire hazard. Don't!!!

In my old home, on the largest (open) coil I could boil 4 gallons of water without a problem in a 5 gallon enamel canning pot/kettle.
Possibly even a larger kettle/volume, but safety may have become a concern due to construction and stability of those kind of stoves and elements.

In a leased townhome, after that, the brand new flat glass top electric stove that was in there could not comfortably boil 7 gallons of water/wort without some insulation. I used thick, tripled-up towels held with super tight bulldog clips and bungees cords around the kettle, and leaving the lid on part ways with a thick tripled up towel on top.
I tried straddling the kettle over 2 of the larger burners, but due to the space in between that was no better solution, possibly worse.

When we bought our new house, we bought a flat glass top stove having a huge triple element, especially with brewing in mind. I was hoping it could boil 7 gallons (full volume, all grain). That did not pan out either as the element keeps cycling on and off. :(
Again, only with insulation (triple layer of Reflectix) around the kettle, the lid on part ways, and again a thick towel on top, I could maintain a mere simmer and still boiled off a gallon an hour. But the sheer weight of that full kettle on the glass top also became a major point of concern.

Inspired by a thread here on HBT, that's when I bought the Avantco IC3500 countertop induction plate, and stick a box fan in the (half) open window behind it. I never looked back. Better yet, I even bought a 2nd plate.

Running a stove fan also increases evaporation and removes heat, which may be part of the under-capacity heating problem, but you really can't do without it, unless you get inventive. But you can condense wort as much as you like, even if it takes 2 or 3 hours. Or use a couple pounds more malt, so you don't have to sparge and later condense as much.

Anything that spills onto your burner is likely to cause smoking or burning. Don't fill pots too high.

In the short run, I'd say split heating/boiling your water and wort over as many burners and pots you have. The larger one(s) holding a bigger pot/volume than the smaller ones.
Even chilling in the sink or a tub with water is more efficient with multiple vessels. Combine at the end.

I bought two 9 quart stainless pots at IKEA for $20 a piece. They're induction ready, and use them all the time. I wish I had bought a few more...
 
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Gold_Robber

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Nope. I just turned both elements off after the smoke. Don't wanna tempt fate.

This is a more important problem to deal with than brewing. Does it "smoke" when you turn on two burners and do NOT have a pot on them?
 

amber-ale

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My Stove Can't Bring 3.5 Gallon batch to a Boil. I tried using two burners but things started smoking. I can't use propane outside as I am in apartment building. Are there any suggestions for me? Please help. :(
Then do a 2.5 gallon batch. I do half size batches quickly and easily on my kitchen gas stove burners. With a soup pot. Easy to lift, done in 4 hours, including a movie or shopping trip while it mashes.
K.I.S.S. Principle.
Do it the easy way first..... Then when it seems fun, try more complex, expensive methods.
 

MicroMickey

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When I started brewing over 30 years ago, I used the kitchen stove. My wife hated the smell of boiling hops so I got a Bru-Heat boiler and started brewing in the driveway. It worked fine for both mashing and boiling but eventually I upgraded to a propane burner and kettle. As far as I know, the Bru-Heat is still available. Keep in mind, it runs on 220 vac. For those with limited space, like apartment dwellers, it can be used indoors if near a window to let the steam out.
 

hotbeer

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If you go the electric hot plate route, take note of the maximum amperage or what ever info they provide for the electrical supply needed.

Most duplex outlets are only on a 15 amp breaker, and that load is shared by other things on that same breaker. Though kitchen outlets for your refrigerator and a few other places might be 20 amp and have less if any other stuff sharing that breaker.

Though I am not familiar with electrical code for apartments. Only enough for my own danger with residential.

I've blown a few breakers and burned a few extension cords with real high wattage burners and space heaters.

But don't let that cause you to think negative about them. They will be the safer indoor option if you don't want to do several smaller batches.
 
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IslandLizard

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Most duplex outlets are only on a 15 amp breaker, and that load is shared by other things on that same breaker. Though kitchen outlets for your refrigerator and a few other places might be 20 amp and have less if any other stuff sharing that breaker.
Yeah, check the electrical panel for breaker amperage in the kitchen circuit(s), if you know what to look for.
If using a 1500W countertop hot plate, don't run anything else at the same time, except for your stove, which is on its own (240V) circuit.

If your fridge and hot plate go out at the same time, try plugging the plate into another outlet/circuit.
Most "modern day" kitchens are wired with (at least) 2 20A circuits, besides the fridge and stove. But apartments can be very different.
 

Bramling Cross

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I will check it out. Thanks. Any suggestions for frugal brewers?
I'm a frugal brewer, too. I also live in an apartment because I don't want to move out to the burbs and waste my weekends tending a yard that I only see on the weekends when I'm tending the yard.

I think a heat stick might be a workable solution. I run a 6 gallon, partigyle-capable, all grain brewery on a a stove top in an apartment with the aid of a 1200w heat stick. The partigyle thing means I have a 10 gallon surge capacity if I run two kettles and two heat sticks. The heat stick also allows you to mashout and step mash in a cheap blue cooler.

In other words, a heat stick will allow you to run a very sophisticated brewery in an equally small footprint. I made my most recent heat stick about ten years ago and it ran me about thirty bucks. I'm sure it'll be more now, but not much more. For such a cheap, simple thing, it does a lot of sophisticated stuff.
 

lesleyharrell742

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If your doing batches that small I would look into the Anvil Foundry 6.5

6.5 Gallon Foundry Homebrew System | WorkTime Electric Brewing (anvilbrewing.com)

If you really want to be on the lower end cost wise there is always the DigiMash

DigiMash All-Grain Electric Brewing System - 35L/9.25G (110V) | MoreBeer

But I would think an all in 1 vessel would work well in your situation as BrewChatter mentioned
This is perfect, better than the mash n boil haha
I haven’t used the pump yet, but I think a stainless head would be a great option. Can’t wait to unpack my Foundry system and give it a go!
 

hamachi

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My Stove Can't Bring 3.5 Gallon batch to a Boil. I tried using two burners but things started smoking. I can't use propane outside as I am in apartment building. Are there any suggestions for me? Please help.
Lots of good advice here, but I will throw in my two cents as well. I routinely do 3-pot boils on my crappy electric kitchen stove. I'm happy with the setup and don't consider it a hassle at all, partly because I never have to lift a very heavy pot. I have a 5 gallon, a 3.25 gallon, and a 1.75 gallon pot. I mash in a bag in a 10-gallon cooler and batch sparge. The big pot gets the first running, and the other pots get the runnings from two rounds of sparging.

I have started putting the hops only into the smallest pot because that leaves sweet wort in the others for me to continue sampling during the boil :) , and what matters for alpha-acid isomerization is the boil time, not the hop concentration. (From the calculators, the difference in hop utilization based on gravity is small enough that I don't worry about the wort being more dilute.) I have noticed no difference from when I used to distribute the hops across the different pots.

For a 5 gallon batch, by the end of the boil, I'm down to 2 pots and maybe 3.8 to 4 gallons total. (Somewhere along the way, the smallest pot has been dumped into the two others.) I take the big pot outside, pour the smaller pot in, and run the immersion chiller. (You can just use an ice bath if that is not an option.) After the chilled wort is in the fermenter, I dilute to 5 gallons or the target O.G.

I do a lot of 2.5 gallon batches as well, and for those of course there's no need to dilute the chilled wort.
 

Snark_Wolf_Brewing

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I will check it out. Thanks. Any suggestions for frugal brewers?
You could also check into the Brewer's Edge Mash & Boil. They're less expensive than the Brewzilla, but it has a few trade offs you need to be aware of. You still have to heat up water for a sparge in order to reach your pre-boil volume, and you're limited to about 16 pounds total for your grain bill. Other than that, it's a good system with a small footprint and does what it was designed to do. I bought one a year ago to make the jump from extract to all-grain and I couldn't be happier with it. I've done several brews with it so far, and it hasn't let me down yet.
 

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Cammanron

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I heard about those but not many people I read use it. I will need to research further. Thanks for your help!
I use an induction plate. I mash indoors, then boil outdoors.. although I boil with a Hellfire propane burner, I did a couple on the induction plate. You DO need a tri-clad bottom pot, but they aren’t too expensive.
The induction plate I bought was a house brand (Canadian Tire) 120v, but for mashing it is real good because I find you can control the temp real nice.
 
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