Electric brewing

I built a brewery in my basement and do a lot of the work inside except the boiling. What I want to do is set up a small scale electric system for doing test batches over the winter or whenever. I have a big electric percolated for a hlt. Any thoughts on building or buying a brew kettle. Would a big hot plate work. Planning on no more than 3gallon batches.

hot water heater element in the kettle?

How would I control it? Plus I wasn’t planning on 240 because my panel is full. I guess I can put in a sub

In my opinion, you’d need a way to heat the brew, but you’ll also want a range hood over the brewing space to remove all of that moisture laden air from the house.

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A long time ago I had a BruHeat. Basically a plastic bucket with a heating element and potentiometer. It was 240 so I rigged a cord to connect to the electric dryer outlet. Handy since we had a gas dryer. Sounds crazy in a plastic bucket but it boiled great and did not melt it.

Since then the element crapped out so I simply attached a heating element from Home Depot and switched to an old Sanke keg for the kettle since it is three times as big.

I think you could somehow build something similar.

I also got an old range hood with flexible duct and swapped it with the dryer vent back when I had a basement. I made it possible to brew 10 gallons indoors on even the coldest days. Now days we run south when it is that cold so I have a beginners kit lined up to make a Stout on the picnic table on the an old burner I dragged with me.

EDIT: I don’t think they sell BruHeats anymore. I think they were from the U.K.

Blichmann Engineering makes a few electric kettles for brewing called BoilerMakers. The are a bit on the pricy side but I’ve seen them made for heating up to 50gal of water and the smallest is 10gal I believe. Only real negative things I have read about them is that they take a lot longer to heat up that using a propane burner.

You could use one of these.

The 120 volt version may take longer to get up to temperature but I think it would work. But I also second that you need to have a way to remove all that moisture.

Its in the basement right below one of those little windows gonna stick a fan in it.

If you are only doing 3 gallon batches I wouldn’t spend the money on expensive electric setups. An induction range would be good, those are cheap and can heat up your brew in no time.

I’m looking to eventually do electric heat, but looking at 220 volt setups with elements that output around 5,000 - 6,500 watts each. They aren’t cheap but good at getting up to temp.

Don’t know what that is

Ok. Looked it up. Will it boil 3 gallons in a reasonable amount of time. Was in the home brew store and he told me to go to Home Depot and get a hot water heating coil like Danny mentioned.

Check theelectricbrewery.com for the parts and procedure to install a water heater element in a kettle. You don’t need the VERY expensive hole punch the electric brewery recommends; measure the size of the heating element then buy a bit of that size. Drill the hole slowly and use lots of cutting oil.

To control the power to the element, use a Silicon-Controlled Rectifier (SCR). It is not really a rectifier; it chops the sine wave to give a similar effect, but does not produce as much heat. You will need to use a small fan to keep the SCR cool. I use this item: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MFEA5AE?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00

If you are limited to 120V, you may not need the SCR. If you can plug into a dryer or electric range outlet you’ll be able to heat to boiling very quickly and will need the SCR to keep the wort from jumping out of the kettle after you reach boiling.

You don’t need a high-quality kettle. I use a Bayou Classic; it’s thin and cheap, but there’s no need for a thick bottom or a copper core bottom to dissipate the heat when the heat is from an element submerged in the liquid.

I ordered a 2000w coil and a 1500w hot plate. I have two 20amp gfi circuits. After I get a boil I will turn off the coil and control with the hot plate. Only plan on doing 3 gallon batches. I’ll keep my 10 gallon setup outside.

Is the 2000W rating based on 110 or 220V? If it’s based on 220V, you can still run it on 110V, but I think you only get 1/4 of the wattage if I remember correctly from the research I did for my electric system last year. Also, if it’s not stainless steel, it will rust. TheElectricBrewery.com and BrewHardware.com has full stainless elements that will not rust and last forever. I believe they have 110V elements too. BrewHardware.com has a nice enclosure for the wiring. Regarding having a vent, unless you’re doing a lot of batches, you might not need one for 3 gallon batches. I do 5 gallon batches with my electric system, and while it’s boiling, I run a fan next to the BK to dissipate the moisture to the rest of the house. It’s pretty dry in my house in the winter, and it’s only a gallon or so of moisture. I turn the fan off 5 minutes from the end of the boil so that I don’t blow something in my wort and contaminate it.

I do 3-gallon batches in the kitchen. I run the range hood on high, open the window, and still have to constantly wipe condensation off of everything. I’d recommend a good vent for any indoor brew volume.

The 2000w is a Camco and it’s 110v. I’m assuming it’s stainless. As far as venting that is a concern. It’s in my basement bunker which also has electronics which would be a problem. Definitely wouldn’t make beer in my kitchen. I plan on mostly using it in the winter with the wood stove going. I also run a dehumidifier in the humid months. I can always build a vent fan if need be, many stove top vents are basically useless unless you get a real good one. The beauty of my basement brewery is I’m only concerned with utility for the fan not decoration.

make sure your heating element is at least a lwd element. standard elements will scortch the wort. I use a 4500w element mounted on a hot rod from brewhardware,
by far the nicest heat stick I have seen avaliable.

I have a 2000w hwd you think it will scorch the wort?

yes there is a good chance of scorching the wort with a hwd element. there are lwd fold back 2000 watt elements available.

edit: not sure how my user name got changed from sonex to sonny.