Electric Brewery New Idea

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Electric Brewery New Idea

Postby yeastmeister » Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:42 pm

Ok all. This is an experiment that I came up with as a proof of concept thing. Its aimed at the brewers who are in apartments, or can't have a propane burner outside for some reason. Or generally anyone who is interested in doing full boil batches without using propane.

I picked up a 1300 watt induction cooktop for about $60 bucks. I picked up an 8.5 gallon stainless kettle with tri-clad bottom (induction compatible) for $65 from amazon.

A quick test shows that its doing exactly what normally happens when folks try to use electric heater elements. I'm showing 100% conversion of electric energy into heat.

1300 watts isn't a lot, but it will work. The limitation on most electric breweries comes from the amperage needed. To get serious electric heat, you need 240v. Using 120v limits the BTU output considerably. Since the induction cooktop heats the entire bottom of the kettle, instead of the small surface area that a normal heat stick would produce, scorching should not be an issue.

Its also infinitely safer because generally electricity and liquids don't mix well, and this completely eliminates the possibility electricity coming into contact with the liquid. The cooktops automatically have sensors and limiters to make them safer. They automatically shut off if the kettle is removed.

The general numbers:
heating 7.5 gallons of water from 72F to 212F takes 118 minutes (your milage may vary if your ambient temperature is colder or its windy).
The system uses 10.8 amps of power to do that. So basically, thats 2.6 kW of electricity to boil
Using LUS residential rates for electricity, that gives $0.22 to bring it up to a boil.

There are 1800 watt induction cooktops out there, but 1800 watts requires a full 15 amps of power, which could be a problem. Most residential outlets are rated at 15 amps, and I don't recommend running anything electric at its max for very long.
But if you did get an 1800 watt one, it should boil in 85 minutes. The cost would be about the same because we are getting almost 100% conversion of electricity to heat.

These times are dead on with what you would normally get with an electric brewery using heat sticks, but with the safety factor greatly increased. Its got a very small footprint, the actual cooktop could fit inside the kettle for storage. Be aware that this is 120V power. You could get hotter heat sticks using 240V, but then you are probably not the user this is intended for.

Of course, you could also do all grain batches this way using the brew in a bag method of doing things.

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Re: Electric Brewery New Idea

Postby thebuddrik » Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:38 am

Excellent write up and experiment!! If anyone has tried to brew on an apartment stove they know that is a pain. That is still a long time to get it going though...
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