Adding Electric To Brew Pot

Why buy your homebrewing equipment if you can make it? Share completed DIY projects and future plans and ideas alike!
User avatar
Patrickivan
Posts: 158
Joined: 3 years ago
Favourite Beer: My Weissbier

Adding Electric To Brew Pot

Post by Patrickivan » 2 months ago

Hey- I have a problem. I recently moved, and there is no good place for me to brew my Beer!

My main issue is where to do my boils with my burner. The driveway is too far from the kitchen, has stairs, to get out, and is really looking like a pain for carrying out a tonne of liquid back and forth.

The back deck is raised, so going down to the yard is even worse. And I'm not doing it on my deck. Wood, plus propane burner, plus potential boilovers are a no go there.

I thought of induction, but my fairly brand new barely used pot is not even remotely conducive.

That leaves me with installing electric elements. Into my new pot.

I'm pretty handy, but the write ups are making me weary. The actual installation of the elements on sites like the Electric Brewery are fine, but the temperature controlling is really losing me. From what I can tell, it looks like I'd have to spend hundreds to control my temperatures?

Is there nothing simple to this? A rheostatic with a temperature gauge? I'm handy, but get lost with electrical...

I have access to a 220v outlet in my kitchen, and my basement. Extraction vents are no problem.

Damnit! I just want to brew again. It's been MONTHS! Like February :(

My pot is a giant 10 gallon from OBK. It's a nice pot that my wife got me last November.


Any thoughts, or suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks
"I drink to make people interesting"

George Nathan

User avatar
Reignman
Posts: 1718
Joined: 7 years ago
Favourite Beer: Pilsners
Location: Cavan, Ont.

Re: Adding Electric To Brew Pot

Post by Reignman » 2 months ago

I had the same problem with my 6000 watt electric pot I bought back in 2003. No temperature control. I finally went with this from High Gravity Brewing in the US. http://www.highgravitybrew.com/store/pc ... 9p3084.htm
You can install a single 4500 watt electric element and you are good to go. Of course you will need a GFCI in your panel. I went with 240 V in my 15 gallon boil kettle and 110V in my mash tun and sparge tank. They just took longer to heat up. There are many options out there to chose from, you just have to do a lot of research.

User avatar
Patrickivan
Posts: 158
Joined: 3 years ago
Favourite Beer: My Weissbier

Re: Adding Electric To Brew Pot

Post by Patrickivan » 2 months ago

There is a lot out there. It's really a pain really.

I thought of in induction plate, but my pot isn't compatible. And I'm reading (though not much out there on it) that conversion plates work, but you have a heat transfer efficiency reduction that way.

I don't really want to buy a new pot either. I love my new pot.

The most economical may very well just be getting a sound build plan for installing elements, and then take the plunge and build it.
"I drink to make people interesting"

George Nathan

User avatar
Patrickivan
Posts: 158
Joined: 3 years ago
Favourite Beer: My Weissbier

Re: Adding Electric To Brew Pot

Post by Patrickivan » 2 months ago

I think I'm going to settle on BellyBuster's write up for now. viewtopic.php?f=12&t=2756&hilit=electric+controller

It's simple, and will get me going quickly. Plenty of write ups for heating element box construction.

But I think this will be a longer term goal. I'm confident enough to follow the instructions, and the cost seams pretty reasonable. https://skrilnetz.net/how-to-build-a-br ... pw1et5ZkMU
"I drink to make people interesting"

George Nathan

User avatar
XXXXX
Administrator
Posts: 649
Joined: 7 years ago
Favourite Beer: Cold
Location: Hamilton, ON
Contact:

Re: Adding Electric To Brew Pot

Post by XXXXX » 2 months ago

(back story: Some posts in this thread were recently lost. The gist is that you can control elements by building a Triac heating controller... they're not super hard to build, once the plans are sorted out)

I'll eventually get around to posting plans on how to make a heater controller... Which could be used inline to control whatever electric heating setup you end up with. Just a matter of splicing it in, basically :)

FWIW, I use my 240v 4500w element in a boil kettle without control.

I use a 120v 1500w in my HLT, with a digital thermostat hooked up to a solid-state relay.
Mmmm... Beer... *drool*

User avatar
Patrickivan
Posts: 158
Joined: 3 years ago
Favourite Beer: My Weissbier

Re: Adding Electric To Brew Pot

Post by Patrickivan » 1 month ago

At this point, the only reason I really want temp control, is that my boil kettle will be doubling as my HLT.

Though I do have my old aluminum pot ... It wouldn't be very expensive to put in a 1500w element in that....

That makes more sense. No need to worry about the boil temp for the boil kettle. Just plug in and go.

Thanks man- good idea. That's the whole point of these forums. Really helps to get feedback and see what others are doing.
"I drink to make people interesting"

George Nathan

User avatar
XXXXX
Administrator
Posts: 649
Joined: 7 years ago
Favourite Beer: Cold
Location: Hamilton, ON
Contact:

Re: Adding Electric To Brew Pot

Post by XXXXX » 1 month ago

No worries!

I'll say that the 4500w is quite a powerful boil, so watch very closely for the hot break.

I try to leave a good headspace in the kettle cause it's quite powerful :)

I haven't tried a 3000w element to see if the boil is powerful enough, but I'd imagine it probably would maintain a good boil, but take 33% longer to get there.

The most "technically simple" solution could be to use a 3000, and a 1500 watt element, individually switched:
- Low power is 1500w only
- Medium power is 3000w
- High power is both, aka 4500w.

The other option, depending on the usage, is to use a 4500w element with 120v supply. The setup for that could be done in a variety of ways, and it would provide 1/4 of the original power...so 1125w in this case. If it were a 6000w element, it'd be 1500w.

To do that, you could make yourself an adapter whip to use on the end of your 240v plug.

Or, you could make yourself a PWM or TRIAC power controller...

Lots of options.
Mmmm... Beer... *drool*

User avatar
XXXXX
Administrator
Posts: 649
Joined: 7 years ago
Favourite Beer: Cold
Location: Hamilton, ON
Contact:

Re: Adding Electric To Brew Pot

Post by XXXXX » 1 month ago

Input wattage isn't the only contributing factor, either. Controlling heat loss is a thing in itself.

A reflectix blanket on the kettle would certainly make things boil faster, and at a lower wattage. Certainly without issue at 3000w in my experience.
Mmmm... Beer... *drool*

User avatar
Patrickivan
Posts: 158
Joined: 3 years ago
Favourite Beer: My Weissbier

Re: Adding Electric To Brew Pot

Post by Patrickivan » 1 month ago

Well, it seems this is on hold for a while. I came home to a robobrew that my family got me.

It's not going to have the same boil abilities, but I'm pretty happy with the gift.

The other stuff will come along eventually
"I drink to make people interesting"

George Nathan

User avatar
brhenrio
Moderator
Posts: 434
Joined: 3 years ago
Favourite Beer: Stouts
Location: Bonnyville, Ab

Re: Adding Electric To Brew Pot

Post by brhenrio » 1 month ago

I am honestly thinking of hacking my robobrew and adding a 4500w element to it for helping. Simple on off switch, just use it for raising temp or getting to a boil faster. If i dont want to sit and watch i will just use the built in panel.
In the fermentor: Cherry Brown Sour, Raspberry Sour, Golden Sour, Gentleman's Skids Brown Ale
Tap 1: Root Beer
Tap 2: Destined for the drain
Tap 3: Lil' Runt Mild
Tap 4: Kicked

Post Reply