Author Topic: making an electric brew pot?  (Read 20414 times)

Offline CR

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making an electric brew pot?
« on: January 15, 2010, 03:41:48 PM »
Using water heater electrodes.

I've seen a couple of tank conversions  on the web but not seen the actual connection.

In the water heater they screw into a water heater  by large diameter threads and seat against a gasket.
The fiberglass units are thicker where the connection is made and the metal ones have a ferrule welded on.

I can't guess how the connection is made on a brew pot.
If I made such a conversion I would get away from the need for flame.  Just run a 240 line to the place where I plan to set up the brew station and plug in or pigtail it to a junction box.

The mechanical connection between the electrode and the tank  is the part that's got  me puzzled. .
Any one seen one up close?

Seems to me that one could eliminate the Brew pot entirely if one rigged the conical  as a brew pot using electrical heating elements.
It would all depend on the temp rating of the seals.     
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 04:03:12 PM by CR »

Offline wyzazz

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2010, 09:12:57 AM »
Boy, lots of ways to do this.  Welded 1" NPT fitting or weldless nut and silicone gasket from bargainfittings.com.  Put a PVC Cap on your connections and POT them with JB Weld to keep them water-tight, better safe than sorry!  ALWAYS use a GFCI protected outlet.  I've seen people use PID's and SSR's from Auberins to control them, you could also use a BCS-460 and SSR, or you could just use a DPST switch for simple ON/OFF control but then you can't control your temps or the vigor of your boil. You'd also probably want to use an ULWD (Ultra Low Watt Density) element so as not to scorch your wort but there has been debate about this as well.

Look here for a premade solution.  http://www.ohiobrewingtechnologies.com/

And here for some discussion at HBT on electric elements in a BK.  http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/bling-bling-electric-herms-conversion-93217/


Offline CR

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2010, 12:17:31 PM »
Thanks for the Link WYZAZZ~!!
That answered ALL the questions about whether it's  a workable option and what the minimum components  are.
I suppose the next stage for that is to hook it up to a PC and  run it like the big boys do.


I have been contemplating a radical shift:
Turning the Conical into the brew kettle and never taking the beer out until time to keg or bottle.

Please people tell me why this should not work.
Tear the idea to shreds.
Save me  from drilling huge holes in a spanky new SST conical
BTW: one manufacturer said they can easily weld the needed fitting to the  fermenter.  All I gotta do is tell 'em where and  what.
For a fee of course.









Offline wyzazz

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2010, 03:49:40 PM »
You're welcome!  Brewing is all about sharing information, and working throgh ideas.

It's certainly a workable idea, however not worth the price and trouble IMHO.  There are plenty of folks that ferment right in their BK's, but the drawback is that you cannot start another batch until your first is done.  For an average gravity beer this means that you're going to wait around a month between brews.  

Dropping the trub in the BK would be easy enough via the dump valve in the bottom before pitching your yeast or after whichever you prefer.  I wonder how the shape of the conical would affect a boil?

How do you plan on chilling?  Or are you planning on a "no chill" brew?  Immersion chiller in the conical?  If it's permanently mounted make sure it's SS and not copper.  Copper before fermentation = yeast food, copper after fermentation = toxins per John Palmer.   
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 04:03:14 PM by wyzazz »

Offline CR

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2010, 04:22:00 PM »
That's an interesting question.  Cold sinks and heat rises.
The conical might trap a cold-er component.
Stirring would, of course,  alleviate that.  However the  question gives rise to another issue.  
Because the conical is a bot of an unwieldy thing cleaning the  heating elements might prove a problem.
While anything stuck on them would be sterilized lickety split on  power up  any attached  and burnt yeast cake might make for some
weird flavors.

Possibly those are  two reasons  to go with a proper kettle.
It's not like I use a high pressure wash to clean things. And a proper kettle with disconnects right at the kettle will make for a much easier  sanitation regimen.

But than this might be little more than a question of process.

The data I've read suggests that it's realistic to see a 12 minute  heat period from cold to boil for a substantial  volume of water (10 gallons).  Cleaning the electrodes  located around the lower part of the tank wouldn't be hard  if all I did was put a few gallons of water in and hit the power then dump after a few minutes. That might be a good way to clean the Conical.  Boil some oxyclean. dump, rince and hit it with Star San on brew day.
 
I think I need more information about the conical such as wall thickness.  Heating electrodes will, by nature, impart a certain measure of stress to the walls surrounding the  threaded flange inserts.  If the metal is paper thin, as I fear it might be,  if they are spun formed and not  hydraulically cold formed in a press then it might be too much for the metal.   I sort of doubt any one is hydraulically cold forming their conicals because the buy in for the tooling is very high. Spinning is so cheap.''


Chilling:
A counterflow type  heat exchanger  out of and back into the Conical  through the pump & Heat exchanger would do, I should think.
It's not have to  expose the brew to air.









 
 




« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 07:42:13 PM by CR »

Offline CR

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2010, 10:05:13 AM »
That's an interesting question.  Cold sinks and heat rises.
The conical might trap a cold-er component.
Stirring would, of course,  alleviate that.  However the  question gives rise to another issue.  
Because the conical is a bot of an unwieldy thing cleaning the  heating elements might prove a problem.
While anything stuck on them would be sterilized lickety split on  power up  any attached  and burnt yeast cake might make for some
weird flavors.

Possibly those are  two reasons  to go with a proper kettle.
It's not like I use a high pressure wash to clean things. And a proper kettle with disconnects right at the kettle will make for a much easier  sanitation regimen.

But than this might be little more than a question of process.

The data I've read suggests that it's realistic to see a 12 minute  heat period from cold to boil for a substantial  volume of water (10 gallons).  Cleaning the electrodes  located around the lower part of the tank wouldn't be hard  if all I did was put a few gallons of water in and hit the power then dump after a few minutes. That might be a good way to clean the Conical.  Boil some oxyclean. dump, rince and hit it with Star San on brew day.
 
I think I need more information about the conical such as wall thickness.  Heating electrodes will, by nature, impart a certain measure of stress to the walls surrounding the  threaded flange inserts.  If the metal is paper thin, as I fear it might be,  if they are spun formed and not  hydraulically cold formed in a press then it might be too much for the metal.   I sort of doubt any one is hydraulically cold forming their conicals because the buy in for the tooling is very high. Spinning is so cheap.''


Chilling:
A counterflow type  heat exchanger  out of and back into the Conical  through the pump & Heat exchanger would do, I should think.
It'd not have to  expose the brew to air.









 
 






Offline wyzazz

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2010, 10:25:23 AM »
I would think you want to expose the wort to the air.  You do need to aerate to ensure your yeasties have a hospitable enough environment.  And I wouldn't worry too much about HSA, it's been all but debunked and called a myth by some of the most respected folks in our hobby.  I use a venturi tube setup to aerate my wort after it flows out of my plate chiller, right in to my sanke keg fermenters.   

Offline CR

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2010, 09:06:17 AM »
Quote
I would think you want to expose the wort to the air.  You do need to aerate to ensure your yeasties have a hospitable enough environment.


I've been giving that some thought.
Currently I aerate my wort by letting the siphon hose  make a fair bit of splashing and foam  as I drain the wort into the carboy.
I could oxygenate using a sparging stone and a can of compressed O .


Quote
And I wouldn't worry too much about HSA, it's been all but debunked and called a myth by some of the most respected folks in our hobby.

I can only think of one instance where HSA might be an issue.  That'd be in an atmosphere with off odors  circulating around.  Like maybe if one was also cooking a meal heavy in garlic and onions and what not or had a can of garbage  nearby that needed taking out making the air redolent with stinky odors.    In such an instance any heated fluid might take on something from the air.   

On the flip side I should think that aerating while the fluid was warm might be the better  ( easier) thing simply because the heated fluid will pick up more oxygen by nature of the higher level of molecular activity in the warmer fluid.

My worry about the atmosphere   in contact with the wort arises from my knowledge about my cellar - the  place I'd be if I took brewing  away from the kitchen.
My garage is anything but clean. I's about 250 years old  damp and  some what loaded with god knows what in the air.
My thinking is that if I  Exposed boiled wort only to air that entered VIA a HEPA filter or a pressurized bottle of O that I'd be a long way toward eliminating  cellar  bugs  in the brew.

While I''d like nothing better than to turn  a corner of the kitchen into a brewery I don't think it'd go over well with the missus. 


 
Quote
I use a venturi tube setup to aerate my wort after it flows out of my plate chiller, right in to my sanke keg fermenters.

More sophisticated than my "slishy splashy" method to be sure.  Do you also use compressed O?

I've looked at some compressed O set ups and  it seems to me that  the best way to do it is to leave the stone and dip tube in the boil for  some time  before  mucking the glim and engaging the heat exchanger.   Sparging  Stones seem to me to be wonderful places to harbor bacteria and mold.


 

Offline wyzazz

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2010, 01:28:53 PM »
I don't know about the smell from surrounding air permeating your beer, but I suppose anything is possible. 

I don't use O2, I prefer the KISS method of doing things.  The venturi that I use is a variation on what is discussed here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/cheap-easy-aeration-gadget-68218/

I believe 8ppm is the saturation point you can reach with O2 in your wort, so I really don't see the need for pure Oxygen in my instance.  If you're going to use O2 and a stone then I would probably put it in the boil or let it soak in StarSan when you're not using it. 

As far as aerating while the wort is warm, that won't work.  Warm/Hot liquids won't hold as much oxygen (or any gas for that matter) than cold.  That's why I force carb my kegs at lower temps, they take the CO2 easier when they are colder.   

Offline CR

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Found a candidate for a brew pot
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2010, 02:24:54 PM »
Browne-Halco (58 14160) - 60 qt Heavy Weight Stock Pot
60 mm ( 2 gauge) ¼” thick
$145

TWO GAUGE~!!!  That is 1/4" thick ( 0.250")    Holy Moly~!!   That's thick

I found it here:
http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/browne-halco/58-14160/p5166.aspx

I can run 2 or 3  Electric ultra low density heating elements  in that thing no problem  15 Gallons should let me boil a 10 gallon batch
The  have a bigger  one  160 quarts for $250.00   

I've brewed in Aluminum for ages and I don't see any problems with the metal  and it welds up really nicely.
 I can drill the bottom for flat style flange fittings  or take it to a welder to get a 1" threaded flange installed along with port for a  ball valve.

The only time I had an issue with Aluminum was when I boiled the Rosin Flux off an soldered up copper  immersion heat exchanger.  I used a couple cups of Citric Acid power  to clean it off.  It did  a great job but left the aluminum in rough shape. I had to clean it and boil some baking soda to restore the  oxydized patina.

 



Offline mterm

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2010, 07:01:04 AM »
Take a look at this. This guy uses an electric brew pot. The pics show the connection point.
http://www.byo.com/photos/category/23/asInline?limit=1
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 07:33:34 AM by mterm »

Offline CR

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2010, 10:50:32 AM »
Thanks.    To bad they were  so stingy on the pictures and details.
It appears he's using a Johnson controller to switch his Boil Kettle H
Ive thought about a subscription to that magazine. I am somewhat resistant to hobby oriented journals mostly because of how marketing focuses them on the Newbie.

I suppose I could pick a couple up at a Borders or Brentanos some time and see if they  do what so many other hobby type journals  have done - lock in their marketing  outreach to just one level, that  usually being  entry-level or just beyond.  Oddly Martha Stewart  (a marketing genius) did less of that,  preferring to invest at least half her journal into taking the readership way far outside most work-a-day folks comfort zone.

Woodworking is a typical example of a journal industry that never seems to get past the beginner  stage.
I've subscribed the Fine Woodworking and  a couple others over the years.  they seem always to  be speaking to people just starting in the hobby. I guess their marketing folks think that  the larger demographic of people willing to spend money on a subscription are newbies who are pretty much just grabbing at things hoping for some knowledge and ideas to speed them on their way. 
Maybe they are right.

I think that the internet has really changed the whole dynamic of how people learn things.  What with forums like this where people freely exchange information, constantly advancing newer and more advanced material.


Offline wyzazz

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2010, 12:40:32 PM »
That system was built by a member of the HBT Forum, his original system build thread is here.  http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/bling-bling-electric-herms-conversion-93217/

His new system is being built here.  http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/kill-watt-brewery-build-compilation-158348/

That should give you all the pictures and details you need. 

Offline CR

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2010, 01:25:53 PM »
Mili Grazi WYZAZZ.

He sold his first model.  That's pretty funny.  Clearly the Pol is a fellow who enjoys making things.
Build a brewery, use it, sell it build a new one with some new tricks.
He has combined at least  two hobbies into one.


 

Offline CR

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Re: making an electric brew pot?
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2010, 10:30:17 AM »
It took me a while to see it.
You'd think any one with an interest in a BBQ would have seen it right off.

I have not seen  a single  brew sculpture, that has a small pot with a heat source for  decoction brewing. 
For a 10 gallon capacity brewery, Ya need what, maybe capacity to boil 3 gallons?
Lots of people use decoction.
Oh my.  One more thing to add to the to do list I guess.


I was looking into hard coat anodizing the aluminum pots I plan to get.  Ya know, a little DIY project.
The Sanford process is the one I'd have wanted.  But it's a bit  much for a DIY application
You need  to immerse the aluminum to be treated in a super cold sulfuric acid solution through which you send 40 Amps per square inch of metal surface at enormous voltages.
I dunno, call me  chicken, but that just seems like a lot of work for a  super slick, super hard, ceramic-like,  almost diamond hard surface.