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Is It Worth Making An Electric Urn?

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zarniwoop

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Hi All,

Once our house move is complete I'm going to make the move to AG and BIAB seems the way to go. I'd prefer to go electric and it appears that 40L electric urns are $250-300.

A really quick check on the net seems to suggest that if I bought the bits myself it's going to be around $200. (I don't have a step drill bit unfortunately):
Keg $60 Heating element $48 Step bit $30 Ball valve and pickup $60







Total of ~$200, if this is the case it's not worth doing it myself for the hassle involved. Does anyone have any comment on this? (And before anyone mentions anything my days of doing dubious things with kegs at 2am are far behind me.... :D )

Cheers

Zarniwoop
 

pk.sax

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Depends.

Urn, break the sight gauge and pay millions to replace, keggle HLT - cheap sturdy sight gauge can be made for very little.
Thermostat on urn aren't known to be exact, pretty sure they can be managed though. Making your HLT it is totally in control.

Slightly more capacity with a converted keg as well.

Also, no thermal cutout of the element on self made ones.

Ball valves can be had cheaper, look around.

However, the urns are an out of the box solution that are hard to match with anything else off the shelf.
 

Jay Cee

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check out Big Nath's thread in his sig, he used two kitchen kettle elements (I saw the kettles in Kmart today, $8 each).

Temp controller for $20, other stuff, for $20, then all you need is a pot
 

Plastic Man

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kettle element(s) installed in an old plastic fermenter. ball valve screwed into tap hole. pretty cheap option.
 

brocky_555

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Hot water system elements can be had a little cheaper and there is a range of sizes to choose from depending how big you want to go. They come in 2400W, 3600W, and 4800w and they are all the same socket size just add wiring!
 

RdeVjun

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If you're really keen to cut your AG teeth but the cost baulks you, google bucket of death, ghetto HLT or even MaxiBIAB. Volume/ brewlength is usually the limiting factor but you can scale up when the bank lets go of your testicles, in the meantime you've learnt all about it.
HTH :D
 

adniels3n

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3600W, and 4800w ... just add wiring!
& a new 15 amp circuit.
I went the keggle + immersion heater + STC-1000 for my BIAB. It's been great, but a bigger pot (for double batches) would make it even better. No sight tube, I use a dipstick. I agree with the above though, for an off the shelf solution, an urn is hard to beat.
 

Malted

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You haven't mentioned the vessel to put your bits in. An aluminium pot will be cheap enough, relatively speaking but a stainless one in the 40+ L pot could cost a reasonable amount of mullah. Include the pot and some form of thermostat and the price goes up quite a bit.

IMO a step bit drill is ok for thin walled stainless pots but there are better options for drilling out thicker s/steel, using a stepped drill bit on 2mm or so s/steel could be problematic. Just my 2c.
 

Yob

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also, dont get a step drill bit, get a Carbide Tungsten hole saw, those things will last you forever..

I killed a step drill bit and my drill in no time flat...
 

pbrosnan

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Hi All,

Once our house move is complete I'm going to make the move to AG and BIAB seems the way to go. I'd prefer to go electric and it appears that 40L electric urns are $250-300.

A really quick check on the net seems to suggest that if I bought the bits myself it's going to be around $200. (I don't have a step drill bit unfortunately):
Keg $60 Heating element $48 Step bit $30 Ball valve and pickup $60







Total of ~$200, if this is the case it's not worth doing it myself for the hassle involved. Does anyone have any comment on this? (And before anyone mentions anything my days of doing dubious things with kegs at 2am are far behind me.... :D )

Cheers

Zarniwoop
If you're only doing 30-40 litre batches and given the difference in price could be as little a 50 bucks and accepting the fact that fabricating an urn has the possibility of not going quite as planned I'd go for the off the shelf option. If you were talking a capacity greater than what you get OTS then I'd say go for it. I turned a 100 litre stainless steel vessel into an urn but this was the only option.
 

Thirsty Boy

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i say no - its my opinion that installed elements in pots for BIAB are not the "best" solution.

I believe that the most versatile and simplest electric BIAB rig is a 50-60L pot and a 2400W over the side element.

No wiring, no hole to drill for the element, no need to shield the element from the bag, removing the element to clean it thoroughly (increasing its life and decreasing brewing issues) is as easy as grabbing it and taking it to the sink, the pot is big enough so that you dont have to worry about being able to fit higher gravity or slightly bigger batches in it, if you are willing to dick about a little, its big enough for an occasional double batch without making your life hell, the element is insanely useful for all things brewing - any vessel capable of holding hot water becomes a potential adhoc brewing vessel should you happen to need it.

This will end up being a little more expensive, but in my opinion better solution than any fixed element option. Urns have some nice "off the shelf" type advantages, but also size and set-up limitations too.... an off the shelf urn is my second best option though. Fixing an element into a pot is more or less last on my list of electric options, and even though I am a staunch advocate of electric brewing, I might well have it below a simple gas burner working on the assumption that you are actually able to use gas in your situation.

#1 - pot (aluminium for economy), installed tap and pick-up tube, over the side element
#2 - Urn
everything else

TB
 

Wolfy

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A really quick check on the net seems to suggest that if I bought the bits myself it's going to be around $200. (I don't have a step drill bit unfortunately):
Keg $60 Heating element $48 Step bit $30 Ball valve and pickup $60
KegKing in Springvale sell pre-cut/drilled kegs with a ball valve for $100, add a $40 element and you are done (they'd likely cut that hole for you too if you ask nicely).

If you want to do your own holes and stuff (as per what others have said here) TCT hole saw is the way to go.

As for what is best for BIAB Thirsty Boy's advice is usually always very sensible. ;)
 

squirt in the turns

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What about these? If they're up to the job, there aren't many cheaper and easier ways to make holes for standard elements. I might grab one this weekend and see how it handles an SS pot from CB.
 

zarniwoop

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Thanks all, much useful advice as always :D .

Hi Thirsty Boy,

I like the approach, nice and simple. Would you install a ball valve in the pot?

Hi Wolfy,

Thanks I'll give KegKing a call.



Can anyone recommend a good over the side element? (sounds like my temp controller is about to find a second use...)

Any recommendations for ball valve sources?


Cheers

Zarniwoop
 

MastersBrewery

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insane_rosenberg

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Can anyone recommend a good over the side element?
The Grimwood Element has been a popular option on AHB for a while. As thirsty mentioned, not the cheapest option around. But they are aussie made and safe for use in a metal container (something to watch on ebay ones, many are for plastic only).

The only problem with the Grimwood is that (like most elements), they don't like to be used as an air heater.
 

Wolfy

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Any recommendations for ball valve sources?
CraftBrewer now sell 2 and 3 piece ball valves at competitive prices, however you will need to pay for postage unless ordering other things too.
You could also try to get a 'cash' price from either Geordi or Prochem (both of which are kind-of on your way to Springvale).
 

poppa joe

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Google "cd's old electric wort boiler" and "cd's new electic wort boiler"
Plenty of info there One is Plastic the other a Keggle..
Cheer
PJ
 

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