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Plastic Man

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Hello to all - been lurking for a while - but now need some help...:(

I know this is asking a bit but can someone who is using either a 2400 or 2200 watt immersion heater, or a kettle element, do me a BIG favour and shoot back the wattage, length and OD of the element.

Reason: Im planning on doing my my first AG batch in a few weeks. Ive made a HLT from a bunnings 25l drum with a Big W Belle kettle 2200W element installed. A 20mm to 15mm brass reducer screwed straight into the bung hole and a inch ball valve screwed straight onto this. Not a bad option for anyone wanting a HLT, (Bunnings bits about $25 and $10 Belle kettle from Big W, (even has a light showing it is on !!) use a 38mm hole saw to cut the element hole. It then fits in no problem using the bulkhead fitting from the kettle).

Made the mash tun from a 25l esky, (currently $24 at bunnings), some 15mm threaded brass pipe, a few lock nuts and washers and a converted SS braided hose connection with the inner hose removed. Added a inch ball valve to the outside. Cost about $50 all up.

No issues up to here but now for the kettle. Bought a 30l cube from bunnings with the wide opening, ($15). No bung hole so Ill add a bulkhead fitting with a ball valve on the outside. But the question is what element to add. At $10 a pop Id love to just wack in another $10 2200W kettle element from Big W but am worried it will scorch the wort. Option is to wack in 4 elements and run each pair in series for a total of 2200W, or try and buy two 1200W elements, (which isnt easy). Ill think Ill try the one element and see how it goes.

But just as a final double check, Id really like to check the power density of the immersion elements people are using. My $10 element is about 50cm long (if you untangled it). It is about 0.8cm OD so area is about 125cm2. So power density is 2200W / 125cm2 = 17.6 watts / cm2. From what I can glean from other posts on the web, a safe zone is somewhere between 8 13 watts / cm2. Im way over that but this doesnt seem to worry others who are boiling with one element. If any obliging fellow brewers can shoot though the wattage, the length and the OD of the elements they are using I can do a quick check and make a final call. Id just hate to do a full mash only to burn all the wort. Im sure I wont, but a double check would be nice.

Any help very much appreciated!!!

Richard.
 

jimmysuperlative

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Far out, Plastic Man ...sounds like brain surgery to me!!! :blink: I can't help you sorry! ...but I'd love to see some pics of your gear -especially the BigW kettle element HLT :p

I've been gearing up to go down the AG path myself, and it would be good to keep the outlay as low as possible. I like the idea of a plastic/electric brewery so I hope you have a win!

Keep us posted ...and post some pics ;)
 

Justin

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John Lovett's brewery on the craftbrewing website uses the same elements that you talk of in his kettle and no mention is made of scorching. See here:

http://oz.craftbrewer.org/Library/Gear/JLovett/index.shtml

I have the same kettle elements as you speak of in my HLT (an 1800W and 2200W) that I'm really happy with in regards to time to heat up etc and they will hold a really vigourous boil (the 1800W will hold the boil on its own too). I'm going to convert my gas fired kettle to electric with the same arangement, but I haven't done it yet. I'm not too worried about scorching as I'm pretty sure that plenty of people are using this set up. But $15 for the container is a pretty small outlay if it doesn't work out anyway so give it a go.

As for densities etc????

Cheers, Justin
 

Gout

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i spent heaps of time on this and all the element shops said it will scorch (using their standard hot water service elements, that are lot longer then a kettle)

I tried a kettle element a long time back and it burt heaps of crap onto it, they say it will burn the element out so make sure you clean it off each time. I also thought about the 4 kettle elements to share the heat over 4, but it ends up at $40, and the drilling them holes in a SS keg is murder, hence i might just buy a single hot water service element for $40 anyway.
 

Plastic Man

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Thanks for help all!!!

Gout - I don't mind a bit of cleaning - but could you taste any evidence of burning. Would probably add to the charancter of a stout or porter, but may be a worry for a pale ale??

Thanks again for help. I'll certainly post some pics when I sort it out.

Richard.
 

MAH

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Hi Plastic Man

I wouldn't worry about it. The sugars in the wort are not that concentrated and you're unlikely to get any scorching. I use a 2.4kw immerssion element and have no problems at all, no scorching, no burnt flavours. This element has a bigger wattage:surface area than a kettle element, but I'm still sceptical that even a kettle element would scorch the sugars in a normal gravity beer.

Cheers
MAH
 

Plastic Man

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Thanks MAH !!

I'll fire her up and give it a whirl with the one element.

Cheers - Richard
 

Gout

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nup no flavour or colour difference that i could tell, but i never did a side by side taste test, i wasn't trying to say it wont work well, just letting you know to try clean it as it will build up and reduce the amount of heat the element can give off, slowing the boil and i'm told killing the element in the long run

they are a real bitch to clean when coiled up like the kettle ones :(
 

Uncle Fester

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Ok all, I have done a fair bit of reading and searching, but the main use that I have found from the forum for an ex-kettle element is for heating water for mashing\sparging. I want to finally make the jump into AG (Yes Tangent, is still has taken me 6 months to actually leap - Thank Stagger and his Pale Ale). I have a 50l SS boiler (Thanks again Stagger). I also have a disposable kettle (Thanks to the Caravan).

Before I drill a 40 or so mm hole in the side of it to fit the kettle guts, I would appreciate some confirmation that I will be able to achieve a rolling boil with this setup. I am only looking at a boil of 30 or so litres (as dictated by Promash as I am only doing single brews)

If not, then I will go the gas path.

All I want to do is brew great beer (I consider the beer I brew now to be good - just want to go the next step to great)

All comments appreciated.

For all of the OH&S people out there, I am from an electrical background, so all will be safe. Trust me, the welding of my 3 tier brewery will be far more dangerous than my electrical connectivity.

As always,


Thanks in advance,

M

[Edit - Getting the Queens Unglish right]
 

lou

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Well I have 2 elements in my 50L SS boiler and this works fine - once it is boiling I can turn one of the elements off and still get a rolling boil. 2 elements gets it to the boil faster - I also have an infinite stove type control for one of the elements but in all honesty it isn't really necessary after all the effort + dollars that went into putting it together.

1 element should be okay but for convenience 2 is better - also diff elements have diff Wattage ratings - some are only 1600 watts - others 2200 or 2400 - what wattage is your element?

lou
 

Screwtop

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A problem I found with using kettle elements is the short duty cycle. They are not meant to heat for such a long time, the fitting and cord get pretty hot. Best option I found was suggested by Batz. Get a screw in hot water element from an electrical w'saler (wattage should be within GPO limits). Haymans stock Stokes elements at around $40 - $50 in various BSP thread sizes. They are also available with built in thermostat. Once you have the element get a SS tank adaptor of the correct thread and size and weld it into the Kettle. You also need a small square of SS sheet metal the size of a J-Box, cut a hole in it the same diameter as the hole you cut in the kettle. This is then welded on the outer/protruding end of the tank socket and a J-Box mounted on it to cover the connections. Run the cord through the side of the J-Box cover using a cord gland and connect everything up. Hope this helps.
 

Uncle Fester

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Well I have 2 elements in my 50L SS boiler and this works fine - once it is boiling I can turn one of the elements off and still get a rolling boil. 2 elements gets it to the boil faster - I also have an infinite stove type control for one of the elements but in all honesty it isn't really necessary after all the effort + dollars that went into putting it together.

1 element should be okay but for convenience 2 is better - also diff elements have diff Wattage ratings - some are only 1600 watts - others 2200 or 2400 - what wattage is your element?

lou

lou,
I have a 2200W element. The problem I have is that I have only got one electrical circuit to my brewery. This shares 240v bandwidth with a fridge.

If I had a second circuit to the brewery, then I would go 2 elements. I'm not concerned if it takes an hour or so to get to the boil... More concerned about maintaining a rolling boil.

After all, tafter the boil, I am in a no chiller mode!! :ph34r:


This is the last stumbling block between me and Utopia!

All hail the brew gods (and Saint Bibiana)

M
 

stephen

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I belive Joel has/had a plastic kettle with two elements. There are phots of it in action somewhere on this forum.

If I had the enthusiasm I would search for them myself and place a link here _____. However, I'm too busy enjoying a golden ale.

Steve
 

Franko

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I to am in the process of fitting an electric element to my HLT.
Thinking I might use a 3.2KW element (screw type) as apposed to the kettle type.Will need a seperate circuit according to the sparky next door lucky Ive got him to do it for me.\does anyone have pics of there HLT with a straight type element

Franko
 

sintax69

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I have 2 bella elements in a keg upgraded them from the bucket of death see link in last post takes about 15mins to rolling boil one trick get a element as low as possable in the keg so you can start the boil after the first batch sparge or as soon as it covered by wort if fly sparging this saves some time
 

Screwtop

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Franko, some pics of my HLT elements. Have both types, the Screw base element is screwed into a 1" BSP threaded SS tank socket welded into the vessel with a square of SS sheet tacked to the end for mounting the junction box to enclose the connections.

Kettle & Screw Base Elements
Screw base element



Inside
 

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