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Thread: Question about sizing electric elements for new brewery

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Johnstown, PA
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    Question about sizing electric elements for new brewery

    I will be running a 7bbl brewhouse that i am completely putting together myself with various sourced parts and tanks and i need some advise on elements. I was going to buy 240v 6000w camco elements and put 4 each in my HLT and boil kettle and i was wondering if that would be enough? I already have enough 240v circuits ran to accomodate this kind of setup but i see many people going with the 15 or 16.5kw elements @ 208v from brewmation and putting a bunch of those in the tanks. I know home brewers who use a single 5500w in a 55 gallon setup, so if i have 4 in my gear it should work, no? What would you all suggest, any advise would be greatly appreciated?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Northern CA
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    Personally I would advise you to go with more elements.

    I've worked on a 3.5 bbl system that had 3 5500W elements in the kettle and the HLT, and while it was enough to bring the kettle to a boil there was a lot of wasted time waiting for things to heat up. I really wished that system had 4 elements in each tank - I would have had to turn one off once the kettle was boiling, but it would have shaved an hour plus off every brew.

    Cheers
    Manuel

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Leadville, CO
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    Will you be double batching? If not then you can get away with much lower power for the HLT. On a kettle, 3 kW/bbl is a hard limit for a decent boil and you'll really want more - 40 kW is needed to heat from 65°C to 95°C at 5 gal/min.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Los Angeles
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    We've got a kettle with two 18KW three phase elements that works pretty well. We get a nice rolling boil at 290-300 gallons with out a big heat up lag as we're running off. We've also got a single 18KW in our 350 gallon HLT. We source them from Glacier which is lowest cost I've been able to find. Check it out
    Last edited by panthrosrevenge; 12-10-2016 at 03:17 PM.
    Josiah Blomquist
    Head Brewer
    Iron Triangle Brewing Co
    Los Angeles, CA

  5. #5
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    Oct 2016
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    Johnstown, PA
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    much appreciated for the valuable information thank you very much.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2016
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    Johnstown, PA
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    Update and new Question

    I went ahead and ordered 3 14kw 3 phase elements from glacier tanks on recommendation from this thread. I went with the 14kw because they are only 230v instead of 480- which would have forced me to put in a new electric panel. I am designing a hot stick kind of application because my kettle is double walled and jacketed and i do not want to drill into the jacket. So, the info says that these elements screw intop a 2" FNPT, but says nothing to the end cap area where the wires hook up. I purchased the elements, 3 2" FNPT > 2" TC and a bunch of elbows and straight pieces to construct, but the 2" FNPT adapter will not screw into the end of the element. Can somebody please point me in the right direction of what adapter i need to screw into the end of these elements?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Metro Detroit
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    15

    Element sources?

    I was looking at glacier and noticed the only 2 elements they have listed, are listed as discontinued.
    What's another good source for elements, I'm in planning, and looking at a 7bbl BK possibly also.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    300
    Quote Originally Posted by rhythmsteve View Post
    I went ahead and ordered 3 14kw 3 phase elements from glacier tanks on recommendation from this thread. I went with the 14kw because they are only 230v instead of 480- which would have forced me to put in a new electric panel. I am designing a hot stick kind of application because my kettle is double walled and jacketed and i do not want to drill into the jacket. So, the info says that these elements screw intop a 2" FNPT, but says nothing to the end cap area where the wires hook up. I purchased the elements, 3 2" FNPT > 2" TC and a bunch of elbows and straight pieces to construct, but the 2" FNPT adapter will not screw into the end of the element. Can somebody please point me in the right direction of what adapter i need to screw into the end of these elements?
    I don't think the threads on the wiring end are rated for immersion like this. If it's bigger than 2", they may be 2 1/2, a somewhat common electric conduit fitting size. But possibly it's a straight thread intended by the manufacturer for a thread-on connection box. Hard to say for sure. But I can't think of a safe way to use that like a hot stick heater.

    Regards,
    Mike Sharp

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    west coast
    Posts
    249
    Quote Originally Posted by nate_lapt View Post
    I was looking at glacier and noticed the only 2 elements they have listed, are listed as discontinued.
    What's another good source for elements, I'm in planning, and looking at a 7bbl BK possibly also.
    i found some at brewmation in the 15kw size. too big (30" long) for our narrow HLT. gotta go with two 5500w S curve types. electric brewery also had some, dont recall if they came in the big big sizes though.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by rhythmsteve
    I went ahead and ordered 3 14kw 3 phase elements from glacier tanks on recommendation from this thread. I went with the 14kw because they are only 230v instead of 480- which would have forced me to put in a new electric panel. I am designing a hot stick kind of application because my kettle is double walled and jacketed and i do not want to drill into the jacket. So, the info says that these elements screw intop a 2" FNPT, but says nothing to the end cap area where the wires hook up. I purchased the elements, 3 2" FNPT > 2" TC and a bunch of elbows and straight pieces to construct, but the 2" FNPT adapter will not screw into the end of the element. Can somebody please point me in the right direction of what adapter i need to screw into the end of these elements?
    Any luck with building that heat stick? I'm planning something similar and was concerned about the water-seal / submersion with NPT threads like AMrdcpro mentioned. Maybe something like these? https://www.omega.com/subsection/ove...n-heaters.html

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Kent, WA
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    300
    Quote Originally Posted by itivino View Post
    Any luck with building that heat stick? I'm planning something similar and was concerned about the water-seal / submersion with NPT threads like AMrdcpro mentioned. Maybe something like these? https://www.omega.com/subsection/ove...n-heaters.html
    Those are interesting! Kind of pricey, though. TLS-318A-048/240V (18kW) is $2140. But I like the idea of being able to remove/raise the thing for the whirlpool. If you try one of these, be sure to post back on your experience.

    Regards,
    Mike Sharp

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    10
    Quick update - did a batch on a pilot 30g fermentor with a homemade tri clamped 240v heat stick where I mashed normally, but then sparged into a fermentor for the boil and fermentation (this fermentor: https://www.brewershardware.com/30-G...CAL30G-FJ.html)

    Boil went no problem, though it was a reallllly vigorous boil and I had to cut back the heat to 85%, but this ended up boiling off more than normal and I should have cut it back even more.

    Chilled strictly through the jackets with ground water - this took a while with no stirring, about 1.5hrs. Did end up stirring once manually for about 30 seconds and it helped tremendously.

    The hop pile and trub didn't settle at the bottom like I wanted it to - really wanted to just be able to chill it and dump the hops out the bottom. It came out a very liquidy sludge and would have had to go through several pint glasses to get the bulk of the trub out. Going to give it a day and see if I can get a better dump. I'm thinking next time I'll need to whirlpool (go from bottom dump valve > pump > racking arm for now) - both to chill faster and hopefully get the trub to settle out at the bottom.

    Was nice not having to clean the boil kettle afterwards though!

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