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Thread: 3.5bbl vs 5bbl single phase

  1. #1
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    3.5bbl vs 5bbl single phase

    Hello Everyone,
    I'm at the point where I'll be ordering equipment. I had settled on a 3.5 electric system imported but the upgrade to 5bbl is just not that much more money. My concern is single phase power consumption. I assume the electricity to heat 5bbl is going to be considerably more and may be out of the question for anything above 3bbl when using single phase power. But, I am a bit in the dark. My other fear now is the cost to import with all the tariffs being applied to imported goods.

  2. #2
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    What's the existing service? For 5 bbl you'd want a minimum of 15 kW (preferably 20), so at 220V you can get away with a 100A circuit. 150A would be nice, and if you're heating multiple vessels multiply from there. At 110V, even the 3.5 bbl would be a stretch (150A minimum).
    Sent from my Microsoft Bob

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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the quick reply. I know there is 220 in the building. I'll have to verify the rest.

  4. #4
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    We are opening a small brewpub with a 3 bbl electric system we have pieced together. I have made the control panel to be powered by 2 60A gfci fed power circuits. each one of those controls up to 2 5500w elements or one element and 2 2200w cartridge heaters in my rims tube which means 3 elements are one in the HLT while the rims is running) It also powers the panel and pumps. Realistically the amp meters never even hit 50amps draw on either circuit and the 100amps heats up the kettles faster than the single 5500w element in my 16 gallon pilot system. We also only have single phase power.

  5. #5
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    I hope to have a better grip on the available power later this week. I know there is 220v service and it is only 3yrs old. I noticed at least one outlet that looks like an appliance outlet.

  6. #6
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    You're putting the cart before the horse, here – get the system you want, and once you've got that figured out, then worry about the wiring to run it. I had to have a new 220 outlet installed a couple years ago, new subpanel on one end, new outlet on the other, and around 100 feet of conduit, and it was under $1,000 – and this is in San Francisco, where everything is insanely expensive. Going from 3.5 BBL to 5 is only brewing two thirds as often, or brewing the same number of times and getting half again the beer for free! You'll make back what you spent on a new 220 line (if you need it!) in no time.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by feinbera View Post
    You're putting the cart before the horse, here – get the system you want, and once you've got that figured out, then worry about the wiring to run it. I had to have a new 220 outlet installed a couple years ago, new subpanel on one end, new outlet on the other, and around 100 feet of conduit, and it was under $1,000 – and this is in San Francisco, where everything is insanely expensive. Going from 3.5 BBL to 5 is only brewing two thirds as often, or brewing the same number of times and getting half again the beer for free! You'll make back what you spent on a new 220 line (if you need it!) in no time.
    Yes but going from single to 3 phases is not as easy as just having some 240v outlets put in. Where I live a person is not allowed to do thier own electrical work in a commercial building... Just having 2 60a outlets put in was well over grand and thats not including the outlets and breakers I purchased myself. Keep in mind you have to buy 208v elements if you have 208v power or 240v elements if you have 240 and so on, So it is kind of important to find out what type of power you have and how much is available.

    Whatever outlets the OP may have now you can almost guarantee they wont but enough for a 3 or 5bbl electric system.. 50a outlets are common, 60a not so much and even then you will need multiple outlets. or new hardwired lines.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGB View Post
    I hope to have a better grip on the available power later this week. I know there is 220v service and it is only 3yrs old. I noticed at least one outlet that looks like an appliance outlet.
    So is it 208v or 240v? The elements are different... just saying.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by feinbera View Post
    You're putting the cart before the horse, here – get the system you want, and once you've got that figured out, then worry about the wiring to run it. I had to have a new 220 outlet installed a couple years ago, new subpanel on one end, new outlet on the other, and around 100 feet of conduit, and it was under $1,000 – and this is in San Francisco, where everything is insanely expensive. Going from 3.5 BBL to 5 is only brewing two thirds as often, or brewing the same number of times and getting half again the beer for free! You'll make back what you spent on a new 220 line (if you need it!) in no time.
    Quote Originally Posted by augiedoggy View Post
    Yes but going from single to 3 phases is not as easy as just having some 240v outlets put in. Where I live a person is not allowed to do thier own electrical work in a commercial building... Just having 2 60a outlets put in was well over grand and thats not including the outlets and breakers I purchased myself. Keep in mind you have to buy 208v elements if you have 208v power or 240v elements if you have 240 and so on, So it is kind of important to find out what type of power you have and how much is available.

    Whatever outlets the OP may have now you can almost guarantee they wont but enough for a 3 or 5bbl electric system.. 50a outlets are common, 60a not so much and even then you will need multiple outlets. or new hardwired lines.
    I can see the logic in both. However, it would be expensive to make an upgrade from single to three phase power. This is definitely single phase 220v. The cost is really just a little more to get the 5bbl, but I think three phase power is the way to go with the bigger system. BTW, it will cost >$5k in shipping and all clearance fees. There could be more if there is a US Customs exam and I'm at their mercy when it comes to that fee.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGB View Post
    I can see the logic in both. However, it would be expensive to make an upgrade from single to three phase power. This is definitely single phase 220v. The cost is really just a little more to get the 5bbl, but I think three phase power is the way to go with the bigger system. BTW, it will cost >$5k in shipping and all clearance fees. There could be more if there is a US Customs exam and I'm at their mercy when it comes to that fee.
    Also if your buying the system complete from china its very possible the electric control panel and elements will carry none of the UL listing or even CE certifications usually required for the inspector to allow its use.. Most people source the elements and control panels domestically with these certifications for many times the cost so the private companies who certify them get paid and the inspectors job is simplified since its really already been inspected. This is why we ordered our kettles without the elements or control panel. I did order a chinese sanitary pump separately which has a motor with no certifications but I can replace the motor with one that does for about $150 and already sourced and bought replacements for all the seals. At under $600 with the replacement motor and extra seals its still less than half of what they go for domestically.
    Last edited by augiedoggy; 07-11-2018 at 08:05 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by augiedoggy View Post
    Also if your buying the system complete from china its very possible the electric control panel and elements will carry none of the UL listing or even CE certifications usually required for the inspector to allow its use.. Most people source the elements and control panels domestically with these certifications for many times the cost so the private companies who certify them get paid and the inspectors job is simplified since its really already been inspected. This is why we ordered our kettles without the elements or control panel. I did order a chinese sanitary pump separately which has a motor with no certifications but I can replace the motor with one that does for about $150 and already sourced and bought replacements for all the seals. At under $600 with the replacement motor and extra seals its still less than half of what they go for domestically.
    Good point. I did not order any of the electrical components with the system. I only ordered the brew house, FVs, BBTs and heat exchanger. Pumps are coming from CPE and right now, I have a control system I can buy from Brewmation. I'm also waiting on a quote from Craft Automation. Cellar controls can be JC or Ranco or something a little more custom. I have $300 per tank (5 tanks) in my current expense line for cellar controls and two 3/4hp glycol chillers from Foxx Equipment optioned with two pumps per chiller. At about $1900 each with the extra pump, I can buy three of these instead of one 1.5HP chiller such as the Advantage Engineering BC-1.5A

  12. #12
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    Good morning,

    I have created an energy cost comparison spreadsheet that I am sharing:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1u0R...ew?usp=sharing

    I have broken-down the energy required to heat 3.5bbls and 5bbls of Wort. I have then added in the average electrical cost to illustrate how much you can expect to pay to boil wort for 1 hour.

    On the second page, I have done the same math but used natural gas as the energy source. You will see an incredible savings in your batch cost if you were to consider a direct-fire system over electric. The Midco EC200 would be a perfect burner for either system. It runs on 240v single-phase power.

    Anyone who checks the spreadsheet out is free to download it, edit it, and use it. The math is set up so that you just need to change the bbls to be boiled. All the math though is based on bringing the wort up to a boil in 1 hour and boiling for 1 hour. Let me know if you see any glaring errors. I did need to add an assumption as to how much energy the system would absorb and how much energy would be required to maintain a boil. Feel free to adjust these assumptions if needed.

    Cheers,
    James

  13. #13
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    Electric immersion heaters are like 99% efficient since all the heat is released directly inside the kettle and into the wort. Gas wastes a lot of heat and you also have to look at other variables like hoods and ventilation and possible fire protection. I know gas is is a cheaper utility than electric and once you hit a certian size it just makes better sense but depending on you brewing size the cost of the electric isn't all that much unless you live in an area where electric is pricey. The benefits may outway the drawback.

  14. #14
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    I have a 5bbl electric system with 30kw heating elements and it's overkill but 15kw is not enough to quickly get to a boil. I have a 6kw heating element on the mash tun RIMS setup with a jacketed insulated Sungood tank that I rarely use only if my mash temp came in low after strike.

    The argument over cost is really mute since the walk-in cooler will be your highest electrical expense.

    The cost to brew is insignificant comparatively.

    The other factor to consider is the additional cost of venting gas. No need with electric.

    Jc

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    JC McDowell
    Bandit Brewing Co.- 3bbl brewery and growing
    Darby, MT- population 700
    OPENED Black Friday 2014!

  15. #15
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    I would also argue the tipping point on Electric versus gas/steam would be in the 7bbl range. It just becomes impractical. 30kw would probably do just fine for 7bbl at 100amp 3phase power.

    Other issues to be considered include fire suppression and boiler requirements from local and state agencies. Electric was so much easier to get up and running.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
    JC McDowell
    Bandit Brewing Co.- 3bbl brewery and growing
    Darby, MT- population 700
    OPENED Black Friday 2014!

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