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Thread: How much power do I need to run six 6000k elements?

  1. #1
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    How much power do I need to run six 6000k elements?

    Totally new to electric brewing and not up to par with Electrical in general. I could use some help figuring out if I need more power in the building I have. There's currently a 100amp service. I guess single phase as well as guessing 100 amp per thinking that's the norm. I have found out that there's also a 100amp 3 phase box (land lord told me) that was in working order last year and is not currently being used in the front of the building. This box is 60 feet or so away from where I would need it to come into the rear unit where the brewery will be located. Also I'm guessing at the 100 amp. Figured that's the norm but again, I'm guessing. I have a Electrical Eng coming out Mon. I'd like to be able to tell him my power needs.

    I plan a putting a 2 bbl 3 vessel system in the brewery. I like to brew back to back batches. I want to be able to heat the water for mash while boiling the wort. 3 element (6000W) in the kettle and the HLT. I want to be able to run all 6 at once.
    Additionally the cold room will be using a 24k BTU 240 AC unit.
    And enough electricity for the rest of the standard equipment (lighting into doors and out, frid, whatever) in the brewery

    Below is what Stout has told me I need for running the system.
    Will the 100 amp service I currently have run all this or will I need to spend a fortune and get more power added?
    What limits the amps? say its a 100amp. Can the box be changed to add more breakers pushing it to 200amp without changing or adding larger wire from the pole? Sorry if these are dumb questions. I'm mechanical not electrical lol
    Any and all suggestions welcome.

    Also is 3 6000w elements in both tanks good to efficiently bring to a fast boil? More or less needed?

    The system is set up to accept the following circuit sizes:
    1. 90A 1-phase: Interlocks the HLT and the kettle so both cannot heat at the same time.
    2. 60A 3-phase: Interlocks the HLT and the kettle so both cannot heat at the same time.
    3. 125A 1-phase: Operate 4 elements simultaneously. Best for double brew days if needed.
    4. 90A 3-phase: Operate 4 elements simultaneously. Normally operate 18KW in the HLT or 18KW in
    the Kettle. When boiling commences you have the option to run 2 elements to maintain the boil so 2 elements will be
    available to heat water in the HLT for a back to back brew session.
    5. 200A 1-phase or 125A 3-phase: Allows you to run 6 elements at the same time.

    Thank you
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Newbie; 10-10-2019 at 10:41 AM.

  2. #2
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    I just received. An email from one of the electricians that I’ll need 200 amp 3 phase added min.

    Any advice would be much appreciated

    Thx

  3. #3
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    So we have a 200a single phase service in our brewpub. I built a panel that utilizes 4 5500w single phase elements in each kettle and a rims tube of about 4,000w. they are setup with a NO/NC relay to allow only one kettle to be heating at a time but the whole system draws less than 100a total with the pumps and panel.. I have it powered with 2 60a GFCI breakers. That said if you only have a 100a single phase service you will not have enough to run the rest of the place and other things like the coolers.

    3 phase power is superior and will save you money on your electric bill for this kind of thing so I would pursue that. you will need a panel and elements designed for that type of power configuration.

    As I mentioned in the message you sent me for 2 bbl you can get away with only 2 elements and technically run the brewery system on as little as 50-60 amps but I would not recommend it. I would go with 3 elements at that size personally so when heating your strike water you will be using about 70amps of power (3-5500w) when you are boiling you will be turning the element power down once you reach the boil temp using some form of duty cycle so you will use less power. if you are going with 6000w elements your going to draw more on single phase than 70a more like 77amps.. but with 3 phase your power requirements do drop.

    the cost difference is so small between 2 and 3 bbl you make want to reconsider but I dont know your needs. I know everybody I know personally that had a 2bbl has gone larger now..
    Last edited by augiedoggy; 10-11-2019 at 08:44 AM.

  4. #4
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    Thank you very much Tim. Great to hear from experience.

    I'm leaning towards three barrel. Figure I can do half size batches for specialty beers if needed. Since this is a small proving grounds. I'm never going to grow the system I put in here. I'll open a place just for distribution when that time comes.

    I don't have the patience to wait for water to heat up so MORE POWER is def the way I want to go lol. It was suggested I could use the current 10 amp service for everything but the brewing equipment and use he 10 amp 3phase for the pots. If hats a lower cost and a time saver I'll go that route. The new 200 amp 3 phase they suggested may take a long time and a lot of funds. Duke Energy charges for the 2 new transformers as well as new lines coming in. I need to get numbers before deciding.

    Thanks again Tim.


    How long does it take you people to get your 2 or 3bbl system to boil? How many elements and what size?
    Thx

  5. #5
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    200A is probably the largest you can go on the current load center. Would have to upgrade to go above that. If its a simple drop from the power pole, take as much as you can get. Figure your brewing is going to take 200A, but where are your other loads going? Lights, AC, computers, cash registers, pumps....I would say you should get 400A to give yourself some wiggle room.

  6. #6
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    The transistor on the pole is old as hell and rusted. Electrician laughed when he saw it. That's in the back of the building and the 100 amp service running the lights and such now. Im going to use that to run the brewery taproom. The 100 amp 3 phase not being used I hope to run the brewing system with. From what I'm researching I can run 5 elements at the same time with 100amp 3 phase. If I can push that panel to 125 or even 200 amp 3 phase I'll be able to run everything on it. Waiting for the Electrical Eng that should have been there today.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jebzter View Post
    200A is probably the largest you can go on the current load center. Would have to upgrade to go above that. If its a simple drop from the power pole, take as much as you can get. Figure your brewing is going to take 200A, but where are your other loads going? Lights, AC, computers, cash registers, pumps....I would say you should get 400A to give yourself some wiggle room.
    Why do you think the brewing would require 200a? The only instance where that would be true is if someone wanted to do 12hr back to back brewdays on a single phases service.. even then for 2bbl it still would only be like 140 amps...

    I'm not an electrician but 3phases of 100a worth of power means more power than a single phase of 100a worth of power.. Which is what my 3bbl system runs on.

    if the OP went with a 2bbl setup with (3) 6000w 3ph 240v elements in each kettle that means each kettle would draw 43.3 amps when on at 100% so 2 kettles both on at 100% power at the same time for back to back brewing would mean 87amps min draw without any pumps on. the control panel should only draw an amp or two... now consider this, Its very unlikely that both kettles would be on at 100% power for any length of time as once the boil temp is reached you will want to reduce power to around 70-85% power to maintain a steady not not crazy boil. also the 80% power rule doesnt apply here because the power draw is not continuos at 100% for 3 hrs or more.. even with 2 pumps running and both kettles at 100% power which is not a practical real world scenerio your still below 100amps.

    Unless my math is wrong you have more than enough power with the 100a 3ph power for even back to back brewing if you choose to do so.

    here is a chart that shows power consumption for the different elements.
    http://waterheatertimer.org/images/M...ater-amp-9.jpg
    Last edited by augiedoggy; 10-15-2019 at 07:04 AM.

  8. #8
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    room for growth. didnt do any math on the loads since it was already discussed, but if you have to make electrical upgrades, why not give yourself some room to grow. it sounds like you have 2 meters and service drops? otherwise your three phase and single phase are one in the same.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jebzter View Post
    room for growth. didnt do any math on the loads since it was already discussed, but if you have to make electrical upgrades, why not give yourself some room to grow. it sounds like you have 2 meters and service drops? otherwise your three phase and single phase are one in the same.
    There's a 100 amp service in the very small 1200ft area. No room to grow. The growth is a diff building with a 15bbl system in a couple years. There's also a 100 amp 3phase box not being used on the front of the building. They shut if off last year. So I know it works. I need them to give me quotes on moving that service to my place 50 foot away. Also need to know if the lines are big enough on either panel to increase up from 100amps. It may just be that simple but I'll never know until the Ele Eng get his ass out there to tell me. This will also tell me if I can go to 3bbl or per power limitation or go with 2bbl.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by augiedoggy View Post
    Why do you think the brewing would require 200a? The only instance where that would be true is if someone wanted to do 12hr back to back brewdays on a single phases service.. even then for 2bbl it still would only be like 140 amps...

    I'm not an electrician but 3phases of 100a worth of power means more power than a single phase of 100a worth of power.. Which is what my 3bbl system runs on.

    if the OP went with a 2bbl setup with (3) 6000w 3ph 240v elements in each kettle that means each kettle would draw 43.3 amps when on at 100% so 2 kettles both on at 100% power at the same time for back to back brewing would mean 87amps min draw without any pumps on. the control panel should only draw an amp or two... now consider this, Its very unlikely that both kettles would be on at 100% power for any length of time as once the boil temp is reached you will want to reduce power to around 70-85% power to maintain a steady not not crazy boil. also the 80% power rule doesnt apply here because the power draw is not continuos at 100% for 3 hrs or more.. even with 2 pumps running and both kettles at 100% power which is not a practical real world scenerio your still below 100amps.

    Unless my math is wrong you have more than enough power with the 100a 3ph power for even back to back brewing if you choose to do so.

    here is a chart that shows power consumption for the different elements.
    http://waterheatertimer.org/images/M...ater-amp-9.jpg
    Thank you VERY much Tim.

    I'm going to run that by a couple vendor that's tell me I can run 5 not 6 elements with 100 amp 3 phase.
    This is from Stout
    4. 90A 3-phase: Operate 4 elements simultaneously. Normally operate 18KW in the HLT or 18KW in
    the Kettle. When boiling commences you have the option to run 2 elements to maintain the boil so 2 elements will be
    available to heat water in the HLT for a back to back brew session.
    5. 200A 1-phase or 125A 3-phase: Allows you to run 6 elements at the same time.

  11. #11
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    I do not have 3phase power and am going on what I could find on electrical forums.
    also consider 5500w ulwd elements like the ripples I use as you can use 4 of them on 100a single phase (total of about 92amps max).. That would allow you to still do three in each kettle and have it setup where you could kick it down to use 2 in each kettle in the rare instance your brewing back to back batches. 2 5500w elements will maintain a boil fine with 2bbls and a covered boil kettle like stout sells.

    I would also think about your plan to do back to back brewing sessions.. We have never even considered it ourselves due to the fact that just one brew session with cleanup can be a good 10+ hours of work from grinding grain to clean up.. Is it something you think your really going to have to do with such a small tasting room? As I mentioned before even though we were only open 3 evenings at the time, we were over capacity every night for the first couple months we were open and even then we only had to brew 1.5times a week to keep up on our 3 bbl system. (This is with 11 taps dedicated to our beers) We did wait till the new factor wore off and things died down to start selling growlers though.

    if you go 3bbl instead of 2 you would have to brew 1/4 less often to maintain the same variety and you can do that by using one service for the brew system and one for the rest of the demands youll have.
    Last edited by augiedoggy; 10-17-2019 at 06:03 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Newbie View Post
    Thank you VERY much Tim.

    I'm going to run that by a couple vendor that's tell me I can run 5 not 6 elements with 100 amp 3 phase.
    This is from Stout
    4. 90A 3-phase: Operate 4 elements simultaneously. Normally operate 18KW in the HLT or 18KW in
    the Kettle. When boiling commences you have the option to run 2 elements to maintain the boil so 2 elements will be
    available to heat water in the HLT for a back to back brew session.
    5. 200A 1-phase or 125A 3-phase: Allows you to run 6 elements at the same time.
    so after doing some more reading on this I still could be wrong, but im fairly certain stout is incorrect on this info they gave you... a 6000w 3 phase element should draw 8.3a from each phase of power... a thats if your 100a 3ph feed has 100a PER phase of power not combined (which it should) think of it this way... an 1800w 120v element draws about 15 amps... now a 240v 1800w element only draws about 7.5 amps because the power is split between 2 poles of 120v power... a 3ph element is powered by 3 poles of 120v and split 3 ways which means it draws even less off each pole.

    http://www.steambathbd.com/wp-conten...nts_text_1.jpg

    here is another article explaining the difference but apprently it also matters whether the 3ph elements are "balanced" or "unbalanced"
    http://waterheatertimer.org/3-phase-water-heater.html

    One possibility is perhaps stout only sells single phase or unbalanced heating elements to go with their systems? Thats kind of what it seems like from what you have shared from them based upon what I understand so far.
    I sourced my own elements and there are a large number of companies that supply both single and 3 phase brewing elements and control panels.
    Last edited by augiedoggy; 10-17-2019 at 08:43 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by augiedoggy View Post
    I do not have 3phase power and am going on what I could find on electrical forums.
    also consider 5500w ulwd elements like the ripples I use as you can use 4 of them on 100a single phase (total of about 92amps max).. That would allow you to still do three in each kettle and have it setup where you could kick it down to use 2 in each kettle in the rare instance your brewing back to back batches. 2 5500w elements will maintain a boil fine with 2bbls and a covered boil kettle like stout sells.

    I would also think about your plan to do back to back brewing sessions.. We have never even considered it ourselves due to the fact that just one brew session with cleanup can be a good 10+ hours of work from grinding grain to clean up.. Is it something you think your really going to have to do with such a small tasting room? As I mentioned before even though we were only open 3 evenings at the time, we were over capacity every night for the first couple months we were open and even then we only had to brew 1.5times a week to keep up on our 3 bbl system. (This is with 11 taps dedicated to our beers) We did wait till the new factor wore off and things died down to start selling growlers though.

    if you go 3bbl instead of 2 you would have to brew 1/4 less often to maintain the same variety and you can do that by using one service for the brew system and one for the rest of the demands youll have.
    if it takes 10+ hours to turn 1 batch from start to finish, youre doing it wrong. Take a look at your processes and find out where your choke points are. We turn 2 in 10 hours, and thats pretty standard with a 2 vessel system and an HLT

  14. #14
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    This is the reason I'm paying someone lol

    Thx Tim. Lowering or changing the elements along with getting the 100 amp 3 phase moved seems like my route. So 2bbl is now my focus.

    With 2bbl I would def double brew. I believe you have a 3bbl so little more time. With a timer to heat water before I show up and saving half an 8 hr brew day brewing back to back. I'll brew and clean kegs or whatever while brewing for 12hrs to save time. At least for the first year or so to get patterns and put processes in place. I'm ready to let my boat sit while I dedicate 24/7 to my business. I have friends in breweries ready to help serve or whatever is needed. which is awesome

    10 plus barrels a week during snowbird season is what the other small (2 to 4.5bbl) breweries within a couple miles are doing. I'm looking to triple my outdoor seating very soon which would give me more seating then most others around. Live music is a big draw around here. I already have the permit for my patio. Music good outdoors until 11pm. Already knocked on every door around me insuring I wasn't going to piss the neighbors off. Basically what I was told was, they can't wait to be able to walk over for beers and listen to music. I couldn't be happier with the responses from the neighborhood or the town.
    Last edited by Jay Newbie; 10-18-2019 at 11:41 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jebzter View Post
    if it takes 10+ hours to turn 1 batch from start to finish, youre doing it wrong. Take a look at your processes and find out where your choke points are. We turn 2 in 10 hours, and thats pretty standard with a 2 vessel system and an HLT
    I'm talking about the complete brew day including measuring out/grinding grain and cleanup with 2 people. I can see where we could shave an hour or 2 off if we had a dedicated brew area we didnt have to clean up before we open due to our equipment being on display in the tasting room and if skipped the step mashing and different rests as some do but hey theres more than one way to skin a cat. neither is "wrong", They just produce different outcomes. I should add that I was making a point by estimating on the high end with a more complex beer.. we do have some (blond ale for example) which take considerable less time due to simplicity. Also I should add our times are less in the colder months due to faster chilling times. I also fully understand the time that can be saved by brewing a second time without cleaning equipment and heating while the first batch is still boiling.

    My point was its still makes for a long day that for a tasting room of 30 people I just dont see the sustained need to do myself unless you have a very limited time frame to brew beer but everyone's situation is different I guess and if you sell a lot of growlers, plan to distribute or have a restaurant thats going to draw a lot of people in off hours you may need to brew back to back.. I just didnt want the OP to end up spending a huge amount of money for something he may never end up really doing at his current location.

    There are other things you can do to save time.. Like measure out and grind the grain the day before and even preheat the strike water the night before.. I have the ability to remote into my system from home and preheat the water as well or even set a timer to heat the water before we arrive but honestly we are usually doing other things like measuring out the minerals for the water and carrying the equipment up from the basement due to our poor layout until our expansion is done. The time it takes to reach strike temp is important but as far as other heating times go, there plenty of time to heat sparge water while mashing and when sparging our BK is already at 190 which is the temp we add our antifoaming agent, long before the sparge is complete, We could speed up our sparge step for sure but we have our system dialed in for 85% efficiency and speeding up the mash always impacts that negatively.
    I know of one larger local brewery that even leaves the beer in the mash state overnight from time to time which I wouldnt recommend.
    Last edited by augiedoggy; 10-19-2019 at 08:16 AM.

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