I started thinking about brewing indoors after my first brew, which happened on a pretty chilly Chicago winter night. I really enjoyed that brew day, and most of the brew days after, however I wanted a setup I could really call my own.
After several nights browsing through electrical diagrams posted by P-J at homebrewtalk.com and hours spent reading Kal‘s work at theelectricbrewery.com I decided my system was going to be a recirculating electric BIAB setup, with a suspended interior grain basket.
I started off with the controller box; I thought my controller box should have a small footprint and I wanted to make sure it would fit on a windowsill adjacent to my brew area. When I had all the uninstalled components and wiring sitting next to the box it looked like I was going to have to get a bigger box… the trick was to put the bus bars on the top half of the box. I used a hand drill, step bits and hole-saw bits for the receptacles and switches. After the receptacles, PID controller and switches were in place, I test fitted the SSR and contactor locations, after I found a configuration in which everything would fit I mounted the components and wired it all up. Putting the bus bars on the top half of the box worked out nice as I’m able to open the system like a book if I decide to work on it again, additionally the bus bars aren’t buried under components making for easy access.
Diagram created by PJ:
So now that my controller box was complete I was really anxious to plug it in, it was finally time to get busy on my brew room! I installed a Cutler Hammer GFCB230 30Amps double pole GFCI circuit breaker in my breaker box and ran 240v electric service in ” conduit to a small corner of my basement laundry room.
This corner was previously unfinished, so I framed it out, got some drywall up and my brother was nice enough to finish the the room with tile.
I used 4″ duct for my exhaust system, I had a bathroom light and fan combo on hand, and wanted to see what would happen if I coupled that ceiling fan with an inline vortex fan. The ceiling light/fan combo doesn’t seem to help or hurt the inline fan, it does help direct the steam flow and at the very least it helps light up the brew area. If there was one thing I would do differently it would be to use 6″ ducts and a 6″ vortex fan, the exhaust works fine, but there is a little condensation on the brew room walls after a hour long boil.
The electric keg consists of a 5500 watt heating element prepared TheElectricBrewery way, and the interior grain basket is a King Kooker 30-Quart Stainless Steel Turkey Pot, with the bottom cut out. At the bottom of the grain basket is a 11 3/4″ Sanke Contoured Stainless Steel False Bottom which allows me to easily drain the grains after the mash process is complete. I installed 4 stainless steel loop bolts to suspend the interior grain basket in the keggle. I also cut off the handles of the grain basket and replaced them with a basket style handle.
I left a lip on the bottom cutout to support a sanke false bottom I had on hand:
I decided not to weld or solder the false bottom in place, it’s pretty easy to disassemble and clean this way.
The keggle preparation was pretty straight forward. I used a hand drill and a step bit on my keggle to get the temperature probe/site glass “T” and ball valve mounted. A greenlee 1-1/4 Round Knockout Punch was used for the element hole.
I use a nylon straining bag to line the grain basket. The suspended grain basket holds and drains my grains above the heating element, silicon tubing connects to a stainless steel chugger pump, I recirculate the wort above the grains and control the flow with the output ball valve. Flow is slowed to ensure the heating element doesn’t run dry.
Here is the system mashing:
This system has been a huge success, my mash temps automatically hold within one degree during my entire mash process, flow works well, my efficiency is better than it was when I was on a typical propane system and setup and cleanup is a breeze. I’m looking forward to brewing over the winter without my coat on!
Here’s the system in action:
- 1 x Emergency Stop (E-Stop) Switch(SW6) $6.99
- 3 x Pushbutton Switch,1NO 1NC, 22mm.120/240V (SW11) $35.94
- Liquid tight RTD sensor $43.55
- Box for 1/16 DIN controller*** $28.67
- 1/16 DIN PID Temperature Controller $45.50
- Heat Sink for Solid State Relay, 40A $18.50
- Contactor, 2 pole, 30A, 120V Coil*** $16.50
- 40A SSR*** $19.00
- 5 X 10A fast acting fuse 5 x 20mm $10.00
- 5 X 1A fast acting fuse 5 x 20mm $3.00
- 3 x 2 8 Position Screw Terminal Strip 600V 25A $5.79
- 1/4 watt 1k ohm resistors $1.99
- 15Amp 120 Volt Receptacle $3.49
- XLR Type Chassis Mount Male 3 Pin $6.49
- Gino 10 Pcs Electrical Panel Mounted 5 x 20mm $6.20
- Leviton 2715 30-Amp, 125/250 Volt, Receptacle $40.18
- Leviton 2626F 30 Amp, 250 Volt, Receptacle $39.47
- PETRA 90-2028 10-Foot 4-Wire Dryer Cord $18.67
- Leviton 2713 30 Amp, 125/250 Volt Connector $28.62
- Neiko 3-Piece Titanium Step Drill Bits $12.99
- Greenlee 730BB-1-1/4 Round Knockout Punch Unit, 1-1/4-Inch $83.66
- Neiko Titanium Step Drill Bit – 1/4″ to 1-3/8″ in 1/8″ 10 Steps $12.19
- TEKTON 66631 8-Inch File Set, 5-Piece $16.23
- Leviton 071-00278-000 4 Wire 30 Amp 250 Volt Dryer Receptacle 7.98
- Cutler Hammer GFCB230 30Amps DOUBLPOLE GFCI GFI Circuit Breaker $89.14
Keg and Grain Basket
- Sanke Keg – had on hand
- King Kooker 30-Quart Stainless Steel Turkey Pot Package $90.00
- 11 3/4″ Sanke Contoured Stainless Steel False Bottom Q1010 $39.00
- Sanke False Bottom Stainless Steel Adapter S200 $17.99
- Compact Weldless Sight Tee Kit, NO THERMOMETER $27.00
- Stainless Steel Chugger Pump: $168
- Stainless Steel disconnects male and female: $70
- 1/2″ ID Silicon Tubing : $50
- heating element: $145
(Qty: 1) Camco #02963 5500W (or #02953 4500W) 240VAC ultra low watt density (ULWD) RIPP element
(Qty: 1) Weatherproof 2-gang outlet box
(Qty: 2) Weatherproof 2-gang blank cover & gasket
(Qty: 4) #6-32 machine screw hex nut
(Qty: 4) #6 locking washer
(10 feet) 300V 10/3 wire (10 gauge, 3 wires), oil/water resistant, rubber coating, rated for outdoor use
(1 foot) 3/4″ heat shrink tubing – black
(Qty: 3) 10 AWG wire ring terminals
(10 feet) 1/2″ expandable braided sleeving – carbon colour
(Qty: 1) NEMA L6-30 (250VAC/30A) twist lock electrical plug
(Qty: 1) JB Weld cold weld compound
(Qty: 1) Silicone high temperature o-ring
(1-3/16″ ID x 1-7/16″ OD x 1/8″ width, AS568A Dash No. 217, Durometer hardness A70, FDA compliant, -65F to +450F)
(Qty: 1) Food grade silicone adhesive/sealant
(-75F to +400F, Food grade: Meets MIL-A-46106B, Group I, Type I, FDA compliant, USDA approved, NSF 51 certified)
(Qty: 1) Stainless steel washer/shim
(0.075″ thick, 1-1/2″ ID, 2-1/4″ OD)
(Qty: 1) Standard straight cord/wire grip, 3/4″ NPT
(For cord diameter .50″ to 0.63″, aluminum, -30F to +225F)
(Qty: 1) Stainless steel locknut 1″ NPS
comments and from HBT