Need Element Advice

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Need Element Advice

Post by AceMcAce » Thu May 31, 2018 10:52 am

Hi All

Thanks for taking the time to look at my post

I've got a gas setup with a 100L boiler (which I admit is a bit of overkill, I only normally brew a max of 65L)

I have trouble achieving and maintaining a rolling boil. I find that any kind of breeze or movement of the air can slow it down considerably, therefore I want to go electric in the boiler.

Can anyone tell me what I need to buy? I'm completely stumped as to what I need element wise, how to get it in, how to power it etc!

-What element do I need to buy
-How many of them do I need
-How do I fit them

Thanks in advance
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Re: Need Element Advice

Post by PeeBee » Thu May 31, 2018 12:57 pm

I also have a 100L boiler, and normally brew 45L batches. Even at that I can get potential boil-overs (used indoors). So I wouldn't consider 100L for 65L batches "overkill" by any means.

I use 6KW industrial elements. Wired for single-phase which you can do for 6KW (each 2KW component in the element is wired in series with each other). 6KW is ample to boil 65L batch (about 72L before boil-off), but I do brew indoors with adequate steam extraction. Industrial elements can be pricey (I think mine was £60-70). I have a dedicated 45A circuit for the brewery.

Many people use two 2.4KW domestic elements (domestic elements used to be 3KW; I guess this was pushing it). You need to have a 16A ring main for each as putting two 2.4KW elements on a single ring will likely (definitely one hopes) trip the breaker for that ring. Otherwise you need a dedicated 32A circuit (like for a cooker or instant hot water shower) installed for your brewery (remember the total mustn't exceed the 100A fuse fitted with the meter - usually 100A, mine was until the leccy board swapped it for 60A without telling me!). The advantage of this setup (apart from being cheaper) is both elements are used to get a boil, then one is switched off and (may) maintain the boil.

Obviously, a single industrial element only needs one hole cut in the boiler, two domestic elements will need two holes cut.

The element(s) will need a terminal cover. Domestic ones usually have them, as do many industrial elements. But watch out when buying elements that they are not just bare elements (unless that is what you want).
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Re: Need Element Advice

Post by Fil » Thu May 31, 2018 2:30 pm

Using a hop spider which does have a significant footprint i can maintain a nice rolling boil using a single 2.4kw element in my 98l kettle with 80+l of liquor.

I have 1 x 2.4kw and 1 x 3kw elements fitted in both my hlt and boil kettles, Both powered off seperate ring circuits and supplied via 13a sockets (tho i have used 16a plugs/sockets on my power management which sits between the mains and the kettle (Pid for hlt, power controller for kettle)

for a long time i brewed with 2 x ex-budget kettle elements in a 50l kettle the downside of these are the relitivly high watt density results in a lot of baked on crud post boil that needs scrubbing off, not a biggy it attacked with a bit of elbow grease asap post boil, but if left too long it will set like concrete requiering chemical removal (citric acid etc)

my current 100% ss low watt density brewing elements from MrLard aka home brew builder only get a light dusting of calcium post boil which only needs a quick wipe off... And they dont run the same risk of scorching the heavy and high gravity beers the 'hotter' kettle elements run (not that i ever experienced that..)

I did buy a lot of lemon elements on my path to investing in the expensive option, some actually lost the silver 'stainless steel?' plating revealing a soft yellow brass (lead content??)

when it comes to fitting in SS pots Qmax punches are the bees knees, they only need a small pilot hole (upto 10mm) drilling thru the pot wall which can be done easily with hss drill bits starting small 2-3mm and stepping up. if you can puncture the pot wall with a sharp punch in advance it will make it even easier (do-able with the thin walled catering stock pots commonly used if a brace is used)
then its just a case of winding up and punching thru with the qmax.. and the resulting hole is clean and burr free..

hope thats helpful..

ps search for a post labelled "elements elements elements" its pretty comprehensive and details a few options to AVOID!!
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