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Heating Element Scorching

 
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Edward



Joined: 02 Jan 2019
Posts: 7
Location: South Carolina


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:42 pm    Post subject: Heating Element Scorching Reply with quote


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Greetings all!

I'm new to the Electric brewing world, but have been home brewing for 10+ years. I did my first batch on my new Electric setup a week ago Monday (Dec 24) and second batch this last Monday (Dec 31). The build was a 50 amp DIY but inspired by many other builds.

After the completion of the first batch (1.060 OG Porter with 60 minute boil) there was a light build up of crud on the heating element (6500W Dernord from Amazon). Since I use a plate chiller I always rinse the entire system with water and then recirculate with hot PBW to make sure everything is very clean. I scrubbed the element with a non-abrasive scrub pad after that first batch to make sure it was clean as well.

My friends and I decided to do an 18 gallon batch of Dark Lord (RIS with an OG of 1.166). This requires two mashes (using only first runnings) and long boil reductions to concentrate the wort. The wort from the first mash was boiled for 4 hours, then the second mash runnings are added and then boiled for another two hours.

At about five total hours into the boil I was having to turn up the power dial on the PID (Auber EZ boil) to keep the same boil intensity. Towards the very end of the boil we noticed that there was a distinct burned/scorch aroma coming from the boiling wort.

After chilling and running out into fermenters, which took forever since the wort density is so high and its so damn viscous, we noticed that the heating element was coated in a thick, black, hard coating. You could flake off some of it and it smelled exactly like the burned/scorch aroma in the wort.

My guess is that six hours of boiling a ridiculously high gravity wort caused the eventual build up and scorching. I did not see this coming.

I did my normal cleaning routine and the scorched element was still coated. I could peel off some of it but it doesnt come off easy. Using a small flat head screw driver and a light (sometimes not so light) touch I was able to peel/pry off a lot of the hard black coating. Tried scrubbing with hot PBW to finish the clean up and it does nothing. Tried scrubbing with Bar Keepers Friend and I saw some improvement but it still has quite a bit of burned on crud.

Any suggestions on how to get the element clean? Various googling found some people recommending caustic, muriatic acid, TKO (orange cleaner), etc....

Any suggestion for how to avoid this in the future?


Thanks!!!!!!
Ed



IMG_0134.jpg
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Scorched Element
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IMG_0134.jpg



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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Janet's Brown, Maibock, Kolsch, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: West Coast Blaster (American Red IPA)


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum!

To clean I'd fill the kettle to above the heating element with water, heat to 170F or so, and then slowly sprinkle in a scoop of PBW and hold at that temperature for a few hours.

If that doesn't remove it you may want to use a more caustic or acid wash cleaner.

I'm assuming you're using the element here: https://amzn.to/2LNOKnL

You may want to consider using an Ultra-Low-Watt-Density (ULWD) element instead of the LWD you're using. I recommend the ones we sell that are made for brewing: https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/collections/heating-elements

In fact, if you read the reviews on your element someone seems to have had the same issue as you (their scorching looks similar) and recommends our elements instead: Wink

Quote:
Samuel Corr
1.0 out of 5 stars Buy Camco elements from theelectricbrewery.com

October 16, 2018
Size: 5500W Verified Purchase

I use these on my electric brewery. After two uses a significant amount of scorching on the elements. I cracked the housing and found the connections burnt and melted. Do yourself a favor and get camco elements straight from the electric brewery website...

Good luck!


Kal

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Last edited by kal on Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:22 pm; edited 2 times in total
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dp Brewing Company



Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 641
Location: Midwest

Drinking: Barn Door #13, Blueberry Sunshine, Citra Saison, Bourbon Vanilla Porter, Black Sheep NEIPA, RIS

Working on: RIS Barrel Aged


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something else I would recommend (I learned the hard way) is to make sure to scrub the element after each brew. Use a sponge or brush to get all the sides of the element. I originally thought my water pressure would be enough to get all the surfaces clean. The element really needs a rubbing force to remove all the buildup after each batch. I also spread out my element to make it easier to clean.
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Edward



Joined: 02 Jan 2019
Posts: 7
Location: South Carolina


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:


I'm assuming you're using the element here: https://amzn.to/2LNOKnL

You may want to consider using an Ultra-Low-Watt-Density (ULWD) element instead of the LWD you're using. I recommend the ones we sell that are made for brewing: https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/collections/heating-elements

Kal


Kal - that is the element I am using....for some reason I thought it was a ULWD and not just a LWD, probably because it was a ripple type. If I can get this one clean I will see if I can make it work, otherwise I will switch to a ULWD like what you have referenced. Since I routinely do 18 gallon batches I want the little extra oomph offered with the 6500 watt over the 5500 watt - without having to go to multiple elements.

I think the situation was exacerbated by the fact that I was really driving for boil off due to the ultra long (six hour) expected boil time. On my first batch the Auber EZ boil+6500 watt element was boiling 15 gallons with no problem while set at 60-65% - with just a very small amount of build up on the element and a great tasting beer. With the second batch I started off at 75% and eventually worked my way up to 90% to maintain an aggressive boil. To improve the boil off I also had a small fan pushing the steam away from the kettle.

I'll give the cleaning regiment you recommend a shot before going to a more aggressive route.

The current element condition is attached.



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 Description:
Cleaned scorched element 1
 Filesize:  229.75 KB
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IMG_0144.jpg
 Description:
Cleaned scorched element 2
 Filesize:  208.28 KB
 Viewed:  1085 Time(s)

IMG_0144.jpg



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Last edited by Edward on Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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KB



Joined: 06 Nov 2014
Posts: 188
Location: Manassas, VA

Drinking: Blackberry Wheat, Blood Orange Wheat, Brown Ale, Hazelnut Brown Ale, Peach Mead, Pear Hard Cider.

Working on: Cream Ale version 4


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The elements appeared pitted. Or, are these burned on material from brewing?

I get brewing residue on my BK element, but nothing even close to what I'm seeing in the photos. I clean the element, looks great, dries and I see more residue. However, I deal with a very thin amount of residue only in certain, of course, difficult to clean spots. I've opened the element, but, apparently, there are still places difficult to clean good.

Amazon Q&A indicates this is a stainless element.
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Edward



Joined: 02 Jan 2019
Posts: 7
Location: South Carolina


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The little black spots that appear to be pitting is burned on residue. The element was very clean prior to this brew.

On another note, we also used hop shots (CO2 extracted hop oil/resin) on this brew and it left little black hop oil particles adhering to all over the inside of the BK which were an absolute joy to clean up. Soiled my non-abrasive scrub pad so bad that I threw it away.

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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Janet's Brown, Maibock, Kolsch, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: West Coast Blaster (American Red IPA)


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edward wrote:
On another note, we also used hop shots (CO2 extracted hop oil/resin) on this brew and it left little black hop oil particles adhering to all over the inside of the BK which were an absolute joy to clean up. Soiled my non-abrasive scrub pad so bad that I threw it away.

Fun stuff isn't it? You can read my rants about using 16 vials of it in my Pliny the Younger clone here:

http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=26749



Kal

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KB



Joined: 06 Nov 2014
Posts: 188
Location: Manassas, VA

Drinking: Blackberry Wheat, Blood Orange Wheat, Brown Ale, Hazelnut Brown Ale, Peach Mead, Pear Hard Cider.

Working on: Cream Ale version 4


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. Then, I have nothing to complain about concerning the small amount of brewing debris on my BK element.
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Edward



Joined: 02 Jan 2019
Posts: 7
Location: South Carolina


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:

Fun stuff isn't it? You can read my rants about using 16 vials of it in my Pliny the Younger clone here:

Kal


We were warned ahead of time by another homebrewer about the problems with using hop extract - that this would happen but we just didnt realize until we tried it. We used 50ml in the final batch of 18 gallons.

Some people present for the brew sampled some of the hot break as the beer came up for the second boil and claimed that it was the most bitter substance they had ever tried....so then everyone present had to try it. An entire beer wouldn't wash that taste away!

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KB



Joined: 06 Nov 2014
Posts: 188
Location: Manassas, VA

Drinking: Blackberry Wheat, Blood Orange Wheat, Brown Ale, Hazelnut Brown Ale, Peach Mead, Pear Hard Cider.

Working on: Cream Ale version 4


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edward wrote:
An entire beer wouldn't wash that taste away!


Way I feel about certain beer styles.

Good to know. I'm really not a "hop head", but good to keep in mind about the hop shots.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Janet's Brown, Maibock, Kolsch, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: West Coast Blaster (American Red IPA)


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edward wrote:
Some people present for the brew sampled some of the hot break as the beer came up for the second boil and claimed that it was the most bitter substance they had ever tried....so then everyone present had to try it.

I had gotten some on my fingers and licked it off. Bad idea. Wink

Kal

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AgeBee



Joined: 13 Jan 2019
Posts: 2



PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are these heating elements also used in vessels to heat up the mash ? If yes, does continuous stiring help to prevent the scorching of the mash ?
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dp Brewing Company



Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 641
Location: Midwest

Drinking: Barn Door #13, Blueberry Sunshine, Citra Saison, Bourbon Vanilla Porter, Black Sheep NEIPA, RIS

Working on: RIS Barrel Aged


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes and no. We use a heating element in the HLT and recirculate the mash through a coil that is inside of the HLT. Google HERMS, that will help explain what we are doing.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Janet's Brown, Maibock, Kolsch, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: West Coast Blaster (American Red IPA)


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AgeBee wrote:
Are these heating elements also used in vessels to heat up the mash ? If yes, does continuous stiring help to prevent the scorching of the mash ?

Heating elements in the Hot Liquor Tank (HLT) are used to heat the mash indirectly through a coil in the HLT. The mash fluid is circulated through that coil (called a HERMS coil).

Take a look at my BREW DAY STEP BY STEP article that shows exactly how it works here:
http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/brew-day-step-by-step

Lots of info on HERMS too in the HOT LIQUOR TANK article here:
http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/hot-liquor-tank

You cannot put a heating element directly in contact with grain. It will burn. Stirring will not help.

Good luck!

Kal

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Edward



Joined: 02 Jan 2019
Posts: 7
Location: South Carolina


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A quick update on my cleaning efforts on the scorched element.

Multi-Hour Hot PBW (~170f) soak + scrubbing ---> No Change
Bar Keepers Friend + scrubbing ----> marginal improvement
Overnight soak in Comet abrasive cleaner + scrubbing ---> No change
Abrasive scrub pad ---> marginal improvement
Wire wheel on a power drill ---> Very effective, but also causes scratching on the element surface - very difficult to reach the "interior" surfaces of the element

A friend that owns a local brewery had offered to try his hand at cleaning it with concentrated Hydrogen Peroxide, Caustic, and maybe PAA just for kicks. I may reach out to him to try to get the harder to reach parts clean.

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AgeBee



Joined: 13 Jan 2019
Posts: 2



PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
AgeBee wrote:
Are these heating elements also used in vessels to heat up the mash ? If yes, does continuous stiring help to prevent the scorching of the mash ?

Heating elements in the Hot Liquor Tank (HLT) are used to heat the mash indirectly through a coil in the HLT. The mash fluid is circulated through that coil (called a HERMS coil).

Take a look at my BREW DAY STEP BY STEP article that shows exactly how it works here:
http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/brew-day-step-by-step

Lots of info on HERMS too in the HOT LIQUOR TANK article here:
http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/hot-liquor-tank

You cannot put a heating element directly in contact with grain. It will burn. Stirring will not help.

Good luck!

Kal


Thanks for giving me details and the warning for not directly heating.
Very well explained.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9725
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Janet's Brown, Maibock, Kolsch, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: West Coast Blaster (American Red IPA)


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edward wrote:
A friend that owns a local brewery had offered to try his hand at cleaning it with concentrated Hydrogen Peroxide, Caustic, and maybe PAA just for kicks. I may reach out to him to try to get the harder to reach parts clean.

Going back and forth between caustic and acid would probably work well. It's what we do to clean beer lines. (Low pH Acid line cleaner and then high pH Caustic Beer Line Cleaner). See here for more info: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=31033

Careful with both - Powerful stuff!

Kal

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