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Equipment setup advice: Staged Build

 
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Phi7



Joined: 18 Oct 2019
Posts: 3
Location: New Jersey


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:44 pm    Post subject: Equipment setup advice: Staged Build Reply with quote


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I am relatively new to brewing, but have decided that I want to build the system outlined on this site. However, I can not afford to jump in and buy/build everything all at once. It would have to be staged over time (like a year or possibly more before i purchase and fully assemble everything), but I would like to be able to use some of the equipment I have already purchased for this system. I could really use some advice on how to proceed without wasting money on things i would not likely use in the future once this build is complete. I have sold off a project from another hobby to purchase the following items second hand, at what i believe was a great price:
2 x 30 gallon blichmann G1 boilermakers, one with a false bottom and hop blocker, and a blichmann toptier floor standing burner. I also have the means and materials to construct a table (or a gravity type tiered system if necessary).
I have some funds remaining, so this is where the question comes in. Where is my investment best placed at this point to utilize what i have and not cook on my stove anymore? I really don't want to purchase a second propane burner when i would eventually be moving to electric, but realize a two kettle system is adequate for now. Is it possible to fit the heating element(s) and control them with a thermostat for now until i can afford to build the controller? Looks like that would be around the same price as a second burner and a propane tank (could always resell the burner i have).
Also, I could outfit the two kettles i have with the plumbing fittings and use a pump or pumps to circulate, but want to make sure that in the end I'm not punching holes where i don't need them (i do have the 3 different necessary chassis punches) for a two kettle setup vs. the three kettle i will be evolving too. I do not have a pump at the moment. Please talk to me like I'm an idiot because i really don't have a lot of experience with all of this. Thank you for any help or advice that you can provide. I am sure i will have many more questions in the future.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10289
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, London Pride, Weizen, Citra DIPA, Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Kolsch


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Equipment setup advice: Staged Build Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum!

Phi7 wrote:
I really don't want to purchase a second propane burner when i would eventually be moving to electric, but realize a two kettle system is adequate for now. Is it possible to fit the heating element(s) and control them with a thermostat for now until i can afford to build the controller? Looks like that would be around the same price as a second burner and a propane tank (could always resell the burner i have).

Agreed that buying more propane burners is not ideal. Not to mention that you cannot use them indoors without very high ventilation ( see my ventilation article for complete details: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/ventilation )

Any "thermostat" you'd want to buy would be money thrown away as well, if you could find a thermostat that handled the 23+ amps you need plus a themometer to go in the kettle. All that stuff would be discarded and however you connect the temperature probe to the kettle may also need to be redone, and hopefully you won't have to scrap a kettle in the process.

I would seriously look at building the control panel first (we have kits available or you can buy things piecemeal as time allows) and get a heating element and temperature probe to go with it so you can control things in the way you will eventually want to. Zero money wasted that way.

One thing I would not do is have many stages of use as as you build it you will be nearly in constant transition making the setup difficult to use. Just when you get used to the setup, you're changing it again.

Good luck!

Kal

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Phi7



Joined: 18 Oct 2019
Posts: 3
Location: New Jersey


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the quick response!
OK, so if i move forward and assemble the panel, would I easily be able to use it as a 2 kettle setup? If so, how would i set up the two kettles? One as a mash tun obviously, but the second? It may not seem like a lot of money, but that 3rd kettle and second pump would put me well over another $1k.
Or am i best served continuing to brew on my stove and small setup until i can put this together entirely?
Thanks for all of the advice!
Phil
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10289
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, London Pride, Weizen, Citra DIPA, Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Kolsch


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phi7 wrote:
OK, so if i move forward and assemble the panel, would I easily be able to use it as a 2 kettle setup?

I'd probably just use it as single kettle boil until you have 3 ready to go. This is based on the assumption you don't want to throw away equipment.

Quote:
Or am i best served continuing to brew on my stove and small setup until i can put this together entirely?

That's entirely up to you. IF all you're doing is boiling on the stove, you might as well use the panel with 1 kettle for now as it'll be faster / give you more volume / get you used to using part of the new setup.

Cheers!

Kal

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Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!
My basement/bar/brewery build 2.0
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dmbank



Joined: 09 Feb 2018
Posts: 9
Location: Fairfax, VA


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before I found this site I was in a constant state of deciding what upgrades to buy next. Once I actually decided to go forward with making an electric brewery, I made every upgrade decision (*almost) with the electric brewery in mind. Here's how I got where I am now:

1) Started with extract on stove and bucket/carboy fermentation
2) Upgraded to propane turkey fryer and 7 gallon aluminum pot
3) Made a mash tun out of an Igloo Ice Cube and a CPVC manifold to go all-grain
4) Added a solar water 12V DC pump to vorlauf and move liquid from mash tun to boil kettle

5) Wife bought me a keggle and I decided to go electric (mind you this was a few years back and I'm still not there)

6) Bought a real pump
7) Bought another keggle and HERMS coil
8) Incorporated a counterflow chiller for cooling and silicone hoses
9) Bought a third keggle, another pump, a Pico false bottom, and another propane burner*.
10) Bought a Hop Stopper (it's awesome)

At this point I've got three keggles and two pumps and I'm borrowing my process heavily from Kal. Temp control is still very difficult with the propane.

11) I got a used panel from a seller on this website

So far the only thing that I bought which can't transfer from the propane side to the electric side is the second burner. Everything else was pre-decisional or can be used both places.

12) Bought a house, and am waiting to see which area will be designated by my wife for brewing (haha)
13) After I get 240V and ventilation in my brewery I will get the elements and probes.

Your results may differ, but I'm tantalizingly close and even writing this post makes me excited to finish the project. I had a pretty good idea of where I wanted to end up and made upgrades based on how I could both incorporate them into my current process and the future process. Based on your description, I'd get a pump or two. They really made brewing easier and recirculating made for much clearer wort, even at the end of a mash.


Good luck and happy brewing!
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