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Before I get to whether or not an electrical newb can pull off an electric brew in a bag setup we need a little background and explanation.  So a little about myself and what I want.  I started extract brewing with specialty grains and evolved into an all grain brewer via the ten gallon Rubbermaid cooler system with an eight gallon boil kettle and a propane burner.  I love the cheapness and simplicity of this system when paired with batch sparging but do have a couple of complaints about the equipment I use now and they are as follows:

1.    Equipment is scattered throughout the garage, basement and main floor of the house due to space constraints making it a big to-do to setup everything, clean it and return it to its proper place.

2.    I hate worrying about propane.  Buying it, guessing whether or not you have enough, guarding against the wind, worrying about burning the house down, ect.

3.    It sucks brewing outside in the winter in Minnesota. 

So with that in mind let’s talk about what I want.  I want something simple, electric and something that doesn’t suck up a lot of space.  Being that I don’t know much about electricity and that I don’t want to be confined to the basement I want to brew on a 20 amp 110 volt GFCI outlet rather than a 240 outlet which is located downstairs or would need to be installed upstairs.  I also want to keep this relatively inexpensive. 

With all of this floating around I stumbled upon this thread at homebrewtalk.com:  http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/110v-recirculating-ebiab-2-5-gallon-batches-341219/

It is pretty much everything I want.  I have the ability/time to brew frequently so I like the idea of 2.5 gallon batches, love the BIAB setup and like the relative simplicity of the electrical design.  It was however a bit more expensive than I wanted so I’m shooting for a cheaper version of this. While I do want cheaper I’m not looking to dumb it down which may compromise safety.  This setup also eliminates some of the issues I’ve had with small batches BIABs.  By this I mostly mean maintaining temperature and getting a good boil.  Overall there are three things I really like about this; the idea of full volume mashing BIAB, an electrically powered heating element and the recirculating mash. 

Full Volume Mashing BIAB:  I like this because it uses very little equipment meaning there is less to store and less to clean.  It is also simple, easy and fast and can be done indoors during MN winters.  And the main reason it is viable to me is because this setup still makes great all grain beer!

Electric:  I wanted to go electric because it gets rid of the need for annoying propane and it gets 100% efficiency with no wind or crappy stovetop burner to worry about.  Once again an upside is that it can be done inside but with a long enough extension cord can also be done outside in the summer.  I can also utilize a control panel to maintain mash temperature which brings me to my next point.

Recirculating mash:  I liked the idea of recirculating my mash because my pot is really thin and I’ve had trouble in the past of staying consistent with mash temperature.  A pump eliminates the need for stirring and also maintains a consistent temp when the control panel turns on the heating element.  Also, it looks better (and cooler I think) than trying to insulate your pot to maintain temperature. 

So there it is.  Everything is already in the works.  Can’t wait to properly get this up and running.

1/14/2013 10:17:55 pm

Good luck! My solution to this issue was to do 3-gallon BIAB, but to hold the mash in a 5-gallon cooler to keep my temp steady. This setup also leaves me the ability to sparge if I want for a really big brew, or if I'm going to lose a lot of wort to hops.

I do have the luxury of having a burner in my kitchen that can bring 4 gallons to a decent boil, otherwise I might be seeking out an electric solution myself.

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1/15/2013 12:10:55 am

Thanks for the comments! Sounds like you have a nice system worked out for yourself. While the electrical portion of what I want is somewhat complex just by virtue of being an electric operation the kettle/brewday is incredibly simple which is what I was hoping for. I'm purposefully forgoing the sparge just to maintain this level of simplicity in the brewday. If I need to do a really big beer I'll always have the ability to go back to the old setup and go outside too.

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4/14/2013 02:58:58 pm

Good post !!An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this matter here on your web page.

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9/30/2013 04:59:59 pm

I am really appreciate from this blog.

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Overall there are three things I really like about this; the idea of full volume mashing BIAB, an electrically powered heating element and the recirculating mash.

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10/1/2013 02:11:23 pm

Good post !!An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been conducting a little research on this.

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10/19/2013 07:51:40 am

Thanks for the post to this page

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