I have some amateur experience with homebrewing, which started out with very small batches and small pots. I have now a biggish aluminium pot of 30 liters (circa 8 US gallons) and the heating method I use (heating on the kitchen's hob) is simply impractical. It was slow before, but now it just takes forever to bring the wort to a boil.

I live in a small apartment without outdoor access (well, we have a balcony) and gas is not an option. I have been wondering about using the heat element from a water kettle to do the heating. Something very similar to this:

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This is a cheap solution (at least for the time being I want to keep it cheap) and it should be relatively easy to attach the heat element to my pot. My question is: is this safe?

  • What do you mean by safe? Food-safety (no undesirable metals in the wort) or electrical safety-hazzards?
    – mdma
    Apr 24 '14 at 11:14
  • related: homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/7979/…
    – mdma
    Apr 24 '14 at 11:20
  • @mdma: Both, but mostly food safe. I can handle some basic electrical stuff, although nothing too fancy.
    – Miguel
    Apr 24 '14 at 11:56

The solution you posted looks ok, but is probably quite a pain to attach this to the side of your brewpot. It should be safe since it's meant for heating potable water. As to electrically safe, that really depends upon how you make the connections - at the very least you don't want live conductors exposed on the outside of your kettle, and you need to be sure your kettle is connected to ground.

Many brewers that go electric (me included) use heater elements mainly used in hot water tanks - a search on amazon for example for "camco element" shows you some examples.

They come with a threaded base, so you just need to make one big hole in your kettle and secure with an o-ring and a locknut. The process is described in detail at The Electric Brewery.

  • Thanks, I was mostly concerned that the element might get too hot and grain or hop in contact with it might roast or something of the sort.
    – Miguel
    Apr 24 '14 at 11:58
  • 1
    You don't put an element directly in the mash tun, but in the boil kettle it's no problem - the hops are moving around quickly and the heat is dissipated by the water.
    – mdma
    Apr 24 '14 at 13:26
  • What is then an equivalent approach for the mash?
    – Miguel
    Apr 24 '14 at 13:53
  • 1
    Use a RIMS tube or a HERMS heat exchange coil. Both methods recirculate the liquid which is heated outside the mash tun. The grain remains in the mash tun. Again, see the Electric Brewery link for more details.
    – mdma
    Apr 24 '14 at 13:56
  • 2
    BE SURE to use a GFCI if you brew electric.
    – Denny Conn
    Apr 24 '14 at 16:45

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