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Boil Control

To bring an electric brew pot up to boil within reasonable time depends on what you consider reasonable and on the amount of wurt you have to boil. Using the 10 gallon (12 gallon total) example batch I mentioned earlier you will need 6175 BTU/hr minus efficiency losses just to go from 150F to 212F boil. Assuming you want to reach boil in 30 minutes, and at 90% efficiency for a submerged heating element, the total should be about 6,861 BTU/hr or 13,722 BTU/30 min. This divided by 3.41 translates into a 4024 watts and a 4500 watt element is close enough. Most home brewers install a 5500 watt heating element.

To boil faster you just need more watts. To reach boil in half the time you need twice the wattage, but who wants to spend what it will cost to reach boil in 15 minutes? Once you reach boil you are faced with the opposite problem Ė TOO MUCH HEAT CAUSING BOIL-OVER PROBLEMS Ė and thatís where a boil controller comes in.

The cheapest solution is to size your heating element so that you donít have a boil over problem but this locks you into one batch size and a very long wait for boil. A better solution is to have a heating element that you can turn down once you reach boil & this requires some sort of boil controller.

Some home brewers are using a programmable PID controller like a Auber model 2352 but I believe this is a mis-application of technology. To understand why you need to understand what a PID like the Auber model 2352 is good for. It's good for keeping a constant temperature, and we already know what temperature water boils at - 212F minus a little for your elevation above sea level. PIDs make great mash temperature controllers, not rate of boil controllers.

The best contrller for managing boil-overs is something you can quickly adjust to change your rate of boil, like the eye control on your stove. And this would be a controller that uses PWM or a controller that works like a high powered light dimmer, not a PID.



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