Eletric Kettle Layout

Post #1 made 7 years ago
Hey everyone, glad to be a new member of the forum!
I'll start off right away with picking your brain.

I'm building an electric biab setup with 5500 ULWD straight element. I will be recirculating with a chugger pump. I have the control panel complete and now it's time to make some holes in the kettle!
I'm trying to layout the holes for the kettle and wanted to make sure it makes sense. I have a 62 quart bayou classic with the steamer pot. I'm planning to put the ball valve about 1" from the bottom in the front of the kettle (perpendicular to the handles). Then I have a sight glass that will be 45 degrees to the right of the valve and again 1" from bottom. Then I'll mount the element (using kal's method but a single gang box instead of a double) 45 degrees from the sight, 90 from the valve as low as I can get it to the bottom.
My question is this, where is the best place for the temp prob (that feeds the PID that runs the element)? I was going to punch a hole for it near the bottom and perpendicular from the element (the prob is 2"), but from what I've read it's best to put it off a tee at the valve (like kal did). If you put it there then I'll need to recirculate the water when getting it to temperature? And recirculate the wort during boiling? Is this the way I should go or just put it in the kettle like I was planning?

Post #2 made 7 years ago
Mine is in the kettle, I used a tee when installing the sight glass and inserted the probe through that hole. I'm fairly certain that position is not optimal as it is somewhat close to the element. In addition, the bag does act like a thermal barrier and the wort under the bag will be hotter that the wort in the bag. As you mentioned, putting it external to the pot requires constant circulation (which has shown to be a problem in my experience).

So....the real answer is "There is no good place to put it". If I had it to do over again I would buy a probe that I could insert into a float and adjust so that the probe extended into the exact center mass of the liquid volume. In practicality what I actually do is use the PID/controls panel to get the wort to temp, verify the correct mash temp with a lab-grade glass themometer, throw the lid on and a blanket over it, and go take a nap for 90 minutes. No stirrring, no baby-sitting, no fiddling with recirc flow rates and miniscule temp adjustments, etc. Hell, we're only making beer here, which is what man has been doing for over 3000 years before he discovered electric brewing.

Been there/done that,

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Post #3 made 7 years ago
So I'm best off trying it externally (right after the valve off a tee) to see if that will work for me and worst case i can punch a hole in the kettle after I test out this method to see if it's doable for me.
Any other input for anyone's experience?

Post #4 made 7 years ago
Don't put in the middle, if your going to do a BIAB, the bag will get hung up on the prob. Best position is in the sight glass with a tee and a 4 inch prob. Put a false bottom over everything and brew away.

Post #5 made 7 years ago
FWIW, mine is in the T after the outlet valve. Use recirculation during initial ramp up to mash temps then when recirculating during chilling with immersion chiller. Other than that, set the pid to a manual setting of 5% if you need to keep at mash temp and call it good. Not quite as simple as Todd but pretty close.
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