Double-kettle Boiling Rig For And Easier Brew Day

[Dave] built a controller that lets him boil two kettles at once when brewing beer. The setup uses electric heating elements in each of the kettles. We prefer to use gas as it’s a bit easier to control temperature. But an electric system like this can be used inside during the winter months while propane is relegated to the outdoors. The other thing that immediately comes to mind is partial mash recipes that require steeping in one kettle, then sparging (rinsing off the grains) with water of a different temperature. That kind of thing is a snap since the two are controlled individually by the trimpots on the front of the control box.

Inside you’ll find two 220V solid state relays. The box itself plugs into the 220V outlet in his basement which is normally occupied by his clothes dryer cord. So as not to blow a fuse, the MSP430 chip driving the relays switches back and forth between them rather than turning both on at once. The system uses entirely manual control, but it should be an easy modification to add a thermocouple and PID algorithms if so desired.

After the break [Dave] shows off the system in a video clip.

9 thoughts on “Double-kettle Boiling Rig For And Easier Brew Day

  1. I don’t understand the desire to brew your own beer… since it ends up bottled, is that much better than what you get from a commercial or micro brewer? Is the cost difference really sufficient for all this effort?

    …then again I’m the type of guy who might drink a total of 4-5 beers per month… so I probably see the value of it based on my limited consumption…

    1. In the same way that we could buy the end result of any “hacking project”, it isn’t the same as doing it your self. Also, I have tasted some superb home-brew, and some truly awful “professional brew” .

    2. I have one question on this seemingly elegant solution (and a great way of using my stock of MSPs):
      Is the relay switching going to cause noise interference on the mains? I know not of what I speak, so be gentle, but I thought that was the point of zero crossing etc (he throws out other phrases that might be relevant).

  2. 2 points..

    1. I would disagree that propane/gas is easier to control temp with. My electric rig can control temp within a degree of where I want, step up quickly, and does so cheaper than propane. Gas is easier to control manually.. but if your adding electricity to the mix, and your on Hackaday, you better be controlling temps with electricity as well!

    2. In terms of is it worth it… heck yea, I can make BETTER beer than most of what is on the shelf for around $0.25 a bottle or glass…. BOOYA

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