In my last post, I talked about my goals to find a nice Counter-Top Electric Brewing System that I could do small 1 – 2 Gallon batches for competitions, while I finish out my big Electric Brew System. I also, talked about using a Coffee Urn and how it would be good for both a Hot Liquor Tank and Mash Tun, but really needed work for a Boil Kettle. This post covers my research into using an Electric Turkey Fryer to build a mini Brew-in-a-Bag system.
After coming across a couple of posts on the HomeBrewTalk Forums, I ordered a Cajun Injector Electric Turkey Fryer from Wal-Mart for $99. It looked pretty promising, 7 Gallon Capacity, All-In-One Heating Element with Temperature Controller and a metal straining basket.
My water tests showed that I could bring 4 Gallons of water to a temperature of 150 degrees F in just under 20 minutes, which is perfect for small batches. However, there were two fatal flaws.
First, I really was hoping I could set the Temperature Controller to a lower temperature, a lot of the more classic style mash regimes start the mash around 113 – 122 degrees F and then move up to 178 degrees F in various temperature steps. The controller comes with a minimum temperature of 150 degrees and the next temperature is 175 degrees F. Not really great if you want to be able to precisely control your mash temperatures.
Second, the temperature differential for the controller is around 5 – 10 degrees loss before the unit turns back on. This is way too wide of a differential to support an exact mash temperature. You really want to set a temperature and have the heating element kick back on when the temperature drops more than a degree.
As for bringing 4 gallons of water to a boil, I have no problem with it being able to do that. The 1650 Watt heating element can easily bring 4 Gallons of water to a boil in a reasonable amount of time.
So, this unit seems to have everything in what I want in a Counter-Top Electric Brewing System except for the tight temperature control. To gain that I think I’ll need to hack the Temperature Controller or replace it all together.
This makes for a perfect platform to experiment with temperature control and work out all the kinks of my temperature controller’s design before I try to apply it to a 10 Gallon system pushing 210 VAC around at 30 Amps.
So, I’ll keep everybody up to date as I start to hack the Temperature Controller on the Cajun Injector Electric Fryer.