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Gas or Electric Systems for Brewing BIAB

Published: 02/08/2014 12:38 pm

We're often asked to advise on what's best between gas or electric for the home brewer setting out on the BIAB Path.

If only it were that simple. Lets have a look at the benefits or drawbacks of the two and you can decide for yourself.

Over the last few years, we've seen both electricity and gas bills hike at a pace that's never been seen before.

If we look at simple systems such a a single pot BIAB, then we have the options of a modified SS or Aluminium pot with an element/s fitted or Urns such as the Crown Urn & similar.

Costed out at $0.31c per kWh and running a 2400w element for somewhere around 2 hours throughout a brew, we're looking at under $2.00 per brew in energy costs.

My 2 gas units run for an average 25L batch end up costing between $7 & $9 per batch in gas costs alone.

On the energy cost side of things, an electric 2400w system wins hands down.

In overall efficiency of ramp speed etc, then a gas system will win the race, while the electric system is still thinking about getting off the starting line.

That's not an insurmountable problem though. While an urn is getting it's fancy pants on, you could run a mower around the yard, or wash the windows thus gaining valuable brownie points.

When considering set up costs, a 40L Urn will set you back in the vicinity of $270, Vs a 50L SS Pot at somewhere around $160 plus the cost of the burner, stand and regulator at about $120. So on that basis, they're pretty similar.

Fo those who regularly brew really big beers requiring up around 10kg of grain, you'll need to modify the BIAB techniques to improve overall efficiency and under those circumstances, then an urn isn't the best option. Certainly they're quite efficient if your grain bill is up in the 3kg-7kg range.

Balancing all that up and the electric system wins out simply due to the $6-$7 savings per brew alone.

Still can't decide? Burn those brownie points. Your wife rang and said bring home some bling. He who dies with the most shiny stuff wins.

I just said that out aloud then didn't i? laugh