By Josh Lindquist
Hey there! I'm Josh. I've been part of the Spike family for five fantastic years, and I'm truly passionate about our company and the brewing community we serve. As the Continuous Improvement Manager, my goal is actually pretty simple—to constantly improve our processes so we can get the best equipment out on the market and into customer’s expecting and excited hands.
If you’re reading this, you probably love the art (and it truly is an art form) of brewing. From concocting the ideal beer, sipping on a bubbling selzer or brewing an exquisite cup of coffee, this captivating craft keeps evolving. Lately, electric brewing has gained traction, presenting a modern alternative to traditional propane brewing—or what homebrewers commonly refer to as “The Stove Top Method.”
In this article, we'll take a three dimensional look at electric and propane brewing. By the end, you’ll be able to determine which method aligns best with your brewing style…we guarantee it.
Fueling the Flames: Propane Brewing
We’ll start with propane brewing. This method uses a propane burner to heat the brew kettle. Let’s take a closer look:
Quick and Efficient
Propane brewing heats up faster than its electric counterpart, which is especially handy when brewing outdoors in chilly temperatures.High Heat Output
Propane burners can generate a higher heat output than electric heating elements, which is beneficial for brewing large batches or boiling water rapidly. If you’re brewing a sizable batch, a propane burner can get the job done more quickly.Lower Initial Cost
Generally speaking, propane brewing is more budget-friendly than electric brewing. But while it may be a lower cost up front, the cost of propane can accumulate over time—especially for frequent brewers.
Electrifying Your Brew: Electric Brewing
Electric brewing harnesses the power of electricity to heat up the brewing vessel using a heating element. Here's why it’s gained popularity over propane brewing:
Convenience at Your Fingertips
Electric brewing takes the cake for convenience. All you need to start brewing is a simple electrical outlet. Electric brewing is the perfect choice for those who want to avoid the hassle of refilling propane tanks, or for indoor brewing (apartments or smaller spaces) where outdoor brewing isn't an option.Consistency is Key
With electric brewing, you'll enjoy consistent heat throughout the brewing process, allowing for greater control over temperature and a more uniform brew. This is crucial when brewing delicate beer styles, such as lagers, which demand precise temperature control.Long-term Savings
While electric brewing may have a higher initial cost, it can prove to be more cost-effective in the long run. You won't have to worry about purchasing and constantly refilling propane tanks, and electric heating elements are energy-efficient, potentially saving you money on utility bills. Additionally, electric brewing systems often have a longer lifespan compared to propane burners, resulting in lower maintenance and replacement expenses over time.
Electric vs Propane Brewing
So, which method should you choose? Ultimately, the choice between electric and propane brewing hinges on personal preference, requirements and of course, where you’re physically brewing. Here are some factors to consider:
If you value convenience and the ability to brew indoors, electric brewing is your best bet. There's no need to worry about procuring propane tanks or burners, and you can brew in the comfort of your own home. However, if you prefer outdoor brewing or require a portable option, propane brewing might be more suitable.Consistency
For those brewing delicate beer styles that demand precise temperature control, electric brewing is the champion. It delivers consistent heat throughout the brewing process, leading to a scientifically precise brew. Propane brewing can be more challenging to control, potentially resulting in a true “homebrew” taste.Speed
If you're after a method that heats up swiftly, propane brewing is the way to go. Propane burners can heat the brewing vessel quickly, a boon when time is scarce. Electric brewing, on the other hand, may take longer to heat up.Heat Output
If you're brewing large batches or need to boil water rapidly, propane brewing comes out on top. Propane burners can produce a higher heat output than electric heating elements, making them more suitable for large batches or quick boiling. For smaller batches, electric may be more effective.Cost-effectiveness
While electric brewing may require more money up front, at Spike we like to think of it as the “buy once, cry once” approach. Electric heating elements are energy-efficient, saving you money on electricity bills compared to propane. Also, electric brewing systems usually have a longer lifespan than propane burners, translating to lower maintenance and replacement costs. All this depends on how often you brew of course.
Ahh, taste. Arguably the most important factor in all of this. Some brewers argue that electric brewing produces a cleaner taste compared to propane brewing, which can leave a slight aftertaste. However, this is subjective, and some brewers might not notice any difference. Ultimately, it boils (get it?) down to personal preference.
Whatever you choose, Spike has the best kettle options to help you get started.
Anyone can learn how to brew! Whether your method is propane or electric, this short video will teach you the basics so you’ll be downing some homemade brews in no time!
The Best of Propane Brewing: The Spike OG
Everyone has to start somewhere! If you're leaning towards propane brewing and want a top-notch flat-bottom kettle, the Spike OG Kettle is your perfect companion.
The OG Kettle is made of 304 stainless steel, has welded fittings and a tri-clad bottom, which is ideal for even heat distribution and preventing scorching during propane brewing. And with its 20% thicker design compared to other kettles, you can trust that it's built to withstand the test of time.
The Best of Electric Brewing: The Spike Tank
If you're a fan of electric brewing and looking to level up, the Spike Tank is literally the last kettle you’ll ever need to purchase. It’s built like an absolute tank…just like its namesake.
This innovative bottom-draining kettle is not only easy to clean but also enhances the brewing process. Keep in mind, the Tank is exclusively designed for electric brewing, so if you decide electric is the way to go, you're in for a treat with the best kettle on the market.
The Tank's durable design and welded fittings ensure stability, while four sturdy legs provide ample room to work underneath. Just like the OG, the Tank is 20% thicker than other kettles on the market.
Its standout feature is the domed bottom with a 1.5" tri-clamp drain port, which makes post-brew day cleanup a breeze. Just rinse out the solids, attach a CIP (Clean in Place) ball, and power wash for five minutes. Your Tank will be sparkling clean and ready for your next brew.
Choosing the bottom drain Tank means enjoying all the advantages of electric brewing with an extra touch of convenience and efficiency. Say hello to easier cleanups and more time savoring your homebrewed masterpieces!
Wrapping It Up
Both electric and propane brewing have their merits and drawbacks. When choosing between the two methods, it's essential to weigh factors such as convenience, consistency, safety, portability, speed, heat output and taste. Regardless of the method you select, always remember to enjoy the process. Cheers!
What are the benefits of electric brewing over propane brewing?
Electric brewing offers convenience, consistent heat and temperature control, and cost-effectiveness over time, making it a popular choice among homebrewers.
Why is electric brewing more convenient than propane brewing?
Electric brewing only requires an electrical outlet and can be done indoors, whereas propane brewing needs a propane tank, burner, and is better suited for outdoor brewing.
How does electric brewing offer more consistent heat and temperature control?
Electric brewing uses a heating element that maintains a stable temperature throughout the brewing process, providing greater control and resulting in a more uniform brew.
Is electric brewing more cost-effective than propane brewing in the long run?
Although electric brewing may have a higher initial cost, it can save money over time due to energy-efficient heating elements and longer-lasting equipment.
What makes the Spike Tank the best option for electric brewing?
The Spike Tank features a bottom-draining design for easy cleaning and improved brewing, making it an ideal choice for electric brewers seeking an innovative and efficient kettle.
What are the advantages of propane brewing over electric brewing?
Propane brewing provides faster heating, higher heat output for large batches, and lower initial costs compared to electric brewing.
What is the fastest heating method for brewing?
Propane brewing heats up faster than electric brewing, making it the quicker option for getting your brew up to temperature.
Which brewing method generates higher heat output for large batches?
Propane burners can produce higher heat output than electric heating elements, making them more suitable for large batches or rapid boiling.
Is propane brewing more affordable than electric brewing initially?
Yes, propane brewing typically has a lower initial cost, as propane burners and tanks are generally less expensive than electric brewing equipment.
Why is the Spike OG Kettle the top choice for propane brewing?
The Spike OG Kettle features welded fittings, a tri-clad bottom for even heat distribution, and a 20% thicker design, making it a durable and reliable option for propane brewers.
How to choose between electric and propane brewing methods?
Consider factors such as convenience, consistency, speed, heat output, cost-effectiveness, and taste when deciding between electric and propane brewing methods. Your brewing environment and personal preferences will play a significant role in your choice.