In Equipment


After moving from a house with a basement & a brewstand I had to make some changes in order to be able to brew the same amount in a 1 bedroom ~650 sq. ft. apartment. In full disclosure it helps to be a bachelor haha.

Instead of the two natural gas Blichman burners I had on my previous system I only have my stove as my single heat source now. It has 4 burners but its small stove & as you can see from the pictures below, the boil kettle takes up all four burners. The stove does an OK job of bringing 12 gallons of wort to a boil. Not nearly as fast as the natural gas burners but not too terrible either. Maybe 45 min on average.

It's illegal to have a propane burner where I live & I don't have an accessible roof for a charcoal burner (which would be less than optimal anyway).  I thought about an induction heater but ultimately decided against it because my HLT wasn't really magnetic enough & I was worried about the weight possibly damaging the element.

So in the end I decided to convert my HLT into an Electric HLT with a hot water heater element. There are people out there who brew entirely with electric water heaters and report good results. Lucky for me, there are a ton of really good tutorials on the internet for how to properly install a hot water heater element on an HLT. I ended up using these instructions which I would recommend  The instructions were clear & all the parts meticulously listed. I'm not the most mechanically inclined but I can follow directions haha.

I went with a 120v heating element because I don't have a 220v outlet in my apartment.  Also, I'm just using it to heat water so it doesn't have to be strong enough to boil or anything like that.  The single heating element works just as well as my stove. It heats up the strike water to ~170 F in 45 minutes. In the future if I ever have the time I might add another heating element & insulation to the outside of the HLT, to speed it up.

Having an Electric Kettle helps to speed up the brewing process by allowing me to heat the sparge water while I'm mashing without having to move it off the stove to make room for the boil kettle. With only the stove as the heat source you have to sparge into buckets and then transfer that to the boil kettle after the HLT is empty & light enough to move.

The Waterproof Enclosure for the Heating Element

Inside the HLT

Extension cord

The free standing shelf is from Ikea & the best part is you can move the shelves anywhere which makes it easy to fit large bulky things like the mash tun etc.

Brew Tower
It's a More Beer stainless pump & chiller stand. I also added my RV water filter to it to make things easier for me.

Filling the Electric HLT


Sanitizing before chilling

Running off the Chilled Wort

Fermentation temperature control is one of the most important factors for consistent & high quality beer.  I have a 7 cu ft GE chest freezer which holds two 6 gallon Better Bottles perfectly. There's a little cut out in my living room and it fits nicely in there as you can see from the pictures.

I also took the time convert all my Polysulfone disconnects over to Stainless Steel & I added a hop rocket!

Hope this helps anyone worried about brewing in an Apartment.  Now let's get back to the beer!

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