Advice on phased migration to electric

I have been homebrewing for 10+ years and fermenting with brewpi/brewblox since spark 2 days.
My current setup uses two plastic igloo style containers for HLT and Mash and then a SS for boil and a pump that I use during cooling to circulate around my immersion chiller. I am currently and have always been brewing with gas.


  1. Slowly migrate to electric, focusing on the mash first.
  2. Reduce overall brewing time (The idea of setting up the night before, waking up and setting mash temp is appealing. Then I can dump the grain in and get everything setup during the 1 hour mash).
  3. Start at 110v with a migration path to 220v.


Upgrade Igloo Coolers
My initial idea was to keep all of my equipment (the igloo coolers) and just add a 110v element (that later can be upgraded to 220v) to each one. I would put the water in the night before, then I could turn it on with brewblox in the morning and let it get to mash temp and then turn it off. My cooler looses virtual no heat over my mash timeframe and I never do step mashes.

Has anyone done this? I found one video on the internet but not a lot of people talking about this. Would it be somehow less safe in a plastic container (from a shock perspective?). Also, would the cooler potentially melt?

If that isn’t feasible I will have to go down the route of getting two more SS containers, a herms coil, and another pump. Can you do herms on 110v or do you loose too much heat through the SS container? Are there elements that you can buy that work on 110v (at half power), that you can later upgrade to 220v?

I would personally not put an electric element in a plastic, cooler type mash tun. First off, there isn’t a way to mount it, securely. Undoubtedly it would droop, and melt into the plastic/foam.

Honestly, I am a big freaked out by using plastic coolers for mashing. They are not designed for that purpose (or any heat, for that matter). They are only rated food safe for the temperature that they were designed for - room temp to freezing. Those plastics could leach out chemicals that you were not intended to ingest. It only took one whiff after cleaning with hot water for me to start to be skeptical. I immediately switched to another keggle, which I insulated with several layers of garage towels - and I did to HERMS. There was quite of bit of heat loss, as to be expected with that setup. As soon as SS BrewTech came out with their insulated stainless mash tun, I switched immediately. It is the be all, end all, of Homebrewing mash tuns. Expensive, yes - but worth every penny. SS Brewtech as a company is shit. Their customer service is abysmal. I wouldn’t buy anything else from them.

110v is SLOW for anything > 5 gallons, BTW.

Thanks for the feedback.

I ended up doing stainless for the my HLT. I am still mashing in the cooler for now, but looking to change that over to stainless.

I am curious about your setup - even with a HERMS setup you felt the need to get the SS brewtech insulated mashtun? Was it just an electricity efficiency thing?

An uninsulated, metal keggle will have quite a bit of temperature stratification in the mash - even with a decent flow rate and constant recirculation. To achieve the flow rate you need, you often have to pull on the mash pretty good, which can further exacerbate the stratification and reduced flow rates from a compacted grain bed. The SS Brewtech mash tun is way easier to clean and has better “mash features” like a manometer and a center drain. Kind of a long winded question - but yes - for me, an insulated, stainless mash tun is a game changer. Too bad you have to support that utterly terrible company, right now, until their patent runs out.