Looking for an efficient, clean, and compact homebrewing system? Induction brewing is a great method for indoor brewing, especially in apartments and small-spaces. We’ll go through the pros, cons, and what you need to get started with induction brewing.
Induction brewing can be all-grain, partial mash, or extract. You can brew small batches or all the way up to 10 gallons. The most practical all-grain brewing method when using induction is brew in a bag (BIAB). In this guide, we’ll go over all of the equipment needed to get started brewing with induction, with a focus on the BIAB method.
The process of brewing on induction is the same as typical propane or electric systems. There are, however, a few unique differences:
- Induction brewing uses an induction burner, usually in the form of a portable ceramic topped cooker.
- Induction cookware must be induction compatible, made of ferromagnetic material. For brewing, that means stainless steel is the optimal material.
- For large batches (up to 10 gallons) and for shorter brew days, you’ll need a 220-volt electrical line with a 15 to 20 amp breaker, like you would for a stove or dryer.
- For small batch, extract, or partial mash brewing, a 1800W burner hooked up to a common 120V electrical line will work just fine.
Induction brewing uses an induction burner (or cooker) and a stainless steel brew kettle. This 1-minute video will explain the science behind it better than we can.
Basically, a current is generated by the induction cooker. When a stainless steel kettle is placed on the surface of the cooker, smaller currents in the kettle’s magnetic material are generated. These currents create heat through the material of the kettle. The induction cooker itself does not generate heat, or even really get that hot.
Because almost all of the energy is transferred to the kettle, the induction process is extremely efficient. Heat is not lost to the environment, like in traditional electric stoves or propane burners.
For induction brewing, most homebrewers prefer a brew in a bag method. BIAB is a compact, low-cost, and very practical way to make all grain beer. For apartments and small spaces, induction BIAB systems are very convenient, have a low footprint, and are super easy to store.
Traditional all grain, using an insulated mash tun – like a cooler – is also entirely possible. Replace your traditional propane or electric powered kettle with an induction cooker and suitable kettle and you’re all set.
|Fast and energy efficient||May require extra wiring for 240V outlet|
|Great for indoor brewing||Limited power and batch size|
|No gas needed|
|Very quiet compared to propane burners|
Induction brewing requires a few special pieces of e quipment. We’ll take you through what you need for a single-vessel induction system. That means brew in a bag (BIAB).
There’s also nothing stopping you from setting up a traditional 2 or 3 vessel system using induction. You can replace your typical gas fired kettle with induction in your homebrew system.
The crux of an induction brewing system is the induction burner. These appliances are usually designed for cooking food, but make great heat sources for induction brewing.
Check out our roundup of the best induction burners to meet your needs.
When choosing an induction burner, the power rating is one of the most important considerations.
Induction burners either come in 240V or 120V. For 120V cookers, a typical household (North America) electrical outlet is all you need to plug-and-play. For the 240V burners, you’ll need to have a 220 volt line installed with a 15 to 20 amp breaker, like you would for a stove or dryer.
120V burners are limited to 1800W, where 240V burners go up to 3500W. We recommend going with a 240V burner if you plan on brewing batches 5 gallons or larger. You can get by with an 120V, 1800W burner for 5 gallons, but you might be waiting around for the wort to get to boiling.
First and foremost, when using induction you’ll need a kettle made with a ferromagnetic material. Luckily for homebrewers, that means stainless steel kettles will do just fine. You can take a look at our guide for the best brew kettles that goes over the features to look out for when choosing a kettle that’s right for you.
Unique for induction brewing, is that Induction burners are limited in size. Most induction cooktops have a recommended maximum kettle diameter of about 10”. You can push this a bit, but we wouldn’t want to have much overhang as it makes for a less efficient heat transfer. For this reason, we like to use kettles that are a lot higher than they are wide.
On top of that, we always recommend kettles with a ball-valve for safety reasons when brewing 5 or 10 gallon batches. A built-in thermometer is also a great addition when using BIAB to monitor strike water and mash temperature.
Here are some induction-ready kettles that we recommend across all price points:
- Megapot 1.2 Stainless Steel Brew Kettle – Our favorite induction kettle for 5 gallons
- Bayou Classic 1060 62-Quart Stainless-Steel Stockpot – Budget option for 10-gallon batches
- Bayou Classic 1036 36-Quart Stainless-Steel Stockpot – Budget option for 5-gallon batches
- 15 Gallon Tall Boy – Great for 10-gallon batches
- Anvil BE340 – The best quality for smaller batches and partial mash/extract
Insulating the brew kettle will reduce energy loss through the walls of the kettle. More retained energy equals more efficient heating times and also a steadier temperature during mash rests.
Insulate your brew kettle with Reflectix. Cutting out holes and slots for valves, thermometers, and handles is easily done with a pair of scissors.
Consider wrapping your kettle 2 or 3 times. The less heat lost to the atmosphere, the quicker and energy efficient your brew day will be.
As mentioned, brew in a bag is the most common brewing method when using induction. Follow our detailed guide to BIAB for all you need to get started.
If you plan on brewing indoors, like in your basement or back room, you’ll want to invest in a ventilation hood with an extraction fan. Boiling 5 or 10 gallons of wort can get steamy. You need to divert this steam outdoors or else you’ll end up with condensation, mold, or mildew problems in your house down the road.
If you can place your induction cooker and kettle under your stove’s vent hood, that works too.
For garage, deck, or balcony brewers, you don’t have to worry about steam build-up as long as you have natural airflow in the brewing space.
Induction brewing stands up against propane and electric systems any day of the week. The efficiency, ease of use, and compact footprint of induction brewing makes it a great choice for beginners or seasoned vets.
Whether you brew in an apartment, garage, or are just looking for a sleeker set-up, induction is definitely a worthy consideration. We highly recommend trying out a minimalist BIAB induction brew. You’ll love the simple, clam brew day and be absolutely floored by the quality of the beer.