Buffalo 3kW Induction Hob Review
When considering brewing, one potential waste of time has to be getting a large volume of wort to a rolling boil. Personally I use (make that ‘used’) an electric boiler. This had the added arse-ache of occasionally cutting out because the sugars would bake onto the element, making the thing think it had overheated. It also required a fairly lengthy clean process to ensure the element was sparkling to prevent cut-outs.
The electric boiler also had a limited capacity. This resulted in it being run at almost full volume, which caused the occasional boil-over. The outcome was a waste of time, as I’d have to stand over the thing watching for excessive foaming while the wort came up to temperature. It added around 45 minutes to the day, and those were minutes when I couldn’t do much else (unless I wanted to clean up a puddle of sticky shit).
After much consideration I decided to keep the boiler for strike water and change the boil vessel to a SS BrewTech shiny stainless steel kettle. I opted for the 56 litre version, allowing for plenty of headspace, even with 10 gallon batches. I then had to decide how to fire it up, with the choice of either a butane burner or an induction hob. As the former requires either plenty of ventilation or working outside, there was only ever going to be one winner!
I opted for the Buffalo 3kW induction hob for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s the most powerful one I could find that can be used with a standard 240V AC socket. Secondly, I have a heavy duty mincer and a vacuum packer from Buffalo, and whilst they’re ‘no frills’ as far as features go, they both work well. Thirdly, I purchased it from Nisbets and waited for a favourable discount day to purchase. The standard price is around £190 including VAT, but I managed to get one delivered for a penny under £80!
The hob works well, getting 5 gallon batches to a rolling boil in around 20 minutes. I also don’t have to stand over it as the excess volume of the kettle means the wort would have to detonate to come over the top! Because it’s induction it doesn’t get hot (aside from heat transferred via the kettle base) and is simple to clean. It bears the weight of the kettle and 10 gallons without any issues. It does have a marked ‘zone’ which a pot should sit within. The kettle is way bigger and hangs over the edges, but that doesn’t affect performance.
The power is variable too, so if you don’t want to use the full 3kW (maybe for small batches or to knock up a bacon sandwich on brew days) you can back off the power. Aside from a small fan, it’s silent too.
There are a couple of things to be aware of. Firstly, after two hours it will switch off. It’s a safety feature and while there will be a way of getting around it, I’ve never had a session where it has switched itself off. If it does, you just switch it off and back on again. The other thing is that it requires a ‘soft start’. I think this is a thing with all induction hobs. Basically, it needs to be switched off when power is applied, then turned on. If you’re thinking about turning it on with a timer, you’ll probably kill it.
I like it and often check the current prices to see if I can pick up a few more at a low cost.
How do I rate it? I reckon it’s worth a 9 out of 10.