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Old 01-02-2013, 12:55 AM   #1
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Default 15 Gallon or 20 Gallon Kettles

I am torn! I am going to be purchasing a bigger setup but cannot make a decision on this.

Here is what I am going to do:

1. Get new Mash Tun, HLT, Boil Kettle and Conical - Going to purchase these from Stout Tanks & Kettles.

2. Convert everything else in my brewery over to Tri Clovers - Brewershardware.com

3. Add a new Chugger S/S center inlet pump and also a S/S center in replacement head for my March 809. - Thanks for the 10% off!


Now the dilemma is the cost of getting the Mash Tun, HLT, and BK in 15 gallon size is approx $1610....the cost of going to 20 gallons is only $82 dollar more. The only big difference is in the conical, which is $275 more expensive.

I am setup for dispensing alot of beer (Have a 6 tap keezer), but I really don't know if I'll ever brew 20 gallons at a shot. But I hate to undersize and I REALLY hope this will be my last big purchase and I'll be able to use this for years to come.

Can you boil/ferment 5 or 10 gallon batches in a 20 gallon setup? I think I can boil without an issue (pots are taller not wider) but fermenting 5 gallon batch in a 20 gallon conical maybe a stretch.

If nothing else would getting the 20 gallon pots and the 15 gallon conical make sense? What would you do?

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Old 01-02-2013, 01:11 AM   #2
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Just because you have a conical doesn't mean you have to use it for small batches. If you were making 10-20 gal batches sure, but at only 5 gal you might not even really make it past the cone break. However that's not a big deal either. Just need to have some sort of way to prevent oxygen in the head space like a spunding valve or an ability to add gas to the fermentor. I don't know if their conicals can take pressure but I would hope so. Get the 20 gal stuff. I didn't think I'd want to make more than 10 and I'm currently looking at doing a custom kettle for myself based off a 102 qt bayou classic pot.

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Old 01-02-2013, 01:27 AM   #3
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If your only shooting to brew 10 gallon batches then then 20 gallon kettles and the 15 gallon conical should work out. I'm shooting for 15-20 gallon batches and went with a 30 gallon brew kettle, 30 gallon mash tun and a 19.8 gallon HLT from stout tanks (getting delivered on the 8th ).

5 gallon in that conical might be a bit small but should work I would assume. But the kettles should work out.

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Old 01-02-2013, 01:27 AM   #4
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Just because you have a conical doesn't mean you have to use it for small batches. If you were making 10-20 gal batches sure, but at only 5 gal you might not even really make it past the cone break. However that's not a big deal either. Just need to have some sort of way to prevent oxygen in the head space like a spunding valve or an ability to add gas to the fermentor. I don't know if their conicals can take pressure but I would hope so. Get the 20 gal stuff. I didn't think I'd want to make more than 10 and I'm currently looking at doing a custom kettle for myself based off a 102 qt bayou classic pot.
Thats what I kinda getting at. I know you can push the beer in/out with Co2 in the conical, but I am unsure of what pressure it is rated at. Although I am sure any amount of Co2 will displace the oxygen, maybe flush with Co2 before filling?

What I plan to do is make a 5 gallon "test" batch, then if I like it, make a 10 (or 15). I really enjoy the whole brewing process, so my motivation isn't to brew less, just easier. I also don't want to limit myself in regards to batch size. Just wasn't sure if it was more of a hassle or pointless to brew such a small batch in that size kettles.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:31 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Face Eater View Post
If your only shooting to brew 10 gallon batches then then 20 gallon kettles and the 15 gallon conical should work out. I'm shooting for 15-20 gallon batches and went with a 30 gallon brew kettle, 30 gallon mash tun and a 19.8 gallon HLT from stout tanks (getting delivered on the 8th ).

5 gallon in that conical might be a bit small but should work I would assume. But the kettles should work out.
Nice! I currently only have thier 9.2 gallon boil kettle, but I love that thing. I am stoked to be able to be getting this gear and don't want to rush any decision then regret it. Did you end up getting the HERMS coil in the HLT?


Also I was planning on getting Banjo burners....would those suffice for either size?
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:35 AM   #6
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Nice! I currently only have thier 9.2 gallon boil kettle, but I love that thing. I am stoked to be able to be getting this gear and don't want to rush any decision then regret it. Did you end up getting the HERMS coil in the HLT?

Also I was planning on getting Banjo burners....would those suffice for either size?
Took me a while to pull the trigger but I finally did it. I ended up purchasing their rims tube, I was contemplating both routes but decided to go with the rims tube. I'm going to direct fire and use the rims tube to maintain / raise mash temps. I'm probably going to get some banjo burners which should do fine. Still working on piecing the rest of the system together so I can start my build.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:50 AM   #7
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Took me a while to pull the trigger but I finally did it. I ended up purchasing their rims tube, I was contemplating both routes but decided to go with the rims tube. I'm going to direct fire and use the rims tube to maintain / raise mash temps. I'm probably going to get some banjo burners which should do fine. Still working on piecing the rest of the system together so I can start my build.
What was your deciding factor on going with the rims? I like the indirect heat of HERMS, but I dislike having to heat a bunch of water to maintain the temp. My setup isn't going to be automated....yet but I figured that the thermal mass of the water would retain heat better and I'd have less flucuations of temps. Maybe I am 100% wrong...I've never used either, so I'm interested in other experiences/opinions
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:01 AM   #8
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For $82 totally go for the bigger kettles! Shipping will go up a tad I bet but ah what ever. No matter what fermenters you end up with, do the larger kettles. Your HLT can be slightly smaller maybe make that one a 15 and the Mash and BK the 20 gallon set up.

Way to ring in the New Year Newbeerguy!

Cheers
Jay

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Old 01-02-2013, 02:12 AM   #9
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For $82 totally go for the bigger kettles! Shipping will go up a tad I bet but ah what ever. No matter what fermenters you end up with, do the larger kettles. Your HLT can be slightly smaller maybe make that one a 15 and the Mash and BK the 20 gallon set up.

Way to ring in the New Year Newbeerguy!

Cheers
Jay
Thanks Jay! Yeah I am excited about this. That was the way I was leaning, just get the bigger pots and keep the fermenter smaller. I can always use the conical and one of my carboys if I ever decide to do a big batch.

I maybe hitting you up for another false bottom Jay. I use one of yours in my current mash tun and if Stouts false bottom doesn't compare, you'll be making me up another one I'm doing this to upgrade, not downgrade
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:24 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Newbeerguy View Post

What was your deciding factor on going with the rims? I like the indirect heat of HERMS, but I dislike having to heat a bunch of water to maintain the temp. My setup isn't going to be automated....yet but I figured that the thermal mass of the water would retain heat better and I'd have less flucuations of temps. Maybe I am 100% wrong...I've never used either, so I'm interested in other experiences/opinions
Herms seems like a great option but originally I was going to go all gas (direct fired recirculated mash) but then thought it would be easier to maintain temps with the rims tube after I already placed my order for the kettles. If I were to do it over again I would go herms but I definitely do not regret my decision.
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