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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Have you ever regretted an upgrade to a bigger pot?
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:34 PM   #1
RadicalEd
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I'm in the process of parting out my upgrade away from my poor-college-student setup, and made the mistake of visiting a buddy who has a ginormous brewery setup. Well, I had been planning on going with a 3-keg setup, and even have the kegs on hand. But he got me to thinking that maybe I could bump my setup up to a 3x25 gallon pot setup...

Obviously, this would be quite a bit more money, but would have a few real advantages...One, it would give me the freedom to brew a 15 gallon batch (planning 10 gal for most). Two, cleaning would be much easier than reaching into keggles. Three, buy once cry once: if I go that route, I basically wouldn't ever need to upgrade again, unless I went pro .

I am planning on adding a RIMS system at some point, as well as a fermentation chamber. Fermenters will be either 20 gal buckets or (future upgrade) conicals.

So, with that in mind....am I nuts? Wait, don't answer that. Ahem, err, have any of you ever made the leap to past keggles, and regretted the plunge?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 04-20-2013, 09:58 PM   #2
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I will say this I have slowly gone bigger and bigger. The good thing is I have always found someone who want to go bigger and was able to sell my other equipment for almost a break even point. Stick to your gut and you will be happy.

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Old 04-20-2013, 11:26 PM   #3
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What you have in mind is a lot of fun, but take whatever cost estimate you have in mind, then double it and then add 50%. You wouldn't need a 25 gallon HLT as you'll never need that much hot water. I went with a 20 HLT, 25 MT, and 25 BK and that's perfect. Big beers max out the MT, but I've never exceeded it (had to run with an extra thick mash a few times though).
All that being said, there's absolutely nothing wrong with a keg setup. My roommate uses kegs and my old MT was a keg. They're not that hard to clean and they work really well. It comes down to how much you drink, how much variety you like to have on hand, and how often you want to brew. Personally, if I had the kegs, I'd start with that and you're always able to move the connections over to kettles as you buy them.

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Old 04-20-2013, 11:30 PM   #4
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The only downside to my 20 gallon kettle is that I feel less inclined to do really off the wall experimental batches, so I bought a 3 gallon pot and a paint strainer bag to scratch that itch.

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Old 04-21-2013, 12:53 AM   #5
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I should mention that my current boil pot is a 'half converted' keg--top chopped open, but no ports. It's always been a bear to clean afterwards. But I suppose that wouldn't be quite the case if I'm using PBW . And I do have a plethora of smaller pots as well, which I've put to use on the stove when it's too cold out to do a garage brew day.

The big issue with buying the hardware for the kegs now and then transferring it over to the pots is that most of it can't really be used still. The dip tubes and false bottom, to be precise, which comprise a majority of the cost :/.

As far as costs go, I spent a fair bit of time parting it out across different vendors and pot brands. The keggle conversion should cost around $308, plus shipping. A Concord 100qt setup would run $751, an Update International setup would run $931, A self-drilled Mega Pot is $969, a store-bought version thereof $1185, Spike Brewing is $1287, and an Adventures in Homebrewing setup w/ custom welded ports is $1126. Note that this is everything inside the pots, plus ball valves, but no pumps, quick disconnects, propane ignitors, etc.

I do my research . But part of that is getting the skinny from guys who've gone there before!

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Old 04-21-2013, 02:11 AM   #6
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It really comes down to you. 95% of people (me included) will say go bigger than you think because eventually you will want to go bigger. Although we just had a customer exchange his 15gal for a 10gal because he just never used the full capacity of the 15gal.

On a side note contact us if you're interested in a 3 kettle system. We try and give competitive rates on the larger systems.

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Old 04-22-2013, 12:57 AM   #7
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Bigger is better.

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Old 04-22-2013, 02:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RadicalEd View Post
....have any of you ever made the leap to past keggles, and regretted the plunge?
Not at all. I brewed 5 gallon batches for about 3 years and then went strait to 30 gallon batches. It's an immense time saver having a larger rig. You can keep the pipeline going without having to brew every other week. The only downfall is that you might find yourself wanting to brew more often than you actually need to. Or, if you screw up a batch, you're stuck with more sub par beer than you'd like. If you end up wanting to brew more often, you can always recruit a brew buddy and split the bathces. That's what I've been doing off and on. I also think it's a good idea to max out your rig from the start if you're good and serious about it. It will save you money in the long run. Like you mentioned, there may be some things that you want to add later like conicals or a different mash system or whatever, but size it appropriately and you'll be set for life.

It's nice to a have a cheap 5 gallon rig to go along with your larger set up though so that you can make test batches or crank out a beer once in a while that you don't want in bulk. It also comes in handy for mashing starter wort if you're into that.

At the end of the day though, it's your opinion that matters most. So think it over good before you leap and I'm sure you won't have any regrets.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBL_Brewer View Post
Not at all. I brewed 5 gallon batches for about 3 years and then went strait to 30 gallon batches. It's an immense time saver having a larger rig. You can keep the pipeline going without having to brew every other week. The only downfall is that you might find yourself wanting to brew more often than you actually need to. Or, if you screw up a batch, you're stuck with more sub par beer than you'd like. If you end up wanting to brew more often, you can always recruit a brew buddy and split the bathces. That's what I've been doing off and on. I also think it's a good idea to max out your rig from the start if you're good and serious about it. It will save you money in the long run. Like you mentioned, there may be some things that you want to add later like conicals or a different mash system or whatever, but size it appropriately and you'll be set for life.

It's nice to a have a cheap 5 gallon rig to go along with your larger set up though so that you can make test batches or crank out a beer once in a while that you don't want in bulk. It also comes in handy for mashing starter wort if you're into that.

At the end of the day though, it's your opinion that matters most. So think it over good before you leap and I'm sure you won't have any regrets.
I like this approach and am now in the process of maybe my, oh, fourth upgrade.

Consider your enjoyment of the total hobby. Not just the brew day, but the whole process.

Is gathering the necessary equipment part of your hobby? Consider stopping in at the DIY forum and you may find a project that will enhance your brewery and save you a bundle.

I am an active member in a brew club. We join together for bulk purchases. I have a ton of hops available at about $.70 an ounce. Later this week I will buy some speciality malt from the clubs larder at $1.00 a pound. That will return $.25 LB to the club for the future.

As I track my brewery in Beersmith I know what I use and will up my base supply purchases when we do the next group purchase.

It's a hobby. Planning is a big part of the enjoyment and it may take me ten months to gather the equipment needed to expand to the next level.

For me at this point, I will convert one of my farmsteads outbuildings to a 15 gallon terminal brewery.
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