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Old 10-23-2012, 03:20 AM   #21
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IMO, a thermometer on a boil kettle/keggle isn't worth much. I didn't bother to install one in my current boil keggle. I even removed it from my keggle mash tun. I left it in my BoilerMaker mostly due to not wanting to install the plug. I use the BoilerMaker to heat up my sparge water now.

Of course, I am using a more advanced way to measure temperatures where needed. Such as in the mash tun, able to use two sensors at the same time to get better readings. I also have one in the boil keggle and another on the wort out side of the plate chiller so that I can monitor temperatures during the chill stage. I'm using a Fluke 52II to show temperatures. I have several sensors for it, with four (maybe five, have to check) that are about 4" long, can be fully submerged in liquid (able to withstand higher temps than I'll ever put them into) and have stainless braid covering the wires. The wires for each sensor is also more than long enough so I can easily use it (think they're 10' long).

I do have my sight glass (my own design/make) on the boil keggle. Really enjoy using that. Have thought about installing one into the keg mash tun, but don't feel like picking/pulling grain out of it.

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Old 10-23-2012, 02:18 PM   #22
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I do have my sight glass (my own design/make) on the boil keggle. Really enjoy using that. Have thought about installing one into the keg mash tun, but don't feel like picking/pulling grain out of it.
I love having a sight-glass on the BK. Tells me if I'm hitting the volume when sparging and allows me to monitor boiloff in case I need to adjust volume.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 10-23-2012, 03:45 PM   #23
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Guess I'm the only one, but to me a sight glass on the BK is a waste. A graduated scale works just as good and doesn't require cleaning hops and break at the end of the day. Now a temperature gauge is something I wouldn't do without. I usually start my boil with the lid on. It's very nice to be able to do other stuff and look over while coming to a boil to prevent boil overs. Same thing with chilling. A quick glance will tell you if it time to pull the IC.
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Old 10-23-2012, 03:59 PM   #24
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A thermometer is nice if you're going to use the pot to heat your strike water...just sayin'

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Old 10-23-2012, 04:11 PM   #25
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Guess I'm the only one, but to me a sight glass on the BK is a waste. A graduated scale works just as good and doesn't require cleaning hops and break at the end of the day. Now a temperature gauge is something I wouldn't do without. I usually start my boil with the lid on. It's very nice to be able to do other stuff and look over while coming to a boil to prevent boil overs. Same thing with chilling. A quick glance will tell you if it time to pull the IC.
Yup, you're probably the only one...

IME, the sight tube/glass is a huge help. I can see, at a quick glance, what my volume is. That helps me to decide if I need to add time to the boil, or not. I don't need to use a stick, into the keggle, to see what the level is. IME, that's far too inaccurate. For one thing, you need to be 100% sure to hit the same spot (to get the reading to line up proper). For another, I use a hop spider, so using the middle is out. Using a keggle also means I have plenty of head space, and I keep an eye on the keggle. I do have one of the temperature sensors sitting in the wort, as it gets up to a boil (and during the boil, removing it only once the batch is in fermenter). Using the Fluke 52II also means I don't need to worry about the dial thermometer being out of adjustment. Or adjusting it for use the first time. IME, that's more trouble than it's worth.

Even when I start with more wort, for either a larger batch or longer boil, I'm safe from boil-overs (currently).

As for cleaning my sight tube. That's pretty damned easy. It's connected to the keggle via TC clamps, so easy to remove/install. It has compression fittings (using o-rings) to hold the glass tube in place, so that's also easy to remove and clean. I have a nylon brush that easily goes into the glass tube to quickly clean it (when needed). Using borosolicate glass tubes means they won't stain/discolor like the plastic can/will. Plus, they're safer to much higher temperatures. I also designed my sight glass so that it can recirculate back into the keggle. I was a bit concerned with the ones people were installing, that had open tops. I also have a shield around the glass tube, to protect it from stray hits, and give me a way to mark it for the levels. Right now I just have sharpie marks. I'm planning on using the stickers I got from Bobby_M soon.
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:17 PM   #26
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I use a 10 gallon pot and it's barely big enough. I used to have to watch it the whole time, then I discovered FermCap which helps a lot, it frees me up to do other things. If I was in the market for a new kettle, I'd get at least 48 quarts.

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Old 10-23-2012, 09:38 PM   #27
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I agree, get as big as you can afford, heat, etc. That being said though, I've always tried to brew as big of batches as I can in a given kettle. Currently I have a european keg that's just a hair over 12 gallons. I have brewed 7 batches of 9 gallons in it no problem. Now, my boiloff is about 0.85g/hr (no, never had DMS) and I do 60m boils, occasionally adding two drops of fermcap (two drops total)...but I've never had a boilover. Now, I also am electric and my boil doesn't jump 8" in the air like some gas guys have, either.

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Originally Posted by davekippen View Post
Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:24 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Yup, you're probably the only one...

IME, the sight tube/glass is a huge help. I can see, at a quick glance, what my volume is. That helps me to decide if I need to add time to the boil, or not. I don't need to use a stick, into the keggle, to see what the level is. IME, that's far too inaccurate. For one thing, you need to be 100% sure to hit the same spot (to get the reading to line up proper). For another, I use a hop spider, so using the middle is out. Using a keggle also means I have plenty of head space, and I keep an eye on the keggle. I do have one of the temperature sensors sitting in the wort, as it gets up to a boil (and during the boil, removing it only once the batch is in fermenter). Using the Fluke 52II also means I don't need to worry about the dial thermometer being out of adjustment. Or adjusting it for use the first time. IME, that's more trouble than it's worth.

Even when I start with more wort, for either a larger batch or longer boil, I'm safe from boil-overs (currently).

As for cleaning my sight tube. That's pretty damned easy. It's connected to the keggle via TC clamps, so easy to remove/install. It has compression fittings (using o-rings) to hold the glass tube in place, so that's also easy to remove and clean. I have a nylon brush that easily goes into the glass tube to quickly clean it (when needed). Using borosolicate glass tubes means they won't stain/discolor like the plastic can/will. Plus, they're safer to much higher temperatures. I also designed my sight glass so that it can recirculate back into the keggle. I was a bit concerned with the ones people were installing, that had open tops. I also have a shield around the glass tube, to protect it from stray hits, and give me a way to mark it for the levels. Right now I just have sharpie marks. I'm planning on using the stickers I got from Bobby_M soon.
All of this +1 Love my siteglass.

I think a 15 gallon kettle is such a good investment for people on the fence. So much work goes into brewday that if you can get twice the amount of beer with a 10 gallon batch for almost the same effort---WORST cast is you have 5 gallons of extra beer you like that sits around clearing for a month or two longer. So you see, it really doesn't matter how much you drink, 10 gallons makes young beer a thing of the past.

Regarding thermapens.. they are VERY nice and I doubt you will regret owning one.
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Old 10-24-2012, 03:15 AM   #29
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I am +1 to most of what was already posted, when I started brewing I had a 5 gallon pot and was using my stove, then moved to BIAB with a 7.5 gallon turkey fryer, now I have 3 keggles (HLT, mash tun, BK) and can't be happier. I had no desire to do 10 gallon batches when I started but after moving to BIAB with a fryer I could do it in the same time as extract cause the fryer will boil the wort in 20 mins instead of 45-50 on my stove, it was then that I realized that to make 10 is just a bit longer, I can make 10 in 4hrs and 20 in 5.5. I added sight glasses and thermometers to my HLT and BK (kits from Bobby M) and love them I built a 3 tier set up and I know the volumes and temp at a glance, I use the thermometer in the BK mostly when cooling. As was stated go as big as you can now you never know what you will want to do later. Another thing to keep in mind is you have to cool it if you don't have an immersion chiller I'd suggest getting one of those also, and think big on that too, I bought a 3/8x25' one and am now in the market for a 1/2x50'.

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Old 10-24-2012, 11:06 AM   #30
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8g or 10g. 10g

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