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-   -   How to use my kettles? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/how-use-my-kettles-238554/)

dancness 04-09-2011 01:54 AM

How to use my kettles?
By the end of this weekend I will have done 3 brews; all extract. I am moving on to all grain for my next brew. I have a couple questions about how to use my equipment as efficiently as possible.

I have: 5 gal SS kettle, 9 gal SS kettle. Neither have valves at the bottom. I will be doing the BIAB single sparge method. I have 2 good sturdy bags made from Voile (sp?) fabric. One fits perfectly in the 5 gal pot and the other fits in the 9 gal pot. The 9gal bag of course can fit inside either kettle.

My initial plans were to mash as much grain as I could in the 5 gallon kettle at 1.25 qt/lb which if I'm reading correctly is about 12 lbs grain. Then sparge in the 9 gallon with 4 gallons water, and add the wort from the mashtun to the sparge kettle and boil. I want to make a 5 gallon batch of a medium abv ale (around 6%).

I would like advice on how to use the equipment I have as efficiently as possible. Should I mash in the 5 gallon and sparge in the 9, or vice versa? How much grain have you realistically been able to mash (and stir without spilling) in a 5 gallon mash tun with no false bottom?

tesilential 04-09-2011 08:01 AM

I'm also interested to know. I have a pot that holds 5.5 gallons, and I previously did 2.5 gal BIAB all grain. Now I want to do 5 gal batches, but I'm worried about overflow with 10.5# of grain. I plan to have another pot with extra boiling water to replenish that lost during the boil.

If I was you I would just mash and boil in the 9 gal pot, aka BIAB. That way you wont run out of space.

Mysticmead 04-09-2011 02:09 PM

mash in the larger pot. you will still need to dunk sparge in the smaller pot (put in smaller pot with some water stir, let sit for 10 minutes and remove then squeeze) since 12lbs of grain with a full volume of water would put you over 9 gallons.

batch + absorption + boil off + trub loss = total water needed.

5 + 1.2 + .25 = 6.45 + boil off round it off and say 6.5 gallon plus boil off. if you boil off 1 gallon an hour that's 7.5 gallons of water.. if you boil off more or less adjust from there.

wilserbrewer 04-09-2011 03:41 PM


Originally Posted by tesilential (Post 2821856)
I'm also interested to know. I have a pot that holds 5.5 gallons, and I previously did 2.5 gal BIAB all grain. Now I want to do 5 gal batches, but I'm worried about overflow with 10.5# of grain. .

Ok limited equipment, but you could likely mash in the 5 gallon pot and then perform a dunk sparge in an HDPE bucket w/ hot water to gather 4-5 gallons of wort.

You should easily be able to mash 10.5 lbs in a 5 gallon pot.

rackers calculator...can I mash it...http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml

dancness 04-09-2011 05:26 PM

I thought the common practice was to mash with less water, for example 1.25 qt/lb. And then sparge with a lot more water, for example 1/2 gallon per lb. to get the most residual sugars from the grist.

But you say to mash in the larger pot, and sparge in the smaller. I'm not really understanding why. I need to make a 5 gallon batch of beer. If I achieve a little less than this in final product due to trub loss, I don't really mind that.

I guess I'm just looking for glaring reasons why I should mash in the 9 gal vs the 5 gal. One thing I'm thinking is if I use a much bigger kettle and have lots of headspace, there will be much more heat loss compared to if I fill the 5 gallon kettle almost to the top.

pohldogg 04-09-2011 06:54 PM

One reason to mash in your larger pot is to let you start the boil while your sparging in the other. The times I've done BIAB I mashed in my boil kettle and used a 5 gal bucket to sparge and drain the bag. Let me start boiling the "first runnings" while I waited for the second.

dancness 04-09-2011 07:13 PM

But if I'm only going to sparge for like 15 mins, I can keep the first runnings on low heat in the 5 gal. Then add that to the sparge kettle when the sparging is done, right?

Mysticmead 04-09-2011 07:37 PM

Normally with BIAB you mash with full volume. The 1.25qt/lb is for a traditional mash. It still works for BIAB just thicker than most BIAB methods

Sent from my Epic 4g using Home Brew Talk

jaginger 04-09-2011 11:29 PM

I would definitely do the mash in the 9. At 1.25 qts/lb the 5 gallon is going to be very tight. Little room for stirring and likely to make a mess if you're not careful. Mash thinner, between 1.5 and 2.0 qts/lb and do it in the 9 gallon. As someone else said, you can then start the boil while you sparge ... might as well, right?

If you make this your standard process, you can make much larger beers and not have to change things up. I think you'll find find things will work better if you go this route.

dancness 04-10-2011 07:13 PM

I decided I am going for a 2 qt/lb mash in the 9 gal (8 lbs so 16 qts) and sparging in the 5 gallon with 3.5 qt.

American Amber
5 gallons

Briess 2-row 5 lb.
American Dextrine 1 lb.
Briess Caramel 60L 2 lb.
Muntons Extra Light LME 3.3 lb.

1 oz Cascade @ 1:00
1 oz Challenger @ :30
1 oz Cascade @ :15

Thanks everyone!

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