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Old 10-22-2009, 03:56 AM   #1
zbonaker
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Default Looking for advice - measuring brew kettle volume

Long time lurker, first post (I think), just made the switch to all-grain.

Quick question: I'm in need of a good way to measure the brew kettle volume after each step (first running, sparge, pre-boil, post-boil, etc.). Obviously, I'm looking to my first few batches to help me narrow down my process & equipment when it comes to evaporation, volume after each mash step, etc.

Right now I have a wooden dowel that I've calibrated to my brew kettle. Works fine for everything up to the post-boil measurement... there's no way I'm trusting the wood to be sanitized for anything after flameout.

So how do you all do it? What piece(s) of equipment do you use to measure volume, especially one that can be reliably sanitized?

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Old 10-22-2009, 04:01 AM   #2
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Stainless steel measuring tape, sprayed with StarSan?

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Old 10-22-2009, 04:01 AM   #3
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I'm pretty new to all grain too but this is what i do:

I keep a 5 gallon bucket with some sanitizing solution in it throughout the whole process. I usually keep my airlock for fermenter, siphon hoses and other things in it when Im not actually using it. To measure volumes in my brew kettle i use a food grade PVC pipe (instead of a wooden dowel) to measure my kettle volumes. I simply keep the PVC pipe in the sanitizing solution between steps.

Hope that helps a little

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Old 10-22-2009, 04:02 AM   #4
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If you use a sight-glass for measurements that will tell you.

For after-boil - Just subtract like 2% to account for heat expansion if it's that critical. Otherwise, just boil for 60 minutes, chill and put in the fermenter. If you happen to have more than will fit in your carboy and its not a lot just dump it or save it away in the freezer for top-up or as a starter for your next brew.

If you come in low, add distilled water to top off and then bump up your pre-boil volume a little next time.

Be aware - you will find your evaporation rate changes throughout the year and how vigorously you boil.

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Old 10-22-2009, 05:26 AM   #5
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I like the cpvc rod method because you can use it during the boil and after. However, the only method I have at this time is a wooden dowel rod with it's measurements transferred to an old racking cane that I no longer use. The racking cane is easily sanitized and it was easy to transfer the markings onto it by placing the "calibrated" dowel rod next to it.

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Old 10-22-2009, 09:44 AM   #6
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I use a metal yardstick for in the kettle. Then my demijohn (carboy, sorta) is marked off with lines. I filled that with measured amounts of water, then used a sharpie to mark it off. Then used clear packing tape to put over the marks so they don't get washed off. Then I know exactly what ends up in the demijohn, which also helps when it comes to bottling time.

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Old 10-22-2009, 11:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
I use a metal yardstick for in the kettle. Then my demijohn (carboy, sorta) is marked off with lines. I filled that with measured amounts of water, then used a sharpie to mark it off. Then used clear packing tape to put over the marks so they don't get washed off. Then I know exactly what ends up in the demijohn, which also helps when it comes to bottling time.
This is close to what I do. I have a 'calibrated' bamboo skewer to measure volume pre-boil and then I don't measure volume again until it's all in the carboy (which has been marked). Once you get a good feel for your boil-off rate you'll be within a pint or so everytime.

But I'm a bit over-cautious about letting things contact the wort/beer. Unless absolutely necessary I just don't do it. I don't stick a thermometer in it when cooling it...I just feel the side of the pot and when it feels right I move it to the carboy. I never even 'take' hydro samples...I can tell just by observation when it's ready to be racked and 'catch' a sample then. A side benefit is that it's just easier (or lazier depending on how you look at it ).
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:05 PM   #8
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I use a plastic spoon with markings on it. Although, after flame out , there isnt a whole lot you can do anyway, so what are you measuring?

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Old 10-22-2009, 12:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpanishCastleAle View Post
This is close to what I do. I have a 'calibrated' bamboo skewer to measure volume pre-boil and then I don't measure volume again until it's all in the carboy (which has been marked). Once you get a good feel for your boil-off rate you'll be within a pint or so everytime.

But I'm a bit over-cautious about letting things contact the wort/beer. Unless absolutely necessary I just don't do it. I don't stick a thermometer in it when cooling it...I just feel the side of the pot and when it feels right I move it to the carboy. I never even 'take' hydro samples...I can tell just by observation when it's ready to be racked and 'catch' a sample then. A side benefit is that it's just easier (or lazier depending on how you look at it ).
Yeah, same here. I don't stick the measuring stick in there when the boil's done or anything. I figure I'm racking to the demijohn anyway, so just measure in the demijohn using those marks.
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Old 10-22-2009, 02:13 PM   #10
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I bought a 36" stainless steel mixing paddle, it was only $25 or so, and marked it with a Dremel. It works great for mixing up the mash too.

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