Originally Posted by spriolo
I've brewed 10 batches or so and most of them are all grain. My cooler, kettle, and fermentation buckets / carboys have proved to me that about 5.5 gallons is about what I can produce in a single brew day (5 or 6 hours of work).
How do you step up your volume without breaking the bank? I see others comment that they produce 10 and 12 gallons regularly. Does this require a mash tun, kettle, ferment bucket upgrade? all new equipment? or am I missing something with the technique that can save money but still produce 10 and 12 gallon volumes?
What about two turkey fryers, two mash tuns, etc... Is that how you step it up? Same work, just double the steps within the 6 hour brew day?
Well, here is what I would caution. If you are going to step to 10 gallons, you might want to "future proof" yourself a little in case you want to do 15 gallon batches, and so on. Where will you realistically draw the line? That's probably the first question you should ask yourself. I do 10-15 gallon batches and have my equipment such that I can do high gravity 15 gallon batches. This was not by accident. Incremental costs now or full replacement costs later?
The biggest issues & costs are as follows, IMO:
- Brew Kettle (sure, you can brew in a 15.5 gal Sanke but you will top off at about a 12.5-13 gallon batch size with that.) & HLT. I have a 15 gal HLT and a 20 gal brew kettle. This is where you can't easily reuse HLT for kettle, IMO. You could capture wort in several secondary buckets/vessels and then recombine into your HLT/kettle, I suppose.
- MT - even for 15 gal batches you can use a big rectangular cooler. I have a copper manifold and sparge arm but you could certainly do something simpler.
- I use a single Turkey Fryer burner and need only 1. If I had a semi-automated system and everything was pump driven (a goal of mine at some point), then I would probably need 2 burners, but for now it's not needed.
Biggest cost CAN be the fermentation vessels. You can piece things together here and there for the other stuff, but really, with the sanitary requirements of the ferm vessel, this is where some people go crazy. I have a 14.5 gal conical, a whole gaggle of carboys/kegs. I think the sanke keg as a ferm vessel is about as easy as it gets and can be done relatively cheaply with a craigslist score and tri-clover style mod kit.
Temp control is important for all size batches, but obviously as you do larger batches, you need larger "temp controlled spaces"...
Yes, it is a rat hole of expenses and projects and DIY, but for many of us that go down the path, that's 90% of the fun!