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Old 11-08-2012, 05:57 PM   #1
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Default Advice for a growing my home brewery

I've been brewing for a couple of months now and am pretty certain that this is something that I want to do as much as possible for as long as I can. Knowing that, I'm looking to expand my equipment in a logical way that will keep me from buying pieces that will be useless to me in a year or a few years.

So far I've done partial boil extract kits/recipes and a couple of BIAB one gallon recipes. I want to start doing full boils for five gallon batches, and know that I'll go all-grain at some point, but not for a little while.

We are hosting Thanksgiving this year and have decided to fry a turkey. Good news for me because we now need a burner and a larger kettle. I only have a four gallon pot and a two gallon pot currently.

So what size kettle should I buy? I'm thinking 7.5 to 8 gallons should be good for five gallon batches. Is there any need for anything larger considering that I'll move to all-grain at some point? I don't see myself doing ten gallon batches at any time.

As far as the burner goes, I'm thinking Bayou Classic right now. As sweet as the Blichmann looks, I can't see me frying a turkey on something that nice. I wouldn't want to get grease all over it. If I ever get to a tiered system with multiple burners then a Blichmann will definitely be in order.

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Old 11-08-2012, 06:13 PM   #2
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An 8 gallon BK should be just fine. And an extra LP tank just in case you run out during a boil.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:15 PM   #3
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An 8 gallon BK should be just fine. And an extra LP tank just in case you run out during a boil.
definitely extra propane tank. i ran out once. never again.

8 gallon kettle is plenty for most 5gal batches. might consider a good cooler for when you move to all-grain.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:22 PM   #4
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I would say at least eight gallon and I would look for a good stainless pot with a thick bottom for even heat.
Now that you've made it this far, you are probably going to be continuously shopping for a long time.
I just ordered an o2 system and I'm keeping my eye out for some kegs to make bigger pots out of.
Going to have a grain mill pretty soon too.
No more buying 2 or 3 batches of beer worth of milled grain when I get to the city.
Fresh milled everytime after that.

I would also say that I would shop for a hotter burner than the turkey fryer typically comes with.
Mine is 188,000 BTU. You would be fine with a turkey fryer burner but being able to crank it up more get your water temperature faster.

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Old 11-08-2012, 06:22 PM   #5
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Keep in mind that, at some point, you may come across a recipe that will call for a 90 or 120 minute boil (say, something wil a large % of pilsner malt, or something where you want to get a little carmelization going on). 8 gallons might not quite do the job, in that case. If you can make it fit your budget, you'll never regret going with a 10 gallon kettle.

As an alternative, you can always stick with the 7-8 gallon and, when you are ready to go all grain, make that your HLT and then go with a larger brew kettle if you find the 7-8 gallon kettle limiting.

Absolutely agreed on the extra propane tank! I'm considering a third, mostly so I can hook up a blower heater in the garage in the winter!

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Old 11-08-2012, 06:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stratslinger View Post
Keep in mind that, at some point, you may come across a recipe that will call for a 90 or 120 minute boil (say, something wil a large % of pilsner malt, or something where you want to get a little carmelization going on). 8 gallons might not quite do the job, in that case. If you can make it fit your budget, you'll never regret going with a 10 gallon kettle.
+1

A couple other things that are personal preference for me - I hate having to watch the brew kettle like a hawk for boilovers. I also want to get full kegs of finished beer, and I do a lot of brews with big hop additions which sucks up a lot of wort. To get 5 or 10 gallons in the keg finished I always tailor the recipe to a higher end boil volume. For these reasons I like to go with bigger kettles. I also think if you decide to stick with BIAB you will appreciate the extra room.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:33 PM   #7
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I have a 10 gallon pot and am happy that I went with it. Just so I don't ever have to buy another one. I'm never going to be a 10 gallon or 15 gallon a batch guy, I will never need that capacity. You can probably get them ported at your LHBS or just buy one already done. Make sure the thermometer, if you get one, is lower than halfway up, because if you're doing 5 gallon batches, it'll stick out of the water.

For your burner, I'd suggest getting the circular bayou classic burner, the one with the little holes in the top. It's seen in the Bayou Classic SQ14. It is a much better burner than the little one without holes.

Are you a DIY guy? Check out the homemade cooler thread and get started on that. Best investment I've made for 50 bucks. Here's the link to that thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/chea...version-23008/ It's easy and it works great.

Extra propane tank sure.

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Old 11-08-2012, 06:33 PM   #8
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I have a 7.5-8 gal stainless brewpot with thin bottom.
FWIW
I have done only one batch now but already want a larger pot with a thicker bottom.

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Old 11-08-2012, 06:35 PM   #9
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Sorry I just can't buy into the 8 gallon pot. I do 5 gallon batches in a 9 gallon pot from homebrewing.org and I wish it was bigger. The challenge is getting 5 gallons into a keg, not 4 not 4.5. That means you have to get 5.25 gallons into the fermenter, and accounting for kettle losses and boiloff that means (depending upon your setup) 6 to 6.25 gallon recipes to start with. That means you could easily be at 7.5 gallons to start the boil. I started off with 8 gallons the other day. Fermcap is your friend in preventing boilovers, but extra room in the kettle would be better.

I say go with 10 gallon kettle minimum for 5 gallon batches.

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Old 11-08-2012, 06:35 PM   #10
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I have a 9gal kettle which I like but I kinda wish I have a 10 to 12 for those 90min boils. I think 10 would be perfect but mine works pretty well on its own.

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