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Old 10-13-2010, 02:19 PM   #1
salanry
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Default Brew Kettle Size

What is the ideal size for a brew kettle. This is my first batch and I have been told that 12 qts is fine but someone else told me to go with the 20 qt just in case it boils up. I already have a 12 qt vat and would prefer not spending $60 on a new kettle. Thoughts? Suggestions?

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Old 10-13-2010, 02:36 PM   #2
Justibone
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The closer to a "full boil", that is, boiling the volume you intend to ferment, the better.

However, if you have a 12 qt on hand, and you think you may be upgrading to a 10 gal. (or larger) kettle in the future, there's no need to get a 20 qt. now.

It really all depends on how this hobby grows on you, and what direction you choose. For now, use what you've got.

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Old 10-13-2010, 03:04 PM   #3
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12qts is quite small IMHO unless you're doing smaller batches. If you're looking to do 5 gallon batches and sticking with extract or partial mashing for a while I'd suggest at least 16qts (your local department store will probably carry this). If you're looking to eventually do all-grain and can afford it, consider a bigger kettle now. Perhaps something at least 32qts. Watch Craigslist and check out stores like restaurant supply shops, Goodwills, etc.

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Old 10-13-2010, 03:40 PM   #4
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I have a 50 Qt/12.5 gallon kettle and I can manage to pull off 10 gallon batches with a little fudging.

I get 10 gallons boiling in the kettle and the last 2.5 gallons of my final runnings to a simmer in my HLT. As the kettle evaporates, I add wort from the HLT. By my 20 minute hop addition, I have all the wort in the kettle and end up with a little over 10 gallons into the fermenters.

That being said, I will get a 60 Qt pot soon and use my 50 Qt as a HLT.

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Old 10-13-2010, 04:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salanry View Post
What is the ideal size for a brew kettle. This is my first batch and I have been told that 12 qts is fine but someone else told me to go with the 20 qt just in case it boils up. I already have a 12 qt vat and would prefer not spending $60 on a new kettle. Thoughts? Suggestions?
For a partial boil with all extract, you should be fine, but during the boil you can't walk away from it. It knows when you walk away. Pee before you start the boil. If you are using specialty grains for steeping, you may want to use a second pot to do that in. Putting a pound or two of bagged grain into 12 quarts of thick wort may take more from the wort than it puts in. Make sense?
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:24 PM   #6
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12qt might not be ideal but it should work, I'd use it for your first batch and then you will have a better idea of what size if you want to upgrade. There are food grade silicon based foam inhibitors like Fermcap-S and five star defoamer which can be very helpful in stopping boil-overs if you are pushing your kettle volume to the limit.

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Old 10-13-2010, 05:28 PM   #7
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If you do go with a bigger kettle for a full boil, my 2c is to go with at least 10 gal capacity. My LHBS convinced me 8 gal would be fine, and it really isn't, it takes painful micromanagement of the hot break.

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Old 10-13-2010, 05:48 PM   #8
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I do three gallon boils in a 16 quart pot and you do have to watch it like a hawk when it first comes to a boil. I do wish I had bought the 24 quart pot for the same three gallon boil. (Had the choice of the 16 or the 24 at Sam's Club, commercial quality heavy gauge aluminum pots, the 16 was about $25 and the 24 was about $32, great buys I thought).

One thing to bear in mind is the capacity of your stove to boil large amounts of liquid, even with a gallon of preheated liquid from steeping specialty grains it takes three gallons of wort at least half an hour to come to a full boil on my electric range.

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Old 11-18-2010, 02:48 PM   #9
salanry
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I never got to thank everyone for their advice. I need to be better about staying active on this site. I took the advice of getting a 5 gallon kettle and it worked great. My first batch was bottled on Monday and I am going to begin my second tonight. It is an Irish Stout, perfect for the cold months ahead.
I am considering a turkey frying kit in the future though.
Thanks everyone!

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Old 11-18-2010, 04:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salanry View Post
I never got to thank everyone for their advice. I need to be better about staying active on this site. I took the advice of getting a 5 gallon kettle and it worked great. My first batch was bottled on Monday and I am going to begin my second tonight. It is an Irish Stout, perfect for the cold months ahead.
I am considering a turkey frying kit in the future though.
Thanks everyone!
If you decide to go the turkey fryer route, check out Academy sports. You can get pretty good deals on fryers and pots. I really like the 30 qt pot I bought there.
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