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Old 12-21-2012, 02:23 PM   #1
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Default Moving to Full Boil... Kettle Help

The wife is having a hard time holiday shopping for me. Last night, I think she gave up. She told me to order up a few things and we'll pretend that she picked them out. Of course, my mind went straight to equipment!

Have been enjoying brewing up a few extract kits (all partial boil) in your basic 5-gallon kettle. I didn't order Fermcap, so I've been relegated to sitting at the stove for an hour while it boils away. I did try to walk away once to use the bathroom, and as Murphy's Law easily predicted, I had a small boilover.

Looking to invest in a bigger kettle so that I can go full boil and so I don't have to watch it every second. An 8- or 10-gallon seems to fit the bill. I don't plan to ever go above 5 gallon batches. A ball valve, thermometer and screen sure would be nice.

Prices feel crazy high to me everywhere I look. Is there a good place to find quality kettles a little cheaper than what NB and the like sell them for, or should I just bite the bullet on this one?

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Old 12-21-2012, 02:50 PM   #2
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You have quite a few options. When I started out I bought a turkey fryer kit. Yes its aluminum but will allow you to do a full boil and the burner will bring the water to a boil much quicker than a stove top. Then later you can make a keggle or purchase a bigger ss kettle if you desire. I think getting the propane burner was a great addition for me as I would hate trying to brew in my kitchen. If you do go with a fryer kit make sure you boil water first at the level you will be brewing at to treat it, and never use oxyclean on it

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Old 12-21-2012, 03:35 PM   #3
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Here are my thoughts..... The pot will pretty much last you forever. If you only do 5 gal batches get a 15 gal pot. You can do big beers with it, boil overs are easily controlled and you can still do small - med 10 gal batches with it if you ever wanted to. Spend a little extra money on the pot and get something decent. Don't have to go all out (Blichmann), just get an alumn one that has a valve & sight glass at least.....

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Old 12-21-2012, 03:39 PM   #4
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While you can sneak by with a 10 gallon for session brews a 15 gallon will serve you well for many years and bigger beers.

One important note you very seriously need to consider-unless you have some amazing high octane stove you will have almost no chance of getting a full volume boil going on a kitchen stove and will have to consider going with an outdoor propane burner or invest in an electric immersion heater to help the stove out and even that may not do it.

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Old 12-21-2012, 03:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by WhiteEagle1 View Post
Here are my thoughts..... The pot will pretty much last you forever. If you only do 5 gal batches get a 15 gal pot. You can do big beers with it, boil overs are easily controlled and you can still do small - med 10 gal batches with it if you ever wanted to. Spend a little extra money on the pot and get something decent. Don't have to go all out (Blichmann), just get an alumn one that has a valve & sight glass at least.....
Yeah. I understand. Seems like I'm going to get pushed outdoors. See post below shortly.
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Old 12-21-2012, 03:58 PM   #6
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While you can sneak by with a 10 gallon for session brews a 15 gallon will serve you well for many years and bigger beers.

One important note you very seriously need to consider-unless you have some amazing high octane stove you will have almost no chance of getting a full volume boil going on a kitchen stove and will have to consider going with an outdoor propane burner or invest in an electric immersion heater to help the stove out and even that may not do it.
Funny you should mention that. I thought of it right after I posted. Can the range put out enough heat to boil 5 gallons?

Only having a 5 gallon pot, I put 4 gallons in it, lit the biggest boil burner, and cranked it up to 'Hi'.



Took a picture of the clock so I could figure out how long it took.



I put a lid on it and walked away for a bit. Came back to find it just starting to steam up. 2 minutes later, it was a very full roiling boil.



32 minutes. Not too bad. From the boil it looks like I could handle 5 gallons. Anything more, who knows. This is on a 17k BTU burner. Moved it to the back 14k BTU burner. It barely maintained a boil. Looks like too much over 5 gallons of water and the big one would probably be unable to boil too. The good news is that I determined I can run all 4 circular burners (17k, 10k, 8k, 5k) and the oval griddle burner (10k) simultaneously on full without maxing out the gas line (total 49k BTU). Had to crank the hood up to 740 CFM to handle the heat though.

I don't want to put tons of wear on the wife's new stove. Think I'll have to move outside. I just put a Bayou Classic SQ14 burner in my cart. Will be getting in touch with a guy who welds keggles and planning a stopover during a roadtrip next weekend.
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Old 12-21-2012, 04:11 PM   #7
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I use a 13 gallon tamale pot I got at the Mexican supermarket for $40. It's aluminum, and it works very well for 5 gallon batches. I do wish I had a couple more gallons capacity so I could boil for a 10 gal batch.

It's all personal preference as to material. I would get at least 10 gal pot though, it gives plenty of headspace for a full boil. Remember, you will be boiling around 7 gallons for a 5 gal batch. 8 gal pot doesn't leave much wiggle room, although I'm sure others do it with success. For me, I don't like worrying about boilovers.

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Old 12-21-2012, 04:13 PM   #8
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That's pretty good but keep in mind you cannot boil wort with a lid on and wort is a lot denser than water so what worked with water may not necessarily work with wort. Besides, for a full boil you will be using at least 6-6.5 gallons of water to account for boil off on a 5 gallon batch, BTW, nice stove

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Old 12-21-2012, 04:14 PM   #9
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Also, check amazon.com. I have seen restaurant quality pots for reasonable prices.

And as others have said, turkey fryers are wonderful, as long as the pot is big enough.

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Old 12-21-2012, 04:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by wickman6 View Post
I use a 13 gallon tamale pot I got at the Mexican supermarket for $40. It's aluminum, and it works very well for 5 gallon batches. I do wish I had a couple more gallons capacity so I could boil for a 10 gal batch.

It's all personal preference as to material. I would get at least 10 gal pot though, it gives plenty of headspace for a full boil. Remember, you will be boiling around 7 gallons for a 5 gal batch. 8 gal pot doesn't leave much wiggle room, although I'm sure others do it with success. For me, I don't like worrying about boilovers.
Yeah, boilovers. No thanks. Another reason pointing me towards a Keggle.
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