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Old 01-04-2012, 06:46 PM   #1
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Default Partial boil to full boil kettle size

Hello all! I've been a beer enthuthiast for a while and am finally taking that leap of faith into making my own. Combined with perusing this forum and reading a little on the subject, many of my questions have thankfully been answered so let me start with this:

I am starting basic and working my way up as I gain more experience and knowledge (and funding) so for now I am sticking with a partial boil from most likely a Brewers Best kit. I need to purchase a kettle and from alot of what I have read on here bigger is the way to go especially since I will eventually graduate to full boils and all grains. The price difference between the pots aren't astronomical so I pose this question:

What size kettle would work for a partial 2.5 gal being heated on an electric stove top and also work well for a 5 gal full boil on a later purchased LP burner?

I guess I'm just worried about having too big of a pot for my stove top but at the same time I don't want to get something that works great for the partial but leaves me struggling with a full because of boil over and capacity. Would a 32 quart or 40 quart suffice?

Thanks in advance for the help!

Mason



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Old 01-04-2012, 06:53 PM   #2
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I'm using a 30qt stainless steel brew kettle at the moment. Only two brews in & have only done full boils. The first was on an electric stove top & it was long & painful but turned out okay thus far. the second was on an LP burner & went much more according to plan.

30qt should be fine for partial on a stove top but save yourself the trouble & move to LP when you start full boils. Personally I wouldn't go any smaller & would even consider at 10g pot if I had to choose again. Use multiple burners if heat distribution is an issue.



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Old 01-04-2012, 06:55 PM   #3
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I wouldn't go smaller than 32 quarts. Depending on how you want to transfer out of the kettle, you're going to leave a fair amount of wort behind. The pre-boil volume is obviously the biggest problem. I would honestly buy as large as you can afford. I want to make the move to a 1/2bbl keggle.

As far as the stove top.. it's takes too damn long to get a good boil on an electric range. I'd just see what works with your heating elements. Personally I wouldn't go smaller than a 5 gallon stock pot, but also I wouldn't ever be doing it in the first place either.

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Old 01-04-2012, 06:58 PM   #4
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I recently went from partial boils to full boils, and went from a 30qt to a 40qt pot. If yor stove will accomodate the larger pot, I would go with it. Actually, on the last three batches, I steeped the grains in the 30qt on the stove, while heating the rest of the water in the 40qt on the propane burner in the garage. Saved some time.

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Old 01-04-2012, 06:59 PM   #5
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I would go all the way and get a 10 gallon as well. The one thing that you would want to check is if it fits on your stovetop. But a 10 gallon will work for partial boil, full boil and you can even try your hand at all grain Brew in A Bag with a 10 gallon pot and a cheap scrap of curtain. Happy Brewing!

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Old 01-04-2012, 07:03 PM   #6
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Also, have you thought about temperature control during fermentation? Very important aspect. There are numerous threads regarding the topic.

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Old 01-04-2012, 10:03 PM   #7
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Wow, thanks guys for all the quick response! I don't think I'll ever attempt a full boil on my stove top after reading what a pain in the butt it is for most people on the stove top. I know getting the partial boil to a rolling boil won't be a problem as the volume of 2.5 gals shouldn't take too long to get going.

My main concern was fitting a big brew pot on my stove and still getting a good even heat. I don't want to buy small and need bigger later. I am definitely going big now. My next question would be to those who recommend a 9 or 10 gals:

Why so big if I plan on doing 5 gallon full boil? I know I'll need to make up for the evaporation and still leave room so I won't deal with boil over but is that big needed for that?

As far as the fermenting- I've read many o' threads on the different temp control problem and solutions and neat DIY projects. I'll need to open a whole new thread on that when it comes time for that ad I still do have questions.

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Old 01-04-2012, 10:13 PM   #8
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2.5 gal partial buy a 5 gal pot
5 gal full boil smallest i would go is a 7gal pot

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Old 01-04-2012, 11:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mase View Post
Why so big if I plan on doing 5 gallon full boil? I know I'll need to make up for the evaporation and still leave room so I won't deal with boil over but is that big needed for that?
Look at it this way...I basically brew 6 gallon batches. When I'm done boiling, there is about 6 gallons of wort left. Of that, I transfer about 5.5 gallons to the carboy, leaving behind about .5 gallons of break material etc. When I bottle/keg, I leave about another .5 gallons behind in an attempt to get clearer beer. So, to end up with 5 gallons, you really need to start with about 6 gallons of wort. To end up with 6 gallons of wort, you probably need to start your boil with about 7-7.5 gallons. You can see, if you get an 8 gallon kettle, you only have .5 gallons of extra space and its pretty easy to boil over. The 10 gallon leaves you plenty of room.

Also, do keep the fermentation temperature control in mind. I think keeping fermentation temps controlled will help with the end product more than a full boil.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:47 PM   #10
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Good rule of thumb: if you can swing it, buy a pot that is double the volume of the maximum amount of liquid you would ever want to boil in it.



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