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Old 04-06-2007, 05:46 AM   #1
Bokonon
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So I'm gearing up to go all grain, but I've only been doing extract + steeping lately. I just got my immersion chiller all together and did a dry run to check my boiling times and chilling times. I've got a pretty generic turkey fryer setup with a 30qt aluminum pot. The burner looks like its about one of the 55k btu burners I've seen other posts with.

My big question is do I have a big enough kettle to go all grain with. I did a sample run from boiling for 30min to chilled (80degF) tonight starting with 6gal of water and ending with 5.25gal. To come out with about 5gal of wort to put into the primary I extrapolated that I need to start with about 6.5gal which puts it pretty close to the top and in serious jeopardy of boilover.

Is it fessible to boil 6.5gal in a 7.5gal pot without a boilover happening? I've been working my way up and my last batch started with 4gal and I was able to keep it from boiling over by stiring and spraying it with cold water.

I did my sample run in a worst case scenario with the lid completely off, I'm sure if I tried with the lid partially on I could minimize the evaporation.

Eventually I'll end up with a larger kettle but considering what I've spent on all my gear so far its going to be a few months before I can justify to my SWMBO the extra purchase.

James

 
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Old 04-06-2007, 12:23 PM   #2
Lil' Sparky
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You can do it - I did for quite a while, but you really gotta watch it, or it'll boil over in a hurry. When you start seeing hot break, stir a lot, keep a spray bottle close, and keep the heat down.

One thing I started doing was to get the boil going with a little less than full volume, and after the hot break subsided I'd add the rest of the wort slowly.

 
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Old 04-06-2007, 12:34 PM   #3
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I have a 30 quart pot for boiling also. One thing I did was start boiling my first runnings. Once this gets a hot break you can add the second runnings to the pot to bring the volume up. This reduces the chance of a hot break boiling over as much of your wort has already had its break. I think perhaps first wort hops also helped.
Those 30 quart turkey fryers are just so cheap that it is very tempting. However I think I will have to upgrade to at least a 32 quart or bigger SS pot and a banjo burner sometime this summer. I am currently borrowing my parents new burner and pot but they will want to use it for canning come late summer, so I will have to get my own.
Craig

 
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Old 04-06-2007, 02:29 PM   #4
Bokonon
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Thanks everyone. In the next week or two I'll give it a try and see how it goes. I'm sure a larger kettle is in my future, I'm just not sure when.

 
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Old 04-07-2007, 06:45 AM   #5
mew
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Aren't you supposed to skim off the hot break rather than letting it boil back into the wort?
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Old 04-07-2007, 07:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mew
Aren't you supposed to skim off the hot break rather than letting it boil back into the wort?
This is a whole separate topic, and you'll probably find much debate surrounding it. In short, skimming can't hurt, but it also won't remove all of the break material. There are some cases where it's nearly impossible to skim at all (first wort hopping, for instance). If you'd like more opinions on skimming the foam created during the formation of the hot break, I suggest starting another thread.

To the OP - I routinely boil at nearly the maximum capacity of my brew kettle without incident. You just have to watch carefully until the first sign of a boilover. Once you control the initial foaming (usually associated with hot break formation), you can relax a little more.
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