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Old 10-05-2011, 07:26 AM   #1
subliminalurge
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Oct 2006
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So I've finally made a firm decision to make the jump to all-grain. I have one 10 gallon rubbermaid cooler purchased, and was thinking about buying another this weekend, along with placing an order for the hardware to convert them to MT and HLT.

Then it occured to me that they'd do me no good until I upgrade my boiling setup. My current gear can do a 5 gallon extract batch, but not a 5 gallon all-grain. So I need a burner and brew kettle. Going to get a good turkey fryer kit as a "starter" burner, but have no idea what to do about a boil kettle.

I can't afford to go "high end", but I also don't want to waste money on garbage that I'll be upgrading within a year.

Long story short, what size kettle should I be looking at that will be big enough to move to 10 gallons when I'm ready, but not "too big" to do 5 gallon batches? Basically, I want any new purchases to be capable of both size batches. My intention is to move to 10 gallons, but I'll be stuck at 5 for awhile until I make some upgrades through the entire pipeline. And, unfortunately, money is very much a consideration these days.

I'm thinking 60 quart, but all of my googling returns all kinds of conflicting opinions.

Would appreciate suggestions, as well as the reasoning behind them.

 
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:39 AM   #2
Nohup
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The way I decided on my setup was to work backwards.

For a 10 gallon batch, I want to put 11 gallons in the fermenters.
(11 gallon boil-kettle needed)

I always leave about half a gallon of wort and "stuff" in the boil kettle.
(11.5 gallon boil kettle needed)

I boil off as much as 2 gallons depending on a recipe/boil time/temperature/etc.
(13.5 gallon boil kettle needed)

now, add in foam-up from that evil first hop addition, plus a good safety margin, and I decided on a 15 gallon pot for my 5 and 10 gallon batches.

It's been good to me so far, only had one boil-over ever.

I think if I had to do it again, I'd look for an even slightly bigger pot. Boil-overs are such an irritation, and another 1-2 gallon margin would make them a non-issue. 20 gallon seems like a waste though. And you might run into unforseen issues doing 5 gallons in a pot that big

I see you're trying to do this for as little cash as possible, (good decision) have you considered a keggle for a brew-pot? They' do 5 and 10 gallon batches just fine.

Oh, and a final note about going to 10 gallon. A blichmann burner really helped me get going with the bigger batches. Make sure your burner can get things hot enough fast enough for you.

 
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:45 AM   #3
EdWort
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I brew 5 gallon batches in an 8 gallon kettle.

10 gallon batches in a 15 gallon Keggle.

15 gallon batches in a 20 gallon Blingmann.

 
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:27 PM   #4
Bobby_M
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15 gallons is minimum for 10 gallon batches because they are really 11 gallon batches with a preboil volume of nearly 13 gallons. That's a pretty close threshold at initial hot break time.
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:34 PM   #5
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Agree, 15 gallon kettle for a 10 gallon batch. Fermcap will be your best friend also.
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:45 PM   #6
bmbigda
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i brew both 5 and 10 gallon batches in the same kettle. it's a 20 gallon aluminum stock pot

http://www.google.com/m/products/det...70605997#prd:o

most people buy these on ebay. i was able to find a good deal locally at a restaurant supply store

 
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
15 gallons is minimum for 10 gallon batches because they are really 11 gallon batches with a preboil volume of nearly 13 gallons. That's a pretty close threshold at initial hot break time.
yea. this is why i went with 20 gal. you don't need to stand there like a hawk watching for boil over.

 
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:27 PM   #8
LordUlrich
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I would try for a 20 gal pot. While they are more expensive you will want to upgrade later so why spend the money twice? Going all grain will help keep your costs lower and pay for itself eventually...especially if you buy base grain in bulk
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:38 PM   #9
damnitbeavis
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Brewing multiple batch sizes can be problematic if you use an immersion chiller. consider that a 5 gallon batch in a 20 gallon pot will only have a small amount of the chiller submerged. This problem goes away if you use a plate or counterflow chiller, but then you introduce extra complexity to your system, and may not make any better beer (although some will argue for the superiority of one method over another, I think immersion chillers work best for homebrewing, because they are easy to COMPLETELY sanitize, and chill fast if properly constructed.)

I do 30 gallon batches in a ~45 gallon kettle
I do 15 gallon batches in a 26 gallon morebeer kettle
I do 10 gallon batches in a 20 gallon stout tanks kettle
I have done 10 gallon batches in a converted keggle (15.5gallons) which worked well for me at the time, but you have to watch more closely for boil overs. This is a cheap way to be able to make 5 or 10 gallon batches, and I would recommend looking into this.

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Old 10-05-2011, 07:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damnitbeavis View Post
Brewing multiple batch sizes can be problematic if you use an immersion chiller. consider that a 5 gallon batch in a 20 gallon pot will only have a small amount of the chiller submerged. This problem goes away if you use a plate or counterflow chiller, but then you introduce extra complexity to your system, and may not make any better beer (although some will argue for the superiority of one method over another, I think immersion chillers work best for homebrewing, because they are easy to COMPLETELY sanitize, and chill fast if properly constructed.)

I do 30 gallon batches in a ~45 gallon kettle
I do 15 gallon batches in a 26 gallon morebeer kettle
I do 10 gallon batches in a 20 gallon stout tanks kettle
I have done 10 gallon batches in a converted keggle (15.5gallons) which worked well for me at the time, but you have to watch more closely for boil overs. This is a cheap way to be able to make 5 or 10 gallon batches, and I would recommend looking into this.

This is why I do 5-10 gallon batches in a 15 gallon kettle, 15-25 gallon batches in a 30 gallon kettle and 25-40 gallon batches in a 55 gallon kettle. And I use a plate chiller so it does not make a difference.
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Its nice when you and your friends have comparable equipment.
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some people will tap anything that has a hole.
Buy Two Fisted Brewing gear

 
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