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Old 01-16-2013, 05:21 AM   #1
Leighton
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Default Setting Up to Eventually Upgrade to All Grain

I'm building my initial set up to easily upgrade from extract to all grain, but I have a couple of questions. First of all, I've been told that if I plan to eventually brew 10 gallon batches that I should buy a 20 gallon pot to leave room for high gravity beers such as barley wines. I also need to worry about having a strike/sparge pot that is big enough to work with that.

So, I'm thinking about making my first kettle a reasonable priced 15 gallon, that I can upgrade to a nice 20 gallon once I'm comfortable. Does that seem reasonable?

Also, is a second burner something I will need when I eventually upgrade?

Thanks for the help.


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Old 01-16-2013, 06:47 AM   #2
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Well a big beer doesn't need a big boil kettle, but you could be looking at some boils being 90 minutes and with the boil off you need extra room, plus you want to have a bigger batch than what you want so that you leave some with the yeast cake, then you need room to boil without a mess.
20 gallons would be the best bet.
15 should work though for a while.
It's certainly good enough for getting the strike water going and for sparge water.

I would like to upgrade to 10 gallons some day. Just lots of money between here and there.

Are you planning on direct firing the mash or a mash tun like the coleman?
I don't know what you would use for an insulated cooler for a mash tun for 10 gallon batches of anything but low gravity beers so probably direct fire and then a second burner.
You are doing it right though. Buy equipment that works for when you upgrade later.
If you start with a large pot, you can use it in the future and in the mean time you can figure out exactly what you want your system to be so you can buy the appropriate gear to get there.


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Old 01-16-2013, 03:24 PM   #3
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You don't think a 10 gallon cooler would work as a mash tun for a brew that size? That's what I was planning on doing. Maybe I should just go with a 15 gallon and plan to just stick with five gallons if I'm going high gravity.

Would a 10 gallon pot be big enough for a strike/sparge if my brew kettle was 15 gallons?
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:21 PM   #4
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I brew 10 gallon batches in a 15.5 gallon keggle. I've done a few barleywines, and might not be able to go 10 gallons in the 15.5 gallon pot, but I can easily do 8-8.5 gallon batches. Nothing says you HAVE to do 5/10/15 gallon batches, everything is divisible. You can always just make up the volume post-mash in the sparge water as well, if you really have to have 10.0 gallons, no biggie.

The reason I would NOT buy a 20 gallon kettle is that is is difficult to work with 5 gallon batches in that large of a kettle, IMO. If more than 50% of your batches are going to be 10+ gallons, a 20 gallon kettle would make sense, but about 75% of my batches are 5 gallons, and I only do about 5-6 larger batches a year.

I have both a 15.5 gallon keggle and a 11 gallon Bayou Classic pot, and have never run into any issues with producing 10 gallon batches. I also only have one set of fittings, and just swap fittings out between the two kettles.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:00 PM   #5
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If you gonna make a barley wine just get what you can with the grain and add a couple lbs of dme.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
I brew 10 gallon batches in a 15.5 gallon keggle. I've done a few barleywines, and might not be able to go 10 gallons in the 15.5 gallon pot, but I can easily do 8-8.5 gallon batches. Nothing says you HAVE to do 5/10/15 gallon batches, everything is divisible. You can always just make up the volume post-mash in the sparge water as well, if you really have to have 10.0 gallons, no biggie.

The reason I would NOT buy a 20 gallon kettle is that is is difficult to work with 5 gallon batches in that large of a kettle, IMO. If more than 50% of your batches are going to be 10+ gallons, a 20 gallon kettle would make sense, but about 75% of my batches are 5 gallons, and I only do about 5-6 larger batches a year.

I have both a 15.5 gallon keggle and a 11 gallon Bayou Classic pot, and have never run into any issues with producing 10 gallon batches. I also only have one set of fittings, and just swap fittings out between the two kettles.
This is the information I've been wanting to hear. Thank you.

So you think if I start with a 10 gallon economy kettle, and when I upgrade to 15 I can turn that in my sparge pot without an issue?
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:14 PM   #7
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I boil 5.5 and 11 gallon batches in my 20 gallon boilermaker and it works fine for me. Even when I do 11 gallon batches there is almost no chance of a boilover. For 10 gallon batches, I'd suggest a 15 gallon mash tun. For 10 gallon batches anything over OG 1.060 there might not be enough room in a 10 gallon mash tun.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
So you think if I start with a 10 gallon economy kettle, and when I upgrade to 15 I can turn that in my sparge pot without an issue?
Yes, this is the route I think most people take. As long as you aren't concerned about the aesthetics of the pots being mismatched, you're good. They will be 100% funtional in those roles.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
Yes, this is the route I think most people take. As long as you aren't concerned about the aesthetics of the pots being mismatched, you're good. They will be 100% funtional in those roles.
I just wanted to make sure that I would have enough room in a 10 gallon pot to work with the 15. Usually aesthetic issues like that bother the hell out of me, but I don't think it will in this case.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Usually aesthetic issues like that bother the hell out of me, but I don't think it will in this case.
I think most people go this route, then their next big upgrade is matching the pots to get the bling factor Doesn't bother me, though, I've used the same mismatched pots for two years !!

Good luck!


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