30 Gal kettle too much for 5 gal brews? - Home Brew Forums

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Old 07-25-2013, 03:47 AM   #1
Feb 2012
Lacey, WA
Posts: 3

I'm thinking of upgrading my brew setup. It's not going to be cheap and I don't want to have to do it again--so I'm thinking of going 20 gal HLT, 20 gal mash tun and 30 gal kettle (all from stout tanks)

The issue I can't decide on is that I currently do 5 gal AG batches and that's all I think I'll be doing for a while; like I said though, I don't want to have to upgrade again and there is always a chance of wanting to do 10 gallon (likely) or 15 gallon (possible). The issue is that the 30 gallon kettle by my calculations my 8 gallon boil won't reach the thermometer (but who cares--if it's boiling it's hot enough). I just don't know if its too much overkill or what other issues I may get with the larger kettle (ie the cone shaped volume loss). This kettle is 20" diameter while a 20 gallon is 15.75" diameter.

I thought about a 15 HLT, 15 MT, and 20 BK, but the price difference is almost nothing for the HLT and MT and ~$120 for the kettle so really the price isn't an issue in this case (I'll accept shipping changes). Like I said--I want this to bet last home brew kettle purchase so I want to get it right and stay flexible

Found lots of info about the smallest I could do batches with but just a little on the largest I could use...tough problems, right?

Thanks guys!

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Old 07-25-2013, 01:01 PM   #2
rmullins's Avatar
Apr 2007
Long Island
Posts: 378
Liked 7 Times on 6 Posts

You are going to have a few issues.

1. Your boil off rate is going to be much higher for a 5 gallon batch if you are in a 30 gallon kettle
2. Your loss when draining off the kettle is going to be much higher as the amount of dead space beneath the drain is going to be a significant volume relative to your batch size

There are probably more issues, but those first two come to my head first
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:14 AM   #3
Mar 2010
, MT
Posts: 68
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

Yeah I think that's too big a kettle for 5 gallon batches. There is no right answer here. It all boils down (pun intended) to you being realistic with yourself about your brewing plans. If you really truly anticipate doing true 15 gallon batches then get the bigger kettle. Have you considered all the additional costs you will incur stepping up to that size? Fermentation space, pumps, chiller, kegs, etc...

Also, this may not be accurate as I haven't done any calculations, but a 30 gallon kettle seems oversized for 15 gallon batches too. It would work, but you would have the theoretical capacity to brew 20 gallon batches in that 30 gallon kettle, but I think you would be limited by your 20 gallon HLT and MLT. So you would have equipment size mismatch.

Again, it is personal choice, but I'd suggest going 20 gallon across the board and maxing out your finished batch size at 12-13 gallons. With the smaller diameter kettles you can do 5 gallons, but you can easily step up to 10 gallons (just split the batch into two carboys or whatever you ferment in). You can also brew a 12-13 gallon batch and ferment in a sanke keg or 15 gal conical.

If you really see yourself doing 15 gallon batches I'd say spend a little more and get the 30 gal MLT to go with that 30 gal kettle and 20 gal HLT.

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Old 07-26-2013, 09:03 AM   #4
Jul 2010
Albany, NY
Posts: 2,250
Liked 146 Times on 115 Posts

The stout website says the kettles are "coned" and have whirlpool hookups so it might be possible to have less wort loss.

Are you getting rid of your current kettle? Why not just use whichever kettle best suits the batch size?

I also think the mash tun will become the smallest component one day, but really your planning too far out.

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Old 07-26-2013, 05:52 PM   #5
terrapinj's Avatar
Dec 2010
Santa Monica, CA
Posts: 2,415
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how do you chill your wort? you may have a hard time effectively using and Immersion chiller in such a large pot with such a small volume

you may be better off investing in a nice smaller sized pot for now and you should be able to recoup some of the costs if you decide to sell it and upgrade down the road

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Old 07-26-2013, 09:14 PM   #6
J187's Avatar
Jan 2012
, MA
Posts: 851
Liked 96 Times on 74 Posts

Wouldn't scorching be a big concern since there would be like an inch of wort at the bottom of the pan??

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Old 07-26-2013, 10:09 PM   #7
Jun 2010
Posts: 636
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I would easily choose a 30 gal MT to go with a 30 gal kettle. I currently use a 20 gal HLT, 25 gal MT, 25 gal BK and I've used every ounce of that MT. I kinda wish I had a 30 gal MT.

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Old 07-27-2013, 04:47 AM   #8
outside92129's Avatar
Apr 2011
Carlsbad, CA
Posts: 1,224
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I'm voting 15/20/20.

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Old 07-28-2013, 02:38 AM   #9
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Cyclman's Avatar
Jan 2013
Aurora, CO
Posts: 6,212
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The other concern I might have is too shallow a grain bed in a Mash Tun that size with a 5G batch.

I like a kettle 2x the size of the maximum batch, I am not sure that's the big concern here.
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:28 AM   #10
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smokinghole's Avatar
Nov 2009
Lucid Dream Land
Posts: 2,917
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I've been drinking and missed some info. All originally posted is meaningless. 5 gal in a 20" diameter kettle is pretty shallow.
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