Advice on choosing equipment

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I want to generally make 10 gallon finished batches. I'm planning to build a nice HERMS system but I'm new to automation, electric, and HERMS. My existing setup is 15 gallon keggles on a three-tier gravity stand with propane. I generally make ales in the 5-7% ABV range.

First question: Do I need 20 gallon kettles or will 15 gallons do? Thanks all!
 

gnor

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?? You are using 3V keggles, don't you know the limitation of 15 gallon kettle?? Not saying that 15 gallon kettle can't handle 10 gallon batch with 5-7% ABV. Just wondering why you are asking a question which you have had the experience already.
 

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Chris Branuelas
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?? You are using 3V keggles, don't you know the limitation of 15 gallon kettle?? Not saying that 15 gallon kettle can't handle 10 gallon batch with 5-7% ABV. Just wondering why you are asking a question which you have had the experience already.
I do know kegs hold 15 Gallons but I am asking for advice on buying new equipment.
 
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Chris Branuelas
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15 gallon will be tight. I use a keggle for boil. Eventually I’ll go with 2 more and jump to electric.
Check out the https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/...denser-no-overhead-ventilation-needed.636955/ thread. That’ll help with boil overs. Check out The Electric Brewery. Also cruise through the electric forum. Lots of good stuff there. There are multiple ways to go about switching to electric.
Cheers
Thank you very much for the links and information. I am tempted to move up to 20 gallons on the chance that I would do a higher gravity beer
 

AkTom

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That’s a good plan. I usually make 5 gallon batches with an occasional 10 gallon. The “recommendation” is kettle twice the size of finished product. I have to watch my 10 gallon batches close. I also need to get some fermcap to help reduce foaming during the boil. I like my keggle, so I’ll keep it. Brewing is like drinking. Drink what you like, brew how you like, in whatever you like.
 

augiedoggy

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The traditional "recommendation" is really also for traditional propane or gas burners.

I use 16 gallon bayou kettles for my mash and HLT and a 15 gallon bayou for my BK and mainly brew 10.5 gallon brews with the occasional 5.5g. I see no issues at all with this and would not want bigger kettles which would make 5.5g brews more difficult.

I do use electric and the rules between electric and propane or gas where control is very sloppy and theres no way to quickly control the heat to prevent boil overs like electric. with gas I would go with 20 g since the tri ply bottom work against you by holding heat in a potential boil over situation. you also are guessing more or less at heat applied so its difficult to find the speet spot to avoid it all together like you can do with electric.

I used to brew 10 gallon with an 11 gallon ballington pot for a year or so and it worked ok because I had a 4500w element and started the boil at like 60% power.. never had a boilover but there was a 10 minute period where I sometimes had to switch off the element and stir for a few second to clear up the hot break and then it would subside for the rest of the boil

also tall narrow kettles (like your keggle) are superior for more headspace and more forgiving for multiple things vs the cheaper wider kettles like the concords where the boil will be less efficient and boiloff will be higher with less depth of liquid in the kettle for smaller batches..
 
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Chris Branuelas
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The traditional "recommendation" is really also for traditional propane or gas burners.

I use 16 gallon bayou kettles for my mash and HLT and a 15 gallon bayou for my BK and mainly brew 10.5 gallon brews with the occasional 5.5g. I see no issues at all with this and would not want bigger kettles which would make 5.5g brews more difficult.

I do use electric and the rules between electric and propane or gas where control is very sloppy and theres no way to quickly control the heat to prevent boil overs like electric. with gas I would go with 20 g since the tri ply bottom work against you by holding heat in a potential boil over situation. you also are guessing more or less at heat applied so its difficult to find the speet spot to avoid it all together like you can do with electric.

I used to brew 10 gallon with an 11 gallon ballington pot for a year or so and it worked ok because I had a 4500w element and started the boil at like 60% power.. never had a boilover but there was a 10 minute period where I sometimes had to switch off the element and stir for a few second to clear up the hot break and then it would subside for the rest of the boil

also tall narrow kettles (like your keggle) are superior for more headspace and more forgiving for multiple things vs the cheaper wider kettles like the concords where the boil will be less efficient and boiloff will be higher with less depth of liquid in the kettle for smaller batches..
Thanks, that's really helpful. I have managed to boil over in a keggle but I was multitasking...
 
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Chris Branuelas
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Any thoughts/suggestions on what brand of kettles to buy? Spike, SS, Northern Brewer, Bayou, etc?

Also, weldless? NPT, or TC fittings?
 

augiedoggy

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Its really dependent on your priorities. any of those brands will work just as well to do the same thing but a bayou kettle is thinner walled than the others you mentioned and if your banging it around it will ding easier. That said mine have held up great for 4 year now. Kettles like spike or SS or even northern are more heavy duty and built of 304ss vs whatever bayou uses. the type of stainless does not matter in homebrewing use only pro where caustic cleaners are used that would eat some metals.

I use weldless fittings and have never had an issue but I treat them as welded and dont dissemble them to clean them since thats how they are intended to be used. Welded is nice but its also limiting unless your sure of layout and are not changing things.. For example as you build and learn what you want were as you add it (if you add things like a rims or herms) you may want to add ports.. Not really something thats easily done without weldless fittings. I prefer stainless Camlock fittings over TC on the hot side of my brewery and TC fittings on the cold side were sanitary concerns are important but everyone has their own preferences here too. Again non of this matters in how well it will function so much is how well it will look and convenience factors when cleaning.
 

golfindia

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If I already had a 3 tiered keggle system, I would just silver solder some TC fittings for heating elements in two of the kegs, make a RIMs tube and head off to the races. Not that much money, and silver soldering TC fittings on kegs is very easy because they are thick.
 
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