All-grain 10 gallon batches - which pot to buy?

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joshuafields

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Hello all -- I'm a first time poster here, though I've been getting a lot of useful information from the forum lately. My buddy and I are fairly new to brewing, but have done 3 extract batches and 5 partial mash batches intermittently over the past couple years. We're getting a lot more involved in it now, and are ready to step up to all-grain. Our current brew pot is only about 4 gallons, so we need to buy a bigger one and are trying to balance factors of material, dimensions, capacity, and cost.

My buddy recently came across a great deal on a used Viking stove, which puts out 15,000 BTUs per burner, along with a great vent hood for sucking most of that evaporation and grain smell straight through the roof. He lives in a loft space, so we don't have to worry about cramped quarters or neighbors.

We are mostly interested in a stainless pot since they're easier to clean, less reactive, and more versatile than aluminum (maybe we'll want to make a huge batch of tomato soup one day!). We want to jump right in to making 10 gallon batches, so we can each get 5 gallons of beer per batch for about the same amount of time commitment. We've done some research and it seems a 15 gallon pot would be ideal for double batches, while not being too huge to put on the viking stovetop. Sorry to ramble here, just trying to give you guys the full story. These are the pots we're trying to decide between:

*VOLLRATH 60 QT STAINLESS
16" Diameter x 18" high, 18 gauge, arc-sprayed aluminum bottom
We found a source for one of these used; it's pretty beat up but we can probably get it for $100, rather than $270+ new. We like the verticality of the pot, but the smaller diameter would make it difficult to use two stove burners if one isn't cutting it. There's also something nice about a new pot without a bunch of dents in it.

*WINCO 60 QT STAINLESS SST-60
17.7" Diameter x 14.2" high, 5mm thick aluminum core bottom, 33 lbs!!
Stainless Steel Master Cook Stock Pot w/Cover - 60 Quart
New, $159 shipped. This would be pretty big in diameter for use on a single burner, but would fit better over two burners if needed. We're worried this would be less efficient than a more vertical pot.

*SITRAM 52.6 QT
15.7" Diameter, can't find height dimension but probably about 17", 2.5mm copper core sandwich bottom
We found a local source that has these on sale for $175. Online prices are between $400-500. The copper sandwich would be great for conducting heat, and the vertical dimensions seem good, but it's over 7 quarts smaller than the others (so only 13.25 gallons) and we're worried this won't be big enough for 10 gallon batches. Also, the price is a little steep, as work has been SLOW lately. If we ever wanted to get rid of it, this pot would probably have the highest resale value, though.

Again, sorry for being long winded. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Josh
 

hcarter

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TommyBoy

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For 10 gallon batches you really only need a 20 gallon kettle if you are planning batches with huge grain bills. 15 should be just fine.
 

Hugh_Jass

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A 15 gal pot is fine for making 10 gallon batches. Many people, including me, use converted kegs as boil pots. When I started, I used my 32 quart aluminum pot that came with my turkey fryer to make 5 gallons. It made good beer. If you have the coin, go ahead and go stainless.

15000 btus seems like too little horsepower to boil what would need to be approx. 13 gallon of wort, but I could be wrong.
 

Jipper

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Agreed - 15 gal is fine. I would be more interested in getting one with a ball valve on it, personally. Or are you going to take it somewhere and get one welded on?
 
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joshuafields

joshuafields

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15000 btus seems like too little horsepower to boil what would need to be approx. 13 gallon of wort, but I could be wrong.

Hey Hugh (great name!), this is one reason we're not sure which diameter to go with. If we use two burners (30,000 BTU total), a wider pot would be more effective. We're not sure if 15,000 BTUs is going to get 13 gallons to boil, and may not know until we have the pot in hand to try it out with some water.
 
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joshuafields

joshuafields

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Agreed - 15 gal is fine. I would be more interested in getting one with a ball valve on it, personally. Or are you going to take it somewhere and get one welded on?
Hey Jason, my buddy has a TIG welder set up for stainless, so we were thinking we'd add the ball valve ourselves & save some cash. Thanks for your input!

Josh
 

wilserbrewer

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Hey Jason, my buddy has a TIG welder set up for stainless, so we were thinking we'd add the ball valve ourselves & save some cash. Thanks for your input!

Josh
Not a welder myself, but from what I understand, welding on a pot can be a bit tricky as the metal might be a bit thin?? Best wishes!
 

TommyBoy

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Not a welder myself, but from what I understand, welding on a pot can be a bit tricky as the metal might be a bit thin?? Best wishes!
I welded my low carbon steel frame but I brought my stainless kettle to a professional. It's not too hard to melt a hole the size of a dime to a quarter if you stay in one spot too long. Fixing that is not too bad when you can fill it in then grind and paint. Put a hole in a nice SS kettle and even if you can fill it in, the kettle will look like poop. DIY with stainless welding on expensive items should be left to someone who knows what they are doing and will guarantee their work.

Good luck!
 

RedIrocZ-28

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I use a 7.5gal Turkey Fryer and I have had as much as 7 gallons of wort in the pot with no boilover. Its tricky but it can be done. You will only need a 15gal pot to make 10 gal batches, Figure that you'll collect 13-14gals of wort max and even still you'll have a rather large amount of unused space to prevent a boilover.
 

AnonyBrew

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I hate to go against the grain here, but I have a 15g pot & do 10g batches and I have to top off with water occasionally to get a full 10g out or accept anywhere from 8.5g to 9.5g into the fermenters. Without foam control you can only fit about 13g before worrying about boilovers. Also, many recipes call for 90 min. boils which further stretches the limits. My evaporation rate tends to be higher than 15%.

I wish I had a 20g pot.
 

samc

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Stainless Steel Stock Pot with Sandwich Bottom - 60Qt. looks to be a better deal than the Winco (which does not look to be a true 60qt pot if the numbers are correct - check my math).

I have a smaller version of the Update pot and it is sturdy, fairly easy to drill with a step bit and using bargain fittings ball valve works out to be a nice boil pot for 5 gallon batches - however I need to move up to the 60 qt one soon.
 
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joshuafields

joshuafields

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Stainless Steel Stock Pot with Sandwich Bottom - 60Qt. looks to be a better deal than the Winco (which does not look to be a true 60qt pot if the numbers are correct - check my math).
From my quick calculation, the Update pot looks like it's about 62 quarts and the Winco right at 60, plus or minus depending on how accurate the measurements are. I think we're going to go to a restaurant supply store in NJ tomorrow and see if they have any scratch and dent pots. Otherwise, we'll probably go with one of these wider ones from Instawares, since they'll work better on two burners and have a faster evap rate. Thanks again for all the fast responses!
 

wildwest450

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I hate to go against the grain here, but I have a 15g pot & do 10g batches and I have to top off with water occasionally to get a full 10g out or accept anywhere from 8.5g to 9.5g into the fermenters. Without foam control you can only fit about 13g before worrying about boilovers. Also, many recipes call for 90 min. boils which further stretches the limits. My evaporation rate tends to be higher than 15%.

I wish I had a 20g pot.
+1. I use a 20 gallon pot for "10"gallon batches. My batches are 11 gallon (who wants to spend 5 hours brewing and end up with 9 to 9.5 gallons of beer?). I have a high boiloff rate so my starting volume is 14.5 gallons, try that in a 15 gallon pot.
 

jspence1

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+1 for the 20G if you are buying it's not much more money, I have 15G and when you fill it with 13.5G the pot is FULL if you are very careful you can do it but you have to watch it like a hawk.
 
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