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Kettle Size

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A1sportsdad

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Getting my ducks in a row to try my first BIAB batch. I've done all extract brews for the past 2 years. My kettle is a bit over 8 gallons. I'm afraid that with the extra space required for all the grain, this may not be large enough to do a 5 gallon batch. Can I get some feedback on what size kettle I will probably need to be able produce a 5 gallon batch in my fermenter? How much water do you use for the mash? Do you do full volume, something less or a calculated amount based on the amount of grain?

Thanks
:)
 

RM-MN

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I'd suggest you try a 4 gallon batch for your first BIAB in the 8 gallon kettle. Until you know your brewhouse efficiency you won't really know how much grain you will need and a 5 gallon batch with low efficiency would fill that kettle to the brim. After you have done a couple batches you will have a better understanding of the amount of grain needed and whether you want to add a sparge step to accommodate that size kettle. By sparging I was able to do a 5 gallon batch in a 7 1/2 gallon turkey fryer kettle so I know you can do one in the 8+ gallon kettle.

One of the advantages of BIAB is the ability to use very finely milled grains. If you have your own mill you may find that by milling finely you can use fewer grains and be able to fit a no-sparge batch in the kettle you have. I find that the Corona mill will get me into the 80% or more efficiency if I have it set tight.
 
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I agree - start with a 4G batch. See how much space you have.

Also, a number of folks reserve a gallon or so for a 'dunk sparge' of grain and bag as RM says above. That sparge can be done with room temp water in a BPA free bucket.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I do 5 gal batches (target 5.5 gal into fermenter) in a 10 gal pot. With a full volume mash my pot is VERY full for a 1.065-ish beer. A typical batch for me starts with around 7.8 gals of water. If I want to do a big beer I can either hold a few gals of water back for a sparge, or reduce my batch size. My last Imperial Stout I did a full volume mash and scaled my recipe back to 4.2 gals (OG 1.108, 19.5 lbs of grain).
 
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A1sportsdad

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Just bought a 15 gallon pot. One step closer. [emoji3]
 
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A1sportsdad

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Just bought a 15 gallon pot. One step closer to BIAB’ing it. [emoji3]
 
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ScrewyBrewer

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Just bought a 15 gallon pot. One step closer to BIAB’ing it. [emoji3]
You should be able to brew ten gallon batches of 6% all grain beers in your new kettle. Even higher if your mash efficiency is higher than 75 percent. When brewing five gallon batches brewing 10% beers are easy to do.
 
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A1sportsdad

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You should be able to brew ten gallon batches of 6% all grain beers in your new kettle. Even higher if your mash efficiency is higher than 75 percent. When brewing five gallon batches brewing 10% beers are easy to do.
Yeah, just not sure how I’ll move that big a batch from outside to the basement. I guess I’ll have to transfer it to the carboys then move them individually to get it down to a more reasonable load. Just a bunch of new logistical issues to work through, but all good. [emoji481]
 

Saunassa

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I was going to say that I do 5 gallon 1.060 batches in an 8 gallon kettle. As mentioned above i hold 2 gallons out for a dunk sparge so I can get my 6.5 gallon or so pre boil volume.
 
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A1sportsdad

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Didn’t think that through. Can’t split it up into the carboys immediately. Need to chill is first and I have to bring it to the basement for that, at least in the winter. Don’t have a working floor drain in the garage so no place for my immersion chiller flow to exit. Gonna have to figure how much volume I can lug around to get it to the basement and how much I can expect to boil off. When you do your boil, do you keep the lid off to allow boil off or do you keep a lid on it?
 

odie

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I recommend 15gal if you think you might ever do a high OG beer. Mine was almost to the top with a 25# grain bill...
 

mistertinkle

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Yeah, just not sure how I’ll move that big a batch from outside to the basement. I guess I’ll have to transfer it to the carboys then move them individually to get it down to a more reasonable load. Just a bunch of new logistical issues to work through, but all good. [emoji481]
I brew and chill in my workshop (ground floor level). Then I put the kettle on a 4-wheeled garden cart and take it to a basement window. I run a sanitized transfer hose up through the window, connect it to the kettle with a cam-lock, put the other end in the fermenter, and let gravity do its thing.

Once the transfer is complete, I pull the hose up to the kettle, clean it with PBW when I clean the kettle, and it is ready to sanitize before the next transfer.

I didn't want to be carrying a full fermenter, or even 2 5 gallon fermenters, down the basement stairs.
 

TechFanMD

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Didn’t think that through. Can’t split it up into the carboys immediately. Need to chill is first and I have to bring it to the basement for that, at least in the winter. Don’t have a working floor drain in the garage so no place for my immersion chiller flow to exit. Gonna have to figure how much volume I can lug around to get it to the basement and how much I can expect to boil off. When you do your boil, do you keep the lid off to allow boil off or do you keep a lid on it?
Just buy more hose and run it out the nearest window/door into some place that you can handle water in the winter (ie yard, downspout drain). I chill inside and DO have a drain but don't like to dump it in my septic, so I run a long hose to the great outdoors.
 

Dave Sarber

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I use a swamp cooler pump in a bucket of ice water to chill mine. Run the return from the immersion chiller back to the bucket of ice. Usually use 2 bags of ice to cool 5-6 gallons of wort from about 180 to 70.
 

RoguePixels

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I like to use a 15gal kettle for 6gal batches. I can fit more grain in and don't worry as much about boil over. I'm sure I could brew 10gal batches but I don't know if I want to drink that much of a single beer.
 

TechFanMD

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I like to use a 15gal kettle for 6gal batches. I can fit more grain in and don't worry as much about boil over. I'm sure I could brew 10gal batches but I don't know if I want to drink that much of a single beer.
You can do two different yeasts and different dry-hops. You can also do a plain stout and a bourbon barrel stout or something similar....or just something that needs to be aged, and drink one keg now and one in 6 months.
 

Hwk-I-St8

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Didn’t think that through. Can’t split it up into the carboys immediately. Need to chill is first and I have to bring it to the basement for that, at least in the winter. Don’t have a working floor drain in the garage so no place for my immersion chiller flow to exit. Gonna have to figure how much volume I can lug around to get it to the basement and how much I can expect to boil off. When you do your boil, do you keep the lid off to allow boil off or do you keep a lid on it?
For chilling, get a $25 submersible pond pump from harbor Freight or Amazon. I fill a large cooler with cold water and use the pond pump to cycle 4 gallons through the chiller into a bucket. Save that hot water for cleaning.

Then add ice and more water to cooler and just recirculate through the chiller. Works very well and no need for a place to drain water real time.
 
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