Mash tun size...

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kenmcchord

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Not sure if this should be posted to either the all grain sub or general brewing questions, but I'm at the final stages of having my electric brewery operational and I have a bit of a dilemma. Apologies if this is too long, but a bit of background is in order.

A few years ago I was sourcing parts for an electric brewery that I was planning, which included finding a boil kettle, MLT and HLT. I found used Blichmann G1 kettles for all components, 20 gal for both the boil and the HLT but the mash tun is a 30 gal. Now that I'm thinking back I'm not sure why I picked up the 30 gal mash tun except that it was at a decent price and I happened to be driving through Asheville at the time it was listed. Now that I'm actually ready to start brewing with the system I've been thinking about its size and wondering if it's going to be too large a MLT for the system. I am planning to brew 12 gal batches on a system that is built following Kal's instructions/recommendation over at the Electric Brewery.

My final task before I can start brewing is to cut a recirculation port in the MLT and install a valve and hose. Also I order a few Blichmann valve rebuild kits as, while I was waiting on parts, I disassembled the valves on my three kettles and found them to be rather dirty. Anyway, I was scoping out a few recipes over at Kal's site, thinking it would be easy enough to get a few brews under my belt by following his recipes instead of creating my own; I don't have a profile for the brew system yet in my beersmith and have no idea what losses will exist or boil off rate would be. I keep coming back to the thought that a 30 gal MLT is going to be way too big for these brews.

My question, would anyone just bite the bullet and order a 20 gal MLT right away and replace this 30 gal? I could sell the 30 gal and probably recoup most of the cost, or I could keep it for the occasional barleywine or high gravity brew that I might be inclined to try.

Thoughts? Am I off base here? Thanks in advance for any recommendations.
 

Joshuah57

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You know, I have had that same dilemma with my HERMS system and I have 3 20 gallon kettles. Most times, if I do a big brew, I just do a 5 or 10 gallon batch. Even with the 10 gallon batch, there is sufficient room. Most regular beers (OG 1.040 to 1.060), I could easily use a 15 gallon kettle for mashing. This weekend, I am planning on doing a 15 gallon batch with a OG of 1.040. I could still probably use a 15 instead of a 20 gallon.

My overall opinion is even with my 3 20 gallons, I wish I had a smaller mash tun.
 

day_trippr

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Otoh...

I run a 3v2p single tier rig using venerable 20g Blichmann G1 kettles, and my particular obsession is to brew batches that end up with a full 10 gallons of finished beer in a pair of corny kegs after all process losses are counted. My beers range from 60 to 107 point OGs. While perhaps half of that scope could be done in a smaller mlt, the higher end of that range challenges the 20 gallon size - the 107 point stout actually submerges a good half of the autosparge valve in hot wort, and I mounted that valve as high up on the kettle wall as possible.

I've kept that imperial stout on tap for almost a decade running now and it simply cannot be done with a smaller mlt...

Cheers!
 
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kenmcchord

kenmcchord

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Thanks for the replies.

What I hadn't considered is that my cobbled together gas fired system utilizes a G1 15 gal kettle for the boil. Perhaps I can repurpose that kettle with a new false bottom for a 15 gal MLT and keep the 30 gal for some higher gravity batches. I'm eyeing a RIS that's using roughly 38 lbs of grain so the 30 gal will likely be useful for that batch.

I'll give that a try. Never even thought to use the 15 gal...huh...

Thanks again!
 
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