Pot Size Questions

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Logan

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I'm very new to home brewing - in fact I'm putting together a shopping list for my first attempt. I've been researching pots and I have a few questions.

I plan to eventually be brewing all-grain 5 gallon batches into corny kegs. Right now I will start brewing with extract into bottles. My questions are:

  1. Will a 30qt. aluminum pot handle the volumes necessary to brew batches with a final volume of 5 gallons? Both AG and extract methods.
  2. If so, will a standard stove top range be able to handle that size pot - or whatever size pot I should be using?

My goal is to purchase a pot that will not need to be replaced later on when I get into AG. Any other opinions or advice is appreciated. Thanks!
 

Blender

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For all grain brewing you will need at least an 8 gallon pot IMO and 9-10 gallons actually would be better. Generally when you get to these volumesit is better to get a outside propane burner. If you start extrac then you could use a smaller pot because it is a handy thing to have 2 pots when brewing all grain.
 

Ryan_PA

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For a 5 gallon full wort boil 30 quarts (7.5 gallon) is the absolute minimum. actually, if you ever plan to do 90 minute boils it will be too small. AG is the reason. You will be adding about 6.5 gallons of wort to the boil kettle, and wort has a tendency to boil over during hop additions and if you do not monitor the temp, especially if you are only working with 1 gallon of dead space. If you can find a 9 gallon pot, that would be better, however you will eventually get to a place where you want to do 10 gallon batches, so you will need a 15 gallon pot for that.

A thought... If you want to plan ahead, you can look to get the 30 quart pot now for extract, and plan to use it as the HLT when you go all grain. You need a vessel to heat your mash and sparge water, and the 30 qt could easily fit the bill. Then you would need to upgrade the boil kettle to a 9 gallon minimum.

The ability to boil on a stovetop is impacted by several factors, altitude, heat source (electric vs gas) and heat outbut of the range (not to mention the understanding level of teh SWMBO).
 
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Logan

Logan

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Blender said:
For all grain brewing you will need at least an 8 gallon pot IMO and 9-10 gallons actually would be better. Generally when you get to these volumesit is better to get a outside propane burner. If you start extrac then you could use a smaller pot because it is a handy thing to have 2 pots when brewing all grain.
Ok so you are saying buying another pot for AG is probably the best route. With that said what is the best size for a stove top extract pot? (For 5 Gallon batches). Keeping in mind I will be doing all my extract brewing inside. Reason I ask is I know a lot of people put water in fermenter and then boil another batch with the extract. So could I theoretically use a 3-4 Gallon or should I stick with a 30qt?
 

Beerthoven

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1. I have a 32 qt pot and it just barely accomodates the 6.75 gallons of wort I collect for a standard AG batch. You need headroom in the pot to accomodate hot-break and avoid boilovers.

I recommend getting a 15 gallon pot. You can find aluminum ones for less than $100. I am going to make this upgrade as soon as I get my tax refund check.

2. Most kitchen stoves are not able to accomodate full boils. In all likelihood you will need a propane burner. Bayou Classics are popular and can be found at Home Depot and various places online.


For my extract batches, which I still do from time to time, I use a 3-gallon stock pot on my kitchen stove and do a partial boil. The point is that you can easily start making extract batches in your kitchen without needing a huge pot and outdoor burner.
 
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Logan

Logan

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Ryan_PA said:
For a 5 gallon full wort boil 30 quarts (7.5 gallon) is the absolute minimum. actually, if you ever plan to do 90 minute boils it will be too small. AG is the reason. You will be adding about 6.5 gallons of wort to the boil kettle, and wort has a tendency to boil over during hop additions and if you do not monitor the temp, especially if you are only working with 1 gallon of dead space. If you can find a 9 gallon pot, that would be better, however you will eventually get to a place where you want to do 10 gallon batches, so you will need a 15 gallon pot for that.

A thought... If you want to plan ahead, you can look to get the 30 quart pot now for extract, and plan to use it as the HLT when you go all grain. You need a vessel to heat your mash and sparge water, and the 30 qt could easily fit the bill. Then you would need to upgrade the boil kettle to a 9 gallon minimum.

The ability to boil on a stovetop is impacted by several factors, altitude, heat source (electric vs gas) and heat outbut of the range (not to mention the understanding level of teh SWMBO).
Good point on the future HLT. That makes sense to me. So would I be satisfied doing extract brewing on a stove top with a 30qt pot? Assuming that I will have to move to propane burners when I go AG/bigger batches.

I just feel like getting anything larger than 30qt for stovetop is kind of moot because the stove won't heat it well.
 

Soulive

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lngarrett said:
I just feel like getting anything larger than 30qt for stovetop is kind of moot because the stove won't heat it well.
You're right. As mentioned, in the future you can heat your mash/sparge water in the 30qt. That's what I do with mine :mug:
 

Ryan_PA

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Should be fine for extract (3 gallon boils) assuming it will fit on the range surface and come to a boil. One boil over indoors and you will hate life for a few hours.
 
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Logan

Logan

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Beerthoven said:
For my extract batches, which I still do from time to time, I use a 3-gallon stock pot on my kitchen stove and do a partial boil. The point is that you can easily start making extract batches in your kitchen without needing a huge pot and outdoor burner.
Perfect. So with a 30qt I will be able to comfortably do stove top extract batches. Then later on I can use the 30qt as an HLT for AG. Correct?
 

Soulive

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lngarrett said:
Perfect. So with a 30qt I will be able to comfortably do stove top extract batches. Then later on I can use the 30qt as an HLT for AG. Correct?
Yes...

78910
 

Beerthoven

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I have a hard time getting my 32-qt pot to boil anything on my stove top, even if I only have 2 gallons or so inside it. The diameter is too big, it just dwarfs the burner. But I have a stupid flat-top electric stove. YMMV.
 
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Logan

Logan

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Beerthoven said:
I have a hard time getting my 32-qt pot to boil anything on my stove top, even if I only have 2 gallons or so inside it. The diameter is too big, it just dwarfs the burner. But I have a stupid flat-top electric stove. YMMV.
Hmm. I could see myself running into this problem too. What are the most economical alternatives for first time brewing?
 

Ryan_PA

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A propane burner is ~$50 at Home Depot. You will need it eventually anyway.

Or if you have a gas grill with a side burner, you may be able to eek by for a little whil like that, but it is only 15 BTUs (which sucks)
 

Beerthoven

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lngarrett said:
Hmm. I could see myself running into this problem too. What are the most economical alternatives for first time brewing?
Well, I just use a 3-gallon stock pot that I alreay had for my extract brews. The 32-qt pot came with my first brew kit, and I didn't price out kettles separately.

I have just now started shopping around for larger pots, and there are many pots out there that are reasonably priced. Sorry I can't point you to specific products, but do a quick google search and I'm sure you'll find lots of pots to choose from. For example, this place has pages and pages of them to choose from.

Somebody else on the forum may have a specific recommendation.
 

CBBaron

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lngarrett said:
  1. Will a 30qt. aluminum pot handle the volumes necessary to brew batches with a final volume of 5 gallons? Both AG and extract methods.
  2. If so, will a standard stove top range be able to handle that size pot - or whatever size pot I should be using?
1. 30qt is sufficient for full boils but only just barely. When you go all grain you will have to watch the pot closely as it comes to a boil and expect to have a few boil overs. 8-10 gallons is better.
2. It is unlikely that your stove top is sufficient. Your least expensive solution is to get a turkey fryer with 30qt or bigger pot. These are readily available and cheap. Plus it keeps that boil over mess out of your kitchen.
Craig
 

bluedragoon85

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A little off topic, but since you are talking about pot sizes I thought I could ask a question. I am also in the process of buying myself a pot for extract/mini-mash boils, and I am in no hurry to go AG since I believe I will eventually get there, but not any time soon. So my question is, what would be better, a 16 qt. Stainless Steel pot or a 21 qt. enamel pot. As of now I am only doing extract + steeping, but I do plan to move up to partial mash pretty soon. Thanks.
 

WhyTee

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+1 on turkey fryer. I got one at wal-mart for about 35 bucks. Came with a 35qt aluminum pot, thermometer that goes into the wort and propane burner. You'll have to buy a tank but I thought it was a fair deal.
 
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