Pressure Canner for Starters - 16 vs 23 qt Presto

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ResumeMan

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OK so I am just about ready to plunk down the money for a pressure canner, I'm sick of doing starters as a one-off.

I'm wondering if folks who have the Presto 16 Qt and/or the 23 Qt models could offer your impressions on the size (or comparable size products by other manufacturers).

The 16 qt has a capacity of 7 Quart jars or 10 Pint jars
The 23 qt has a capacity of 7 Quart jars or 19 Pint jars

I gather that they're about the same size around and the big canner is taller. There's only about 6 bucks price difference so the price isn't an issue.

I'm torn on which would be the better purchase for me.

Possible negative scenario w/the 16 qt: Man, I really wish I didn't have to do this again so soon. Would be so much nicer if I could have done 9 more pint jars at once!

Possible negative scenario w/the 23 qt: Man, it's a big pain in the ass to store and schlep this big thing. I wish my canner was smaller, the process is pretty straightforward and it isn't worth having this big hunk of aluminum just to can slightly less frequently!

So those of you who have canners of either size, what is your impression of the thing? :mug:
Thanks
 
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LabRatBrewer

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I'd like to know the above as well. Is aluminum common for pressure cookers? I wash yeast now, I'd like to can starters, and maybe peppers. I'd also not want to decide I need a better pot later.
 

BBL_Brewer

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I have the 23 qt and my Dad has the 16. I've used both. Personally, I think the larger capacity is worth it for sure. If nothing else, I can pressure 1/2 gal jars in the 23 qt. Nice to have around from time to time. It is a bit taller, but certainly not enormous compared to the 16. Not going to make a big difference when in storage. And since it takes a little time to run a batch from heat up to cool down, the more jars you can cram in there the better. More than likely, you'll get the first one and wish you had two.
 

Bill_in_VA

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Have you ever looked at your brew kettle and thought; "man I hate storing this thing. I wish I had a smaller one..."

Go with the bigger one :mug:
 

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Aluminum is very common for quality pressure canners (someone asked that).

I almost never use pint or 1/2 pint jars, so I'm still at 7 quart jars no matter what size canner I use. (I don't can starter wort, but I can food.)

To me, a good reason to go bigger is to use bigger jars! If you can fit 4 2- quart jars and 1 1-quart, that's an advantage. I can't imagine using a pint starter, ever. Even a quart is a bit small.
 
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ResumeMan

ResumeMan

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Well I wouldn't make a starter that's 1 pint and toss it in my wort.

But I do sometimes want a starter that's more than a quart, and less than 2. Plus, starting off a starter from, say, a small quantity of washed yeast it would be nice to get it going with a pint, then step it up to 1-2 quart or more. Not to mention, 19 pints is more than 7 quarts, so it's more overall starter for a single batch.

That said, I also often do 2-quart/liter starters, and actually using half-gallon jars never really occurred to me.

So y'all have convinced me (as I kind of thought you would...). I'll get the big 'un. If nothing else the fact that they're practically the same price made it hard to justify the smaller one.

Thanks for all the input.
 

nutty_gnome

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I have the 23 quart model and its great. I have been able to stack a few pints on top of quarts to get the most out of a run. I don't know if that is suggested, but it seems to work. The trouble with pressure cookers is that it takes forever to cool them down. So a run cycle can be as much as 2 hours. To get around that, I will only do one run an evening and let the jars cool overnight in the pot. Therefore I appreciate the extra space.

Storing the pot is a pain with the accessories and other stuff. Its like adding yet another kettle to your pile of brewing junk.
 

aubiecat

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Just consider that if you get a pressure cooker you might also want to start pressure cooking food. For some foods like pickles you only need a hot water bath but you won't be able to use the 16 Qt because it isn't tall enough. I believe the 23qt is tall enough for that.
Just something to consider.
I have been making starters in my 16 qt pressure cooker for a while now and I have never considered making a pint starter.
 

nutty_gnome

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Regarding the need for pints:
I make quarts of starter wort in int pressure cooker. But I also toss in a few pints of priming liquid (5 oz corn sugar in a pint jar filled with water) in the pressure cooker. Pressure canning priming sugar is a real time saver on bottling day. And since I'm running the cooker anyway to make wort, I may as well toss in a few pints on top.

The priming solution is homogeneous so it is a matter of simple math ratios to to figure out how much of the pint you need to add to your beer to arrive at the correct volume of CO2.
 
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ResumeMan

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Allrighty then, my pressure cooker arrived this afternoon! It's not as big as I thought it was going to be, definitely glad I went with the bigger one.

Ran my 1st batch of 7 quarts this evening. Unfortunately I measured out all my DME before I thought to check how big the jars actually are. 1 Qt = 0.95 L ==> 95 g/starter for 1.040 wort.

Then I checked the actual volume and realized that a quart is filled all the way to the brim :-/ With an inch of headspace it's about 800 ml. So out came 15 g from each jar.

Everything else seems to have gone smoothly though I'll have to wait till the pressure drops (I just killed the heat) to make sure I didn't have big gushers.

I have been able to stack a few pints on top of quarts to get the most out of a run. I don't know if that is suggested, but it seems to work.

How do you do that? The directions say to stagger them, and when I tried that with empty jars it was very unstable. Do you just go on top of a single jar? Ever experienced any problems? It seems that you could probably only do it with a couple of them, as when I tried to put the pints on the outer jars they hit the lid. Curious how you do this.

Anyhow thanks everyone for the guidance. I'll let you know if anything went wrong!
 

nutty_gnome

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When I do add pints it its all very dicey looking and you do have to be careful when closing or opening the lid. You can't stagger them all that well. And you can't move the pot when its stacked that way or they will fall. At worst a jar will fall and spill, oh well. It has worked for me, YMMV.

Also, I think the common practice is NOT to add dme to the jars and then add water on top.

I believe the easier way to do it is to mix 1 pound of DME with 1 gallon and a few extra ounces of water and boil it for 10 mins in a regular pot to get past the initial hot break. Then transfer that liquid to 4 quart jars and pressure can. I usually fill up the rest of the canner with pints of priming solution and quarts of plain water that I can use as sterile water to top off a batch whenever as needed.
 

aubiecat

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I make my canned starters the same way they do at BrewGeeks.
You just put 80 grams of DME in the jar and fill with water.
I first put the lid on tight and shake the jar to mix the two then I loosen the lid to "just snug" and put it in the pressure cooker.
It literally takes about 10 minutes or less to prepare seven quart jars. I don't mind if there is hot break material in the jars because the yeast will take care of a lot of that. Sometimes a bit of the hot break will hang on the side of jar so I shake the jar till it is in suspension and it will settle to the bottom.
I am pretty satisfied with this process and it doesn't get easier than this.
 
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ResumeMan

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The results of my handiwork :)

Two of the jars didn't seal :( I think I didn't have the ring snug enough (or snug at all). Clearly I need to screw it on all the way, which I didn't do. Well lessons for next time. Was certainly a pretty easy process...

photo.jpg
 

ArcLight

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>>I make quarts of starter wort in int pressure cooker. But I also toss in a few pints of priming liquid (5 oz corn sugar in a pint jar filled with water) in the pressure cooker. Pressure canning priming sugar is a real time saver on bottling day. And since I'm running the cooker anyway to make wort, I may as well toss in a few pints on top.

Thats a good idea, and it hadn't occured to me.
I'll see if my wife can pick me up a pressure canner at a yard sale.

What other equipment do you need along with the canner?
Jars & Lids
Tongs?


>>800 ml.

Thats a bit smaller than I'd like, though I suppose you can also use a pint jar in addition (does the pink also lose head space and measure around 425 ML? I guess one can mix a slightly weaker starter, say 1.03 instead of 1.04 and use 1.2 liters (the quart + the pint).
And for 2 Liter starters, you need 2 quart jars and a pint.
Probably 1.035 is the sweet spot

Nice pics ResumeMan :)
 

nutty_gnome

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Pressure canners are dependent upon having a good, clean flexible rubber-ish seal between the lid and the pot (at least my Presto is). I'd be wary of a yard sale pressure canner. The energy they store during the heating process is massive and a blow-out due to an old, cracked seal is a scary thought. If you do get a yard sale one, at least invest in the new seals and other rubberish parts. They are available on the net.
 
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ResumeMan

ResumeMan

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>>800 ml.

Thats a bit smaller than I'd like, though I suppose you can also use a pint jar in addition (does the pink also lose head space and measure around 425 ML? I guess one can mix a slightly weaker starter, say 1.03 instead of 1.04 and use 1.2 liters (the quart + the pint).
And for 2 Liter starters, you need 2 quart jars and a pint.
Probably 1.035 is the sweet spot

Nice pics ResumeMan :)

The 800 ml is the volume of liquid in the jar; a quart is about 945 ml total. So what I have been doing is putting 80 g of DME in the jar and filling to about the shoulder (IIRC there's even a handy set of ml tic marks, so I fill to 800).

I've been playing the mix-and-match game as you describe. I just enter wort volumes in 400-ml increments in Yeastcalc to get an amount of yeast I like. Been using quarts and pints so far, but I may grab a few half-gallon jars a well.

I've also been using varying wort concentrations. Per Jamil Z, stressed yeast like a weaker starter. So when I've been starting out with older washed yeast, I toss it into a pint of wort at about 1.025, just to start things off.

Then, to save having to chill and decant, and to save all the little yeasties I just made, I simply dump another pint of 1.070 or so wort on top of that. I figure the first starter probably went down to about 1.005 to 1.010, so doubling the volume with some 1.070 stuff should give me 800 ml of wort right in the right range. Then if I want a bigger step-up, I just add more regular-strength stuff.

This is all still pretty new to me, only done a couple batches in this fashion...
 
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ResumeMan

ResumeMan

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Nice, those All-Americans look great. Works with no rubber gasket, which eliminates a potential maintenance/failure issue. I tried getting my wife interested in canning produce, meats, etc. to justify the $200+ pricetag for an All-American ;-) She didn't bite tho, so when it became apparent that this was going to be a single-hobby purchase, I just went with the Presto for less than half the cost, which also got excellent reviews.
 

rack04

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I have the 23 qt and my Dad has the 16. I've used both. Personally, I think the larger capacity is worth it for sure. If nothing else, I can pressure 1/2 gal jars in the 23 qt. Nice to have around from time to time. It is a bit taller, but certainly not enormous compared to the 16. Not going to make a big difference when in storage. And since it takes a little time to run a batch from heat up to cool down, the more jars you can cram in there the better. More than likely, you'll get the first one and wish you had two.

Will 1/2 gal jars fit in the 16?
 

ArcLight

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It occurs to me, use 800 ML instaed of a quart or a liter, but make the starter wort stronger, so you can add 200 ML of water.
So instead of a starter wort OG of 1.03 - 1.04 use 1.05 and dilute
 

Rufus the Great

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OK so I am just about ready to plunk down the money for a pressure canner, I'm sick of doing starters as a one-off.

I'm wondering if folks who have the Presto 16 Qt and/or the 23 Qt models could offer your impressions on the size (or comparable size products by other manufacturers).

The 16 qt has a capacity of 7 Quart jars or 10 Pint jars
The 23 qt has a capacity of 7 Quart jars or 19 Pint jars

I gather that they're about the same size around and the big canner is taller. There's only about 6 bucks price difference so the price isn't an issue.

I'm torn on which would be the better purchase for me.

Possible negative scenario w/the 16 qt: Man, I really wish I didn't have to do this again so soon. Would be so much nicer if I could have done 9 more pint jars at once!

Possible negative scenario w/the 23 qt: Man, it's a big pain in the ass to store and schlep this big thing. I wish my canner was smaller, the process is pretty straightforward and it isn't worth having this big hunk of aluminum just to can slightly less frequently!

So those of you who have canners of either size, what is your impression of the thing? :mug:
Thanks
When you stack in a canner, put a stacking disk between the layers!
Amazon.com: 2Pack Stainless Steel Canner Rack - 11-Inch Pressure Cooker Rack for Pressure Canner - Compatible with Presto, All-American and More : Home & Kitchen
 

scrap iron

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The results of my handiwork :)

Two of the jars didn't seal :( I think I didn't have the ring snug enough (or snug at all). Clearly I need to screw it on all the way, which I didn't do. Well lessons for next time. Was certainly a pretty easy process...

View attachment 63949
I pressure can wort for starters after no-sparge. I pour a gallon of RO water over the grains after collecting my kettle running. This makes about 1.025-1.035 wort depending on the mash.
A tip on the lids, don't tighten them all the way down only finger tight on the band. Air needs to escape. They seal during cooldown so take the PC off the heat and when the pressure drops carefully open the lid while watching out for the steam. The lids will seal faster.
 
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