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Jhedrick83

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So, I’m taking my Mr. Beer training wheels off and just left my LHBS with a equipment kit for doing 1 gallon partial mash brews. One thing I didn’t get was a brew kettle. For the Mr. Beer batches I just used a large stock pot we had around the house. I want to get a dedicated brew pot to use with the new set up. Any of the 1 gallon brewers have specific suggestions?
 

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I had been using a 2.8 or something gallon stainless pot for my smallest batches. But I recently bought the small SS Brewtech 5.5 gallon kettle to replace it. It’s much nicer to have a proper ball valve and pickup tube, and it works for 1-3 gallon batches easily.

It’s a good choice if you’re just getting into all grain, and want at least the option of increasing your batch size. I also picked up a custom-made brew bag for it, so it can be used for single vessel brewing as well.
 
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Jhedrick83

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McKnuckle, thanks. I was not sure if a 5+ gallon brew kettle would be too big or cause complications for 1 gallon brews.
 

McKnuckle

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I like the SS Brewtech in particular because it's relatively narrow, with a 10 7/8" diameter. Therefore the 1 gallon batch size, which occupies at least 1.5 gallons in the boil and more in the mash, fits nicely. It also boils off a reasonable amount. Diameter matters, so watch that dimension for sure.
 

Elric

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McKnuckle, thanks. I was not sure if a 5+ gallon brew kettle would be too big or cause complications for 1 gallon brews.
I do 1-3 gallon biab batches and use an anvil 5.5 gallon kettle. I really like it and it works well across the range of batch size that I brew with it. For one gallon recipes the temp probe won’t be immersed but it will for larger brews. I ended up removing mine anyways as I found I’d rather use an instant read occasionally and not worry about the probe catching and tearing my grain bag again.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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I do 1-3 gallon biab batches and use an anvil 5.5 gallon kettle. I really like it and it works well across the range of batch size that I brew with it. For one gallon recipes the temp probe won’t be immersed but it will for larger brews. I ended up removing mine anyways as I found I’d rather use an instant read occasionally and not worry about the probe catching and tearing my grain bag again.
when you say instant read, are you essentially using a thermometer like we are all using now thanks to COVID or is it a specific tool?
 

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when you say instant read, are you essentially using a thermometer like we are all using now thanks to COVID or is it a specific tool?
Thermopen style instant waterproof instant read read probe thermometer. It’s actually one I won in a draw from inkbird on the sponsors forum here!
 

bwible

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Like Elric, I have the Anvil 5.5 gallon pot. It’s rugged, heavy duty, nice ball valve with a little clamp you have to move so it doesn’t open accidently.

The only thing I didn’t like about it was that it comes standard with a thermometer and the thermometer has a long probe that I found interfered with my immersion wort chiller. Just not enough room in a pot that size. I don’t really do brew in a bag but I imagine it would also interfere with your bag.

I removed the thermometer and filled the hole with a plug that blichmann makes and I’m much happier with it now.
 

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The SS kettle also has a thermometer port, and it’s also marginally too high to be useful, but it comes plugged by default.

it’s too bad these thermo ports are always placed assuming that the kettle will be over a flame. They should offer a lower installation option for electric brewers as well.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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The 5.5 brewtech kettle came today. A solid piece of gear for sure. Getting some TSP in the morning to clean it out with and then to condition it before a hopeful brew day Sunday. Thanks again for the advice
 

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Thermopen style instant waterproof instant read read probe thermometer. It’s actually one I won in a draw from inkbird on the sponsors forum here!
Winning the Inkbird giveaway is my white whale. Someday... Someday
 

Stormcrow

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The 5.5 brewtech kettle came today. A solid piece of gear for sure. Getting some TSP in the morning to clean it out with and then to condition it before a hopeful brew day Sunday. Thanks again for the advice
That's exciting. Hope you like it.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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This may be a function of me just being new. That kettle has a nice Trub dam but the ball valve is set high enough that if I’m doing 1 gallon boils in that kettle, the final volume of the wort will mostly be below the ball valve itself. Which makes it nearly useless for transferring into the primary fermenter. Or any I missing something? So, when I’m done chilling it post boil, should I just skip trying to use the ball valve to drain? Just whirlpool it and slowly pour it into the primary fermenter? I do have a funnel with a filter to help with that if I need.
 

Stormcrow

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This may be a function of me just being new. That kettle has a nice Trub dam but the ball valve is set high enough that if I’m doing 1 gallon boils in that kettle, the final volume of the wort will mostly be below the ball valve itself. Which makes it nearly useless for transferring into the primary fermenter. Or any I missing something? So, when I’m done chilling it post boil, should I just skip trying to use the ball valve to drain? Just whirlpool it and slowly pour it into the primary fermenter? I do have a funnel with a filter to help with that if I need.
If you don't use the bazooka screen, you can thread in a stainless street L facing down to act as a dip tube.
 
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Jhedrick83

Jhedrick83

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If you don't use the bazooka screen, you can thread in a stainless street L facing down to act as a dip tube.
This is what the set up is like with the Trub Dam. So, there is a somewhat of a dip tube:


The issue I noticed when I was going through the passivization step was that with 3/4th (or so) of a gallon left, it just stopped draining as the water level was below the bottom of the ball valve itself. Maybe I am missing something. Like I said, I’m net and the kettle just came with a QR code to scan for cleaning and care instructions.
 

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I agree that the dip tube is positioned too high. Why do manufacturers do these things?

First, make sure you use pipe thread tape and tighten everything well on the inside, so the dip tube is sealed inside the port. That will prevent air ingress, which is one reason the siphon can be interrupted.

Second, when you run off into the fermenter, use a tube on the outside that dangles well below the kettle; don't just use the spigot by itself. Otherwise flow will stop at the height of the spigot.

Finally, insert a short bit of silicone tubing (the kind used for floating dip tubes) into the stainless opening, and squish it up there until the other end just barely clears the kettle bottom. You'll get more wort that way.

I'd take a photo if I could, but hope that's self-explanatory.
 
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Jhedrick83

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I agree that the dip tube is positioned too high. Why do manufacturers do these things?

First, make sure you use pipe thread tape and tighten everything well on the inside, so the dip tube is sealed inside the port. That will prevent air ingress, which is one reason the siphon can be interrupted.

Second, when you run off into the fermenter, use a tube on the outside that dangles well below the kettle; don't just use the spigot by itself. Otherwise flow will stop at the height of the spigot.

Finally, insert a short bit of silicone tubing (the kind used for floating dip tubes) into the stainless opening, and squish it up there until the other end just barely clears the kettle bottom. You'll get more wort that way.

I'd take a photo if I could, but hope that's self-explanatory.
I'll tape it up when I get home. I'll have to check my LHBS for a good outside fitting and tube for the run off. Since I would be just pouring the wort into the primary using said tube, should I try to aerate prior? I could heavily wisk (to aerate) it once the heat is off, whirlpool it, chill it, then transfer it. Would the be fine?

The last thing makes perfect sense.
 

McKnuckle

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Aerate only once chilled, and immediately before pitching yeast. Never do it warm, and don’t do it when you are not yet at pitching temp.

Yeast will use the O2 right away. But any lag allows some oxidation, which, in contrast to aeration which is temporary, is permanent molecular bonding that will facilitate earlier staling.
 
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Jhedrick83

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Aerate only once chilled, and immediately before pitching yeast. Never do it warm, and don’t do it when you are not yet at pitching temp.

Yeast will use the O2 right away. But any lag allows some oxidation, which, in contrast to aeration which is temporary, is permanent molecular bonding that will facilitate earlier staling.
Thanks for all your help.
 
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Jhedrick83

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Not sure if my LHBS has elbow barbs that would fit but I know I can find them at Lowes or Home Depot but they would be Brass rather than Stainless Steel. Think that would cause an issue if I used it or am I better off ordering a SS one and just pouring batches by hand until it arrives?
 

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I have a 5 gal brew kettle for small batches that has no fixtures on it. I just use a sanitized 1 liter plastic measuring cup to carefully ladle out the cooled wort and find that I get very little trub this way. Since I bottle directly out of a 3 gal primary with spigot, I 3D printed a stand/prop that allows me to tilt the bucket at about 20 degrees hands free and I find I can get most of the beer off of the yeast cake. This might work for your kettle as well. I have stopped using my auto-siphon all together since I find it aerates too much and kind of stresses me out when I use it.
 
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I soaked some PBW in the kettle when I was done and scrubbed it with a towel but it almost seems like I have a band of some sort of something at the level where kettle frothed (but didn’t boil over) when I added the DME. When I clean post boil, should I scrub it with something more abrasive than a towel. Say something like a nylon brush or scotch brite type pad?
 

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I use a standard two-sided sponge on my kettles, the kind with a sponge on one side and a mildly abrasive blue or green side. No need to go nuts scrubbing the kettle removing every blotch and stain. It's kind of inevitable for those to develop. Just ensure there's no solid material anywhere of course. Others may differ and insist on keeping things showroom shiny.

Usually I am able to get everything out to my satisfaction using just hot water. I save my chilling waste water, and pour in a gallon at a time, scrub, then drain. Pour, scrub, drain. After three times max it's good to go. I have PBW if I need it, but this is a small kettle, so it's easy to clean by hand rather than relying on soaking.

Remember to run rinsing water through the bulkhead and ball valve. And make sure to rinse PBW if you use it. It's a soap - it should not be allowed to just dry in there.
 
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Jhedrick83

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Thanks. When I cleaned up I rinsed out all the loose matter first. Then a 10 min PBW soak, a scrub with a towel, let it drain through the ball valve (while saving a gallon or so of the draining water), take the ball valve and thermometer plug out and disassembled them into the retained PBW to soak, scrub the cut outs for the ball valve and thermometer with the rag and retained PBW, rinse out the kettle, scrub the valve and plug and associated washers/nuts, then rinse them thoroughly.

A sponge would make it all easier for sure.
 
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