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What size brew kettle is ideal?

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Tonedef131

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I am ready to make the switch to all grain and I am getting together all of my equipment. I have only been doing 5-gallon batches so far but once I switch to ag I plan to do 10 gallon. I have a friend who often brews with me, I like to keg he likes to bottle. This way we each get to have 5-gallons. I have also been thinking about making a kegerator out of an old fridge to keep at our shop. So when he isn't brewing with me I can have a keg at home and a keg at the shop. Anyway, 10 gallon batches it will be.

So in buying this stuff I want to make sure I never have to "upgrade" from it. I have been eyeing the megapot from NB, but I don't know whether to get the 15 or 20 gallon pot. I am sure 15 gallons will be enough to hold the wort for a 10 gallon batch but I have heard that ag has a lot more boil over. So if you were buying the last pot you were ever going to buy would you get the 20 or is that overkill? The difference is like $27, so I am leaning towards the bigger one.
 

McKBrew

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If price is not an issue, you might just as well go with the larger one. In the case of some AG beers you might be boiling a bit more than 10 Gallons just to end up with 10 after evaporation.

With boil pots, I'd pretty much always say bigger is better.
 
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Tonedef131

Tonedef131

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McKBrew said:
If price is not an issue, you might just as well go with the larger one. In the case of some AG beers you might be boiling a bit more than 10 Gallons just to end up with 10 after evaporation.

With boil pots, I'd pretty much always say bigger is better.
Well I wouldn't say money is no object, but I am willing to drop some coin as long as I don't have to buy another one in a couple years. The way I look at it, if I spend the little bit extra now I won't need to buy a bigger one later. When I am already going to spend $250, another $25 doesn't seem like very much money.
 

WortMonger

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A keg with the top cut off is perfect for 10 gallon batch. It is also the cheapest, thickest material (16-18 gauge stainless steel), most economical kettle out there. Just my two cents, but they are easy to find and easy to cut.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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My IDEAL pots have become the new Blichmann Brew pots. They look awesome! The down side is cost. I would purchase 3 15 gallon blichmann pots but that would run ~$1100 so that may be a bit silly.

After that I would go to the Megapots.

After Megapots I would choose keggles.

A keggle will function just as well as a megapot, but I think the pots look better than the kegs.

Good luck on the search
 

McKBrew

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Tonedef131 said:
Well I wouldn't say money is no object, but I am willing to drop some coin as long as I don't have to buy another one in a couple years. The way I look at it, if I spend the little bit extra now I won't need to buy a bigger one later. When I am already going to spend $250, another $25 doesn't seem like very much money.

Kind of what I meant. If you can drop the coin now, do it. I could have save a bit of money if I'd bought bigger earlier on.
 

Blender

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A lot of brewers use keggles and they are 15.5 galons so you might want to check into those. The Megapots are nice and heavy duty. I would get the 20 gallon version because you will need 13 gallons or so when you start to boil.
 

Jester369

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Just be careful not to get too big a pot. I got a 25 gallon pot, and it's great for 10 gallons and up, but just about impossible to do a 5 gallon batch in - the bottom barely gets wet! (okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but it is pretty shallow) Evaporation rates can be really high, and getting all the wort out can be a challenge - even with a pickup tube only leaving a quarter of an inch in the pot means several quarts lost, or that have to be manually removed from the kettle.
 
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Tonedef131

Tonedef131

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Boerderij Kabouter said:
My IDEAL pots have become the new Blichmann Brew pots. They look awesome! The down side is cost. I would purchase 3 15 gallon blichmann pots but that would run ~$1100 so that may be a bit silly.

After that I would go to the Megapots.

After Megapots I would choose keggles.

A keggle will function just as well as a megapot, but I think the pots look better than the kegs.

Good luck on the search
The Blichmann ones look good and I like the boil screen, but I prefer the clad aluminum disc in the megapots base. I can get a boil screen elsewhere that will work in the Megapot and it will still be cheaper.

Do the Megapots have quart or gallon marks on the inside of the pot?
 
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Tonedef131

Tonedef131

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Jester369 said:
Just be careful not to get too big a pot. I got a 25 gallon pot, and it's great for 10 gallons and up, but just about impossible to do a 5 gallon batch in - the bottom barely gets wet! (okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but it is pretty shallow) Evaporation rates can be really high, and getting all the wort out can be a challenge - even with a pickup tube only leaving a quarter of an inch in the pot means several quarts lost, or that have to be manually removed from the kettle.
This is something I was thinking about, is 20 gallon too big for 5 gallon batches? If it is I might stick with the 15 gallon, because I still might want to pump out a 5 gallon extract batch from time to time.
 

BierMuncher

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Go bigger.

If you do a big beer and need to boil down from 13 gallons and want good hot break, the extra room will be nice. (but then, I'm tired of boil overs in my 15.5 gallon keggle).


Even doing 5 gallon batches, I'd go bigger.

THe only challenge for the bigger pot is if you use a large immersion chiller, a lot of that chiller will be "dry" in a 5-gallon batch.
 
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Tonedef131

Tonedef131

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BierMuncher said:
Go bigger.

If you do a big beer and need to boil down from 13 gallons and want good hot break, the extra room will be nice. (but then, I'm tired of boil overs in my 15.5 gallon keggle).


Even doing 5 gallon batches, I'd go bigger.

THe only challenge for the bigger pot is if you use a large immersion chiller, a lot of that chiller will be "dry" in a 5-gallon batch.
I won't be using an immersion chiller, I am trying to decide between a counterflow chiller and a plate chiller. I think I will go with the plate chiller since it will be permenantly mounted with pex water lines ran to and from it.
 
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