Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: stankonia on March 08, 2011, 11:05:24 PM

Title: Minimum Size for Kettle and Carboys - 5 Gallon Batches
Post by: stankonia on March 08, 2011, 11:05:24 PM
I'm just starting out and doing extract brewing.  What is the minimum size of Kettle and Carboys I should get for doing 5 gallon batches?

Is the difference between a 5 gallon and 6 gallon carboy noticeable when using a blow off valve?  I'm just wondering because some beginner kits have 6 gallon ones and others have 5.


Also, any advice on picking out a good kettle?  They are more expensive than I though, especially when getting ones larger than 5 gallons. But I don't want to be too cheap when getting one so I don't have to upgrade in a few months when I advance my brewing.  Generally what kind of stores (not online) sell kettles that are large enough, so I can feel/look at it?


Thanks for answering my newbie questions!


Title: Re: Minimum Size for Kettle and Carboys - 5 Gallon Batches
Post by: The Professor on March 09, 2011, 01:50:13 AM
You'll probably get varying opinions, but for whatever my .02 is worth,  bigger is definitely better for your fermenter...if you use a 6 or 6 1/2  gal carboy, you generally don't need a blowoff tube at all (assuming you don't overpitch if re-using yeast).   A 7 gal or larger bucket for fermentation also effectively eliminates the need for any kind of blowoff setup (I mean, why waste any of the beer you're making!).

I use a 7 gal acid carboy I picked up around 25 years ago and never use a blowoff tube.  For the first two days I don't even use an airlock, just a piece of foil.

Bigger is certainly better for a kettle too.  If brewing is something you think you'll continue to pursue, go for a 10 or 15 gallon one so you can do full wort boils...it's optional for extract brewing but will improve the results.  Once you move on to all-grain (and you likely will, when it becomes clear how expensive extract brewing can be) you'll be good to go, and only have to buy a few more things to go all grain.
Title: Re: Minimum Size for Kettle and Carboys - 5 Gallon Batches
Post by: oscarvan on March 09, 2011, 02:37:47 AM
Most extract recipes call for 2 or 4 gallon boils. With a little room to breathe a 4 gallon pot will suffice. That's what I used. You just have to watch it. And, FWIW, I have created a boil over out of 6 gallons in a 15 gallon keggle. So no pot is big enough to save you from that mistake.......
Title: Re: Minimum Size for Kettle and Carboys - 5 Gallon Batches
Post by: bluesman on March 09, 2011, 03:13:55 AM
I use both 5 and 6 gallon carboys and 6.5gal buckets. I try to avoid a secondary ferment where possible. I generally ferment in 6.5 gallon food grade plastic buckets which is fine for most 5-6 gallon batches depending on yeast strain and OG.

As far as kettles go, I recommend using a converted keg (keggle) or a 15 gallon kettle for brewing 5-12 gallon batches. This size will give you the room you'll need to grow from 5 gallon to 10 gallon batches if you choose to do so.
Title: Re: Minimum Size for Kettle and Carboys - 5 Gallon Batches
Post by: gordonstrong on March 09, 2011, 06:51:13 AM
Are you going to do full boils or partial?  Are you heating on the stove or a propane burner?

If you want to do full boils, you'll need something around 9 gal or so for a 5 gal batch.  I used to use a 20 quart pot on the stove when I first started, but those were concentrated boils.  The 9 gal pot didn't work on the stove (not enough clearance, not enough heat output), but worked OK on a burner.

I think you'll eventually want to get a 15.5 gal keg or something similar in size if you stick with it.  They can do 10 gallon batches, or can accomodate long boils on 5 gallon batches. 

I like some headspace in the fermenter, so if you want a full 5 gallons when you're done and don't want to always use a blowoff tube, then you need a 6 or 6.5 gal carboy or bucket.  Or one of those newer plastic carboy things.

I don't think you lose out on much if you get a 20 quart pot first and then something big later.  I still use that pot to sanitize bottles and other non-essential cooking tasks.  Depends on how much you want to initially invest, and how you intend to brew while you are learning.
Title: Re: Minimum Size for Kettle and Carboys - 5 Gallon Batches
Post by: euge on March 09, 2011, 07:15:51 AM

So no pot is big enough to save you from that mistake.......

Keep brewing and experimenting. I routinely do concentrated boils in a 40qt kettle with no boil-overs. And I do larger concentrated boils in my 80qt. Without using the anti-foam drops. All burner control and knowing when the danger is over. 8)
Title: Re: Minimum Size for Kettle and Carboys - 5 Gallon Batches
Post by: Hokerer on March 09, 2011, 02:31:09 PM
And I do larger concentrated boils in my 80qt.

Concentrated boils in a 20-gallon pot???   What the heck batch sizes are you making :)
Title: Re: Minimum Size for Kettle and Carboys - 5 Gallon Batches
Post by: stankonia on March 09, 2011, 02:34:39 PM
Thanks for the advice guys!

I'm going to go with the 6 Gallon carboys, and a 6-7 Gallon kettle to start with.


I appreciate the help
Title: Re: Minimum Size for Kettle and Carboys - 5 Gallon Batches
Post by: bluesman on March 09, 2011, 02:39:00 PM
Thanks for the advice guys!

I'm going to go with the 6 Gallon carboys, and a 6-7 Gallon kettle to start with.


I appreciate the help

Your welcome.

Are you planning to do full boils for your 5 gallon batches?

If so...you'll need bigger than a 6-7 gallon kettle to avoid nasty boilovers as you'll barely even fit your full boil volume in the kettle. Just a heads up for you.

By the way...Welcome to the AHA Forum.  :)
Title: Re: Minimum Size for Kettle and Carboys - 5 Gallon Batches
Post by: tonyp on March 09, 2011, 04:46:02 PM
I recently upgraded my equipment and bought a complete kit from William's, this 32qt kettle was in the kit, I'm very happy with it. The valve is great for transferring wort without having to lift that sucker when its pretty full. Just something to consider.

Brewer's Edge 32 Quart Brew Kettle (http://www.williamsbrewing.com/BREWERS-EDGE-32-QUART-BREWKETTLE-P2365C50.aspx)

Cheers and welcome to the forum!
TonyP
Title: Re: Minimum Size for Kettle and Carboys - 5 Gallon Batches
Post by: stankonia on March 10, 2011, 03:55:03 AM
I recently upgraded my equipment and bought a complete kit from William's, this 32qt kettle was in the kit, I'm very happy with it. The valve is great for transferring wort without having to lift that sucker when its pretty full. Just something to consider.

Brewer's Edge 32 Quart Brew Kettle (http://www.williamsbrewing.com/BREWERS-EDGE-32-QUART-BREWKETTLE-P2365C50.aspx)

Cheers and welcome to the forum!
TonyP

Thanks for the link, I actually am planning on getting this one now that you showed me.  Also, I'm going to go with the kit from Northern Brewer that comes with the 6 gallon BB carboy.

Also, I'm going in a little deeper than I originally planned and getting a propane burner and forgoing brewery on my stove top.

Thanks for the help guys.
Title: Re: Minimum Size for Kettle and Carboys - 5 Gallon Batches
Post by: euge on March 10, 2011, 06:30:27 AM
And I do larger concentrated boils in my 80qt.

Concentrated boils in a 20-gallon pot???   What the heck batch sizes are you making :)

If one is willing to dilute post-boil then many possibilities open up. But that's for another thread... ;)