Author Topic: I'm ready to trash my kettle  (Read 5439 times)

Offline euge

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2013, 08:11:48 AM »
I'm not sure pilsner malt requires a 90 minute boil. Once you see the break the timer is started the boil can be whatever time length you choose. We mainly do this for hop utilization.   
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Offline denny

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2013, 08:51:53 AM »
I'm not sure pilsner malt requires a 90 minute boil. Once you see the break the timer is started the boil can be whatever time length you choose. We mainly do this for hop utilization.

I go back and forth with a 90 min. boil for pils malt.  I've never had DMS problems with a 60 min. boil, but I've read so much about it that I've started getting paranoid.  I do a 90 min. boil will all pils malt worts most of the time now.  I think it depends omn the particular malt.  I need to set up an experiment to test this somehow.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2013, 10:17:46 AM »
Honestly, it sounds like you've already made up your mind. But like other posters have said:

- 'calibrated' stick for measuring volumes. I use a very large spoon.
- a partially covered boil or lower heat will reduce evaporation
- you can get weldless plugs, plug it up and drill a new hole. Get a new spigot.

There, you just saved ~$500.
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Online kramerog

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2013, 10:29:53 AM »
I use a $3 measuring stick then consult a chart for volume estimation to a tenth of a gallon or better.  The R&D side of me got the better of me.

I think that a 90-minute boil is unnecessary with the highly-modified pilsener malts that are prevalent nowadays and especially if you have a vigorous boil.  I hedge my bets though and do a 75-minute boil if my grist is mostly pilsener malt. 
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Offline galapagos jim

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2013, 03:30:19 PM »
Thanks for the replies, all.

Mostly I guess I was venting in public. That's what forums are for, right? ;)

> Too high evaporation- add back a gallon or so of water after 60-75 minutes

This had never occurred to me. But it feels too much like partial-boil. Wouldn't this affect hop utilization rates?

> +1 to the measuring rod/stick.  Low tech and reliable.

I guess the reason I haven't done this is because the kettle had _some_ markings.

One comment: I'm paranoid about using a permanent marker on the kettle or any kind of stick. What kind of chemicals are in the ink, and will they get into my wort?

> also could partially cover your kettle, and you could reduce the heat input, once you are at boiling, the higher the heat input the faster the boil off and vice versa.

Partial cover had also not occurred to me, having been taught to never cover the boil. I have tried to vary the heat input, but something is funky with either the regulator or the burner. (Never been fully satisfied with those, either.) There's a very fine line between full-rolling-boil and not-quite-boiling that I've got to park the knob on.

> Appears to me that you just have the itch to buy some different equipment.

Maybe. Maybe just distracted by shinies. Never been 100% happy with this kettle, though. Too many compromises.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2013, 03:32:21 PM »
If you use a wooden stick as your measuring device you can carve the marking in and then you don't have to worry about the marker. I use a yard stick and measure from the surface of the wort to the top lip of the pot so it never actually comes in contact with the wort, or barely. That works to.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2013, 06:04:20 PM »
Keep the kettle. You might start reducing first running a. You might start doing decoct ions, or cereal mashes. You might do a big batch and want to split the boil. You could use it as a grant if it has a valve.

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Offline maxieboy

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2013, 06:15:56 PM »
Do not ask how many pots and kettles I have in the garage!

A pic will do.  ;)
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Offline garc_mall

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2013, 09:51:21 AM »
> Too high evaporation- add back a gallon or so of water after 60-75 minutes

This had never occurred to me. But it feels too much like partial-boil. Wouldn't this affect hop utilization rates?

This is how I usually manage my boils. I have a 7.5 gallon turkey fryer, and do 5-gallon all grain batches.

I run off about 6.5-7 gallons into the fryer, and run an extra 1-2 gallons into a 5-gallon brewpot that I got with my original kit. (I boil off about 1.5 gal/hr). While the boil is going, the extra wort is kept at a boil (or close) on my kitchen stove. Once I get down to about 5.5-6 gallons in the kettle (usually about 45 minutes in), I pause my timer, add the rest of the (near) boiling wort to the kettle, and then restart the timer once the wort gets back to a boil. My tongue has not noticed any hop utilization problems. 
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Offline Jo Diesel

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2013, 07:04:22 AM »
The first thing I would do is buy an adjustable propane regulator http://www.ebay.com/bhp/adjustable-propane-regulator-hose . You are wasting a lot of money if not turning your flame down after boil starts And for a larger kettle I bought mine from Sams.com. It is aluminum and works just fine and is lighter and a lot Cheaper than stainless. http://www.samsclub.com/sams/the-backyard-classic-pro-outdoor-stock-pot-100-qt/prod2540475.ip
Why are so many people stuck on 5 gal batches. Does not cost that much more to step up to 15 gal and basically takes the same amount of time.  Still do 5gal for Barley Wines and Stouts and Tripples 

Offline euge

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2013, 12:35:03 PM »
That's a damn good price on the kettle.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline jeremy0209

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2013, 01:38:55 PM »
I've got a 10 gallon pot that loses about 2.25 gal per hour to evaporation.  Preboil is about 7.5 gal (which I measure with an oak dowel that I marked with Sharpie..works every time)....I use Fermcap-S to control the hot break and foaming.  I also back the flame off so it doesn't foam as much while it's boiling.  I'd love to have a 15-20 gallon Blichmann kettle and burner, but I make great beer with what I've got.  We as brewers have to adapt to our equipment, somewhat.  BTW, I think you're going to find that evaporation rates of well over 20% are fairly common.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2013, 03:03:33 PM »
I've got a 10 gallon pot that loses about 2.25 gal per hour to evaporation.  Preboil is about 7.5 gal (which I measure with an oak dowel that I marked with Sharpie..works every time)....I use Fermcap-S to control the hot break and foaming.  I also back the flame off so it doesn't foam as much while it's boiling.  I'd love to have a 15-20 gallon Blichmann kettle and burner, but I make great beer with what I've got.  We as brewers have to adapt to our equipment, somewhat.  BTW, I think you're going to find that evaporation rates of well over 20% are fairly common.
+1 to making the most of what you have.  I have the same size pot and brew similarly , including the wooden dowel which helps with volume accuracy. I'd love a Blichman but I doubt I'll ever bother.
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Offline galapagos jim

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2013, 05:42:30 PM »
> The first thing I would do is buy an adjustable propane regulator

Got one. The experience I've had with my setup is that there's a very fine line between boiling and not. If I leave the flame too low the boil will occasionally just stop. If it's in the mood it will start again without intervention. I suspect it has more to do with the burner, which has no wind shield on it.

> It is aluminum and works just fine and is lighter and a lot Cheaper than stainless.

I started with an 8-gallon aluminum kettle. Nice jobby that I bought at a restaurant supply store for a decent price. It's now nicely pitted inside because I left it filled with PBW for far too long.

Stainless is more expensive but it has advantages. My current kettle is lighter than that old aluminum one because it is much thinner. And you almost never see welded ports on aluminum.

> Why are so many people stuck on 5 gal batches. Does not cost that much more to step up to 15 gal and basically takes the same amount of time.

For me it's because I don't drink my homebrew very quickly. Let's do the math: 1 beer drinker in my house x 1 pint per day (on average) x 90 pints in a 5-gallon batch = about 3 months to drink a batch IF that's the only beer I drink. Which I don't. Got 3 kegs running and a cellar full of bottles, both mine and from the store.

Eventually I get tired of my kegs being occupied so I take them to the office to have them drained. Point being that the reason I don't make more beer is because I simply don't need that much beer.

> We as brewers have to adapt to our equipment, somewhat

I don't disagree. It's not a universal equation, though. If you have the capability to improve your equipment, either the money to buy it or the expertise to build it yourself, don't you?

I admit to having both perfectionist and gadget-freak shades to my personality. Frustrations like my boil kettle tend to become opportunities to play with new toys.

BTW, after doing some research on kettles, I find that Blichmann actually comes out OK for value. When you add up all the cost of all the bells and whistles, there aren't many feature-equivalent off-the-shelf solutions at a better price. Been talking with my LHBS, though. They do welding and might be able to put a deal together for me.

Still searching for my perfect kettle...

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: I'm ready to trash my kettle
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2013, 07:16:51 PM »
Blichman may (may) have a resale bump too. Kind of the Harley of homebrew equipment (kind of)