Author Topic: Brew Kettle upgrade  (Read 879 times)

Offline FLbrewer

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Brew Kettle upgrade
« on: January 13, 2014, 07:09:45 PM »
I'm considering upgrading from my 10 gallon Polar Ware kettle to something with a ball valve. I'm considering the following kettle. I like the company, the kettle is made here, and it's priced well.
http://spikebrewing.com/collections/10-gallon-stainless-kettles/products/10-gallon-brew-kettle-1-coupler

Of course, there is Blichman, but I don't see any difference and the price is much higher. I've also talked myself out of needed a sight glass and thermometer bc I use a Thermapen. My primary reason for doing this is bc my kettle now is as thin as a razor and I like the idea of being able to transfer out with a ball valve over pouring into a funnel.
Lastly, any concerns over using Teflon tape? The Spike kettles require it.

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2014, 07:21:22 PM »
Before you upgrade you should evalute your brewing and if you will be converting to all grain in the future.  IF you are going to start allgrain brewing id suggest buying a 16g kettle, as you can boil 5g batches with a lot more breathing room then a 10g kettle.  This is of course my opinion, as i know some brewers on this forum who brew 5g batches in what i consider ludicrously small kettles.

That being said, why dont you just add a ball valve to you current kettle?  All it requires is the ability to punch a hole in your kettle(step bit or hole punch work) and a weldless bulkhead with ball valve.  easy peasy:)

Cheers,
Jeff
Granite Coast Brewing Company.
Building a clone of The Electric Brewery to use as a pilot system for new recipes!

Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2014, 07:29:36 PM »
Spike kettle appear to be the same Chinese kettles other sites sell, but with welded couplers added here. Could be wrong. Still a good deal.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2014, 07:30:37 PM »
Just had a 10 gal Polarware have a hole put in for a weldless ball valve. That will be my 5 gallon boil kettle for small batches. If I can do 10 gallons in a converted 15.5 gallon keg, I can do 5 in a 10 gallon pot.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2014, 07:33:29 PM »
Just had a 10 gal Polarware have a hole put in for a weldless ball valve. That will be my 5 gallon boil kettle for small batches. If I can do 10 gallons in a converted 15.5 gallon keg, I can do 5 in a 10 gallon pot.

I dont disagree Jeff.  I know ti can be done, but knowing my propensity to forget the fermcap and also to just walk away looking at something shiny, a boilover is almost guaranteed in that size kettle.  Hell we had a 2g extract batch boil over in a 5g pot while my buddy was WATCHING.  ill take the insurance space:)

Its whatever works for your brewery:)
Granite Coast Brewing Company.
Building a clone of The Electric Brewery to use as a pilot system for new recipes!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 07:50:34 PM »
Just had a 10 gal Polarware have a hole put in for a weldless ball valve. That will be my 5 gallon boil kettle for small batches. If I can do 10 gallons in a converted 15.5 gallon keg, I can do 5 in a 10 gallon pot.

I dont disagree Jeff.  I know ti can be done, but knowing my propensity to forget the fermcap and also to just walk away looking at something shiny, a boilover is almost guaranteed in that size kettle.  Hell we had a 2g extract batch boil over in a 5g pot while my buddy was WATCHING.  ill take the insurance space:)

Its whatever works for your brewery:)

Experience can be a cruel teacher. I have not had a boilover in a very long time, even with 13 gallons in the converted keg to start. You learn to keep and eye on it, and to throttle back the burner some at the first sign of a boil. Having a thermometer on the kettle also helps you to know when to be vigilant.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline FLbrewer

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014, 07:59:37 PM »

Before you upgrade you should evalute your brewing and if you will be converting to all grain in the future.  IF you are going to start allgrain brewing id suggest buying a 16g kettle, as you can boil 5g batches with a lot more breathing room then a 10g kettle.  This is of course my opinion, as i know some brewers on this forum who brew 5g batches in what i consider ludicrously small kettles.

That being said, why dont you just add a ball valve to you current kettle?  All it requires is the ability to punch a hole in your kettle(step bit or hole punch work) and a weldless bulkhead with ball valve.  easy peasy:)

Cheers,
Jeff
Jeff, I didn't even consider drilling a hole. I currently brew 5 gallon extracts (boiling all 5 gallons) in the ten gallon with nothing close to boil over. What would change w all grain? I don't see a need for bigger kettles.


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Offline Jeff M

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2014, 08:08:51 PM »
With all grain brewing you tend to collect a total volume of wort including how much water you boil off.  If you are aiming for 5g into your fermenter you would be collecting an extra 1.25g(depending on kettle size and boil length etc) making your PREboil volume about 6.25g.    As Jeff said, a 10g Kettle is quite capable of handling this volume when boiling, Just realize that you need to be prepared to react when you reach a boil and as you add hops at the start of boil.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2014, 08:22:28 PM »
My preboils are frequently 7+ gallons for a 5 gallon target

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2014, 08:26:29 PM »
My preboils are frequently 7+ gallons for a 5 gallon target

Jim, Is this because your are at a higher elevation(im at sea level) or do you boil for longer then 60 minutes?

Id love to find an equation to find Boil evaporation losses but everything i have raid just says boil water and figure it out....
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Building a clone of The Electric Brewery to use as a pilot system for new recipes!

Offline GolfBum

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2014, 08:34:11 PM »
Jeff, I am a lot like Jim in that I have almost 7 gallons, a little more than 6.5 gallons at the start of the boil for my 5 gallon batches. I am just over 5500 feet of elevation. I always have a little left over but it is mostly hotbreak and hops leftover.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2014, 08:41:35 PM »
I am at 900 ft. Don't forget that you will get more off a 10 gallon polarware due to more surface area than a keg. My experience. So you do have to try it to nail it down.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2014, 08:41:37 PM »

My preboils are frequently 7+ gallons for a 5 gallon target

Jim, Is this because your are at a higher elevation(im at sea level) or do you boil for longer then 60 minutes?

Id love to find an equation to find Boil evaporation losses but everything i have raid just says boil water and figure it out....

It's all trial and error. Then, when you think you have it figured out, the humidity drops or it gets windy. It's a moving target.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2014, 10:09:20 PM »
I can gather 5 gallons from 6 if its low hops and 60 min boil. But if it's an IPA or a ssm rich grain bill I need 7. Then you have heat expansion and equipment loss. In short I use a 15 gallon pot for 5 gallon batches and never have a boil over issue running the burner wide open. I'm not a fan of reducing the level of boil at hot break, because that's the moment I want the best boil I can get. You can do an 8 gallon pot, but you're flirty with problems like boil over, or dms and haze from low boils. I'd suggest just jumping to a 15 gallon pot when making that first upgrade.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Brew Kettle upgrade
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2014, 05:13:04 AM »
Just had a 10 gal Polarware have a hole put in for a weldless ball valve. That will be my 5 gallon boil kettle for small batches. If I can do 10 gallons in a converted 15.5 gallon keg, I can do 5 in a 10 gallon pot.

I dont disagree Jeff.  I know ti can be done, but knowing my propensity to forget the fermcap and also to just walk away looking at something shiny, a boilover is almost guaranteed in that size kettle.  Hell we had a 2g extract batch boil over in a 5g pot while my buddy was WATCHING.  ill take the insurance space:)

Its whatever works for your brewery:)

Experience can be a cruel teacher. I have not had a boilover in a very long time, even with 13 gallons in the converted keg to start. You learn to keep and eye on it, and to throttle back the burner some at the first sign of a boil. Having a thermometer on the kettle also helps you to know when to be vigilant.

+1.  I used to do 5.5 gallon AG batches in an 8 gallon pot for years until I upgraded.  Keeps you on your toes.
Jon H.