Author Topic: Best size for a new kettle  (Read 1236 times)

Offline Phil_M

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Best size for a new kettle
« on: March 16, 2016, 11:14:47 AM »
With the change from electric brewing to my current batch sparge/propane burner setup, I'm in the market for a new brew kettle.

I've got a good handle of what I'm looking for, and I'm settling towards the SS brewtech kettles. Question is, what size to get?

Right now I brew 5 gallon batches, but I'm hoping to expand into 10 gallon batches soon. Would a 15 gal kettle work for both? I really don't see why it would not, but as normal I always want a second opinion.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Best size for a new kettle
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2016, 11:30:16 AM »
In my opinion a 15gal kettle would work for both.  I have a 12gal one that works well for 5 gallon batches.  Lots of headroom.  The biggest consideration I have to work around is boil-off rate.  The larger surface area increases evaporation.  You can adjust for it but it can surprise you on really low humidity day.

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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Best size for a new kettle
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2016, 12:10:16 PM »
That's my thought. No thermometer means no "real" minimum volume, but boil off could fluctuate a little. That's no biggie.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Best size for a new kettle
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2016, 01:15:52 PM »
id have to step up the size if i went to 10gal. i usually have 7.5-8gal volume going in, and boil off and trub left behind leaves me enough for the 5.5ish gals into carboy.

i've thought about it but they setup and brewing location would make lifting impossible-I'd have to rearrange and use gravity or pumps so I didn't break my back.
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Best size for a new kettle
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2016, 01:30:23 PM »
My current plan is to use gravity. Kettle on raised burner -> therminator sitting on the ground -> 6.5 gal carboy. If I end up getting a chest freezer/conical setup I'll likely just collect cool wort in sanitized buckets, and lug those in to the fermenter.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline euge

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Re: Best size for a new kettle
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2016, 10:02:48 PM »
I went with a 20 gallon and have not regretted it. And set the the thermometer low enough to read a top of a 5 gallon batch. Went weldless and did all the work myself.

It would be easy to install a Blichmann thermometer on a SS Brewtech Kettle or have them do it.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Best size for a new kettle
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2016, 10:16:11 PM »
My BK is 15 gal. The largest batch I do is 8 gal to the fermenter (sour beers, trying to limit headspace). Thats about 10 gal preboil, and its fine. I think if I added two more gallons I would have to be very vigilant at hot break, or use fermcap.

Offline 69franx

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Re: Best size for a new kettle
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2016, 11:05:35 PM »
I bought a 15 gallon for my mostly 5-6 gallon batches and it works nice enough that a newbie like me can't complain (new in that I really have nothing to compare it to) and o have done a 10 gallon batch in it that was over 12g pre boil, took a lot of careful watching.
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Offline lindak

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Re: Best size for a new kettle
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2016, 11:44:12 PM »
In the last couple of years I started brewing after a 20 year hiatus.  I do 5 gallon batches in a 15 gallon Blichmann.  I do BIAB and found the kettle size to be perfect.  I boil off about 1 1/4 gallons an hour.  The thermometer is too low to help me figure my temp as I'm cooling with an immersion chiller, but that is not a big deal. (Use a thermapen to mash and don't rely on the kettle's thermometer).   I couldn't do a 10 gallon BIAB batch, but a sparged batch would be very do-able. 

Good luck with your purchase! 

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Best size for a new kettle
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2016, 12:45:57 AM »
So, what I'm hearing is it's great for 5-6 gallon batches, and capable (though not ideal) for some 10-gallon batches. That'll do me fine till I can spring for a dedicated kettle for 10-gallon batches.

FWIW, my current kettle is a 9-gallon bayou classic that I've had for ages. I'm familiar with the edge-of-your-seat experience of hot break with only a gallon on headroom.  8)
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.

Offline coolman26

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Best size for a new kettle
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2016, 03:58:15 PM »
My kettle is 25 gallons. I wanted the capability to brew 15 gallons finished in the kegs. I would go 20 gallons for your needs. I wish my kettle were 30 though. I like to have the extra room for boil over protection. The cost is minimal IMO. All in what is right for you. I use 20 tip NG jet burners and really like the setup.


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