Author Topic: Brew Kettle Size  (Read 2178 times)

Offline Captain Jack

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Brew Kettle Size
« on: June 10, 2016, 02:35:52 AM »
I am looking to brew my first 5 gallon batch and was wondering a couple things about the size of the pot I will need if I wanted to do a full boil. Would a 7.5 gallon be enough? Or do I need to get something bigger? Also with a full boil this size does a stove top work or do I need to get a burner? And finally with a full boil this size, can you cool it down quick enough with an ice bath or do i need to get a wort chiller?

thanks for the help

Offline santoch

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Re: Brew Kettle Size
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2016, 02:40:58 AM »
In my experience, 7.5 g pot is the minimum size of what can hold a full pre-boiled 5 gallon batch.  Even then you'll have boilovers.

[Edit - DOH- I was thinking MINIMUM, not maximum.]
« Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 04:49:02 PM by santoch »
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Offline juggabrew303

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Re: Brew Kettle Size
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2016, 02:51:57 AM »
I would look for a 10 gal. pot to avoid boil overs.  I'm able to boil 7 gal in ~30-40 min on my glass top range but that's only with a 12 inch element  around 3,000 watts.  Anything less than that would take too long if it could even get to boil temps.  Electric coils will not work. Gas would be fine.  Most people would probably recommend a propane burner.  This all depends on ur preference and space constraints. Also, there's no rule you have to do 5 gal..try 3, 4 or 4.5.  Hope this helps


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Offline blair.streit

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Re: Brew Kettle Size
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2016, 08:26:20 AM »
If you're trying to fill a 5G keg I understand the appeal. I brew all my 5G batches in a 10G pot using 7.75 gallons as starting volume, 6 gallons at the end of the boil, 5.5 to the fermentor and 5 to the keg.

Yes, I'm wasting wort and beer at each stage, but that's the joy of homebrewing. I don't care if I dump half a gallon of wort and trub on my lawn at the end. I know that stuff probably wouldn't have made my beer better anyway.

If you're not kegging and don't plan to be, then I agree with the above. If you're bottling, there's nothing magical about 5G batches.

Regardless, you'll never be sorry you have a larger pot.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Brew Kettle Size
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2016, 12:08:13 PM »
I use a 10 gallon SS pot for 5.5 gallon batches, collecting 6.8 gallons of wort for a 65 minute boil. Plenty of room in the pot. Obviously I collect more wort for a longer boil.
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Offline greatplainsbrewer

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Re: Brew Kettle Size
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2016, 03:17:41 PM »
I might be against the grain on this but if I could go back and do it over again I'd buy bigger.  I use a 10 gallon megapot and target 6 gallons at the end of the boil.  I lose between 2 and 3 qts when I rack to my carboy and plan on losing another qt or so when I rack to a keg.  The problem I run into is that this particular pot is rather wide and I have a boil off rate over 1.7 gal/hr.  So on a 90 minute boil I have to start with over 8 gallons which puts the level of the wort at a little more than 2 inches below the top of pot.  This makes boilovers likely.

Having said that I suspect that the newer dimensions (taller, narrower) might reduce that boil off rate. YMMV

Offline a10t2

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Re: Brew Kettle Size
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2016, 04:15:34 PM »
The problem I run into is that this particular pot is rather wide and I have a boil off rate over 1.7 gal/hr.  So on a 90 minute boil I have to start with over 8 gallons which puts the level of the wort at a little more than 2 inches below the top of pot.  This makes boilovers likely.

Why not just back off on the burner, or get a smaller one? 1.7 gal/hr means the burner is putting out around 30,000 BTU/hr.

If that isn't an option, why not shorten the boil? The only time I can envision wanting to reduce the wort by 30+% would be when making a truly huge beer.
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Offline BrewHalla

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Re: Brew Kettle Size
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2016, 01:34:59 AM »
I have used an 8 gallon pot and it works fine. Just get some anti foaming agent and throw a couple copper pennies in the bottom of the pot for nucleation points and you wont boil over... well less you just blast your burner wide open.. Issue going much larger is you start getting into a problem with the pot being too tall or too wide  for you to use a run of the mill burner.

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Online BrewBama

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Re: Brew Kettle Size
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2016, 11:45:21 AM »
I vote 10 gal






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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Brew Kettle Size
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2016, 03:17:11 PM »
Think about how much beer you may want to brew in the future. Kettles can be expensive but the difference between 7.5 and 10 gallons is a lot less than buying a 7.5 gallon kettle today and a 10 gallon one down the road. 7.5 gallons pretty much cuts you off at six gallons with a sixty minute boil or five and a half gallons with a ninety minute boil. Will you ever want to brew a bigger batch?

If you have a standard electric coil stove you'll fight to get five gallons of wort to boil. It will happen but in my experience you'll spend about an hour trying to get to boil. It's also a lot of weight on the burner and long term high heat that risks burning out the element, wiring and/or infinity switch. It's not the cheapest fix and if you blew it out once you'll probably do it again in the future.

If 7.5-8 gallons is enough kettle space for you then I'd suggest thinking about a turkey fryer. You can get one with a kettle for a very reasonable price. People often unload theirs on craigslist. You could probably get one with a kettle for $20 or less if you live in an urban/suburban area.
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Offline chrisroe77

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Re: Brew Kettle Size
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2016, 10:29:40 PM »
I don't want to hijack the thread, but my question is very close to this. I haven't brewed in a few years and even then only have about 5 beers under my belt. I have a 10-12 gallon (not sure exactly) aluminum kettle (as well as a 4 gal stainless steel), and I know full boils produce better beer. My issue is that I don't have a wort chiller. I have a dedicated fermenting chamber with digital controller and will primary in a bucket.  Would you more experienced brewers suggest using an ice bath in my available freezer with a full boil or using chilled water to dilute a partial boil? I guess my question is what would be better, getting a good cold break with a partial boil or possibly chilling the wort slower with a full boil? Thanks so much!

Edit: I have a propane cooker so heating the full boil isn't a problem.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 10:32:38 PM by chrisroe77 »

Offline war2112

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Re: Brew Kettle Size
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2016, 01:41:21 AM »
I am looking to brew my first 5 gallon batch and was wondering a couple things about the size of the pot I will need if I wanted to do a full boil. Would a 7.5 gallon be enough? Or do I need to get something bigger? Also with a full boil this size does a stove top work or do I need to get a burner? And finally with a full boil this size, can you cool it down quick enough with an ice bath or do i need to get a wort chiller?

thanks for the help

Just to add my 2 cents. I can only do partial boil right now due to living in an apt. with an electric coil range.So definitely do not try to do a full boil on a range like mine even with a big kettle. The element won't be able to handle it.

I agree with the advice on turkey fryer or a propane burner. that is my next step. I plan on doing that and making the jump to all grain at the same time. I only have a 4 gallon kettle and it works good on the stove but I would not go bigger on an electric range.

Good luck!!

 

Offline BrewHalla

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Re: Brew Kettle Size
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2016, 02:28:19 PM »
As far as a wort chiller you can build your own pretty easy. Copper tubing is sold at Lowe's and is already coiled. Just have to pull up really...They also sell all the fittings you would need if you want to hook it to your sink or to a hose.

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