Author Topic: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters  (Read 1136 times)

Offline brewsumore

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minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« on: November 23, 2017, 03:47:05 AM »
I have been brewing all-grain 11-gal wort yield-to-fermenters batches (10 gal finished beer) for the past +12 years, using a 15.5 gal keg kettle, basically via the Denny Conn Cheap n' Easy style batch sparge set up, and I do a minimum 60 minute boil.  I plan to continue brewing with this set-up and boil length but I'm considering sourcing a slightly bigger kettle. 

The reason is that experience has taught me that the more hot + cold break material plus pellet hop spooge I leave behind in the kettle, the less taste difference I get between the final two buckets of finished beer (which get racked into corny kegs), since I end up not having to strain out some of the spooge (through a sanitized fine mesh strainer) to get full volume (5.5 gal) into the second bucket when running off chilled wort from the kettle.

Again, in my experience it's not unusual to have to strain the last gallon or so of wort, even though I'm leaving 1 -1.5 gal of spooge + wort behind in the kettle.

Especially for hoppy beers I sometimes suspend a 5-gal paint strainer bag into the boil via a hop spider, and reduce my spooge load that way.  Maybe I just need to quit being lazy and do that every brew.

Have some of you found it simplifies matters to brew a larger than needed kettle yield, and still get full 11-gal clear wort volume yield into the fermenters, simply by using a 17-gal or larger kettle, rather than a 15.5 gal kettle?
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 04:01:53 AM by brewsumore »

Offline BUZZSAW52

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2017, 04:24:37 AM »
I am currently on a 10 gal kettle. My next upgrade is a 20 gal. That would allow me to easily do 10 gal batches and even 15 if I wanted to. It's worth the extra spend to go 20. I will use my 10 gal for water.

Offline Stevie

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2017, 05:20:15 AM »
I do 11gal into the fermenters with a spike 15 gallon kettle. I pull from the side of the kettle with the valve about 1/2 open to reduce the suction on my trub cone. I leave about 3 quarts of break and wort behind.

Have you tried whirlpooling?

Offline brewsumore

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2017, 05:23:01 AM »
I do 11gal into the fermenters with a spike 15 gallon kettle. I pull from the side of the kettle with the valve about 1/2 open to reduce the suction on my trub cone. I leave about 3 quarts of break and wort behind.

Have you tried whirlpooling?

It doesn't work very well in the concave bottom of the keg kettle.  I generally just remove the IC, let it settle for 25 minutes and open the ball valve which sits just over the trub level.

Offline Stevie

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minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2017, 05:31:38 AM »
Ah. I must have missed that you are using a keggle. They are tough for sure. I like my 15gal spike (15.7 actual). I haven’t seen too many odd sized kettles, so next purpose made would likely be 20. That would be good, but not if you ever brew 5gal batches like I do.

Offline a10t2

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2017, 06:11:36 AM »
I think geometry is the bigger issue for you. Get an effective whirlpool going and you shouldn't have any issues with trub getting through. I brewed an 11 gal batch yesterday and left just under 2 qt behind, including what was in the HX.

FWIW, I just upgraded to the 18.5 gal Brewmaster kettle from MoreBeer and I'm loving it so far. The upper (whirlpool) port is at ~5.5 gal, so 6, 11, and 15.5 gal batches are doable.
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Offline brewsumore

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2017, 07:50:18 AM »
I think geometry is the bigger issue for you. Get an effective whirlpool going and you shouldn't have any issues with trub getting through. I brewed an 11 gal batch yesterday and left just under 2 qt behind, including what was in the HX.

FWIW, I just upgraded to the 18.5 gal Brewmaster kettle from MoreBeer and I'm loving it so far. The upper (whirlpool) port is at ~5.5 gal, so 6, 11, and 15.5 gal batches are doable.

Thanks Sean.  That's the kettle I was looking at just before starting this thread!

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2017, 02:47:59 PM »
Thanks Sean.  That's the kettle I was looking at just before starting this thread!

MB won't post (or at least hasn't posted) my mixed-bag reviews, so I feel like I should tell you: the description is inaccurate in that both ports are fully-threaded, which made setting it up for a whirlpool dead simple, but the downside is that the interiors aren't welded and a few rust spots started showing up after a couple boils. If you can do an acid passivation that helps a lot. Still really happy with it for the price.
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Offline brewsumore

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2017, 06:11:52 PM »
Thanks Sean.  That's the kettle I was looking at just before starting this thread!

MB won't post (or at least hasn't posted) my mixed-bag reviews, so I feel like I should tell you: the description is inaccurate in that both ports are fully-threaded, which made setting it up for a whirlpool dead simple, but the downside is that the interiors aren't welded and a few rust spots started showing up after a couple boils. If you can do an acid passivation that helps a lot. Still really happy with it for the price.

Cool!  thanks for the info.  I have 3 unopened container's of Bar Keeper's Friend on hand, so a general approach acid passivation would be a snap.  I'm very seriously considering buying one.

Is there a MB thermometer you recommend to go with it to fit into the thermometer port? 

Also, to whirlpool, do you just give a good rotational swirl stir after chilled, to form a trub cone?  That's more the level I was hoping for, rather than using a whirlpool arm and motor.  And do you recommend a trub diverter attachment to screw in the inside port to pickup the wort more effectively and divert away from the trub cone?  If yes to that, do you have a link to where to buy or make that diverter attachment?  I definitely like the idea of a whirlpool rather than a kettle screen.

I'm asking a lot I realize, but am grateful for any recommendations to take the sting out of my own research and trial and error!   8) 8)

http://howtobrew.com/book/appendices/appendix-b/passivating-stainless-steel

Offline Stevie

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2017, 08:21:34 PM »
Pumps are awesome,  but a good stir for a full minute or using a mix-stir works well. Settling for 30 min is the key.

Offline brewsumore

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2017, 08:32:50 PM »
Pumps are awesome,  but a good stir for a full minute or using a mix-stir works well. Settling for 30 min is the key.


Thanks Stevie.  That's helpful to me.  And honestly I prefer the simplest possible set-up, so hand-stirring or a mix stir sound better than a pump set-up to me.

Do you have an opinion as to whether to us a "trub deflector" - I believer they're commonly called a whirlpool pick-up, as an attachment to the inside threads for the drain port?  I recall seeing short bent tubing with the end opening close to the kettle wall, sometimes with a partially pinched tube end, and maybe connected to the port threads via compression fitting??  I didn't see anything similar on MB website.

Offline Stevie

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2017, 08:36:46 PM »
For sure use a dip tube that picks up from the side. I have mine clipped to leave 1/2 gallon behind which makes it a little stupid proof.

http://www.bargainfittings.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=45&product_id=159
If buying a commercial kettle, you would likely need the flush welded.

Offline brewsumore

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2017, 09:00:40 PM »
For sure use a dip tube that picks up from the side. I have mine clipped to leave 1/2 gallon behind which makes it a little stupid proof.

http://www.bargainfittings.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=45&product_id=159
If buying a commercial kettle, you would likely need the flush welded.

Yep!  I'm hoping that the 1/2" threaded full coupler is mounted flush to the inside of the kettle, in which case the item you linked to should work perfectly. 

Sean does that look right to you?

Thanks Stevie!  And I like very much your suggestion to raise it above the 1/2 gal mark!

https://www.morebeer.com/products/185-gallon-brewmaster-stainless-steel-brew-kettle.html
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 09:02:56 PM by brewsumore »

Offline brewsumore

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2017, 05:20:09 AM »
I obviously need to do a bit more research - including on how to whirlpool with a pump.  Anyone have a good link to a primer?  I do have a whirlpool arm I bought and just stored, but it sounds like Sean is saying that with a higher port it would remove the need for a whirlpool arm.  As I said, I will do more research, as I'm quite ignorant about the mechanics of this.

Offline brewsumore

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Re: minimum size kettle for 11 gal yield into fermenters
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2017, 04:10:42 PM »
Well, I decided to take advantage of MB's Black Friday sale and bought the BrewBuilt 22 gal kettle + thermometer + their pickup tube.  It's overkill for me, but should work well enough, is excellent construction apparently, and gives me the option to do 15-gal batches (expect to only rarely), as well as my standard 10-gal batches.

edit: On sale the BrewBuilt was only about $80 more than the Brewmaster 18.5 gal kettle. which did not go on sale.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 12:08:14 AM by brewsumore »