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10 Gallon Kettle Vs. 8 Gallon

I’ve been looking into stepping up my equipment again by investing in a solid brew kettle. I’m looking at the Megapot and was wondering if anyone had any input on whether to go with the 8 or 10 gallon model. Additionally, I’m having some difficulty deciding on whether or not to opt for the thermometer addition. Thoughts?

EDIT: I plan on doing BIAB (3 gallon batches) and 5 gallon extract full boils on a stovetop.

For me, it’s an easy choice between the 8 and 10 gallon version. For ~$20 more you get two gallons of capacity. This will give you a little extra buffer to respond to boilover threats. You may want to start with a 9 gal boil volume some day if all-grain brewing.

As a rule of thumb, whenever buying pricy equipment like this, always get the most scalable option, so you don’t have to replace it again later. You can add a ball valve/thermometer later, but you can’t add additional capacity to a kettle (I know, stating the obvious).

I really like having a built-in thermometer. I’m not sure I’d go with the ball valve that comes with that kettle, though. It looks like a two piece, which can be very difficult or impossible to disassemble for cleaning. Maybe someone with that specific valve can confirm.

Edit: I started writing my response before you added your edit. :slight_smile:

Get the 10

+1 on 10 gal. kettle. You will be glad that you did, lot’s of wiggle room than the 8 gal.

Agree on 10. I can’t think of any real advantage of 8. I have the 10g w/ valve & thermometer. I love it. Valve was tricky to make “leak free”, but has since been great. CAUTION though, it took over an hour too get to boil on stove using 2 burners for 5g full boil. I ended up moving to garage with propane burner. Now it boils in 17 minutes.

Oh yea, in the garage for sure. That way if it boils over you don’t here a lot of bitching.

+1 on buying the 10. I actually just upsized from a 8 gallon kettle to a 10 gallon kettle. I found that with boil off, kettle loss, and losses in fermentation transfer, I wasn’t even getting 5 gallons in my keg with almost topping out my 8 gallon kettle without almost boiling over. And if you are using any Pilsner malt and need to do a 90 minute boil you have an even larger preboil volume.
Also, get the thermometer and ball valve, it is worth it.

I agree with all of the above. I picked up a 10 gal. with valve, thermometer, and false bottom which is nice for BIAB. Love it! The first BIAB i brewed was 3 gal. Then realized, with the time and effort, i want another case of beer out of it. Been doing 5.5 gal. batches since with no issues. :cheers:

I have the 10 and love it, but if I bought it again, I wouldn’t get the thermometer. I don’t mash in it, so for me the only temp i care about is boiling, which i don’t need a thermometer to see. The time I made an extract batch, the amount of water for steeping didn’t come up to submerge the thermometer.

[quote=“Thirstyone”]I agree with all of the above. I picked up a 10 gal. with valve, thermometer, and false bottom which is nice for BIAB. Love it! The first BIAB i brewed was 3 gal. Then realized, with the time and effort, i want another case of beer out of it. Been doing 5.5 gal. batches since with no issues. :cheers: [/quote]a

What sort of changes to your recipes did you have to make in order to do the BIAB at 5.5 gallons? Sadly, it doesn’t seem NB has that option in their BIAB kits.

Also, which bag did you opt for your setup in the 10 gal kettle? I don’t think the kit bag is big enough for these kettles.

[quote=“JamesC”][quote=“Thirstyone”]I agree with all of the above. I picked up a 10 gal. with valve, thermometer, and false bottom which is nice for BIAB. Love it! The first BIAB i brewed was 3 gal. Then realized, with the time and effort, i want another case of beer out of it. Been doing 5.5 gal. batches since with no issues. :cheers: [/quote]a

What sort of changes to your recipes did you have to make in order to do the BIAB at 5.5 gallons? Sadly, it doesn’t seem NB has that option in their BIAB kits.

Also, which bag did you opt for your setup in the 10 gal kettle? I don’t think the kit bag is big enough for these kettles.[/quote]

I’ve been using Beersmith2 for all my recipes so far. No kits. It works great for me. Just plug in the ingredients, desired volume, your equipment, etc… Had to play with it a bit, but it is awesome after you figure it out. Also, i got my bag from this guy http://www.bagbrewer.com/index.html
So far i’m happy with the results. 8)

I use my kettle to heat my strike and sparge water so the thermometer is nice

Why the false bottom for BIAB? I thought that was what bag was for. Is it just to keep bag off bottom and away from heat source for mash-out?

Yes, apparently some people had their bag scorch sitting directly on bottom of kettle. My kettle came with false bottom, so i leave it in. I’ve read some use a collander or strainer to keep bag off bottom also. Gotta fly, just hitting a boil!! :cheers:

What kind of efficiencies are you getting with BIAB? Did it change when you went from 3 to 5 gallon batches?

Just finished my Rye Pale. Beersmith says 71%. That’s about my average so far (69-74) after 5 batches. I crush myself @ .032 on the mill. Finally got my volumes figured out within .1 gals. Not sure how to increase efficiency at this point, but i’m ok with 70’s. May have to play with water profiles soon. Still getting dialed in. Size of batch doesn’t matter either. :cheers:

Try tightening-up your mill for a finer crush (assuming it’s adjustable) and you’ll likely see some increase in efficiency. I have my Barley Crusher set to .029. I’ve used that crush for both BIAB and with my CPVC manifold MLT with good efficiency and no stuck sparges. And, for the record, I don’t use rice hulls.

Thanks, i’ll give it a try. I thought .032 was pretty tight-fairly fine crush. Just curious, about what speed do you run at & do you condition grain?

My mill isn’t motorized - it has “arm-strong” propulsion. I’d guess that I crank it somewhere around 80-100 RPM. I don’t condition my grain, I just mill it as-is.

dont bother with an 8…pointless for a boilkettle unless your doing smaller batches get the 10 no quiestions

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