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15 gallon brew pot question

I have a 15 gallon brew pot I use for mashing and boils. I am new to all grain kits. In fact I only did two extract kits before going all grain. I am doing five gallon kits. I have only brewed two all grain kits so I have no method to the madness yet. I did notice I lost close to three gallons of wort when the boil was over with both kits. For my water calculations I used 1.2 quarts per pound of grain. I sparged with @4-5 gallons of water. What is the best way to boil and end up with 5.5 gallons of wort going into the fermentor?

If you are loosing 3 gallons during the boil, you should sparge to collect about 8.5-9 gallons of runnings to the kettle to start your boil.

Another option is to start with a little less and shorten your boil time, but when it comes right down to it, trial and error is one of the best teaching experiences.

Thanks for the advice. I hear about off flavors or tannions from over sparging. I have a dead guy clone I have in the fermentor now. It came with a 13 pound grain bill. So I sparged with 5 gallons and came up with 8 gallons of wort pre boil. I want to do a NB Cream Ale, it comes with only 8 pound grain bill, so I am concerned about too little wort after the boil. Thought about maybe just adding enough water to the wort to bring it up to 5.5 gallons before I pitch the yeast. Is that ok to do?

IIRC, tannins may not be an issue if you are batch sparging. So you could go ahead and sparge up to the 8-9 gallon level.

With a small grain bill, if you didn’t want to do that you could add water to the boil kettle before starting the boil. Or, add it to the kettle after the boil as a cooling process.

Thanks so much for helping me out. I was really concerned about the amount of wort after I boil with just 8 pound of grain for the mash. I feel better about doing this cream ale now. I will measure the amount of wort after the first running, then sparge with an amount of water to bring the volume up to 8 gallons and see what happens from there. :slight_smile:

Certainly possible but I’d be a touch surprised if you’re boiling off 3 gallons as 1 gallon per hour is where most systems are at. Maybe you are adding the water absorbed by the grains AND boil off? As was mentioned it takes some trial and error but you can count on losing .1 gallon per pound of grain to absorption and then add water ever dead space there may be in your mash ton (ie - wort you can’t get out of the tun). Add that water to what you want your starting boil volume to be (~6.5 gallons) to get how much water you’ll need.

I just use software with all these numbers in it and follow the volumes it spits out for me to mash and sparge with.

In my pot, it takes 2 gallons of water to reach the false bottom. With the water laying just at the false bottom, when I open the ball valve, 2/3 gallon will pour out. When I figure the amount of water needed per pound of grain, in the past I added the amount needed from the false bottom on up. When I do the first running, I only drain until the wort stops, so there is about 1 1/3 gallons still in the pot I dont use. I batch sparged this last brew. Still after the second running I still left the 1 1/3 gallon in the pot. I collected it in a seperate container for later use if needed, but it was full of turb and I threw it away. Does this method sound ok? Just checked my notes: Started with 3.25 gallons of strike water. After first running, I collected 2.750 gallons. That includes the 1/3 gallon I get below the false bottom. I sparged with 5.25 gallons. Wound up with about 8 gallons. After my boil, I lost 2.5 gallons. I had 5.5 gallons in the fermenter. Thanks for your reply! Any advice is a big help.

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