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Kettle size

I recently started homebrewing and have only done 1 gallon extract batches so far. I will be upgrading to 5 gallon batches in the near future and as a result will be needing a new kettle. What is the optimal size for brewing five gallon batches? Thanks for the help!

First off, most on here will say if you are going to invest the money now, might as well try to go for something that will allow you to do a full boil. I am thinking a 8 gal minimum, maybe up towards a 10 if your budget allows.

having said that, I would ask what kind of device are you using to do your boils. What I mean is I originally got a 8 gallon when I started, a fairly nice one, not some thin aluminum one. anyway, at the time all I had was a nice but not that powerful radiant glass cook top which just couldn’t ever boil much more than 3 gallons. I did partial boils for years (and I will say pretty successfully). But my point is I rally didn’t need such a huge pot, and honestly that high up on a stove versus lower on like a star burner was a pain too (I am 5’10" but still it was a pain)

I f I was starting fresh and wanting to jump to 5 gallon batches, I would be quite tempted to get the 8 or 10 gallon of this. BUT it appears to be out of stock:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brew ... ettle.html

All I have to cook on is stove top. Current living arrangements prevent me from being able to brew outside or on another type of burner. So most likely I will only be able to do a partial boil. What are the benefits of full boil vs partial for future reference? Thanks for the input!

Yep, pretty hard to boil full volumes on the average home appliance, even over two burners. Plus any minor amount of boiled/ splattered off wort that lands on the cooktop other than stainless(porcelain/ paint etc…) will stain. If not cleaned up LIKE right away, ask me how I know. :expressionless:

[color=#000080]Full boil =
a. Better hop utilization.
b. Lighter colored wort.
c. Better hot and cold break.

Speaking back to kettle size, I went with a 7.5 gallon when switching to allgrain due to a chance to use for free and still have to this day although need a bigger kettle this year for sure, but have put it off due to the fact I can make it work day in/ out still. But 8-10 gallon would really be the business. As no real need to watch for boil-over if using a 10 gallon for 5 gallon batches as most cases you will have 2 gallons of headspace. Here is an example of the 7.5 gallon used for each and every batch thus far and depending on trub/ hop load I will end up with approximately 6.5 gallons total remaining in kettle and flow off 5.25-5.50 clear gallons of wort into the fermentor after the boil ends.[/color]

Example Link:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=119820&hilit=break&start=15#p1047139

[color=#000000]No worries though.
Use whatever will work for now, such as smaller boil w/ topup. I did the same for close to 10 years and then switched to all-grain and full wort boils for close to 10. Would I go back? NO, but even though the beer improved drastically with many different steps changed along the way of learning, I would have never entered the hobby if it cost me over $100 when it was only a fleeting thought when in my late teens.
You can still make very good beer, no doubt. Then if the hobby/ craft interests you enough after a little while there are always ways to move up the ladder without too much investment.

There are calculators for the lowered boil effic with hops, so you use a smidge more is all.

The color you will have to live with.[/color]

BTW, welcome to the forum, many have no idea it even exists.
There are many different knowledge points herein that will put you ahead of the pack.

Similar situation here, outdoor boiling is impractical, my stove can simmer 4+ gallons, but a good brew boil is a fair bit under 4.

The darker color is true, but manageable with care and some research on late additions. My first blond, where I dumped the LME then stirred, tasted OK, but looked like an Octoberfest. I recently made NBs extract Patersbier as a starter for a PM tripel, and it came out the color of a Miller Lite. So not all doom on the color front.

The hop utilization is also real, but the impact varies by style. I tend to more malt-forward styles, and have noticed some recipes a bit off balance, while others are fine. So like ITsPossible says, add a bit more, but do it to suit your taste, not just because the calculator says so. In other words use the calculator to help you dial it in.

But another option to consider other batch sizes. I’m actually dialing in to about 3.25 gal as it’s fairly easy to scale from 5-gal recipes (~2/3) so I can do smallish AG batches. When I want 5-gal batch Partial Mash with extract pushed to near the end is a viable option.

You need to know how much liquid your stove will boil. You want a vigorous boil, not a wimpy simmer, and the less power your stove puts out the smaller your maximum boil volume is going to be. But assuming an average stove top using two burners, you should be able to boil 3 gallons without too much trouble. That means a carefully watched 4 gallon pot will work for you, or a 5 gallon pot that is carefully watched just as the boil starts (hot break foam reduces dramatically after just a few minutes).

With 3 gallons of liquid, you should be able to do a 5 gallon batch using a concentrated boil, or if your stove allows 3.5 gallons of wort to boil, a 2.5 gallon batch full volume boil, which would be nice, as you can then split standard sized 5 gallon kits.

When I first started, I used a 4 gallon ceramic-coated canning pot on my stove top for 5 gallon concentrated batches. Worked well, and the pot was cheap, but it didn’t clean very easily.

Thanks a lot you guys! Really informative. Didn’t know what to expect when I posted on here but I def came away with some more knowledge.

When I moved outside and to a turkey frier setup, it came with a 7.5 gal pot. I was able to brew 5 gal batches, but it wasn’t a comfortable fit. I BIAB, so I need a pot big enough for the grains and water. Either BIAB or not, I’d move up to a 10gal pot if I were you. I have and don’t regret it at all. If anything, I wish I had a 15gal pot to mash bigger beers or brew 10gal batches.

Dobe-

I’m getting ready to move up to 5 gal. full volume batches. From there I don’t know if I’ll do BIAB or go All Grain. I plan on getting a 10 gal. kettle. Would this be big enough to do 5 gal. batches BIAB?

Helvetica, BIAB is all-grain if you don’t add extract. If you add extract, it is either a mini-mash or brewing extract with steeped grains, depending on if you set the conditions to get amylase conversion or not.

I don’t use BIAB, but it is pretty easy to calculate what you are asking. You want to end up with 5 gallons in the fermentor, so you want 5.5 gallons in the kettle at the end of the boil (to account for trub losses and cooling shrinkage), that means you need about 6.75 gallons to start a 60 boil. This leaves a little less than 3 gallons for grain and water that will be absorbed by grain. According to my calculator in ProMash, this means you will be able to fit about 12 lbs of grain in and still have half a gallon of head space to work with. That will get you a maximum OG of about 1.050.

If you add a second pot to enable a rinsing of the grains, you can get much better. A turkey fryer kits come with cheap pots that will work for that. Or you could drain the liquid from your kettle into a bucket, add more liquid to rinse out the sugar trapped in the grains, remove the bag and pour the wort from the bucket into the kettle. That would make your process a batch sparge using a bag.

Thanks, RC. I didn’t know they were actually the same thing (or at least very similar).

I’ll most likely go All Grain but I figured I’d try and research a kettle size that would accommodate as many options as possible. Since I don’t plan on doing any really big beers, it sounds like a 10 gal. kettle should be fine.

:cheers:

As I said above, full boils are great but if all your stove can crank out is partial boils (all I did for years and my brews turned out great) then for the $$$ this is an EXCELLENT pot. I also own this, bought it not for brewing but have used it for that as well. It is a GREAT very thick, soild bottom stock pot.

5.5 gallons that would work with ~ 3 to 3.5 gallon boils (start with 2.5 - 3.0 gallons of water plus then the extracts etc.) You will have to watch a bit more carefully for boil overs, but you kind of have to do that no matter the pot size anyway.

THEN if you do ever expand this is still a great stock pot to have around the house anyway

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tramontina-St ... t/19581118

Dobe-

I’m getting ready to move up to 5 gal. full volume batches. From there I don’t know if I’ll do BIAB or go All Grain. I plan on getting a 10 gal. kettle. Would this be big enough to do 5 gal. batches BIAB?[/quote]

10gal is definitely large enough for 5 gal batches. I was doing it for over a year in a 7.5gal pot, but I wouldn’t advise on a pot that small. Your grain amount is definitely limited with only 7.5gal to work with. 10gal works well for me. I can easily mash up to and above 15lbs of grain. In a few weeks I’m making a barley wine with 18lbs of Maris Otter. I had to find a new grain sack because the one I was using wasn’t big enough. So my sack was limiting how much grain I could mash, not the pot. I now have a 24"x24" mesh sack which should allow me to mash more grains.

As mentioned above I do also dunk sparge in a second pot… the old 7.5gal turkey frier pot. With the sparge I can increase my efficiency around 5-15%. I tried full volume mashing for a bit, but my efficiencies dropped down to 65-70% range. With a sparge, I’m back up to 75-80% (10-14lbs) and even higher with less grain (8-10lbs).

Personally, if you have a good burner and would like to occasionally brew larger beers or 10gal batches, I’d move all the way to a 15gal pot. 10gal works just fine, even for bigger beers, but I’d really like the option of 10gal batches from time to time. I will brew them occasionally with my current setup. What I do is mash as much as possible. Mash/sparge to get 9gals or so in the brew kettle. Add extract if needed. After the boil, I’ll split the batch into two fermentors and top up with fresh water. I’ve only done this 2x… but it is an option.

This is what I bought. With a lid I paid $56.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CH ... UTF8&psc=1

Couldn’t be happier… well, maybe I could if I bought the 15 gal :lol:

I used an 18"x32" grain sack for years, but just bought a 24"x24". I think the extra width will help hold more grain and more evenly disburse the grain throughout the water. Haven’t used it yet, but will this weekend. The real test will be in a few weeks when I make that barley wine with 18lbs of grain.

Of course I just had to go looking…

http://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Group-Qua ... s=60qt+pot

15gal pot only $61.21 including shipping!

I’d buy this if I thought my wife wouldn’t kill me :smiley:

[quote=“dobe12”]Of course I just had to go looking…

http://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Group-Qua ... s=60qt+pot

15gal pot only $61.21 including shipping!

I’d buy this if I thought my wife wouldn’t kill me :smiley: [/quote]I have that exact pot, that’s a good price, just about what I paid for mine with shipping 3 years ago.

It’s a great pot, thick bottom, solid handles and light weight. I had a 1/2" aluminum nipple welded in and added a SS ball valve.

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