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New Brew Kettle

Once again I’m looking at purchasing a new brewing kettle. My question is simple, I have an electric oven that I currently use for brewing. What is the max size kettle I should buy in order to heat the liquid? My thought is purchasing an 8 or 10 gallon kettle in order to move up to 5 gallon kits. I want to prevent the boil over of using at least 2.5 gallons to brew with but also don’t want to buy a kettle so big that it can’t be heated on the electric stove.

I actually have had a very near boil over on a 1.5 gallon boil that lasted 60 minutes, added an extra 1 lb. of DME, and had 3 Hops additions. I guess that’s my biggest concern as I know the next two brews I have on deck are both 5 gallon batches with 2.5 gallon boils. Both will have at least a 45 minute boil time with hops additions. I do try to control the how hard I boil but until you get that hot break, it gets a little dicey at the top of the pot. At least that’s been my experience.

I’ve looked at this pot to purchase with the ball valve, but again, I did not realize I would need to get a gas or propane burner to use instead of my electric stove. Thoughts?

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It’s going to be difficult to do a 5-gal full boil (you’ll be starting with 6 to 6.5 gallons of wort) on an electric stove unless you get a kettle wide enough to cover two burners. I would go with a 10-gal kettle, too. Fermcap-S is fantastic for preventing boilovers (they pretty much can’t happen unless you have too much wort in the kettle and the actual boiling wort rocks over the top, there’s no foam buildup using a dosage of one drop per gallon of wort).

I think you are saying you are doing 5 gallon extract kits, but in doing those you are starting with 2.5 Gal of water, and adding to that the various extracts etc that you would want to account for as well. so not doing a 5 gallon full boil, but a 5 gallon kit starting with the 2.5 gallons the instructions usually state

honestly, if that is the case I think the 8 Gal is more than enough.

I am (I think) a lot like you. with my stove, f I add much more than the 2.5 gallons or so, it struggles even being able to sustain a good boil etc.

BUT I just recently upgraded to an outdoor gas burner, and it is so much nicer. now I am doing 3 to 3.5 gallon starters. but even with that I think an 8 gallon is more than enough. the 10 seems like over kill a bit

if instead you are saying you are trying to do a full 5 gallon boil, then yes as shadetree states, I think the 10 gallon is the way to go. but then you really are needing to get maybe that new $39 bunrner at least NB now has

^^^^^ Agreed - if a propane burner is an option, that’s the way to go over trying to do a bigger boil on an electric stove.

I did 20 + 5 gallon extract kits on an electric glass top stove. beer turned out great, but again it was a struggle for it to keep much more than 2.5 Gal and the LME etc going.

then last year Kroger (local grocery) had a turkey fryer set up for 50%, got a burner, huge kettle etc for like $35.00. I have now tried brewing outside on that thing and it has been great.

IF your budget and set up allows, the $39 one NB now has looks, at least in the catelogs, to be pretty nice.

I know that was not your original question, but just commenting is all.

my overall point, if you think you will not get past the 2.5-3 gallon starter level, the 8 gallon should work. you can even just do 3 - 3.5 gallon on the outdoor burner and be ok I would think. BUT if you think (to shade’s point) you will ever get to a 5 gallon full boil, then better go 10 gal.

Fullhousebrew is on the same page with me. I’m looking to do a 5 gallon batch but the actual boil size is only be 2.5 gallons. I have an electric stove, not a glass top. I can sustain a boil easily right now at 1.5 gallons, but as you guys have pointed out, I could struggle with the larger pot and a 2.5 gallon boil on this electric stove.

Let me ask this then, if I buy the 8 gallon pot, do you have a propane burner you recommend? To be honest, this puts me in the garage boiling my brews but if that’s what it takes to move up to 5 gallon kits, then so be it. I can be just as clean out there if needed as in the kitchen.

I’ve been doing partial mashes(with one AG so far) for the past 17 months, using a 3 G pot on my electric range. I can fill that baby within an inch of the top and still not get a boilover(except for my very 1st batch last year). On the AG batch and one other big boil PM batch, I did have to add a second 3 gallon pot to boil all the volume. During this Spring/summer yard sale season(it’s a Maine thing) I’m going to keep my eyes open for a turkey fryer setup. Believe it or not, my wife complains about the heavenly brew smell. Full volume boils outside sounds pretty good!

I originally had a 30 qt pot, but would have boilovers with a 6.5 gal boil. So I ended up finding a 44qt stainless pot and a pretty powerful burner on amazon for short dough.

Is there anything else needed for a propane burner other than the burner itself and a propane tank? Can you picture me sitting in my garage boiling wort? It’s not the most ideal brewing option but it’ll be my only way to move up.

Lots of people brew in their garage, crack a window or door for ventilation. [quote=“SlickRick”]Is there anything else needed for a propane burner other than the burner itself and a propane tank?[/quote]No but you may want to look into buying or building an immersion chiller unless you have a big tub to put water and ice in.

I brew in the walk up stair well from my basement. 8 feet wide with 8 foot retaining walls around and a drain in the floor. Sanitization is about processes not about location.

“Is there anything else needed for a propane burner other than the burner itself and a propane tank? Can you picture me sitting in my garage boiling wort? It’s not the most ideal brewing option but it’ll be my only way to move up.”

Propane is the default for brewing, but electricity is easier and more flexible for me. I built an electric kettle following the instructions at http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/kettles-overview

I use a simple on/off switch, not the control system described at “The Electric Brewery”. It works great, eliminates the fire hazard and expensive fuel, and is simple to build. You can drive the element with 240 V or 120 V - bribe your local electrician with a couple of six-packs if you’re unsure about wiring.

[quote=“dannyboy58”]
I brew in the walk up stair well from my basement. 8 feet wide with 8 foot retaining walls around and a drain in the floor. Sanitization is about processes not about location.[/quote]

Sounds like you and I have similar set ups.

I vote buy a propane burner and a 10 gallon pot. I brew on my patio. I started out doing small extract batches on the stove and have done a couple in cold rainy weather since going full volume boils. But you will not regret going to FVB. The day I quit topping off my fermenters was when I turned a corner to better brews. The batch after that was my first AG. It was even mo better.

And now you can brew without hiding in the bushes and rigging all that camo around you Norman! :cheers:

I would caution against a kettle that’s too big for the burner circumference.

I just used my 8 gallon kettle to boil 2.5 gallons of water on my electric range.

The kettle was about 3 inches larger all around than the burner.

The kettle began shaking uncontrollably as it heated up.

From what I was reading, this is due to the metal expanding and contracting. Since a smaller portion is touching the heating element, it tries to expand while the part not on the element isn’t hot enough. This makes the whole thing shake uncontrollably on the burner.

Good news!

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What’s wrong with brewing in a garage? It’s the best. I used to brew on my porch in Ottawa in the middle of winter. Even that wasn’t too bad.

[quote=“stompwampa”]I would caution against a kettle that’s too big for the burner circumference.

I just used my 8 gallon kettle to boil 2.5 gallons of water on my electric range.

The kettle was about 3 inches larger all around than the burner.

The kettle began shaking uncontrollably as it heated up.

From what I was reading, this is due to the metal expanding and contracting. Since a smaller portion is touching the heating element, it tries to expand while the part not on the element isn’t hot enough. This makes the whole thing shake uncontrollably on the burner.[/quote]

I had the same issue with a 30qt on a glass top and did not understand why. Now it makes sense.
Until then I was using a 5 gallon pot and doing 2.5 boils on the stove. Worked well, but wanted to scale up to full boils.

A post thanksgiving sale on an all stainless turkey fryer with a 30 qt pot (and free shipping) was the best my budget to handle. I did a number of full boil (~6gal) extract kits without a boilover, and just a couple weeks ago did my first BIAB in this pot with an 8lb grain bill. It was a close fit, but worked fine. The original burner with this one had a nasty hot spot that consistently left a burnt spot on the bottom, so I bought a comparable bango style which fit in exactly the same, but I’ve since moved it up about 2 inches as it was too low. Will be testing this position in a few days.

John

Not to rock the boat on the outdoor burner; I’m personally hesitant to go that route because I fear leaves, bugs and bird droppings as flavorings. And with no garage, most places on my property have serious risk of at least two of those.

I have a glass-top electric stove, and my first few batches were difficult with the old italian gravy pot, it would get to rocking as previous posts have indicated and would never “roll” with a 2.5 gal batch. Beer turned out drinkable, if not awesome. Then we got the 20-quart, triple-layer, flat-bottom pot; My wife ordered it from a kitchen supply, not a homebrew shop. The thing is amazing. On full-power my stove can keep the full 2.5gal + 6 lbs LME rolling quite nicely. With the stove set at low numbers I can hold the temperature within about 5 degrees of a target for steeping/partial mash. I only wish it had a built-in thermometer like many “proper” brew pots.

It’s about being able to transfer the heat, the thick, FLAT bottom is what’s unbelievably important for the glass ranges. I love my brew pot, but it makes me hate the cookware I use for food.

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