Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

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Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby kzimmer0817 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:52 pm

I appreciate the advice I've received so far. I was agonizing over my shopping list and telling SWMBO at supper what the prices would be depending upon what level of equipment I get. She informed me that I should get really good stuff, especially the kettle, and that I shouldn't be trying to "baby-step" into the hobby [I had even considered not getting a pot and starting with partial boils in order to avoid purchasing a larger kettle and immersion cooler, and even opting for a $60 turkey cooker w/aluminum kettle]. She guesses that our son is really interested in beer and that he would very likely continue on with it even if I lose interest. She also agrees with the prospect of brewing 5-gallon batches (if he wants to brew bigger, he can purchase his own stuff - which will be difficult since he's a nursing student and doesn't make much from his part-time job).

IOW, I've been given the go-ahead to pursue it with gusto :D

Now, to the question of kettle size. I e-mailed my LHBS to ask about his kettle price. He responded, "A 7.5 gallon pot is just BARELY large enough to do a 5 gallon boil, so if you wanted to have the most versatile of all the vessels, the 15.5 gallon is definitely the way to go. You can boil anything up to 12 gallons without risk of boil-over."

Both Williams Brewing and B3 provide 8 gallon kettles in their Full Boil 5-gallon Introductory Kits (but the design of B3's immersion cooler with most of the coils elevated looks better than that of Williams). Therefore, I'm thinking that 8 gallons must be OK for 5 gallon brews. There are serious price differences, though:

Regarding 8 gallon kettles with spigots:

B3's heavy duty kettle is appr $160;
Williams' Brewer's Edge is appr $85 and states: 0.026" thick 200 grade SS.
LHBS's 7.5 gallon kettle is $100 (don't know gauge).

Regarding 15 gallon kettles with spigots:

B3's heavy duty is $240
Williams' (Polarware) is appr $275 and states: 18-8 gauge SS (0.036" thick).
LHBS's is $200.

I imagine that we will move to All Grain at some point - maybe try BIAB initially - but I'm pretty sure that we will stay at 5 gallons per brew.

So, I guess my questions really are two:
1. is it the general consensus that an 8 gallon kettle should be sufficient for 5-gallon full boils so long as I watch carefully to prevent boil-overs?

2. has anyone worked with both the B3 heavy duty kettle and the lesser priced Brewer's Edge kettle enough to get a feel for whether or not the lesser expensive (Williams) of the two 8 gallon kettles would serve us well enough to get us well underway?

For the difference in price, I could purchase and enjoy 3-4 extract kits. Of course, if I get Williams' kettle and B3's cooler, I don't get my lid notched, but that's probably OK.

Thanks, again, for all the help.
Keith
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Re: Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby kzimmer0817 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 5:01 pm

This is bad if I'm replying to my own posting :? I just searched again on BIAB and returned to another forum linked to from a B3 posting: http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/forum/ ... f=2&t=4650 .

It appears that this guy's calculations told him that he needed a pre-boil volume of 7.2 gallons, then, allowing for absorption by the grains, he would need a total volume of 9.25 gallons, so it doesn't appear that an 8 gallon kettle would work for BIAB. Perhaps I'm wrong. :?:

Thanks,
Keith
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Re: Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby Conroe » Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:16 am

It depends on the grain bill. There is a calculator at rakers.org for mash tun size. It shows with 20 lb of grain at 1.75 qt/lb you need over 10 gallons. Looking at Kia's conversion chart you probably would get just over six gallons of 1.070 pre boil wort with that much grain BIAB. Boiled down to five gallons it would be about 1.086.

I'd recommend 60 qt pot. Morebeer has a nice SS one on clearance.
http://morebeer.com/search/103540
If you don't mind usuing alunimum you can get a good pot for half the price.
http://www.amazon.com/Winware-Professio ... hf_p_img_1
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Re: Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby kzimmer0817 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:16 pm

Conroe wrote:I'd recommend 60 qt pot. Morebeer has a nice SS one on clearance.
http://morebeer.com/search/103540


Thanks. Two factors affecting my "initial purchase" kettle are (1) expense and (2) what size would handle most common 5 gallon brews whether using Extract method or All-Grain method.

Another factor (I e-mailed B3 with a question about this) is related to the water level when boiling 5-7 gallons in a 15 gallon pot. The 15 gal pot is about 4" larger in diameter than the 8 gal (8 gal = 14"D, 15 gal = 18"D). If I've done my algebra correctly:

5 gallons will be 4.5" high in the 15gal B3 kettle and 6.8" high in the 8gal kettle.
7.5 gallons will be 6.8" high in the 15gal kettle and 11.25" high in the 8gal kettle (can't use the 8gal kettle for this).

B3's standard Immersion Chiller is 8" to the top coil with the majority of the coils being located towards the top. From the catalog picture, it appears that 80% of the coils are in the upper half. Therefore, only a couple of the cooling coils would even be immersed in the wort if I were trying to cool 5 gal of wort in the 15 gal kettle.

So, I'm really wondering if an immersion cooler such as B3's would even be effective for batches smaller than 5 gallons regardless of the size of the pot.

Thanks,
Keith



I've seen other companies' immersion coolers that have all the coils at the bottom.
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Re: Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby Conroe » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:36 pm

You can always make your own IC to fit.
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Re: Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby kzimmer0817 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:13 pm

Conroe wrote:You can always make your own IC to fit.


Conroe,

Thanks for that. Actually, I wondered about that.

Below is a link to a homemade counterflow chiller.
http://suburb.semo.net/jet1024/CFC.htm

Below is a youtube video about building one's own immersion chiller
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8EolKTD ... r_embedded

Below is a link to someone's home made immersion chiller:
http://www.olderascal.com/brewing/wortc ... index.html

I haven't priced copper. It must be worth something if folks are willing to steal/rip it out of houses. Someone posted that it might be less expensive to purchase one already made.

Thanks,
Keith
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Re: Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby turbo_ale » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:26 pm

quote> "1. is it the general consensus that an 8 gallon kettle should be sufficient for 5-gallon full boils so long as I watch carefully to prevent boil-overs?"

Yes, I fill my More Beer 8 gallon kettle up to the 7 gallon mark all the time, I use anti-foam and bring the last five degrees up carefully, never a boil over. It is so full I wait until the last 15 minutes to place my immersion chiller in the kettle.

The only drawback to the 8 gallon kettle, your locked into doing 5 gallon brews.
ON TAP:
1. 3B
2. 5C
3. 3A Lagering
4. 22A Lagering
5.
6.
Bottled: Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, 17A, 15B, Smoked Morita Porter, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bacon-Maple Porter, 18E, 16C, 13B, 12A, 6D, 9D, 6A
Fermenting: 1D, 2C, 2C-SHV
Next: 4C

BEER, a mixture of malted grains, water, hops and yeast, that is transformed through the course of fermentation that transcends the simplicity of those basic ingredients, fundamentally into the drink of life.
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Re: Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby pclemon » Mon Sep 12, 2011 5:02 am

8 Gallon kettles are fine to do a 5 gallon full boil in. This may NOT be the case if you want to do BIAB since you are also mashing in the kettle.

If you don't think you'll ever move to 10 gallon batches I would not bother with a 15 gallon pot.

If you wanted a little more room, go with a 10 gallon pot such as:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/b ... gapot.html

On the topic of chillers IMO it's easier just to buy one. The raw soft copper coils you'll buy at HD/Lowes are likely to cost you much of the price (60-80%) of what it costs just to buy one. Add in the fittings and the risk of kinking it by bending it yourself and it's just easier. I'm a DIY kinda person but the risk/reward there just didn't make sense to me.

Obviously you'll want to make sure that the chiller works well with whatever kettle you get. i.e. you don't want to get a kettle that's really wide and have a chiller that has coils that sit above the level of the wort.
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Re: Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby abike2many » Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:25 am

Making an IC is probably one of the easier pieces of brewing equipment to make. I'll agree it's only marginally cheaper than purchasing a premade chiller. you can uses a keg or a paint can as a form. you can only bend the soft tubing once, so don't do the ends of the tubing until you have the chiller wrapped around the form and the inlet and outlet tube are the "right" length. I prefer to have my ends with a U at the top - this way if there are any drips from the cooling water they fall outside the pot.

Also - the height of the IC doesn't matter much if you do the jamil style recirculating chilling.

As for kettle size, if I were starting again I wouldn't have purchased an 8g pot, I would have gone straight to 15gallons for 10g batches. The brewpot is the most expensive piece of gear (starting out).

blowes and homer despot both cut the prices on turkey fryers after thanksgiving. That's a cheap way to get a HP bayou classic setup. It has an Al 6 pot, which works fine as a HLT. A downside of the bayou classic burners is the paint they use on the stand. Before you brew with it, put a pot of water on the burner, and crank the burner up to full throttle and move yourself upwind. The burning paint fumes are "bad." It smells like MeKP or some similar epoxy based coating.
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Re: Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby turbo_ale » Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:13 pm

This is the link I referred to making my own Recirculation Immersion Chiller and Pre-Chiller.

http://www.wortomatic.com/php/articles.php?ID=11
ON TAP:
1. 3B
2. 5C
3. 3A Lagering
4. 22A Lagering
5.
6.
Bottled: Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, 17A, 15B, Smoked Morita Porter, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bacon-Maple Porter, 18E, 16C, 13B, 12A, 6D, 9D, 6A
Fermenting: 1D, 2C, 2C-SHV
Next: 4C

BEER, a mixture of malted grains, water, hops and yeast, that is transformed through the course of fermentation that transcends the simplicity of those basic ingredients, fundamentally into the drink of life.
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Re: Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby kzimmer0817 » Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:32 pm

abike2many wrote:Also - the height of the IC doesn't matter much if you do the jamil style recirculating chilling.

As for kettle size, if I were starting again I wouldn't have purchased an 8g pot, I would have gone straight to 15gallons for 10g batches. The brewpot is the most expensive piece of gear (starting out).


I haven't yet brewed a batch yet, so it's with an attitude of "I want to learn" that I'm questioning your first statement. :?

Since the IC is a heat exchanger, I would assume that the only part of the IC that works is what is submerged in wort. Any coils outside the wort do nothing. Several ICs I've seen (including B3's) are appr 8" high with all but 1 or 2 turns of the coil concentrated in the upper portion (close to upper half) of that 8" of height. There are some (Williams Brewer and How-To-Brew) whose coils are all together and aren't raised up.

Unless my calculations are incorrect, 5 gallons of wort would only come up to just above 4" in a 15 gallon kettle.

So, please show me where I'm wrong when I say that none of the ICs from B3 would work to cool 5 g of wort in a 15 g kettle :? It would work fine in the 8 g kettle since 5 g would be appr 7.5" deep in an 8 g kettle.

Not trying to beat a dead horse with this, but how do those of you who make 5 g batches in 15 g kettles cool your wort?I know it's tempting to tell newbies who turn around and question your advice to "just go get what you want and don't ask us." It's just there's something here that doesn't look right to me, and I'm trying to figure it out.

Regarding Jamil's whirlpool recirculator: I had already studied that site a couple days ago (I've become somewhat consumed with researching all this stuff lately), but your mention of it today made me wonder if the idea was that Jamil's device would run wort up against the unsubmerged coils thereby getting some use from the coils. Later, I read that the recirculator tip is to be submerged as well since its function is to gently stir the wort to keep pushing "new" wort against the coils.

Thanks, again, for your help. I went to my LHBS today to pick up the Beginner's Kit (part of what I'll be ordering), and he was closed.

Respectfully,

Keith
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Re: Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby pclemon » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:53 am

kzimmer0817 wrote:I haven't yet brewed a batch yet, so it's with an attitude of "I want to learn" that I'm questioning your first statement. :?

Since the IC is a heat exchanger, I would assume that the only part of the IC that works is what is submerged in wort. Any coils outside the wort do nothing. Several ICs I've seen (including B3's) are appr 8" high with all but 1 or 2 turns of the coil concentrated in the upper portion (close to upper half) of that 8" of height. There are some (Williams Brewer and How-To-Brew) whose coils are all together and aren't raised up.

Unless my calculations are incorrect, 5 gallons of wort would only come up to just above 4" in a 15 gallon kettle.

So, please show me where I'm wrong when I say that none of the ICs from B3 would work to cool 5 g of wort in a 15 g kettle :? It would work fine in the 8 g kettle since 5 g would be appr 7.5" deep in an 8 g kettle.

Not trying to beat a dead horse with this, but how do those of you who make 5 g batches in 15 g kettles cool your wort?I know it's tempting to tell newbies who turn around and question your advice to "just go get what you want and don't ask us." It's just there's something here that doesn't look right to me, and I'm trying to figure it out.

Regarding Jamil's whirlpool recirculator: I had already studied that site a couple days ago (I've become somewhat consumed with researching all this stuff lately), but your mention of it today made me wonder if the idea was that Jamil's device would run wort up against the unsubmerged coils thereby getting some use from the coils. Later, I read that the recirculator tip is to be submerged as well since its function is to gently stir the wort to keep pushing "new" wort against the coils.

Thanks, again, for your help. I went to my LHBS today to pick up the Beginner's Kit (part of what I'll be ordering), and he was closed.


You're absolutely right. abike2many wrote what he did assuming 10 gallon batches - which I believe you've stipulated (here or somewhere else) that you're going to stick with 5 gallon batches. If you're going to stay with 5 gallon batches go with either a 8 or 10 gallon kettle. Go with an immersion chiller that is suitably structured so that all the coils (or as many as possible) are submerged. The whirlpool recirculator is a great add-on that greatly increases the speed to cool since it keeps the liquid moving around the heat exchanger. You can do the same in a manual fashion with a spoon. The pump and associated hardware can be $200-300 depending on source and set-up so absolutely don't consider it something you need to start out with.
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Re: Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby xiejol » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:48 am

I just added a few pictures of the prechiller to http://www.olderascal.com/wortchiller

My 1/4" setup worked, but I would really recommend 3/8" or better for a chiller. The one thing I did right was to add the prechiller. I cut a lot of time off of my cooldown and was really easy to add to the existing setup. Just make sure you start running water through it BEFORE you put it in the ice bath.
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Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby Brambles » Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:36 am

I can understand the worrying and research. I just bought morebeer's 8 gal kettle. If you plan on doing high gravity all grain. You will probably want a 10 gal. But you could also do a partial extract add to lower the grain and water volume needed for the mash and the 8 gal kettle would work fine. I'm really happy with their kettle and IC.
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Kettle Size for 5 gallon brews

Postby Brewtime » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:43 pm

My recommendation is to get a 15 gallon pot. At some point you will be doing 10 gallons


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