Homebrewing Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for dedicated home brewers and serious enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Apologies if this seems like a rather basic question, but I've been researching various sites and can't seem to get a decent answer. I've been homebrewing for about 2 years (infrequently), and I want to start doing all-grain recipes with full wort boils. Eventually, I'd like to move to 10 or possibly 15 gallon batches. Do I want to get brew pots (HLT, mash tun, boil pot) and a fermenter that can handle a 15 gallon batch and use them for 5 gallon batches, or should I get smaller equipment and upgrade equipment when I'm ready to increase the batch size?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The main thing you need to consider is the boil-kettle in terms of size, because of boil off. For example, you want a 9 or 10+ gallon boil kettle for 5 gallon all-grain batches if you're doing a full boil, because you will have boil-off and generally want to start with around 7 gallons of water, and will want some room in the pot above the water line. 7 gallons of water is fine in a 15 gallon pot also. It would be awkward to have say 3 gallons in a 15 gallon pot, but for boiling you should be fine with the largest size you'll think you'll want. For the other kettles (HLT), you don't need to worry about boil-off, so they don't need to be too much bigger than the batch size (1-2 gallons larger to give you some space and avoid spillage). They can be a bit smaller. People tend to do them all the same size probably more for aesthetics and convenience than necessity.

share|improve this answer

So long as you have the additional up front money to put down on larger equipment, there should not too much of an issue. Most things should scale down well enough. An oversized fermentor would be fine for primaries, since the yeast will be throwing out CO2 to fill the head space. Boil kettle shouldn't make too much of a difference, although depending on the diameter, you might get more boil off.

The main thing to keep in mind is when you mash in the larger mash tun, you'll have more dead air above the mash, more surface in the tun to initially heat up, and more surface on the outside to lose heat to. So, you'll want to try to compensate for that when you do your first batch.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.