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If I want to brew a 5 gallon batch, how large of a kettle do I need to do so comfortably?

How about 10 gallons?

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Based on my own experience, an 8 gal. kettle will barely work for a 5 gal. batch. Even at that, you might have to boil a concentrated wort and add top up water after the boil. Remember that in addition to accounting for trub and evaporation, you also need some headroom in there to start with. I wouldn't recommend anything less than 15 gal. for a 10 gal. batch.

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  • Thanks Denny. How about a 10 gal. for a 5 gal. batch? – Matthew Moisen Oct 26 '14 at 20:08
  • That will work. I remember the first time I did a 5 gal. batch in a 15 gal. kettle. I thought there was no chance of boilover, then I turned my back for a second....the point being that no matter what size you use, you need to learn it's capabilities. – Denny Conn Oct 27 '14 at 15:35
  • I use a 15 gallon kettle and typically do 10 gallon batches. However, I don't have any problems doing the occasional 5 gallon batch with that equipment. – mpurkeypile Oct 29 '14 at 14:29
  • Agreed - 8gk for 5gb is hard for pils/long boils. I have had a couple of brews with an 8 gal that I had to hold some of the wort out for 30 mins (2 hour boil) – Wyrmwood Oct 30 '14 at 20:39
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Well, it depends on the losses you assume along the way.

For 5 gallons, if you assume a trub loss of 0.5 gallons, and evaporation loss of 1.0 gallon, then you would need 6.5 gallons of wort to get 5 gallons into a fermenter. If you follow the oft-quoted rule of thumb that you want minimum headspace in your kettle equal to one-third of your boil volume, that means the minimum kettle size is around 8-2/3 gallons. I have heard of people using 8-gallon kettles. I recommend more like 10-gallons.

For 10 gallons, I suppose you could double that.

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  • Based on your assumptions, it sounds like there would be no headroom in the kettle. – Denny Conn Oct 26 '14 at 16:02
  • @Denny, well to be clear, I am recommending 10-gal. kettle for a 5-gal. batch, and saying 8-2/3 is sort of a bare minimum for that size batch. I think we are in agreement as to the best practice. – Chino Brews Oct 29 '14 at 4:21
  • Sorry, looks like I misunderstood. – Denny Conn Oct 29 '14 at 15:37

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