Pot size for 5gal all grain

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Swim424, Jun 1, 2012.

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  1. Swim424

    Swim424 Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2011 Florida

    I just bought a new burner, which came with a 30qt pot. I see people always saying you need about a 10 gal pot for all grain. This pot works awesome for extract, but im looking to start doing all grain. Would it be possible to use a 30qt pot for all grain? or should I stick to extract till I can afford a 40qt pot?
  2. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Are you really asking if you should stick to partial boils vs full boils?
  3. JrGtr

    JrGtr Disciple (396) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    It doesn't sound to me like he's asking that.
    OP: they say you need about 6.5 gallons of pre-boil to end up with 5 gal batch. That's 26 quarts. One gallon headspace is really close. I think you could just about get away with it, if you're careful and watch for boil over. I have a 32qt I've used for full boils of extract with steeping with plenty of room. I plan on an all grain probably next week and I think it'll do fine.
    thom53us likes this.
  4. joshodonn

    joshodonn Initiate (108) Jan 21, 2011 Florida

    I started off using a 32 qt pot when I switched to all grain. It was fine for most brews with a 60 min boil. If you have to boil 90 minutes or longer you might be in trouble. Also, if you're moving from the stove to your new burner, you'll probably get a more vigorous boil with the burner so your hot-break might be MUCH larger than you're used to, so pay attention, have a spray bottle with cold water handy to knock it down if necessary.
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  5. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Ok, not sure what pot size has to do with extract vs all-grain and not partial vs. full boil. .

    When I was pot challenged I'd just add water to the boil as it boiled off. Actually it was in some ways easier. I'd run-off five gallons and take a reading. If I needed to I'd add in DME. I'd add in 30 minutes of water which just happened to be a nice level to help prevent boil overs. Then I'd add in water as needed. Just remember that water expands when boiling.

    If you only off by a gallon or so, I was going to suggest an all-grain partial boil. Be a bit trickier and you'd need to do some math. Or just do a partial boil at the normal gravity and at the end add in enough extract for a gallon of water that you could add in at the end. I'd still call that all grain. People use extract for big all grain beers all of the time.
  6. ljkeats

    ljkeats Devotee (405) Jun 27, 2007 Massachusetts
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    BTW, when /if you decide to get a larger pot, go for a 15 gallon one.
    That way you can make 10 gallon batches. 15 gal pot wans't much more than a 10 or 12.
    Beerontwowheels likes this.
  7. itsjustzach

    itsjustzach Initiate (0) Oct 23, 2006 Ohio

    I boiled 6.5 gallons of wort down to 5 gallon batches in a 30 quart pot for a couple years. It was doable, but it sucked having to watch for boilovers. I'd say go ahead and start doing full boils now, but purchase a 40 quart or larger as soon as possible.
  8. Swim424

    Swim424 Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2011 Florida

    Thats what I was sort of figuring. So hopefully I'll be starting them soon.

    Thats what I was thinking of maybe doing. Saving a bit longer and getting a larger one instead.
  9. BumpkinBrewer

    BumpkinBrewer Disciple (353) Jan 6, 2010 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    I use an 8 gallon pot that works fine. 7.5 gal might be more tedious but it wiill work. No drinky until you have the boil under control.
    RobNewton and Swim424 like this.
  10. carteravebrew

    carteravebrew Zealot (503) Jan 21, 2010 Colorado

    I've used the 30-qt pot for 3 years now. Have I had boil-overs? You bet. You just need to watch close when your boil is starting, but once it's under control (and besides while doing hop additions), there's not much to worry about.
  11. tronester

    tronester Meyvn (1,082) Nov 25, 2006 Oklahoma

    Definitely get the 15 gallon pot. My friend and I started doing 5 gallon all grain, but for many recipes we do 10, especially around the holidays.
    Jrobertmac likes this.
  12. DmanGTR

    DmanGTR Meyvn (1,143) Feb 19, 2008 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Go big or go home. I use a 60qt pot so I can potentially do up to 10 gal batches without worrying about boilovers.
  13. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Just remember that's it's best not to try to do 5 and 10 gallon batches on the same system. And if you're new to brewing you don't want to be making 10 gallon batches of so-so beer. The mash tun is the biggest worry. You can't do a big 10 gallon beer in the same MT as a five gallon session beer.

    I guess also depends on how much you like to brew. I think that I like to brew more then I like to drink. It takes me a long time to go through five gallons. Especially when I have eight batches laying around. And to be a brewer that's a cut above you need to learn through experimentation. Some pro-brewers take a year or more to proof a beer.

    FWIW, I have a 9.2 gal kettle. I do six gallon end of boil, 5.5 into the fermentor, and just shy of five gallon into the corny.
  14. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    Not quite sure what you're saying here... Whether I'm doing a 5 gallon or 10 gallon batch I'll still use the same 15 gallon keggle as my boil kettle, and the same mash tun for both batches.
  15. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Do you do 4% five gallon and 12% 10 gallon runs in the same MT? If it's possible then I stand corrected, but I'm told that with a small amount of grain you'll have a harder time with temp fluctuations vs an increased chance of a compacted grain bed with a full MT?And I'm also told that you don,t want a third to half full fermenter.

    Once again this might be do-able. But was the process a no-brain'er? I'm just not too sure that the best advice is being given to someone starting out.
  16. Swim424

    Swim424 Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2011 Florida

    I understand what your saying. I am only doing 5 gal batches for a while. I'm the same way with the I like the brewing more than the drinking of it all. I enjoy both but Between me and my buddy we have trouble drinking all the homebrew we make. We tend to have people over often to help us finish them.
    sarcastro likes this.
  17. DmanGTR

    DmanGTR Meyvn (1,143) Feb 19, 2008 Florida
    Beer Trader

    My system could be an oddball, but I can do anything from 3.5% 5 gal batches of pale ales to 17% 6 gallon RIS's in my 60 qt cooler mash/lauter tun. In regards to whether a noob can do this, I think it depends on how comfortable one is with the process and their system. I did a lot of research and am pretty meticulous when building my setup, so I was doing all grain giant beers by my 4th batch in, so it's certainly possible.
  18. tngolfer

    tngolfer Initiate (75) Feb 16, 2012 Tennessee

    I have a 30 qt. pot and yeah, right at the beginning when you get the big bubbles rising is when you are likely to have to have a small boil over. Once the hot break happens you will get a nice rolling boil. Hop additions are another chance to watch it. It's definitely doable though. I start with 6.5 gallons max.
  19. Swim424

    Swim424 Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2011 Florida

    do you ever have to add water as you go? or does it usually boil down perfectly?
  20. neophilus

    neophilus Initiate (0) Apr 4, 2009 Massachusetts

    You're better off going straight for the 10 gallon pot now than waiting 6 months to a year to buy a 15 gallon pot and brewing on a too-small pot all that time. Unless you really want to pull the trigger on a boil kettle for a 10 gallon setup I would just stick with a 10 gallon pot for 5 gallon full boils.
  21. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (688) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    It depends on what is your heat source. If brewing 5 gal batches on a gas stove indoors...32 qts is plenty.

    If you are using a raging propane burner outdoors...then you might want to go bigger, but let's face it, if you go to 10 gal batches, a 15 gal keggle setup is pretty much minimum.

    As far as the all-grain/extract variable...extract seems like it has a higher tendency to boil-over (all other variables being equal)
  22. tngolfer

    tngolfer Initiate (75) Feb 16, 2012 Tennessee

    There was one time I had extra wort from my mash. I started with my usual 6.5 gallons in my boil pot. After it boiled down to about 6 gallons I added an additional .5 gallon. The beer turned out alright but because my primary fermenter was only 6.5 gallons it did overflow. Not the end of the world but lost some of the extra I added so I stick to starting with 6.5 gallons and end my boil with about 5.75 gallons.
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