Choosing a Kettle for All Grain BrewingSaturday, January 10th, 2009
If you are going all-grain, you are likely a pretty serious brewer. Eventually you will want to do 10 gallon batches. Even if you are not ready for 10 gallon batches, when going all-grain, it is recommended to jump straight to the 15 gallon size kettle. With a 10 gallon kettle you are limited to 5-7 gallon batches. The 15 gallon kettle is only about 20% more in price over the 10 gallon. It is worth the extra expense now. Otherwise you will have to buy yet another kettle when you are ready for 10 gallon batches.
This 15 gallon kettle covers both the front and rear burners on my gas stove!
A 15 gallon kettle is needed for 10 gallon batches for a couple reasons. Keep in mind with all grain brewing, it is a full wort boil. The original amount of wort collected is above the final amount that goes into the fermenter because of losses due to evaporation during the boil. You also need to leave room in the kettle for the bubbling action of the boil.
Make sure the kettle has an out let for a ball valve:
This kettle also features a second outlet. A sight gauge or thermometer can be added later on. This one also came with a lid which I use when warming up water or after flame out to keep germs out while the wort chiller is going. These ones came pre welded. You can also buy bulkhead kits to add your own outlets, but be warned many trips to the hardware store may be in order!
Brew kettles are often advertised in quarts. At 4 quarts to a gallon, a 15 gallon brew pot is 60 quarts. This is a side by side comparison of my original 20 quart kettle which I started off with (on the left). The 15 gallon version is on the right. The old kettle is great for heating sparge water.