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15 Gallon Blichmann Boilmaker for 5 gallon batches

noreaster

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I'm considering getting a new boil kettle and have pretty much settled on a Blichmann. I only brew 5 gallon batches but am considering some 10 gallon batches in the future. I was going to get the 10 gallon kettle but am now considering the 15 gallon kettle for the occasional 10 gallon batch. I know Blichmann recommends the 20 gallon kettle for 10 gallon batches but I know someone who does his 10 gallon batches in a 15 gallon kettle so I know it works. So my question is does anyone do 5 gallon batches in a 15 gallon kettle and, if so, how does it work for you? Thanks.
 

brewnut

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I have a keggle, 15 gallons, and have done the occasional 5 gallon brew in it with no troubles. If you buy a 15 gallon pot, you will leave yourself lots of room to expand your brewing capacity. I have brewed 12 gallons in the keggle as well, but you have to keep a very close eye on boil over. You don't leave yourself a lot of room for expansion at that volume. And that blichmann pot is the first step toward a herms or rims system down the road. But I think the jist of your question is whether it will harm your beer to boil a little wort in a big container. Not that I know of, and it might even boil quicker because you'll have a lot of surface area on the outside of the boiler to soak up heat.
 

Bootlegbrewer

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I do 10 gallon batches in a 15.5 gal keggle brew pot . Works fine for me but boil overs do occur.

I keep a spray bottle handy with cold water in it and spray the wort when it gets close to a boil over.  It knocks the foam back and keeps it from pouring out. Works great ;D ;D
 

Kevin J

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I brewed a 5 gallon batch in my 15 gallon kettle.
It works ok but the mash didn't reach the thermometer. I had to use the old school thermometer. Kind of defeats the purpose.
I used 10 pounds of grain for the 5 gallon batch. If I would have used 12 pounds or more, it would have reached the thermometer.
I like to keep mine around 5-6% ABV or I get too messed up. I like to taste the beer, not fall over face first in it.
The effienciey was lower than usual but not terrible.
I would suggest making 10 gallon batches most of the time.
It only takes an extra hour and the effienciey is much better in a 15 gallon kettle. It's also easier to let it age if you make 10 gallon batches.
I always tap one of the kegs before it's really ready to drink. Still good beer but much better if you wait a month or so.

Kevin J
 

BruceBrew

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I use the 15 gal for my mash tun and a 20 gal for my boil. However, I could see using the 15 gallon kettle for 10 gallon batch boils as long as you keep a close eye out for boil overs. Just off the top of my head I'd say the 20 gallon might make whirlpooling a little easier. I use a paint stirrer on my cordless drill and really get the wort spinning. What I would question is if I wanted to do 5 gallon batches in a 20 gallon boilermaker? I'm not convinced yet that I would. I don't "think" the wort would even reach the thermometer, I'd have to look. 
I don't know what you're using for a mash tun right now but you could easily use the 15 gallon kettle as a mash tun should you elect to buy the 20 gallon Boilermaker in the future. All you'd need to add is the false bottom.

I say do it, the 15 is a good versatile size that you will always use for something.

Bruce

 
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