Need advice on moving from 10 to 20 gallon batches.

Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:24 pm

Way back at the dawn of time, when I started all-grain brewing, I had a 5 gallon brew rig. I wasted a lot of money on that rig buying expensive 5 and 7 gal SS pots and making dinky batches of beer. At some point (pretty damn quick, actually) I realized that I could make a 10 gallon batch in the same time and, holy crap, I could pick up used 15 gallon Sanke kegs for about $40.00 each! So I went to keggles.

1/2 barrel Sanke kegs are ideal for brewing (as far as I'm concerned) because of their low cost and their concave bottom. You have to cut a hole in the top and add a weldless fitting: Big deal!. But now I'm thinking about moving up to a 20 gal rig, because it takes the same time to brew a 10 gallon batch as it does to brew a 10 barrel batch. So time saving. lol

My chief concerns are:
1. There seem to be no brew pots with a concave bottom like the Sanke.
2. 30 gallon brew vessels are rather expensive.
3. Knockout time would double, possibly impacting my brew's flavor and aroma.

Have any of you dealt with these issues, and how did it work out?

TIA,
Charlie
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Re: Need advice on moving from 10 to 20 gallon batches.

Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:03 am

When you say "issues", are you referring to the brewing addiction you are suffering from or the kettle?

(sorry, I didn't have any useful input. I can't drink it fast enough to bother with anything bigger than 5 gallon batches)
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Re: Need advice on moving from 10 to 20 gallon batches.

Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:37 pm

There is aren't many options for anything other than flat bottoms for affordable brew kettles. Yes, you will have some dead space that won't drain, However, that space is normally occupied with all sorts of trub you don't want in your fermenter anyway, so don't worry about it.

For affordability, go for an aluminum pot, possibly with a clad bottom (that's a 3 layer bottom with copper encased in aluminum for better heat distribution). I've been cooking professionally for over 30 years and most of the pots you see in commercial kitchens are aluminum. There are no problems with off flavors from aluminum, there are no health issues, and they take years and years of heavy abuse with no problems other than they don't look as pretty as stainless steel.

As far as knockout goes, you will need to be using a pump to move wort around anyway. Get yourself a good heat exchanger/counterflow chiller and pump that stuff right through. That will be plenty fast enough. You will chill it much quicker than the folks with the 15 or 20 bbl systems and they have no problem with knockout.

Hope that helps a bit. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!
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Re: Need advice on moving from 10 to 20 gallon batches.

Sat Nov 26, 2016 7:09 pm

Bugeater wrote:There is aren't many options for anything other than flat bottoms for affordable brew kettles. Yes, you will have some dead space that won't drain, However, that space is normally occupied with all sorts of trub you don't want in your fermenter anyway, so don't worry about it.


I have never worried about trub. My brew club's first president had a PhD in micro, and he swore that trub was yeast food. There is one guy in the club that regularly gets about 1/5 fermentor full of trub, but he uses a lot of wheat (which I quite definitely do not!)

Charlie
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Re: Need advice on moving from 10 to 20 gallon batches.

Sun Nov 27, 2016 1:25 pm

THere's a lot of talk up on the AHA web site about some experiments keeping the trub vs no trub.
The batches with the trub still in it came out CLEARER, believe it or not. I don't worry about trub any more. Whatever gets in, gets in, and I don't go crazy trying to keep it out.


I
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Re: Need advice on moving from 10 to 20 gallon batches.

Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:02 pm

BDawg wrote:THere's a lot of talk up on the AHA web site about some experiments keeping the trub vs no trub.
The batches with the trub still in it came out CLEARER, believe it or not. I don't worry about trub any more. Whatever gets in, gets in, and I don't go crazy trying to keep it out.


I


And I think (IIRC) even were slightly more flavorful and preferred in triangle testing.
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Re: Need advice on moving from 10 to 20 gallon batches.

Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:06 pm

BDawg wrote:THere's a lot of talk up on the AHA web site about some experiments keeping the trub vs no trub.
The batches with the trub still in it came out CLEARER, believe it or not. I don't worry about trub any more. Whatever gets in, gets in, and I don't go crazy trying to keep it out.

That's interesting! When I went pro the chief brewer was keen on filtering, but admitted that it took a lot of the bitterness and flavor out of the brew. So why do that?

If I have to choose flavor or appearance in a beer I'll choose flavor every time.

Charlie
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Re: Need advice on moving from 10 to 20 gallon batches.

Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:54 pm

Yeah, that's what was so cool about the results they found. More trub == clearer, better tasting beer.
So, not only was it easier to NOT deal with the trub, you get a better looking and better tasting end product to boot!
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