Home > Brew gear > New 20 gallon toys

New 20 gallon toys

Big boy kettleMy birthday present arrived 2 months early today – a 26 gallon Heavy Duty kettle from MoreBeer.com. We ordered well in advance this time mostly because of last year’s debacle. This year it was not on backorder, and it shipped within a day or two of ordering – But I am not going to complain about the early arrival. I guarentee I will be brewing with this bad boy on my birthday and being very grateful for having indulgent parents and a fantastic wife. This is the 26 gallon sitting next to my (seemingly puny) 10 gallon Polarware kettle. The polarware actually sits inside the bigger one, with the valve still attached!

26 gallon interiorI got it with the 3-piece stainless ball valve, a thermometer, and removable false bottom for brewing with whole hops (my preference these days). I also had MoreBeer notch the lid so my immersion chiller could stick out without having to worry about tinfoiling open areas. This thing is some serious stainless – it weighs nearly 50 pounds assembled, and is definitely more rugged than my other 2 28 gallon kettles. The coupler they welded in for the valve is actually a full coupler, so if I had a need to attach a 1/2″ MPT fitting on the inside (for like a bazooka screen or pickup tube or something), it will be very easy to do so. Even the false bottom seems alot beefier than the ones for their older italian kettle line. The handles are also much heavier and comfortable. I wish they had made this switch sooner – before I invested over $700 in the other 28 gallon kettles. Fortunately the HLT and mash tun won’t see nearly the temperature cycles that the kettle does, so their thinner walls & bottom shouldn’t suffer.

CajunCookerBurnerOne thing that my previous 20 gallon brewing sessions have showcased is the need for additional burner power. While I have successfully brewed 20 gallon batches using a single burner, it takes FOREVER – mainly due to the time required to heat the 10-15 gallons of hot liquor to 170 and 8-12 gallons of mash-out water to boiling. Brian and I used his Camp Chef our last 20 gallon batch and things went much faster – we heated the mashout water on one and the hot liquor on the other – saving about 45 minutes, I think. As such I broke down and bought another burner at Home Depot for $45 – a really decent price, if it does the job. The literature indicates it can put out up to 150K BTUs, but I’m skeptical about that. Even if it is underpowered compared to my Camp Chef burner, I should still be able to use it to heat the mashout water without any problem.

My wife has also been working on a mash tun coozie to fit my 28 gallon tun – It should help retain heat better, and will be very easy to put on & remove as it is all velcro-tastic.

I can’t wait to break in these 2 new toys…. 20 gallons of wheat, coming soon to a tun near you…

Categories: Brew gear
  1. foolcircle
    March 29, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I was just getting ready to email you if you had gotten your stuff yesterday, but I figured I check here first, and guess what? You did! Looks really sweet. So you now have, what, 6 kettles I think? Geeze! Can’t wait to set it up and knock out a batch with you. – B

  2. brewznet
    March 29, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    5 kettles – I gave back the loaner from Jerry Carney a week or so ago. I now have the 26 gallon HD kettle, two 28 gallon italian kettles, the 14 gallon italian kettle for 10 gallon batches and a 10 gallon Polarware for 5 gallon batches. I don’t do too many 5 gallon batches anymore, but I was finding myself wishing I had a false bottom for it the other weekend while making starter wort…

    Hopefully my next equipment purchase will be a 2 gallon vessel – a grant. Once I have that, I plan on getting my pump skid all wired up with high & low level switches and we won’t have to worry about the 3-level gravity sparge as much – we’ll sparge into the grant, and the pump will automatically transfer the liquid over to the kettle on the burner as it flips the high level switch…. at least that is the plan.

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