Going bigger - 60L fermenter

Post #1 made 10 years ago
Hi all
I picked up a 60L fermenter for $30 (couldn't resist a bargain) and now need to find a use for it.

I am thinking of 55L of a light summer ale, OG around 1035 (3.5% - 4%), but my pot is only 50L to the brim.

Am i on the right track doing a 27.5L batch at about 1060 then watering down by half in the fermenter?

Or is there a much better way of doing this


Post #2 made 10 years ago
Hey Steve, yeah, sure you can! Post- boil dilution is an excellent means to get bigger batches out of a kettle that's smaller, I use a 19L stockpot for 25L batches all the time.

Are you hoping to do full- volume BIAB (i.e. no sparge), but with a much larger grain bill?

Are you using brewing software to do the volume and temperature calculations?
[center]Give me a beer and I will move the world. Archimedes[/center]

Post #3 made 10 years ago
I really think that this topic warrants a 'How-To' im very inteterested in learning how to do larger batches in a smaller vessel.
Especially the recipe calculation side of it :)
"I like beer. On occasion, I will even drink beer to celebrate a major event such as the fall of Communism or the fact that the refrigerator is still working.”Dave Berry

Post #4 made 10 years ago
redlegger wrote:I really think that this topic warrants a 'How-To' im very inteterested in learning how to do larger batches in a smaller vessel.
Especially the recipe calculation side of it :)
Ok, ok, I hear ya! I'm actually working on it right now! :D
Edit: The full album is here, MaxiBIAB text is still a work in progress, but about 95% complete. Any day now... :?
Last edited by Ralph on 10 Aug 2010, 19:29, edited 6 times in total.
[center]Give me a beer and I will move the world. Archimedes[/center]

Post #5 made 10 years ago
Ratios are not my strong point

Using 'Wortgames Brewery Reckoner', to get to 3.5%ABV at an FG of 1005 I need an OG of 1032.

So I figure to keep it easy I would do a 50/50 dilution. So I am guessing I need to brew a 7%ABV batch.

So for a FG of 1005 I need an OG of 1058

I am currently using "beer engine" software, looks like I need around 7.5Kg Pale malt for 55L @3.5%?

Then I guess the ratios dont matter all that much as long as I top up to 55L in the fermenter?

AHHH confused again, maybe its simpler than it looks, just calculate the req grain for the full 55L brew, use my normal mash volumes with the full amout of grain, then top up at the fermenter? No ratios required

Now, what about hops???

Post #6 made 10 years ago
G'day steve, Beersmith tells me, for a 55 litre batch you need 8.5 kg of malt to get 3.5% ABV.

Breaking it 50/50 sounds like a good plan.

I rarely get a brew to finish under 1010. I guess this maybe why you say you need 7.5 kg malt.
Do your brews normally end at 1005?
"It's beer Jim, but not as we know it."

Post #8 made 10 years ago
Nearly there, Steve...

In the interim, I know this works at the 19L stockpot scale:
1) Calculate the double- size batch grain bill, so just imagine you have a bigger kettle than you actually do.
2) 2/3- fill your kettle with water and heat to strike temp (I'd go for a higher strike water temp rather than a lower one), so mash temp + 6C, meanwhile also put 4L on the stove in a pan to heat up as well.
3) Pull out 4L of strike water into a jug(/s), set it aside
4) Add the bag and grain, stir well and measure temp
5) Use hot/ cold/ 4L jug of strike to a) fill the kettle to the brim and b) adjust mash temp if need be, lid on and insulate it well.
6) Stir during the mash, before it is finished, heat/ reheat 4L of water in the pot to boiling
7) Lift & drain the bag at the end of the mash, put the pot on the heat to start the boil*
8) Sparging: in a 15- 20L bucket, add the 4L of boiling then drop the bag in, open it up and stir well, add more water to fill it right up (I use an 11L bucket), so scale if necessary. Lift after 15 minutes, drain* and repeat*.
9) Add the first batch of sparge liquor the boil, some more of the second batch to fill the kettle almost to the brim, * boil as usual.
10) Add more sparge to make up for evaporation losses, but no later than 15 minutes from the end of the boil (heat the sparge liquor before adding it or pause the boil timer until it comes back to the boil).
11) Before the boil ends get a sample*, then drop the kettle into the laundry tub/ or no chill as usual.
12) At pitching, do a post- boil dilution, as described here.

There's more text to fill it out and explain the details, but that's the core of it.

* = good times to take a sample and measure SG, but don't put hot wort into plastic hydrometer tubes- cool it first! The final sample is mandatory, but the others are optional, just there to give you a feel of how it is progressing.

Scale the hops same as the grain, but because hops utilisation may suffer SLIGHTLY, be generous rather than tight.

Gotta fly, hope this helps! :D

Edit: Dang! Sorry, I was thinking of a 40L pot, so everything would be basically doubled from the 19L pot I use... so this post would be a bum steer. Hmm, if that pot is 50L, I'd just do the single sparge above, everything else would stay the same, wouldn't it, hombres?
Last edited by Ralph on 11 Aug 2010, 16:26, edited 6 times in total.
[center]Give me a beer and I will move the world. Archimedes[/center]

Post #9 made 10 years ago
OK here is my plan

Pre-heat 20L on stove to mash-in temp
Prepare brew kettle as for a 23L batch
Mash in, then top up kettle to the brim using the pre-heated water
Pre-boil 20L on stove
Add the pre-boiled water to near the top (leave space for boil-over)
Boil, hops
Transfer to fermenter, adjust to required OG (1035) using cold water

Cervaza 55L


Gyle Number:

Fermentable Colour lb: oz Grams Ratio
Lager Malt 2.5 EBC 18 lbs. 13.7 oz 8560 grams 100%

Hop Variety Type Alpha Time lb: oz grams Ratio
Columbus (Tomahawk) Whole 12 % 90 mins 0 lbs. 1.0 oz 29 grams 100%

Final Volume: 55 Litres
Original Gravity: 1.035
Final Gravity: 1.008
Alcohol Content: 3.5% ABV
Total Liquor: 72.1 Litres
Mash Liquor: 21.4 Litres
Mash Efficiency: 75 %
Bitterness: 18 EBU
Colour: 3 EBC

Post #10 made 10 years ago
I think that should come close Steve, probably too much water in the sparge section, but seeing as it is combined with the mash top up, it is hard to tell. No biggie- as I say, this method isn't about hitting target SGs and volumes at all, any overshoot or under- performance is made up by the post- boil dilution.

When you pre- heat some sparge water, it probably won't take all 20L unless you're using a bigger sparge vessel, in fact half of that would be OK. I usually mash with about 4L/kg then sparge with about 2L/ kg of grain mashed. (BTW, that 4 & 2 L:G ratio which is gospel in some traditional methods is only an accident in this case, it isn't by design! :o )
Also, just like the mashing, remove some water from the sparge vessel before dunking the bag, then add it back in to top it up. An overflowing mash or sparge is no fun...

Good luck, hope it works out! :P
[center]Give me a beer and I will move the world. Archimedes[/center]

Post #11 made 10 years ago
Sorry, ignore the 'Mash Liquor' entry in the recipe, that was just whacked in by the software.

I dont do a sparge, just a full volume mash, and a good squeeze. Shouldn't be a problem as the mash SG should be about the same as my stouts, and IPA's.(1062)

The pre-heated water is just for top up's

Anyway tomorrow is the day,

Post #12 made 10 years ago
Well, this went a lot better than I hoped.
Very easy, if you don't over-think it.

Works well for a mid-strength OG 1035, the grain bill was 8.5KG (I think efficiency would start to suffer any higher) , any bigger would need some dex or sugar to bring it up.

What I did:
Calculate grain and hops for the full brewlength using brew software
(this gave me 8.5Kg grain and 30g hops for 55 Liters)

Use the 'Brew volumes spreadsheet' to calculate volume in kettle for the mash as though doing a normal 23L batch.

After mash-in, top up to the brim with mash temperature Water

Mash out as usual

Start to heat for the boil, and concurrently add boiling water to fill kettle

Keep topping up to replace boil off evaporation.

Transfer to fermenter, now a few slight adjustments::

Top up fermenter to 55L with cold water (I only needed about 12L)
Check OG, adjust with dex (mine was spot on!)

Last edited by stevem01 on 15 Aug 2010, 16:30, edited 6 times in total.

Post #13 made 10 years ago
That's great Steve, well done!

Yeah, it took me quite a while to realise how easy it really is, even when adding the sparge step. Over- thinking it will lead to the inevitable epiphany, but it is still worth it!

We can suit ourselves when topping up the boil, can do it with plain water or sparge liquor, I do the latter because sparging is an easy process but initially plain water (boiling is good) is fine too but doesn't help with efficiency like a sparge does.

I use StrangeBrew* 2.0.1 for recipe formulation, but it doesn't work quite as well as I'd hoped (with multiple, variably- timed wort concentration additions, is that any surprise?!) and doesn't style diluted wort properly. So I just work with 18L brewlength, for really strong wort it helps to get hops utilisation inefficiency accounted for, at least I trust it do that properly... It should work fine though for straight BIAB, but temperatures might be iffy and it pays to just give it a few tries to suss out your own equipment.

Anyway, congratulations on a job well done!

* Free, open source and cross- platform (java), so should work with Windows, Linux or Mac, AFAIK.
[center]Give me a beer and I will move the world. Archimedes[/center]
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