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Kettle with or without agitator/stirrer?

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  • Kettle with or without agitator/stirrer?

    Hi!

    We are deciding on what elements to add to our new 10 HL brewhouse. In our old brewhouse we have an agitator/stirrer in the kettle.

    The manufacturer is adamant that you don't need an agitator/stirrer in the kettle. They are offering us a new kettle with a steam jacket only on the sides and 3/4 of the kettle height. We'll be using mainly hop pellets.

    I've read an old 2015 post were big contributor Dick Murton says:

    If the heating jackets are on the wall only, there is a risk of the bottom layer below the jackets not being mixed in properly. A particular problem can arise if large quantities of whole leaf or, to a lesser extent, pellet hops are used as they are prone to simply sitting at the bottom, especially if added when the wort is not boiling vigorously. An even spread of heating jackets tends not to create good recirc currents, and so only part of the wort gets boiled. This problem is not restricted to small breweries. Steinecker used to have a problem with their kettles, so introduced stirrers.

    An alternative is to use the casting pump to recirc back into the kettle, ideally taking out of the whirlpool inlet and back in the bottom rather than the other way round, though this does work.
    What is the consensus on this subject? Is the kettle design that they are offering us optimal?

    Cheers!

  • #2
    Are you brewing single infusion or decoction brewing. You only need a mixing paddle in a dedicated mash tun or in mash/kettle.

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    • #3
      First of all...

      The manufacturer should give you exactly what you want and not second guess you. But you do not need a paddle for kettle. Correctly sized and placed jackets will give you vigorous boil. Not that your manufacturer will give you correctly sized or correctly placed jackets. Do they have a kettle in operation nearby that you can see? The only reason you would need a paddle in a kettle is if it doubles as a mash mixer. Best luck!
      Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TiminOz View Post
        Are you brewing single infusion or decoction brewing. You only need a mixing paddle in a dedicated mash tun or in mash/kettle.
        We will be brewing single infusion. Thanks for your answer TiminOz!

        Originally posted by gitchegumee View Post
        The manufacturer should give you exactly what you want and not second guess you. But you do not need a paddle for kettle. Correctly sized and placed jackets will give you vigorous boil. Not that your manufacturer will give you correctly sized or correctly placed jackets. Do they have a kettle in operation nearby that you can see? The only reason you would need a paddle in a kettle is if it doubles as a mash mixer. Best luck!
        I was just wondering if not having a paddle/agitator would lead to scorching or excessive caramelization. Thanks for your answer Phillip!

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        • #5
          No paddle required

          The proper placement of jackets will roll the boil just fine. Stay away from complicating a relatively simple process any more than need be. Very few kettles will have a mixer if there isn't any mash mixing function. More cost, more maintenance, more cleaning, more everything you don't need.
          Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

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          • #6
            What you do want to be aware of is the slight possibility of scorching from beers with certain adjuncts or proteins which if left to settle onto the top of the elements can cause slight scorching when those elements are turned on. This is fairly unlikely to happen especially with ULWD elements but Ive seen it reported many times on the homebrewing forums and Ive seen it with ingredients like Rye. Normally it only happens if the boil elements are turned off for a period of time then turned back on after said proteins settle on the element surface. stirring up the wort before doing this should eliminate this issue and theres no real need to be stopping and restarting the boil.

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            • #7
              Thanks for your help!

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