🍺 Top-down Brew: Kettle volume calculator

Purpose: To determine the volume of a kettle from measurements of height and diameter. This is useful for calibrating dip sticks.



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This calculator determines the volume of a kettle from the height and diameter length measurements. The volume of a cylinder is then determined using the formula 3.142 * radius2 * height. The calculations are done with metric units given the straightforward relationship between liters and centimeters, which is 1 liter = 1000 cubic centimeters.

There are two kinds of useful calculations that can be performed. These are depth (length)-to-volume or volume-to-depth. The following examples provide illustrations.

The first example is to determine the volume from length units (kettle depth) in US measurement units. A brewer uses a Bayou Classic 1044 kettle (44 quarts) that is 13.5 inches in diameter and 17.5 inches in height (the default values). A kettle depth measurement shows that 9 inches of wort were collected. The volume per length unit calculations yield .62 gallons/inch. Multiplying the wort depth by gallons/inch yields the wort volume in gallons: 9 inches * .62 gallons/inch = 5.58 gallons.

Example #1 with metric units: The kettle size is 44 centimeters (cm) in height by 34.5 cm in diameter. If 22 cm of wort are collected, what is the volume in liters? The calculation of volume per length unit yields .93 liters per cm. Determine the volume from length by multiplying the wort depth by the calculated liters/cm: 22 cm * .93 liters/cm = 20.46 liters.

The second example is to determine the kettle depth of target volumes. A brewer aims to have a 6.5 gallon boil. What should be the height of the wort in the brew kettle? Use the length per volume unit calculations. For the same kettle measurements (see above), there will be a length per volume of 1.6 inches per gallon. Therefore, 6.5 gallons * 1.6 inches/gallon = 10.4 inches of wort will be needed.

Example #2 with metric units: A brewer aims to have 24.5 liters of wort. The depth of wort in the kettle will be 24.5 liters * 1.1 centimeter/liter = 27 centimeters (rounded) will be needed in the kettle.

Dipsticks can also be calibrated with the volume-to-depth method from the second example. For a 5.0 gallon dipstick marking, the dipstick will need to be 5.0 gallons * 1.6 inches per gallon = 8 inches.

These calculations assume that the kettle is a perfect cylinder. Kettles or buckets with tapered sides or rounded bottoms may not be accurate. For example, a standard 5 gallon plastic buckets (11.25 inches at the top by 13.75 inches) will produce an estimate of 5.92 gallons.

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