Best Kettle (in your opinion)

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by alysmith4, Jan 24, 2013.

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  1. alysmith4

    alysmith4 Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2005 District of Columbia

    I'm in the process of buying a nice set of equipment for homebrewing, but can't seem to decide on a kettle. What do you think is the best kettle out there for a beginner, that doesn't cost a fortune? I'm looking for something small (in the 5-gal range), that's capable of both extract and at least partial-mash.
     
  2. kjyost

    kjyost Initiate (0) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    Get the cheapest aluminum pot on amazon, just season it first.
     
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  3. philly224

    philly224 Aspirant (213) Jan 30, 2011 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I got this one for $68 on amazon just before Christmas, if you keep an eye on it there is a chance itll drop again but even $87 seems like a good deal.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-1044-44-Quart-Stainless-Steel/dp/B000VXHKMC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358990997&sr=8-1&keywords=44 quart stainless steel stock pot

    They also have this 9 gallon one for $67

    http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-1036-Stainless-Steamer/dp/B0009JXYUA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1358990997&sr=8-4&keywords=44 quart stainless steel stock pot


    That was my first kettle and I am glad I decided to get a big one right from the start. Its big enough to do all grain which I plan on trying very soon and it makes life easy when doing full boils with extract kits.
     
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  4. LostTraveler

    LostTraveler Initiate (0) Oct 28, 2011 Maine

  5. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (340) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

  6. alysmith4

    alysmith4 Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2005 District of Columbia

    Thanks for the reply. From what I can tell though, the cheap pots are flimsy and start to wilt when heated. In fact, a lot of ones I saw even said to remove it from heat when stirring in the malt.
     
  7. TheMonkfish

    TheMonkfish Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2012 Chad

    For the money I'd be hard pressed to beat the Winware/Winco aluminum pots they sell on Amazon. I love mine and it's really heavy gauge (not a chance of flexing.)
     
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  8. kjyost

    kjyost Initiate (0) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    No matter the pot, you should remove it from heat when adding extract to avoid scorching. I got a 15 qt aluminum stock pot (restaurant grade) as a gift 2 XMases ago and love it!
     
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  9. deezy23

    deezy23 Initiate (163) Nov 15, 2009 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    Bayou Classic pots are great; I got one off amazon and added valve/sightglass (weldless) from brewhardware
     
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  10. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Devotee (401) Nov 21, 2008 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Agree with the above. If you advance in the hobby you will outgrow it immediately, so don't spend a lot on a simple pot for boiling a few gallons of water.
     
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  11. JimSmetana

    JimSmetana Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Illinois

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  12. JimSmetana

    JimSmetana Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Illinois

    Season?
     
  13. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (652) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    What kind of stove (heat source) will you be using for the foreseeable future? Do you still plan on using it as a bottling bucket also (other thread)? What size batches will you be brewing...still going to be doing the 1 gal. ones?
     
  14. Beerontwowheels

    Beerontwowheels Initiate (0) Nov 22, 2009 Maryland

    This is exactly my set up and I am extremely happy with it. I have a 15.5G Bayou Classic Pot ($120, shipped, Amazon) and added the weldless valve (18$ Brewhardware.com), side pick-up fitting (bargainfittings.com, 24$) and a weldless sightglass tube (26$, brewhardware). That's roughly half the cost of the Blichmann Engineering 15G Boilermaker. According to my math, that means I have 200$ more dollars for grain, hops and yeast.
     
  15. Beerontwowheels

    Beerontwowheels Initiate (0) Nov 22, 2009 Maryland

    You're removing the packing oils and building an oxide layer. This step is necessary for aluminum pots.
     
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  16. kjyost

    kjyost Initiate (0) May 4, 2008 Manitoba (Canada)

    As mentioned above, it builds up a passive oxide layer that keeps the (not actually as per real scientific studies) EVIL aluminium from reacting with the wort. All you do is boil water in it for a while with a lid on and the steam will do it for you. It will get darker and duller as a result.
     
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  17. JimSmetana

    JimSmetana Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Illinois

    Thanks for letting me know. New pot arrives today!
     
  18. Monsone

    Monsone Initiate (194) Jun 5, 2006 Illinois

    Not sure about DC, but here in Chicago you can find really reasonable large tamale pots at the mexican grocery stores.

    My recommendation is to start out with something big enough, but that doesn't cost too much. If you are a beginner I would wait and see what you enjoy and how your process shakes out, and then upgrade accordingly.

    In my experience the really cheap stainless pots are flimsy and suck. The really cheap aluminum pots are still plenty hefty enough.
     
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  19. MacNCheese

    MacNCheese Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2011 California

    I have a 15gal megapot, love the damn thing.

    Whatever you do, add a weldless ballvalve to it, makes life a lot easier.
     
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  20. alysmith4

    alysmith4 Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2005 District of Columbia

    Currently, I have gas :D. (And I don't plan on moving in the next few years, so that won't change.) I saw that the cheapest one on Northern Brewer doesn't make good contact with an electric stove, but I don't think I'll need to worry about that. A lot of people mentioned that the bottom does get flimsy though.

    I haven't decided on the bottling bucket aspect. I'm leaning towards not, as the buckets aren't too expensive and I'd rather wear that out than the pot. Although, if I'm using the pot for the priming sugar, then it would seem like an easy/convenient solution to just bottle from there. I like the "keggle" idea too; that looks like a good one.

    I'm aiming for 5 gallon batches. I'm not sure if that means a 5-gal pot, or if I'd have to get something bigger. I'm more inclined to get all the 5-gal "gear" and then make 4 gallons if that's the way it works out.
     
  21. Beerontwowheels

    Beerontwowheels Initiate (0) Nov 22, 2009 Maryland

    5 gallon batches would benefit from an 8-10 gallon pot.
     
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  22. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (652) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    You are gold if you have gas...that sounds funny, but what I mean is that gas is cheap and controllable. You should have no problem getting ~ 7 gals up to a boil in less than an hour from cold. Brewing in the kitchen is much nicer in the winter, also. Watch your humidity though if you live in a moist climate. I have a stainless AND Aluminum kettle I have been very happy with (aluminum sandwiched between SS on the bottom for good heat Xfer). I think I paid ~ $80 for a 32 qt.) on sale at a restaurant supply. Measure the distance between your gas burners and make sure any kettle you get has a diameter AT LEAST wider than the distance from the outsides of your burners. This will allow you to straddle 2 burners and really speed things up. Good luck.
     
  23. alysmith4

    alysmith4 Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2005 District of Columbia

    So most 5-gal pots are used for 4 gallons and under? It seems like there are a lot of 5-gal recipes too, I wonder about converting to 4..
     
  24. alysmith4

    alysmith4 Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2005 District of Columbia

    My dilemma with anything bigger than a 5 is being able to maneuver it as I'm pretty small. And my microwave is mounted above the stove, so I worry about not having enough room to really "cook" if I use too big of a pot. I didn't think about using two burners, but I don't think I'd be able to considering the height limitations (and my strength limitations!)

    Yes, DC is super humid - thanks for the tip. I like the idea of stainless and aluminum. I know they're not the only game in town, but I was surprised Northern Brewer didn't have very many options.
     
  25. reverseapachemaster

    reverseapachemaster Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Most homebrew shops sell the economic kettle and the premium kettle. The difference, aside from optional accessories, is the thickness of the pot. You can brew beer just find in the economic kettles. The thicker pots will heat more evenly and quicker. That's the big difference. I wouldn't use too thin of a pot on a propane burner because you concentrate all the heat in one spot and I've seen people burn through a thin kettle before. However, that isn't an issue for you.

    You can buy any pot/kettle to do the trick. You need to look at what size fits on your stove and what your brewing needs are and likely will be in the future. It's almost a certainty that you will want to start doing full boils in the future. If you are going to brew the usual five gallon batch you need at least a seven gallon kettle. (Will allow you to do a full 90 minute boil without spilling over.) The cheapest the solution is a large tamale steamer. You can usually find them at any place that sells a decent amount of kitchen equipment for $30-40 for an eight gallon pot. That will serve your needs for a long time. They are very squat and should fit under your microwave and let you use more than one burner at a time.
     
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  26. Monsone

    Monsone Initiate (194) Jun 5, 2006 Illinois

    If you plan on doing full boils (or all-grain) for 5 gallon batches you will need a pot that is at least 8 gallons. 10g is best for boil over reasons.

    If you want to limit the size of your kettle and still do full boils your fix of ramping down the batch size works as well.

    Also, I wouldn't worry about you not being able to lift a full pot of wort, because most likely all transfers will be done with siphons. At most you could have a full pot of water that you extract brew in, but even then you can fill the pot on the stove with another vessel. So maneuvering isn't the tough part. Storing the pot when not in use if you are in an apartment though....
     
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  27. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (652) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    My kettle is ~15" in diameter and my front and back burners are ~17" O/S to O/S. The kettle is also only 12" deep, so no interference with the overhead microwave. Check your dimensions, but if you decide say 3 gal batches are what you are interested in, that's a good size also as you can get by with smaller everything. If you can lift ~ 55#s even 5 gal batches are pretty easy without a ball-valve on your kettle.
     
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  28. alysmith4

    alysmith4 Initiate (0) Feb 11, 2005 District of Columbia

    Hm.. I'm envisioning myself having to lift the kettle of wort and pouring it through a strainer into the fermentor. I don't see how siphoning would be an option, and I'm not too interested in using hop-strainer bags, etc., to filter as I go. I suppose a kettle with ball-valve would solve this problem, but I don't see too many affordable pots with that included.

    Off to google how heavy a stainless-steel kettle with four gallons in it is.. :rolleyes:
     
  29. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (652) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Water weighs ~ 9#/gal, so....9x3=27+ kettle= conservatively 35#...on the way down anyway...you still have to get it up to the stove when you go all-grain : )
     
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  30. reverseapachemaster

    reverseapachemaster Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    whirlpool plus siphon

    or just siphon and let everything go into the fermentor
     
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  31. Monsone

    Monsone Initiate (194) Jun 5, 2006 Illinois

    You don't HAVE to lift the entire kettle to go all grain if you set up your system so that you drain the mash tun right into the kettle on the stove.

    I dumped the whole kettle through a strainer once, and I said f that. Siphoning is really not a problem unless you have a shit ton of whole hops loose in the kettle, but a ball valve would get fouled by that too and I sure wouldn't want to dump 5 gallons with a crap ton of hops into a strainer. Pellet hops pose no problem.

    Siphoning (or pumping) the wort is what I (and I expect the majority) do.
     
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  32. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (652) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    For a 5 gal. batch (or less)...I won't even bother with siphoning or traditional whirlpooling...dump to fermenter through a strainer and get some oxygenation while you are at it.
     
  33. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (652) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    "You don't HAVE to lift the entire kettle to go all grain if you set up your system so that you drain the mash tun right into the kettle on the stove."

    True...but how would you do that with LESS hassle (in a kitchen)?
     
  34. Monsone

    Monsone Initiate (194) Jun 5, 2006 Illinois

    My mash tun sits on top of a 5 gallon bucket and runs off right into my boil kettle. So I have to stand on a step stool to sparge and stir, but it is way preferable to lifting 8 gallons of hot wort. Plus, I can put the fire to the wort I have run off so it doesn't take as long to come up to a boil.
     
  35. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (652) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Why do you have to lift hot wort? First wort shouldn't be boiling...Pick it up off the floor and move it to the stove. When it's done boiling...cool it and then lift/lower it to your fermenter...it will only be about 6 gallons then.
    You must have an electric stove.
     
  36. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,208) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    One US gallon weighs 8.34 lbs at pitching temp. Just saying.
     
  37. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (652) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    From my Jethro Bodine fancy cyphering, for a 5 gal. batch that would be ~ 55#...not hernia material unless you need to file a disability claim : )
     
  38. Monsone

    Monsone Initiate (194) Jun 5, 2006 Illinois

    Not sure about you but my run off is about 165 degrees, it will scald you. That qualifies as hot to me.

    Why lift it if you don't have to?
     
  39. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (652) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    You have to...unless you want to build some kind of tower above your stove and mash on a chair. It's not like you are putting your hand in the 165* liquid...there is a kettle between you and it...you can use a pot holder, even though I've never seen the need to myself. I doubt most wort is over 140*F by the time you are done sparging anyway. Are you brewing 10 gal batches or mashing and boiling in different places? If so, then I can understand what you are saying.
     
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