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Old 05-18-2007, 10:57 PM   #1
fritz_monroe
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Default Aluminum brew kettle question

I've read about the alzheimer/aluminum argument, so I don't want to turn this into that. Is there any other argument against using aluminum for a brew pot?

At a local discount store, I found a 32 qt commercial aluminum stock pot. The sides of this thing are very thick. It's $40. For the thickness of this thing, I think it would last virtually forever. There is no available lid, but that's probably not a big deal, I can figure out a work around. Think I should go for it?

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Old 05-18-2007, 11:16 PM   #2
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Fritz

In most cases aluminum is avoided because there is a potential for a metalic off flavor from the aluminum itself. I think this mostly applies to AG brewing with low pH situations. I've heard people use them w/o a problem. I have two HB books that both say to stay away from aluminum. They profess stainless as the prefered brew pot material. If you look at all the top HB websites, you won't find aluminum stock pots in their inventory.

I would save your money for stainless steel unless you plan to use this strictly as a hot liquior tank (for boiling/heating water).

As for a lid. Never use one - ever. You want to boil out those undesirables. You will get off flavors it you do so. OK

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Old 05-19-2007, 12:29 AM   #3
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Lots of people use AL pots without metallic flavors. Pretty sure that becomes an issue when you get a high PH, which isn't usually an issue with wort.

Lids are fine for bringing wort to a boil, although you don't want to boil with the lid on. This is more of an issue for AG, though - most of the DMS and other volatiles have already been removed from extract through the manufacturing process. Still, covered pot = massive boilovers, so even short of the DMS argument, it's a bad idea. Still, I cover my pot all the time pre-boil, just to get it up to temp quicker. It's also useful for keeping bugs and stuff out of your wort when you're cooling it, and if you need to boil water (strike water, etc.).

Buy the pot, even if you eventually decide to upgrade to SS, you'll always find a big pot like that useful - for sparge water, etc.

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Old 05-19-2007, 12:32 AM   #4
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they also work killer for a decoction pot and at 40 bones like The Bird said buy the pot.
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Old 05-19-2007, 01:34 AM   #5
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I have both 15 gallon AL and SS pots and honestly the only gripe I have about the AL one is that it's harder to clean the ring of hop scunge off of after the boil.

If you're concerned about leeching metalic off flavors, passivate your pot first by boiling water in it for an hour or so. A grey colored oxide layer should form and you won't have to worry since your wort won't hit low enough a PH for it to become an issue.

John Palmer uses Aluminum for what it's worth.

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Old 05-19-2007, 02:18 AM   #6
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Thanks for the good input. I have a 20 qt. SS pot, but I want to start doing a full boil, and within the next year or so, I plan on trying my hand at all grain. But I truely don't think I'll go to larger batches, so I would think that the 32 qt. would probably suit me pretty well.

As for my concerns with aluminum, I really don't have any. I'm not convinced that Al is tied to alzheimers, and I know that ingestion is a very small percentage of the Al intake for the average person. But that's why I asked, I wanted to make sure there was nothing that I should be concerned about.

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Old 05-19-2007, 01:10 PM   #7
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I'd rather have a heavy duty aluminum pot, than a light duty SS one.
The only reservation I have about the pot you found is the size. You certainly can do a full boil in a pot that size, but you need to keep a careful watch on it to avoid boil overs. I'd see if you can get a full 10g pot.

-a.

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Old 05-19-2007, 07:06 PM   #8
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Aluminum pots are not a big issues because the aluminum reacts with the oxygen around it immediatly making an incredibly strong coating of Aluminum oxide, the same stuff jade and sapphire is made of. your wort will not be able to strip this.

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Old 05-19-2007, 07:56 PM   #9
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But a metal spoon or a very strong scrubbing can scrape it. So don't scrape off the AlO3. I really like my Aluminum pot. It heats water around 10x faster than SS.

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Old 05-21-2007, 04:03 AM   #10
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Assuming you are using a propane burner, have you considered finding a keg say off of craigslist that you could cut the top off of to use as a brew kettle? Might even be cheaper; I posted a WTB and got one for $25.

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