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Old 01-07-2011, 03:46 AM   #1
rnotvest
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Default Good Brew Pot?

I've been borrowing my buddy's stainless steel pot for the past few batches and now I need to get my own. Does anyone have any good recommendations as to what to buy? Keep in mind I'm a college student so cash is tight.

I've heard porcelain is not great because the coating can scratch easily, but what about aluminum? Or are neither of them good and I should just drop a lot of money on a stainless steel?

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Old 01-07-2011, 03:50 AM   #2
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If your strapped for cash you could try to get your hands on an old stainless keg from a friend or bar, cut the top out of it and you'll have a 15 gallon SS pot dirt cheap.

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Old 01-07-2011, 03:54 AM   #3
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This is a sticky in this forum. If you are having trouble finding answers with the site's search try google with HBT included in the search.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/faq-aluminum-pots-boil-kettles-49449/

Check recyclers for old kegs...my local guy will sell for $20 as long as they aren't BMC kegs.

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Old 01-07-2011, 04:45 AM   #4
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For a budget brew pot, I don't think you'll find a better deal than a decent thickness aluminum pot (28-32 quart as a good minimum)... All you need to do is condition them (as per the faq thread) and you're good to go.

If you're just making extract brews, a 20 quart should be enough. Once you make the switch to grain (either partial, or all grain) then you'll want a 32 quart (or 40 quart) pot, for 5 gallon batches.

Look on craigslist for people looking to sell turkey fryers (propane fueled, with aluminum pots) and you'll get both a good sized pot, and burner for cooking the wort (outside)...

The only SS pots you'll find in the same price range are really thin, and have nothing clad on the bottom (making it difficult for controlling/eliminating hot spots).

My 16 quart stainless steel pot was good for extract brews (thick aluminum clad bottom) but is not really any good for partial mash, or all grain batches. It's still my main sauce/chili/stew pot though.

BTW, I was able to get the 32 quart, 4mm thick, stock pot (with lid) from a restaurant supply store for about $46... That's less than I'd pay for a good 8 quart SS pot.

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Old 01-07-2011, 12:30 PM   #5
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I suggest you check out the SS pots by Update International at Instawares. For example, if you only wanted to do 5 gallon batches, here's a 40qt pot: http://www.instawares.com/stainless-steel-stock-pot-sps-40.upi-sps40.0.7.htm. These are quality pots with a clad bottom at a great price with free shipping.

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Old 01-07-2011, 12:58 PM   #6
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If you are fine with aluminum, I highly recommend the ones at Sam's Club. Great "bang for the buck" value. They are thin, but should be fine as long as you don't play soccer with them.

The lids are separate, with a 40qt coming in at $32.88 and the lid at $6.22. You need either a Sam's Club account, or access to someone who does. They have a decent selection of restaurant supplies, and the quality is about the same on these as other aluminum stockpots I have seen. I prefer stainless, but starting with these until you are ready to commit more is completely reasonable, IMO. Unless I find a reason that aluminum is failing me, I have no plans on moving to anything else. Adding weldless fittings, etc, is easy enough that I can make these into reliable brew kettles at a fraction of the cost of a pre-made solution.

If you follow the advice on using aluminum in the sticky, you will be fine. (i.e. Building up an oxidation layer, not using harsh cleaners, etc.)

Sam's Club: 40 qt. Aluminum Stock Pot

Sam's Club: 40 qt. Aluminum Stock Pot Lid

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Old 01-07-2011, 01:31 PM   #7
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Look around on Amazon. Bought 10 gallon (40 qt) SS pot for $75 last year, free shipping. No lid.

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Old 01-07-2011, 01:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBrady View Post
If your strapped for cash you could try to get your hands on an old stainless keg from a friend or bar, cut the top out of it and you'll have a 15 gallon SS pot dirt cheap.
It's not quite that simple. You need to add a valve. A brass valve and bulkhead will cost you at least 20.00. A stainless valve will be more like 30.00. Plus you need the tools to drill the hole for the valve and cut the top. I suppose you could siphon out the wort if you did not have a valve but most people who go the keggel route get the valve.

The 40 quart aluminum pot is probably less of a "project" and in the end may cost you less.

PS:Think about getting an immersion chiller to go with whatever new pot you decide.
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhot55 View Post
Look around on Amazon. Bought 10 gallon (40 qt) SS pot for $75 last year, free shipping. No lid.
wow that's a good deal
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maida7 View Post
wow that's a good deal
It kind of is until you consider the 40qt one from Update International with a cover costs $100 shipped and that has a clad bottom. I'd be surprised if you found a much better deal.
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