I just started getting back into AG brewing after taking a break for ~ 5 years. Already have a few batches in primary. I do 5 gallon batches, brew outside with gas, recently started batch sparging (previously fly), and keg my beer.
My brew kettle isn't the greatest. I got it off of ebay many years ago and while SS, it has a lot of sharp edges. I'm tired of slicing my fingers, so I want to upgrade. I've read through a lot of the comparison posts (such as 4 Popular Brew Kettles Compared); they were very helpful. What I'd like is:
- 10 gallon capacity. I have been boiling from 7 1/2 gal down to 5 1/2.
- Thermo so that I can stop abusing my original glass thermometer (for when chilling wort). Damn things bangs around and sooner or later I am going to break it.
- Sight glass (I want to get a little more precise so that I can better calculate boil off and efficiency).
- Do a better job with not collecting trub if possible.
My local HBS had this: Bayou Classic 10 gallon Brew Kettle
which would be nearly perfect except that it didn't have the sight glass. This kettle appears to be relatively new or at least I didn't see a lot of people talking about it. It has a pretty nifty bottom that is included--the SS bottom plus a SS mesh. I am a bit worried about the dead space. It doesn't look too bad, but I would probably want to install the sight glass myself... something that I am trying to avoid. If anyone has this kettle, please chime in. This would be about $220 plus say another $30 for weldless sight glass kit
plus say brush and heat shield. Might cost me a little more because I think I ruined my step bit a while back. Figure we're under $300.
The alternative is probably either this Polar Ware pot
which is at $330, plus I'd have to add in the thermo (~$25) plus anything I want to add in for the filtering... false bottom or otherwise.
OR I could go with the blingman
... but it looks like any additional kettle bottom would be extra... to the tune of about another $75. To get a equivalent set up we'd be looking at nearly $400.
So I guess I'm looking anyone who might have had experience with this particular Bayou, especially if they've modified it. I am pretty sure this is the way that I want to go, but since we're talking more than a couple of hundred bucks (and since I might have to drill it as well), I'd like to be really