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Old 10-07-2012, 05:14 AM   #11
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Great advice from everyone! What's the overall consensus of aluminum pots? They are extremely inexpensive....but I have heard that it may give off flavors? Any truth to that? Or any other drawbacks?

thanks
Standard advice is to boil water in them once before brewing with them, to build up an oxide layer. Then, leave that layer alone, and don't scour the pot, at least not without planning to repeat this step. "Stainless" steel may not require somewhat this caution, but should be scrubbed gently as well, or else re-passivated with acid or at least BarKeeper's Friend. But off flavors? Not likely from the metal, properly treated/cleaned/rinsed. More likely from cleaners left on the metal.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:58 AM   #12
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Default Aluminum Pots Work Well!

Aluminum is less expensive, and can last just as long as stainless. There really is no difference as far as which is "more" food safe, they are both used in kitchens and homes. The money you save buying aluminum can afford you extra features you may not have thought about like sight gauges and thermometers you can custom add to your kettle. Cheers!

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Old 10-07-2012, 04:23 PM   #13
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Nothing against aluminum but some cleaners will mess it up, you have to be careful.

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Old 10-07-2012, 05:24 PM   #14
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I think there are these options when looking at buying a kettle:

1. Aluminum (bare)
2. Stainless steel (bare)
3. Stainless steel (put together)

1) Aluminum is going the be the cheapest kettle out there. Downside of aluminum is it isn't as tough as stainless and requires more maintenance (keeping an oxide layer, using specific chemicals to clean, not using abrasives while cleaning). Grab an aluminum kettle (I wouldn't get anything less than 4mm thick) and add a weldless valve and thermo for around another $60. You'll need a drill and any old step bit (even Harbor Freight ones will cut through aluminum like butter) Word of cation: If you are not the most handy of men (or women) you can mess up your kettle by drilling too big of a hole. This is my 'on a budget' option.

Weldless thermo - $32 (Weldless Thermo)
Weldless valve and coupler - $13 + $12 (Weldless Valve + Weldess Coupler)

2) You can buy a plain stainless kettle. There are single layer kettles like Blichmann, Bayou and the ones we sell or there are triple layer kettles that MegaPot and Update International sell (same exact kettle BTW). The first three companies feel the single layer kettle is perfect for brewing but if you feel you need the tri-bottom kettle they are out there for more money. Stainless steel is a much tougher material. A .8mm stainless kettle will be more dent resistant than even a 6mm aluminum kettle. They clean up super easy, have no maintenance and it's the material required by the FDA to be used in the food industry (beer making included). You can add the same ~$60 worth of valves and thermometers to this kettle as well. BUT again word of cation: You can mess your kettle up when drilling into it. Also stainless steel is a pain in the ass to work with. Drill extremely slow when cutting into SS otherwise you'll dull your bits. I've ruined two Harbor Freight step bits on trying to drill one hole. This is my option for the 'Do It Yourselfer' or someone on a budget.

3) If you're not on a huge budget or not a DIY kind of guy or gal I would suggest a kettle that is already put together. Blichmann, Bayou and us all have kettles that fit this build. You'll have your holes drilled and ready to install the valves, thermometers, etc with Blichmann and Bayou. We offer only welded couplers. So instead of o-rings making the water tight seal the couplers are welded on to make a seal. We're obviously biased to which is better but I'm trying to make this an informative post and not sell you on our business so I won't go into that. When pricing out a kettle, the accerories, shipping, drilling bits and your time you'll be right at the price of most pre-made kettles. In my mind these are the best options. They have high resale value, will last a lifetime and come with warranties if something does go wrong. This is my option for anyone not on a tight budget and looking for more of a 'last a lifetime' product.

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Old 10-07-2012, 08:52 PM   #15
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For me, getting and maintaining that required oxide layer was a deal breaker for an aluminum pot - I don't wanna have to maintain any kind of layer in a pot that I regularly use (I have a wok, and it's enough trouble not scratching that required seasoned layer). There's enough to worry about on brew day, I don't need more headaches and having to spend a few hours developing or re-developing an oxide layer

Stainless steel - clean it out, scrub it down as hard as you want, nothing to worry about.

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Old 10-09-2012, 01:28 AM   #16
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I think this is the last set of questions before I make the plunge. I've decided to go stainless.

Are these two pots really the same product?

http://www.homebrewing.org/2-Weld-15-gallon-SS-Brew-Pot_p_2756.html

http://spikebrewing.com/collections/15-gallon-stainless-kettles/products/15-gallon-home-brew-kettle-2-vertical-couplers

If so, I'll pick the lease expensive shipping. The only thing that concerns me is that threat on homebrewing.org that says it could be a little beat up....

Lastly, if I get vertical coupling welds, how does that work if I do a batch that ends with 5 gallons? Do thermometers bend down into the wort? I did some quick math (@spike - you can help me here):

If the pot is 16.5" diameter and 1mm thick, that makes the ID 16.46". There is also 231 in^3 in one gallon of fluid (thanks google). So assuming a ending boil of 5 gallons, I would have ([height in pot]*3.1415*8.23^2)=(231 in^3.*5 gal). So the height in the pot for a 5 gallon ending boil would be... [height in pot] = (231*5)/212.783 = 5.4"

Ok, sorry for the math... But to me since the 5 gallons would be at 5.4", it'd be less than the 6" coupling...

So would I have to go horizontal? And would a thermometer 1.5" from the bottom of the pot give off a bad reading being so close to the burner?

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Old 10-09-2012, 02:02 AM   #17
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15 gallon pots are for 10 gallon batches. Having said that in a boil kettle you're only using the thermometer for chilling post boil.

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Old 10-09-2012, 03:10 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Improv241 View Post
I think this is the last set of questions before I make the plunge. I've decided to go stainless.

Are these two pots really the same product?

http://www.homebrewing.org/2-Weld-15-gallon-SS-Brew-Pot_p_2756.html

http://spikebrewing.com/collections/15-gallon-stainless-kettles/products/15-gallon-home-brew-kettle-2-vertical-couplers

If so, I'll pick the lease expensive shipping. The only thing that concerns me is that threat on homebrewing.org that says it could be a little beat up....

Lastly, if I get vertical coupling welds, how does that work if I do a batch that ends with 5 gallons? Do thermometers bend down into the wort? I did some quick math (@spike - you can help me here):

If the pot is 16.5" diameter and 1mm thick, that makes the ID 16.46". There is also 231 in^3 in one gallon of fluid (thanks google). So assuming a ending boil of 5 gallons, I would have ([height in pot]*3.1415*8.23^2)=(231 in^3.*5 gal). So the height in the pot for a 5 gallon ending boil would be... [height in pot] = (231*5)/212.783 = 5.4"

Ok, sorry for the math... But to me since the 5 gallons would be at 5.4", it'd be less than the 6" coupling...

So would I have to go horizontal? And would a thermometer 1.5" from the bottom of the pot give off a bad reading being so close to the burner?
The kettles are similar I'll give them that but here are why ours are better:

1) Those handle are spot welded on. Ours are riveted and spot welded on. It's a much better design
2) They list the kettle at 18 gauge (1.2mm). It's not; it's the same thickness as ours (1.0mm). Not that the .2mm makes a difference but that shouldn't sway your decision.
3) (Most important in my opinion) ALL of our couplers have been welded on by workers in the USA. The competitors have been welded on in China.

If you plan on doing 5gal batches in a 15gal kettle we suggest the horizontal because the thermo won't be submerged. As for the thermometer... Some may say it gives a more accurate reading because it's closer to the burner. But either way I haven't heard of anyone not liking their horizontal for that (or any) reason. Now depending on what you're using it as, etc a vertical may work.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:35 PM   #19
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At the risk of going slightly off topic: here is my opinion on thermo location. I have two pots, same size, one with the thermo located at 4", one located at the bottom. When heating liquids you will get a higher temp from the lower thermo because it is closer to the heat source. I found this counter-intuitive at first. This is meaningful if you are using as a HLT, heating strike water and trying to hit an exact temp. When cooling, the hottest liquid will be at the top, unless you are stirring aggressively. So if you are chilling a batch while measuring from a bottom thermo, you are getting a lower temp than the average wort temp, by several degrees. My experience only, YMMV.

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Old 10-19-2012, 03:33 AM   #20
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Alright, I think I've made my decision now. Last question though: is a false bottom necessary for a pot?

It seems to me that if I use hop bags for any loose ingredient, a false bottom serves no purpose. Agree or disagree?

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