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Old 08-13-2012, 08:39 PM   #1
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Default Sabco Kettles worth the price?

Trying to decide what gear to get started with and wondering if Sabco's kettles are worth the price. How do they compare to Blichmann's?

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Old 08-13-2012, 10:10 PM   #2
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I gotta go with Blichmann on this one.

The Sabco kettle is 15 gallons (give or take) without a ball valve for $520.

The Blichmann has the same capacity (give or take), same basic features, with a ball valve, for about $400.

Frankly, I think Sabco has gotten just a little too proud of their stuff. About 8 years ago, they used to convert used kegs and sell them very reasonably. In fact, I have two Sabco kettles that I'm using currently that I paid $99 each for. They were used, with a 12" cut out in the top and two welded couplings each. It was a bargain. Then, almost overnight, they quit handling used kegs, went exclusively to the tri-clover design on the ports, and jacked their prices up through the roof. I think Blichmann has put a lot of thought into his equipment and offers a better value.

If you can find a used converted keg (i.e. keggle), it's a good way to save some money and get a great kettle that will last a lifetime. Try Ebay, Craigslist, etc. You might get lucky. And be patient...

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Old 08-13-2012, 10:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by BeerguyNC61 View Post
Trying to decide what gear to get started with and wondering if Sabco's kettles are worth the price. How do they compare to Blichmann's?

Thanks
Brew-on
Just getting started? Well, if you have never done this before, I would advise you to not invest that kind of money. I started brewing back in the early 1990s and really got into it briefly. I spent a lot of money on what was cool back then (keggles). Then, I had kids and started making respectable money and found other things to occupy my time. I sold everything and didn't start again until about 3yrs ago. If you're the type who finds a hobby and sticks with it, then I'd look at Blichmann or even Stout. You can also buy 15-gal Concord stainless kettles for $95 delivered. Buy yourself a step drill bit at Harbor Freight tools and some weldless fitting and for $150, you have a 15gal kettle. You could also have a coupler welded on and go that route for...maybe $175...or less. You can even buy a 25 gal kettle for $130 delivered. I brew in the garage and still use propane. If you want one of those techy electric systems, that you can use inside and has all the cool aesthetics, then they don't call Blichmann "Blingmann" for nothing. But in the long run a diy kettle vs a Sabco or Blichmann still pisses out the same product.
http://stores.ebay.com/Concord-Cookw...=p4634.c0.m322
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:11 AM   #4
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I gotta go with Blichmann on this one.

The Sabco kettle is 15 gallons (give or take) without a ball valve for $520.

The Blichmann has the same capacity (give or take), same basic features, with a ball valve, for about $400.

Frankly, I think Sabco has gotten just a little too proud of their stuff. About 8 years ago, they used to convert used kegs and sell them very reasonably. In fact, I have two Sabco kettles that I'm using currently that I paid $99 each for. They were used, with a 12" cut out in the top and two welded couplings each. It was a bargain. Then, almost overnight, they quit handling used kegs, went exclusively to the tri-clover design on the ports, and jacked their prices up through the roof. I think Blichmann has put a lot of thought into his equipment and offers a better value.

If you can find a used converted keg (i.e. keggle), it's a good way to save some money and get a great kettle that will last a lifetime. Try Ebay, Craigslist, etc. You might get lucky. And be patient...
In their defense stainless prices went through the roof and kegs came hard to come by. If you were to buy a brand new kettle you'll be spending upwards of $200. Plus the extensive labor to cut the hole, debur it and then weld couplers in. The price is high but so is the raw keg price and labor rate.
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:27 AM   #5
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Yes, stainless is expensive, but brands like Bayou Classic are still pretty cheap (their primary product is turkey fryers). Also, although I don't want to be a heretic, you can brew perfectly decent beer using an aluminum turkey fryer. I think I got my entire rig for well under $100 (propane burner and brewpot). If you're planning to do your boils on the kitchen stove, your local hardware store or Sears probably has 4 gallon stockpots, either aluminum or enameled, at a very reasonable price.

I'd start by seeing what's available on Amazon.

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Old 08-14-2012, 05:41 AM   #6
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You might try some of the larger online restaurant supply houses for kettle deals.

I recently saw a 15 gal SS P-ware w/2 welded fittings and a SS ball valve going for well under $300.
They also had the false bottom and thermometer to go with it.

I've been working from big aluminum pots w/weldless fittings.
Can't beat $75 for a nearly 1/4" thick 20 gal pot
Unless you "steal" a brewery keg and cut it up (that's what is called in all 50 US states when you put a $30 deposit on a $150 SS keg and keep it for personal use).

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Old 08-14-2012, 03:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by SpikeBrewing View Post
In their defense stainless prices went through the roof and kegs came hard to come by. If you were to buy a brand new kettle you'll be spending upwards of $200. Plus the extensive labor to cut the hole, debur it and then weld couplers in. The price is high but so is the raw keg price and labor rate.
As I recall, their stuff went through the roof before the stainless prices did. It's the free market though. They have been selling the Universal Kettle for quite a while and I suppose folks see value in it because they are still selling them. More power to 'em. But if I were in the market right now, I think there is better value elsewhere.

I think the best value is in being patient, really researching options, deciding where your priorities lie, and deciding how much your time is worth. Sabco makes nice stuff, but damn.
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:53 PM   #8
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The Sabco kettle is 15 gallons (give or take) without a ball valve for $520.

The Blichmann has the same capacity (give or take), same basic features, with a ball valve, for about $400.
Not defending Sabco's pricing (it is very high), but the Sabco includes a false bottom which is another $88 on the 15G Blichmann. It also says "Sabco's exclusive Tri-Clamp removable siphon" and "Thru-the-wall sanitary weld construction 1/2OD, 304 SS tubing" but I don't really know how those work (picture is vague).
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:18 PM   #9
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Thanks to everyone that has chimed in.
I guess I need to clarify the OP, I am not new to home brewing, just getting ready to dive into all-grain and want to only have to buy all the gear once and not have to upgrade later. I dont have the tools or the shop to weld, fabricate or DYI so I was asking for feedback from brewers that have either the Sabco kettles or Blichmann (Blingmann) gear.

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Old 08-14-2012, 10:39 PM   #10
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This isn't an endorsement for either brand but they are definitely different thickness'. Think about how you'll be using and storing your equipment and one may be more beneficial based on that. I don't have a stand and have to set up my system, clean it piece by piece then put it away under counters and on shelves so I like the thickness/durability of a keggle (i.e. Sabco). The Blickman's are nice because they are WAY lighter, so if you're easy on your equipment and don't think you'll be banging it around and denting it those are really nice pots. Either way I hope you enjoy the all-grain experience!

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