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Old 05-02-2012, 05:37 PM   #1
onipar
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Default 2 Cheap Brew Kettles, which is best?

I have two choices for a brew kettle assembly. Both are fairly cheap, but both have pros and cons. Help me decide.

The first is a 9 gallon stainless steel pot with two welded 1/2" female threaded fittings. With the addition of a stainless steel ball valve assembly and Blichmann Brewmometer, it comes to $140 shipped.

The second choice is to buy a 10 gallon aluminum pot, have the holes drilled by a local metal place, and add the "weldless" ball valve and thermometer assemblies. This option comes to $114 shipped.

Option one pros: stainless steel, lid, welded fittings.
Cons: only 9 gallons, more expensive

Option two pros: 10 gallon capacity, cheaper
cons: Aluminum, "weldless," no lid, some leg work involved (getting holes drilled).

Thoughts?

EDIT: it's worth noting, some of the cons are merely "perceived cons." Meaning, I won't really need a lid, so it probably doesn't matter if one doesn't come with it. And the aluminum vs. stainless steel debate is always there. I've heard some good arguments in favor of aluminum over SS lately too.



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Old 05-02-2012, 05:45 PM   #2
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I can tell you that the first option is the pot I have and the pics on the website do not do it justice. The welds are really well done and the bottom is heavier than the rest of the pot. I say option #1.



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Old 05-02-2012, 06:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bchurch View Post
I can tell you that the first option is the pot I have and the pics on the website do not do it justice. The welds are really well done and the bottom is heavier than the rest of the pot. I say option #1.
Which thermometer and valve did you choose? Because I could knock down the price significantly if I get the AIH term (instead of Blichman), and get the brass valve assembly instead of the Stainless Steel. That'd make the total $114 (exactly the same as option 2) but I was worried that the cheaper therm and brass valve wouldn't be good.

Also, do full boils get pretty close to the top with 9 gallon, or is it plenty of space?
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:55 PM   #4
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I went with the less expensive thermometer which is fine, I double checked it with my digital. I went stainless on the valve, but I do have a brass on my cooler mash tun which works fine, still i like the stainless because it looks better. As for boil there is plenty of room, about 2 gallons head space. I also got a bazooka screen for inside.

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Old 05-02-2012, 06:57 PM   #5
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i have the second pot. it's very nice and well built. i haven't added a thermometer or ball valve yet. a $15 digital thermometer and pouring into my primary have been working just fine. hard to beat for $40.

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Old 05-02-2012, 06:59 PM   #6
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Sorry about the double pic, sending from my phone while working

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Old 05-02-2012, 07:00 PM   #7
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9 vs 10 gallons isn't much of an issue, you can't do 10 gallon batches in either, and it won't make much of a difference for 5 gallon batches. I've had boil overs in my 15 gal when doing 5 gallon batches because I didn't watch it close enough when it started boiling and cut the heat down some.. So 9 or 10 gallons you still have to watch it somewhat.

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Old 05-02-2012, 07:01 PM   #8
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I have a 9 gallon aluminum rectangular kettle. At 6.75 gallons to start my boil on a 5 gallon batch I am about 2 or more inches from the top. I only ever inccured 1 boil over do to an extract addition and too many home brews.

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Old 05-02-2012, 07:52 PM   #9
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Option #2

It's really not difficult to mount the fittings yourself. If you have a hole-saw or can borrow one from a neighbor/friend, you should be fine. Aluminum is soft enough that it is bored very easily. Make a small pilot hole (1/16" or a punch/nail would work to create a pit to establish you hole location preventing the hole-some from walking on you). Then, using a hole-saw bit slowly drill the hole for your weldless fitting. Borrowing the bit should not be a problem, as it will cause less wear to the bit than wood.

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Old 05-02-2012, 08:43 PM   #10
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Thanks everybody! And thank you for posting the pics too.

I *was* leaning towards option #2, until I realized I could get the cheaper attachments for option #1, making it basically the same price. Of course, there always is the option to just get the $40 aluminum pot and call it quits at that.

But for now, I'm thinking Option #1 with the cheap attachments for ease. Thanks for all the input; a lot to think about.



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