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Old 09-04-2012, 07:51 PM   #1
cdrew23
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Default Brew Kettle Guidance

Hello,

Looking for some advice with a Brew Kettle purchase.

I have currently brewed 2 partial-boil batches of beer (IPA & Stout) with a 12qt. stainless pot that I already had around the house, and it is definitely time to upgrade!

I would like to experiment with some BIAB and AG techniques, so I am thinking at least a 10 gallon kettle would be ideal. I am also on a somewhat limited budget, as getting a larger kettle is going to require other equipment (burner, chiller) to keep up with the increased volume.

I am also decided on the fact of going stainless; I have read that aluminum works fine, however stainless will be my material of choice.

I have narrowed my options down to basically two kettles, viewed here:

http://www.birdmanbrewing.com/polar-ware-42-qt-economy-pot-w-ss-ball-valve-torpedo-screen-probe-thermometer/

and

http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-1044-44-Quart-Stainless-Steel/dp/B000VXHKMC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1346787579&sr=8-2&keywords=bayou+44+qt

The Polar Ware is appreciably more $$ with slightly less capacity, but the thermometer, and ball valve seem like they would be well-used features for future brew endeavors.

What would you guys recommend between the two? Basically, is it worth the extra $$ for a built in weldless thermometer and ball valve, or is this just more to clean/sanitize, and keeping it simple with the Bayou at first is the way to go? I could always add weldless fittings to the Bayou down the road...

Any advice is much appreciated, thanks

Drew

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Old 09-04-2012, 07:53 PM   #2
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Personally we believe that suffering a little more now for a quality brand like Polarware (including the added upgrades) will benefit you in the long run. Although i have never personally used a Bayou so I am not discrediting it.

That and you support a LHBS!!

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Old 09-04-2012, 09:02 PM   #3
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I was looking at this one for a possible upgrade.

link


I was thinking the basket would come in handy for BiaB setups.


FTR, that's not a bad price at all on the kettle from Birdman. Ball valve AND thermo for that price? Very tempting.

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Old 09-05-2012, 03:36 PM   #4
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If you are going to do BIAB, you don't want that thermometer in your pot. The thermowell for that thermometer sticks 1-2" into the pot. At that height, that means a 1-2" probe that is going to slice and dice your BIAB bag.

I have done BIAB for almost 2 years now with the 44qt Bayou Classic with the perferated basket. This is really the ideal setup for BIAB. You can drill your own hole for a ball valve in about 10 minutes for about $50.00, including the step bit, bulkhead, pickup tube, compression hardware, and ball valve - all stainless steel.

It is SIMPLE to do BIAB when you can drape the perferated basket with the bag instead of the pot itself. The perferated basket sits 3" above the bottom of the pot, so it protects from scorching. When my mash is complete, I just lift the perferated basket out of the kettle and rest it over another kettle (some use a fermenting bucket) to drain. I also press it with the lid of a smaller kettle to squeeze out as much wort as possible without ever touching the hot grain.

Get the 44qt Bayou Classic with the SS basket and you won't be sorry! That Birdman kettle is great quality and perfect for traditional brewing, but not ideal for BIAB brewing because of the thermowell.

The company that imports the Bayou Classic kettles is called Barbour International. They sell the kettles direct about 15% cheaper than most Bayou Classic retailers. Here's where I bought mine, about $107.00 shipped with the SS basket:

http://just4electronics.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=8978& cPath=0_366#googlebase

IM me if you have any questions or need any help sourcing the hardware to add your own ball valve. Good luck!

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