I just resumed brewing after a 17 year hiatus (read, 2 kids born and raised). I'm still using a 5 gallon basic setup, with a standard stainless steel brew kettle (stockpot), a plastic tub primary fermenter and glass carboy secondary fermenter (and plastic tub bottling bucket). Just bottled an I.P.A. batch.
Now that I can brew with my 2 sons, I'd love to upgrade the equipment a bit without getting too fancy.
For brew kettle, I'm deciding between the Stout Kettle with thermometer but not the tangential inlet, and the Bayou Classic set with the false bottom and outlet strainer (sorry, forgot the name of this piece). With the Stout I'd make a hop spider and use the whirlpool method. With the Bayou the bottom and strainer are already there.
Any preferences? My priorities would be less hop residue in the post-strained wort and ease of cleaning/sanitizing.
The other improvement I'd like to make would be to use either an immersion chiller in the kettle or counterflow chiller out. I hate to worry about possible contamination in my sink during the half-hour ice bath.
Down the road I'll be upgrading the fermenter, but for now I'd appreciate some recommendations for the brew kettle and chiller options.
Thanks and I greatly enjoy the wealth of knowledge and experience in these forums.