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Old 01-24-2013, 03:49 PM   #1
peteyb
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Default New here, Looking for advice on kettles and brewing indoors vs outdoors

Hey guys I've learned alot from this forum over the last few months and have been wanting to get into brewing for a while. But since Im a broke college kit I have been waiting to find a good bargain. Well, Midwest's "Living Social" (same as Groupon deal I believe) deal is live again so I think I am finally gonna get into brewing.

Now I just had a few questions for you more experienced guys.
I am looking to do 5 gallon batches and was originally planning on buying a 16-20 qt for partial boils and was looking at these stainless kettles: http://www.ebay.com/itm/20-Quart-Sta...item564fa7c516
AND
http://www.amazon.com/Imusa-Stainles...pr_product_top

However, after looking around here I was debating whether or not I should get a larger kettle in case I want to do full boils. So now my question is, what is a good starter kettle (32-40 qt) for someone on a budget. Im looking for something cheap, but not so cheap that it will completely suck and I will want to replace it immediately. If I could get by with a cheap one for even just 1-2 years I will be happy. Here is the one I was looking at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B001CHKL68
It is aluminum, however it is pretty cheap and is more than big enough.

Another concern I have is that I have an open-flame propane stove in my kitchen. Do you guys recommend me using my kitchen stove to brew and just buying a kettle, or should I buy a turkey fryer + kettle set for brewing outside? Aside from making it easier to deal with potential boil overs, what other benefits come from outdoor brewing? (FYI I live alone)

I found these two: http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shop...1112030501001/
AND
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...0051#more_info
Neither look like it will be a very high quality kettle, but the fryers look good and Im hoping that either kettle can at least last me a year or two. Then I just need to make sure if/when I upgrade the kettle that I can still use it with this fryer.

What do you guys think/recommend. Another option is to just go to my local walmart/kmart/etc. and get the cheapest pot I can find for around $15-20, but I feel that I may regret that decision. Any help or opinions are appreciated

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Old 01-24-2013, 04:17 PM   #2
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The Winco aluminum pot from Amazon is a great value buy. Very solid. Will last forever. Even if you upgrade to a pot with more features later this pot will still work well for you as an HLT or boil vessel.

I'd recommend getting a 40 qt. This seems to be the minimum for allowing full boils while also giving you a lot of flexibility in your methods. (Extract, allgrain BIAB, all grain, etc...) If you get a smaller pot than 40 qts and you find you like brewing you will find yourself buying a larger pot later. At 40qt's I can do just about any beer I want using full volume, allgrain BIAB.

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Old 01-24-2013, 04:19 PM   #3
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I started with a 5 gal SS kettle ($45)and did 3 gallon partial boil extracts for a few months before getting into all grain.

I got a 11 gallon kettle ($75 Amazon) and in my opinion, having both is very helpful, but if $$ is tight then I would recommend getting the biggest pot (8 gal or bigger) so that you can comfortably do full boils when and if the need arises.

Having said that, a bigger pot is notoriously difficult to heat up on the stovetop although I have heard that it is easier on an open flame gas range.

However, on the topic of inside vs outside, to me there is a cut and dried answer....

A boilover on the stovetop is the ABSOLUTELY worst thing that can happen.
BREWDAY is instantly over and the cleaning begins... Sticky sugary crap all over your stove and in all the cracks and stinks and.... you get the point?

Outside is my only legitimate option, as SWMBO would kill me if I boiled over on her pretty stove.

Buying cheap is a bad idea, a quality kettle up front will last forever (if you take care of it)

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Old 01-24-2013, 04:20 PM   #4
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If I were you, I'd get the biggest pot, be it SS or aluminum, that my budget would allow. You can brew on your stovetop, I do. But not all burners are created equal so you may have trouble getting a boil going, a banjo burner outside would cure this, plus a boil over isn't as catastrophic.

Good luck.

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Old 01-24-2013, 04:30 PM   #5
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I boil on my stove. Works great, but it depends on your stove. You won't know until you try. If you are worried about boilovers just use fermcap. It's cheap and magical. I don't understand why more people don't use it. Just put a few drops (1-2 per gallon) and you don't have to worry about it. I have not had a boilover in 10+ batches. I just watch TV in the living room while my boil is going.

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Old 01-24-2013, 04:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reverendj1 View Post
I boil on my stove. Works great, but it depends on your stove. You won't know until you try. If you are worried about boilovers just use fermcap. It's cheap and magical. I don't understand why more people don't use it. Just put a few drops (1-2 per gallon) and you don't have to worry about it. I have not had a boilover in 10+ batches. I just watch TV in the living room while my boil is going.
Agreed, Firmcap-S is the snitz!

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Old 01-24-2013, 06:29 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help guys. I think Im gonna go with either the 40qt Winware kettle for $40 from Amazon and brew inside on my stove (leaning towards this), or get the cheap turkey fryer from Bass Pro and brew outside. Only problem with the latter is that it only has a 30 qt kettle and looks to be on the cheap side.

The amazon kettle seems to be solid and should last many years, I just have to take a chance that my stove will be able to boil 5-6 gallons. Being a 40 qt kettle I should have plenty of space to help watch for and prevent any boil overs on my stove as well.

Now I just need to find a source for a couple cheap kits, and then look into buying some ingredients in bulk and making my own kits to save money. After shipping a lot of the kits are around $40 so Im hoping I can look around and buy in bulk to drop some of the cost

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Old 01-24-2013, 06:37 PM   #8
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I would get at least a 60 quart so you can jump to ten gallon batches in the future. Or get a keggle

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Old 01-24-2013, 08:53 PM   #9
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I recently bought the 40qt Winware from amazon and have been extremely happy cooking on the stove. It heats up nice and cleans up really well. I'd stick with that.

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Old 01-24-2013, 09:02 PM   #10
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I have a turkey fryer from Gander Mountain. I'm surprised how sturdy that one is. I've done about ten batches with it and other than the oxide that I put on there it looks like new.

It's 0 outside, the windchill is about -30, I vote we brew inside today.

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