I don't want to start a new thread, but I thought I'd post some about the kettle I got in the mail today:
I found few user pictures of their kettles from spike so I am posting some of my own for future brewers who don't know which way to go.
I got the 15gal with horizontal fittings and one of the temperature probes:
The kettle itself is very well built. I had some frustrations while deciding where to purchase from, figuring out which thickness of metal would suffice. I do not see any issues with this kettle bending under pressure or falling apart. The metal seems durable and won't have issues with a 10 gallon batch at all.
The handles are riveted on, as is the lid.
I was a bit disappointed at first glance with the welds. They didn't seem as clean as what was pictured on the site:
I do realize that as long as the weld is made properly this isn't going to cause any problems, just a nit picking item.
Also, the kettle is bent in slightly around both of the weld spots. I'm not sure if this is required to make the weld properly or not. It's not a major deformation but you can tell looking from the outside.
The inside looked fine, and from what I've read it's quite difficult to get the inside looking perfect anyway
I'm sure with some teflon tape this won't matter because I won't need to screw it in all the way, but screwing the probe in all the way results in the dial being upside down.
Next is the customer service. Shortly after ordering the kettle I realized I had forgotten the temperature probe. I emailed ben asking if I could wire him some money through paypal so he could include the order in my kettle purchase so I wouldn't have to pay shipping (order over $75 get free FedEx shipping).
He responded within a few hours showing me how to place the order so I wouldn't be charged shipping, very prompt and to the point. A+ there
In summary, if I have to purchase another kettle again and don't know how to weld at that time, I will be returning to spike for mine. Quick shipping along with prompt customer service and a great quality product at a competitive price. The few small issues are quite insignificant to the rest of the product. I would recommend spike brewing to anyone who wants to invest in an affordable kettle.