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Old 12-31-2007, 10:53 PM   #21
FlyGuy
 
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In response to the debate (re-)emerging above, yes – perhaps that wasn’t the most appropriate title. Can a mod please change it from “FAQ: Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel Pots for Boiling Kettles?” to simply “FAQ: Aluminum Pots for Boil Kettles?” in the forum index? Thanks very much.

Regarding the content, I don’t believe there are any factual errors. I purposefully did not cite references because I honestly didn’t think anyone would contest the credibility of these statements. Most of the information is drawn from John Palmer’s articles in BYO (especially the November 2007 issue) and his book “How to Brew”. John is one of America’s most respected homebrewing authorities, and a metallurgist by trade, so he is clearly a trusted authority on the topic.

Here is a direct quote from Appendix G Brewing Metallurgy of the most recent edition of Palmer’s “How to Brew” (page 309): “Aluminum is a good choice for brewpots and actively heated mash/lauter tuns. It has high heat conductivity, which helps prevent hot spots and scorching of the wort or mash, and is less expensive than stainless steel.” It is also clear from John’s articles that properly seasoned aluminum pots will not create metallic off-flavours in beer.

I have amended my post by removing the con that SS pots “may be more prone to scorching.” The statement may draw too much attention to this issue, and I certainly don’t want anyone to think that a SS pot will necessarily lead to scorching. Good pots shouldn’t, although it might also be mentioned that many of the most expensive SS pots actually have an aluminum clad bottom that is purposefully designed to conduct heat better and prevent hotspots in the pot.

To reiterate my original message, I am not advocating one type over the other. I actually have many pots, some of which are aluminum and some are SS. I use each in different circumstances and I am happy with them all. The point to my FAQ was to make it clear that BOTH are good choices, and to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each pot so that people can make an informed decision if they are looking to purchase a pot.



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Old 12-31-2007, 11:24 PM   #22
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Done.
I was tempted to leave the quotes in place.


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Old 01-01-2008, 09:38 PM   #23
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Another consideration people may want to think about is you upgrade your systems you may consider using an Aluminum pot for HLT in a three teir system. I've been doing that for over a year now and it has worked out great. This way I get the advantages of aluminum for heating water for mashing and sparging, and the advantages of SS for my kettle.

 
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Old 01-03-2008, 05:58 PM   #24
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[QUOTE=FlyGuy]
- Boiling your wort in an aluminum pot will cause off-flavours in your beer. FALSE. Simply boiling a batch of wort will not remove enough metal from your aluminum pot to get into your beer and cause metallic off flavours, particularly if you build up a passive oxide layer inside the pot first. For new pots, this is easily achieved by either boiling the pot full of water for 30 mins to one hour, or by putting it in your oven for 10 mins at 350 F.



I got my new 34 Qt pot and I boiled water in it for 1 hour and it Turned the inside of the pot black, Is that what Im looking for?
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Old 01-03-2008, 06:54 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RICLARK
I got my new 34 Qt pot and I boiled water in it for 1 hour and it Turned the inside of the pot black, Is that what Im looking for?
Yep, that's the passive oxide layer. It will protect your pot and your wort. Don't scrub it off. Just gently wash it with a non-abrasive cloth or pad after each batch, and you are set.

 
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:23 PM   #26
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Do any of the brewers using aluminum kettles have couplings welded in them. I assume you would have to use an aluminum coupler and get the pot TIG welded. Is this correct, or can you weld SS to Aluminum? In the same vein does someone know if you can braze aluminum?

thanks

 
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:55 PM   #27
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I do. PM me if you need a bulkhead fitting for weld in.

Mine was stick welded by a friend.

 
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:40 AM   #28
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I am sure in sum obscure text you could find a way to weld SS to Al, but in general the answer is no. Don't do it, because it is not pretty. I watched a newbie at our shop try something like that and it kind of exploded and ruined a good tungsten electrode. Good question though. S.
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Old 01-06-2008, 05:36 PM   #29
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I read several threads on this subject several months ago when I was shopping for pots. I was going to make a Keggle until I found this on Ebay for $35. It is a resturant grade 60qt Aluminum stock pot. I love it!
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Old 01-06-2008, 05:48 PM   #30
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I just drilled a hole in it and used brass fittings bought at Lowe's to do the plumbing. You can buy the bulkhead valve kits for kettle conversion online and at Homebrew stores and they are expensive! I made my own for half that. You don't even need the Hi-Temp Silicon o-rings. I used just regular o-rings from the plumbing section and I have had no issues and no leaks. My burner is a rocket ship so that pot gets plenty of heat. My vote is for aluminum...cheap, easy to use, durable, and a lot easier to use than a keggle.


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