Stainless Steel v. Aluminum

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DirtyJersey

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Okay, so I'm shopping around for a beginner's kit and I've noticed that only a few have the option of adding a brew pot....most of them being in the 20 qt. size. I've seen some posts on here regarding brew pots, and some recommend using stainless steel while others recommend aluminum, while others say it doesn't matter.

Cost aside, what is the difference in stainless steel and aluminum? Are there pros and cons to each? Does it affect the outcome of the brew? I never thought that such a thing would matter, but apparently this topic draws quite a debate.
 

Revvy

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This question is one of the most asked questions on here...there's 10,000 or more threads devoted to it, if you search you will find everyone's opinopns on the topic...because that's what it is, a matter of opinion..they both make beer...

There's also some info here...a thread devoted to all you who think you need to make -vs- threads, like it's the superbowl or something......
:D

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/vs-pro-con-analysis-109318/

And this...https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/faq-aluminum-pots-boil-kettles-49449/

Have fun..but like aything you could think of to phrase as a -VS- you will find that it is a matter or opinion, they both make beer, AND it's been asked and answered countless times before...ultimately...the choice is yours.

:mug:
 
OP
DirtyJersey

DirtyJersey

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Thanks, Revvy. After I posted my thread, I started to see some of the other comments on this topic. I guess I still don't understand what the debate is though....why is one allegedly better than the other? You're boiling water....what's the big deal? :confused:
 

llazy_llama

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The one that's better is the one that suits your needs and your budget.

Which is better, a banana or an apple? Well, if I'm hungry for an apple, and I can't afford a banana, an apple is better. If I like bananas, and have the money for one, a banana is better.
 

RCCOLA

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Thanks, Revvy. After I posted my thread, I started to see some of the other comments on this topic. I guess I still don't understand what the debate is though....why is one allegedly better than the other? You're boiling water....what's the big deal? :confused:
Both are fine for brewing.That being said I prefer aluminum for the weight savings.7gals of wort + an extra 10-20lbs. for a SS pot is just asking for pain. My $.02
 

chefLenT

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I'm not a very experienced brewer but I have been a chef for many years and I do know that ,in cooking, aluminum pots heat up nice and evenly but can change the flavor of the food,especially if they have been used to cook starchy foods because the starches can accumulate in the pores of the aluminum.Then when you cook an acidic food in the pot the starches can be released into the food which effects the taste. With stainless pots,nothing can accumulate in them so they cook cleaner and do not effect the flavor in foods.
 

Boondoggie

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This question is one of the most asked questions on here...there's 10,000 or more threads devoted to it, if you search you will find everyone's opinopns on the topic...because that's what it is, a matter of opinion..they both make beer...
I love how at once you can have the opinion that people's views from a published work in the past are not necesarily their views today, AND have the opinion that certain topics have had all the relevant information posted and shouldn't be discussed again. Do opinions and "common knowledge" change, or not? And are things like this stifling that change?

Should the forum be locked and just an FAQ posted?
 

Revvy

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I love how at once you can have the opinion that people's views from a published work in the past are not necesarily their views today, AND have the opinion that certain topics have had all the relevant information posted and shouldn't be discussed again. Do opinions and "common knowledge" change, or not? And are things like this stifling that change?

Should the forum be locked and just an FAQ posted?
Evidently the OP was happy with my answer.....He actually looked at those threads I pointed out to him.

And that's all that matters.

:mug:

Do you actually have an opinion of this topic, or is this just your attempt to pick a fight? We don't do that around here...

If you care, I once spent three hours writing a tutorial on making the search feature work for you, so people could actually get the answers they are looking for...and in it I wrote this...https://www.homebrewtalk.com/1048306-post153.html

The thing to me about searching is two fold, and I really hate coming off as a search nazi, BUT

1) There is a huuuge amount of state of the art brewing info on here...info that is even more current than palmer (only becasue it takes 2-3 years to get a book out.) Some of us have spent hours writing stuff up, like blogs or long answers to basic questions, including searching for links like audio and video casts to answer those basic questions...And we want you to know it exists, and we want you to utilize it to be the best damn brewer's you can be.

SO when I say it's been covered before, I'm not saying "hey a$$hat, use the search."

I'm saying "Hey, there's some kick ass info on that very topic, put together from some amazing brewers, and it's free, right here, you don't need to buy a book....all you need to do is click "search" and maybe play with the words a couple times...


2) A lot of the "kick ass brewers" who are here, and were here before I got here have stopped answering the same noob questions over and over. Most of those people get tired of it after a couple months, and just ignore these threads...From what people tell me, for doing it constantly for a year, I'm an anomoly....maybe because of my 'calling" (yes I am a minister for the 10,000th time ) I have an almost pathological need to help people...whether it's in a church or in a brewery.

Which means that the people who might be best able to answer your basic question are NOT going to because they did it 6 months ago, and feel that that's enough. Or they are no longer here...but their info is still here and still valuable...

So that really means that if you just start a thread, especially if you are asking about "Stainless vs Aluminum" or Plastic waterbottles or "is my beer ruined," or "what;s your opinion on...?" You may not GET THE BEST INFORMATION YOU COULD BE GETTING You could be getting the same outdated "party line" out of Palmer or Papazian, (which are actually several years of in the case of Charlie over a decade old) when there was some new discovery a few weeks back that we all talked to death and learned from...and we want you to know about it too...

I also have found, as someone that answers a lot of questions everyday, that if a person reads a thread on their "basic question" first and maybe bumps that thread up, that their question has a lot more depth than it might have been...because maybe they zeroed in on an issue from one or more of the posts in a thread...and then rather than,

"What's that fuzzy stuff on top of my beer?" To "Oh I thought my beer was infected, now I know it's a krauzen, it's normal, and it has proteins and other things in it, so what kinda proteins are there, do they come from the yeasts, the wort or both, and should I skim it or not?"

Which is more fun for me to answer because it may lead me to search, or to google or to recall some fuzzy bit of info I heard on a podcast and go search for it for you...and for me...


Hope this helps, and I hope you realize that those of us who suggest that you search for an answer not trying to be mean to you, nor are we lazy...we just want you to have the best brewing info that there is to be found on here...and there is plenty of it.
 

Homercidal

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I use an aluminum kettle because it came with the cheap turkey fryer I bought to do AG. Frankly, I doubt the ability of microscopic starches changing the flavor of something as strong-tasting as tomato sauce. I think the real concern with aluminum is the change in taste simply by boiling your wort in the aluminum, and also the possibility of some of the aluminum cooking off into your beer. Those questions are likely answered in the various VS threads.

I also have a cheap SS pot that I used for extract brewing and I noticed that on the stove, it would scorch the wort a bit when boiling. The SS doesn't distribute the heat evenly, and the thin bottom didn't help that either. Therefore there tended to be "Hot spots", which caused the wort to scorch right there the flame was.

Obviously, an expensive, shiny SS kettle would be the best, but not everyone wants to spend the extra $$ for one.
 

bull8042

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The one that's better is the one that suits your needs and your budget.

Which is better, a banana or an apple? Well, if I'm hungry for an apple, and I can't afford a banana, an apple is better. If I like bananas, and have the money for one, a banana is better.
Actually, the apple is better! EdWort doesn't have a "bananawein" recipe, now does he? So there, take that! :D

To the OP, the Revvy has spoken. He hit the nail on the head as usual...
 

llazy_llama

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I love how at once you can have the opinion that people's views from a published work in the past are not necesarily their views today, AND have the opinion that certain topics have had all the relevant information posted and shouldn't be discussed again. Do opinions and "common knowledge" change, or not? And are things like this stifling that change?

Should the forum be locked and just an FAQ posted?
Everything Revvy said, plus this:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/vs-pro-con-analysis-109318/ was written less than a week ago. I'd say that everything I posted there is still relevant, all of 5 days later. I mean, times change and so do technolgies, but not that fast.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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OP, I am glad you found the relevant info. It isn't bad to re-ask these questions. As is stated in everyone of these threads, if you are new, you don't know the depth of knowledge here. The major purpose of these threads is to redirect to an old thread that covers the topic.

This question pops up at least every-other day and many times multiple times per day. If anyone cares to give a full break down of the topic that often, you can be all our guests Boondoggie. The archive of info here is huge and being able to redirect people is the best info you can give 8 times out of 10.
 

Boondoggie

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I really seem to have stepped on a lot of egos with my little rant, and I apologize.

I was really pleased to see the "Beginners" section when I found HBT, figuring it was an area where the newbies could roam free... but it's not.
 

McKBrew

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I really seem to have stepped on a lot of egos with my little rant, and I apologize.

I was really pleased to see the "Beginners" section when I found HBT, figuring it was an area where the newbies could roam free... but it's not.
What are you talking about? Again question answered, relative threads pointed out and plenty of information given without having to retype everything from scratch. How is this anything less than helpful?
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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Don't take the smack down the wrong way :D

We are just saying that the best way to answer most new brewer questions is to redirect them to an existing thread. Then, if they still have questions about 10% will zombify the old thread and add there question to the end, 80% will post their remaining questions in the thread they started (like this one), and the remaining 10% will be offended that they were redirected and will continue to be mad about being told that the search function is great.

You need a thick skin around here but everyone is really nice. Just give people good humored crap back when you get smacked down. :mug:
 

DOGBOY

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The only real reason i would use stainless ,is that if you use an aluminum pan and clean it with
amonia based things (spic and span) you get a chemical reaction.I beleive some of the
sterilizing agents are caustic and might cause a reaction,i just don"t have enough science
background(there is information to this effect on new pots and pans purchases,all clad,
calphalon)
 

Revvy

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...Then, if they still have questions about 10% will zombify the old thread and add there question to the end....
Did you say Zombify? :D



Oh Dogboy, there's no reason to sanitize your brew pot....the boiling of the wort is going to do that just fine, so there is no reason to be concerned about any reactions of that sort....and as for cleansers I don't use them in either my stainless or my Aluminum pots (I have one of each) I just rinse them and wash them out with hot water.
 
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