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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: rjharper on February 12, 2010, 03:47:44 pm

Title: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: rjharper on February 12, 2010, 03:47:44 pm
Thought I'd try to run a quick poll of opinions / experiences on brew pot setup.  Currently I have a 5 gal stockpot that I do partial (~3gal) boils in, then I can cool in a bucket of ice and then pour into the fermentor.  Its worked fine for 4 yrs, but its time to grow up.  So I'm ready to move to full boils, immersion chiller and hopefully all grain.  Which tells me I need a bigger kettle, and this is where you guys come in.

  - Is 10 gal sufficient or should I go straight to 15 gal? (I don't see 10 gal batches in the immediate future)
  - Is a thin 20 gauge stainless pot such as a Bayou Classic good enough, or should I get the thicker, heavier gauge?
  - The Blichman Brew Masters and Polarwares are nice, but expensive, do I really need the ball valves and thermometers, do they just make things easier, or are they simply nice luxuries?

I'm torn between the low road of $100 for a 60 qt Bayou, and just syphon when I'm done, or the high road of $250 for the 40 at Polarware with the ball valve and thermometer.  And before Anyone suggests it, for whatever reason the keggle just isn't doing it for me...  This stuff has to look kinda nice so the SWMBO doesnt think I'm taking over the garage (which I slowly am anyways).

As always, thanks in advance...
Oh, and once I figure out pictures, I'll post some of the kegerator
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: dontblake on February 12, 2010, 03:55:34 pm
I'd go with a 10-gal pot (especially if you're not that keen on the keg route).
I would definitely get one with a valve at the bottom (or modify one so that you can add a valve).
Thermometers are a waste if you ask me.  I have an immersion thermometer that I just drop the probe in and it works fine.
My brew pot came with a false bottom, which I would recommend - works well as a leaf hop strainer and you can use the kettle with false bottom as a mash tun (in the event that you get a bigger brew kettle).

I did a very quick check and this looks like a pretty decent deal.  Full disclosure statement:  I am not affiliated in any way with this site.
http://www.homebrewing.org/9-Gallon-Stainless-Steel-Brew-Pot_p_274.html
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: Hokerer on February 12, 2010, 04:06:17 pm
  - Is 10 gal sufficient or should I go straight to 15 gal? (I don't see 10 gal batches in the immediate future)
  - Is a thin 20 gauge stainless pot such as a Bayou Classic good enough, or should I get the thicker, heavier gauge?
  - The Blichman Brew Masters and Polarwares are nice, but expensive, do I really need the ball valves and thermometers, do they just make things easier, or are they simply nice luxuries?

10 gallon is the perfect size for 5 gallon batches

The thin ones are Ok but be aware of two things.  Being thin, you've got to be a little more careful with them as it's easy to dent.  Also, stainless isn't the best conductor of heat so the better (more $$) pots have a "sandwich" bottom - stainless-aluminum-stainless.  This makes the heat distribution more even across the bottom of the pot.  The thin ones don't have that.

I've done fine with my 10 gallon Megapot without a valve or thermometer.  Like someone else said, a seperate thermometer works fine (and can be used for other things, too).  I don't need a valve as I dip the wort out using a measuring cup so I kill two birds with one stone - I get the wort out and into the fermenter and I get an accurate measurement on post-boil volume.
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: tygo on February 12, 2010, 04:44:44 pm
Even doing five gallon batches I kinda wish I had a 15 gallon pot instead of the 10.  And I do like having the valve on the bottom for transferring to the fermenter.
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: dean on February 13, 2010, 07:49:54 am
I think the bigger the bk the better, you can always brew a smaller batch in a larger pot but you can't brew a larger batch in a smaller pot. 

Valves at the bottom are nice but siphoning isn't really difficult either.  If you have a valve at the bottom just be mindful that it can clog if you don't use a screen of some sort, and from time to time you may have to change it out... like if you've added coffee grounds to a boil... never again!   :D  >:(  :D
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: makemehoppy on February 13, 2010, 04:40:34 pm
I bought a thin walled stainless 9 gallon pot that looks very much like the one above. I siphon to the carboy with an autosiphon and am happy with that process. I liked the dimensions of the pot because I brew indoors and that one fits my large burner well.
One caution about getting a 15 gallon brewpot, you will notice the larger diameter increases the boil off rate significantly. Not really a problem just something to be aware of.
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: weazletoe on February 13, 2010, 06:05:59 pm
My opinon, get as mch pot as you reasonably can afford. Valves and all that can be added later. Right now, it's all about size. I know you say you never see yourself doing 10 gal batches. Neither did I. spend a little extra now, and it will save you in the long run. If you buy a 10 gal now, some day you will want to step up to bigger batches, and then you will be looking for a bigger kettle. Again. Just go big now. You will not regret it.
   As for the valve, I added a valve to my my 16.25 gal pot, and I still transfer with my auto siphon. Don't worry about a valve. It's not a must have. 
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: bluesman on February 13, 2010, 08:41:24 pm
My opinon, get as much pot as you reasonably can afford.

+1
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 15, 2010, 08:32:26 am
Go big.  Thicker is better. Get the ball valve because someday you will want a pump for some reason.  The side mount thermometer is nice but not necessary (I have 3 vessels with side mounts).  The false bottom is a really good thing to have as whole hops become a nice filter bed whenyou recirculate while chilling that that pump you are going to want someday.   ;)
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: mrnohrco on February 15, 2010, 09:14:03 am
I used to use thin pots, worked okay, but nothing like a good heavy kettle. I use Kegs now and very happy with them. I also use them for Maple Syrup.
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: edward on February 15, 2010, 02:45:38 pm
Go for the 15g.  If you make anything over 1.100 in a 10g pot you will wish you had the 15.  I went with Aluminum personally, once you condition it you wont have any worries. Mine has a 1/4" wall thickness and only cost about $80 with shipping.  The lid is $10 extra.

http://www.waresdirect.com/products/Restaurant-Supply/UpdateInternational/Stock-Pot167556

You can get the 20 gallon for only $5 more.
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: denny on February 16, 2010, 10:09:24 am
My opinon, get as mch pot as you reasonably can afford.

That was our philosophy back in the 60s, too..... ;D
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: mikeypedersen on February 16, 2010, 10:41:35 am
My opinon, get as mch pot as you reasonably can afford.

That was our philosophy back in the 60s, too..... ;D
Nice.  :D
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: weazletoe on February 16, 2010, 06:29:06 pm
My opinon, get as mch pot as you reasonably can afford.

That was our philosophy back in the 60s, too..... ;D


Yeah, so I noticed!  ;D
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: bluesman on February 17, 2010, 10:59:54 am
My opinon, get as mch pot as you reasonably can afford.

That was our philosophy back in the 60s, too..... ;D


Yeah, so I noticed!  ;D

+1


 :D
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: jasoncap on February 19, 2010, 07:19:42 am
I asked similar questions before purchasing my kettle a little over a year ago and I am glad that I listened to the suggestions to get a 15 gallon vs. 10.  Like you, I didn't think I would make any 10 gallon batches, but I eventually did and you can't do that in a 10 gal kettle.  As mentioned, buy the biggest, best kettle you can afford, even if it means waiting a couple of months to get the one that you really want vs. the one you can get right now.  I hated spending $250 on a giant soup pot, but I will never have to spend that money again. 

You can get by without a valve, but I have enjoyed the convenience.  It is definitely a nice to have vs. a need to have.  I did not get a thermometer, but the kettle has a port for one if I want to add it in the future.
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: redbeerman on February 19, 2010, 10:30:23 am
My opinon, get as mch pot as you reasonably can afford.

That was our philosophy back in the 60s, too..... ;D


Yeah, so I noticed!  ;D

+1


 :D

I..I...I...I don't rememeber what I was going to say. :D
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: Hokerer on February 19, 2010, 10:41:27 am
My opinon, get as mch pot as you reasonably can afford.

That was our philosophy back in the 60s, too..... ;D


Yeah, so I noticed!  ;D

+1


 :D

I..I...I...I don't rememeber what I was going to say. :D

You were gonna ask about some munchies
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: kgs on April 24, 2010, 08:41:40 am
I did a very quick check and this looks like a pretty decent deal.  Full disclosure statement:  I am not affiliated in any way with this site.
http://www.homebrewing.org/9-Gallon-Stainless-Steel-Brew-Pot_p_274.html

"The 9 Gallon 18/8 stainless steel stock pot is 14 inches tall and 13 1/2 inches wide." Wait, does that seem right? Is it like one of those little cars where all the clowns come pouring out? I suspect a typo. :-)
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: tygo on April 24, 2010, 09:55:16 am
"The 9 Gallon 18/8 stainless steel stock pot is 14 inches tall and 13 1/2 inches wide." Wait, does that seem right? Is it like one of those little cars where all the clowns come pouring out? I suspect a typo. :-)

That sounds about right.  The volume would be pi*(13.5/2)2*14 = 2003 cubic inches.  Converting that to gallons its 8.67 gallons.  Pretty close to the 9 gallons.
Title: Re: Brew kettle thoughts
Post by: kgs on April 24, 2010, 10:26:05 am
Thanks! My math skills are (obviously) terrible, but I googled similar stock pots and I see what you mean! (I even measured my 5-gallon stock pot to compare.) 

That's good news, because I've been assuming that a 9- or 10-gallon brew pot would be too unwieldy for me to deal with.