General Category > Extract/Partial Mash Brewing

Aluminum or Stainless Steel?

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beer-for-my-horses:

New to home brewing and getting ready to brew my first all extract batch.  I have a turkey fryer with a large aluminum pot that will hold a full batch with plenty of room left over.  I also have a 4 gal. SS pot, but would have to do a partial batch.  Should I do a full 5 gal. batch in the alum. or partial batch in the SS?  I have heard that alum is not the best kettle material to use.  What are the pros and cons of using an alum brew Pot? 

Thanks.

Thirsty_Monk:
Aluminum pots are fine.
I would suggest doing full boil in aluminum put.

hokerer:
Aluminum vs Stainless is one of those hot topics right up there with Glass vs Plastic, Secondary or Not, etc.  Be prepared.

When you boil it all down, though, it seems that Aluminum is fine, you just need to be aware of a couple of things.  Before you brew in aluminum, you want to "passivate" it.  Just fill it completely with water and boil for 15 minutes or so.  This builds an oxide layer that'll keep the acidic wort from reacting with bare aluminum.  Once you've got that layer, you're good to go.  Also, be careful when cleaning that you don't scrub off that layer or you'll have to passivate again.

Finally, most of the fryer setups have a 7 or 7-1/2 gallon pot which you may think has "plenty of room leftover" but is not really the case.  That's about the minimum size pot for a 5-gallon batch full boil.  When you take into account the extra you need so that you end up with 5-gallons, hot break, etc., you'll need to keep a pretty close eye on a pot that size.

hokerer:
Also, regardless of whether they're aluminum or stainless, the pots that come with those fryer setups tend to be pretty thin.  You need to be pretty careful handling them as they're easy to dent.

dean:
If you're doing extract, why not experiment and do two batches at the same time, treat both the same at the same time including using the same yeast.  It might be a cool experiment.   :)

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