Question for the forum:
I am a relatively new all grain brewer and to this point I have been "eyeballing" volumes in my keggle. Naturally, this has given me mixed result so I want to create i measuring stick taht I can notch/mark at different volumes. I found a metal rod in my basement that would be perfect for this if I cleaned it up. It appears to be some sort of generic steel.
The question is if this metal would have any noticable effect on the beer. I know its probably not the ideal material, but since it would not contact the wort for very long, would I be OK?
Here's what I did for my HLT. You could do the same for your kettle but use a piece of stainless steel from McMaster Carr. I would not use mild steel.
I think the key, particularly if you are an all grain brewer is to use your strike and sparge volumes along with losses to grains to calculate your run off and start there. I don't have any sight glass or volume indications with my boil kettle and I eyeball it based on landmarks inside the kettle.
For my HLT I used a strip of aluminum and calibrated it using water. I bent the top over the edge of the kettle, drilled a hole in the end, tapped it for 1/4-20 and added a small stainless bolt with a stop nut to hold it to the side of the kettle at the top.
I made marks using a scribe during calibration. Afterwards I hard scribed the lines using a straight edge and a scribe and added numbers using a Dremel and a small carbide burr. I later made them more readable using a red sharpie.
For a boil kettle I'd probably not bother with the sharpie treatment or any other markings besides 5 through 8 gallons assuming 5 gallons is your batch size.
Personally I have always eyeballed it referencing kettle handle rivets on my old 10gal kettle and now a weld mark on my new 15gal Keggle. I nail my volumes consistently once I have this figured out and take losses into account but I'm really not bothered of I miss. Even if it's 3/4 gallons or so, that's ok with me. I just make note of the boil time, sparge volume, or other parameter that effected it and plan accordingly next time.