Author Topic: Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle  (Read 962 times)

Offline toniogarces

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Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle
« on: October 03, 2013, 06:22:18 AM »
Hi guys,

A friend of mine who just started brewing asked me which metal was preferred to have your boil kettle made out of. It is my knowledge that SS is preferred over aluminum (I have always used SS), but I couldn't come up with a reason other than SS's anti-corroding properties.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Luis Garces

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2013, 07:44:55 AM »
From the previous discussions on this topic my take is that Aluminum is cheaper, conducts heat better and doesn't introduce anything bad in the beer.  Stainless is pretty.

Years ago people swore aluminum pots were a factor in Alzheimer's.  As far as I know, no studies have shown any link between the two.

If you use aluminum, do not try to keep it shiny.  The flat color is actually a good thing that keeps the pot from imparting an aluminum flavor to the wort.

All of my brew kettles are stainless, mostly because I found them for the right price at the time I needed them.

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Offline yso191

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Re: Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2013, 08:01:36 AM »
Martin Brungard uses Aluminum pots.  That's all the reassurance I'd need.
Steve

Offline AmandaK

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Re: Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2013, 08:33:33 AM »
I have an aluminum pot currently because of all the above reasons, namely that it was cheap.

I also like shiny things, so I'm finally going stainless after almost four years with the same pot on the stove top.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 09:04:35 AM »
i use aluminum.
Don AHA member

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2013, 12:11:40 PM »
+1 on what slowbrew said.  Plenty of pluses for aluminum as long as you care for it properly.  Don't use harsh chemicals in it and leave the interior dull.  My kettle has a nice 'tea-colored' staining in it.  I just give it a scrub to remove any trub after the brew and put it away to dry. 

Do get the biggest diameter kettle you can afford.  I typically brew 5 gal or 10 gal batches, so I have a 15 gal Al kettle.  It has a larger diameter than the typical keggle and I feel that this helps me keep more of the trub in the kettle and out of the fermenter.   
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2013, 12:13:23 PM »
My kettle has a nice 'tea-colored' staining in it.  I just give it a scrub to remove any trub after the brew and put it away to dry. 

Same here. Very easy to maintain.
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Offline hubie

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Re: Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 06:05:29 AM »
I have one of each (different metals because they came in turkey fryer kits from different manufacturers).  I use the aluminum one for the boil because it holds more volume.  Both pots are tall and skinny, and I second Martin's suggestion about getting a wide pot.  My pots are too narrow to be able to form a trub cone after the boil no matter how vigorous or long I whirpool.

If you are brewing inside on a glass-top stove, you'll want stainless because those pots have nice smooth, flat bottoms that make full contact with the stovetop and won't scratch the stove glass (learned that the hard way).  If you get a thin-walled aluminum pot (i.e., one on the lower end of the price scale), be careful if you are using one of those intense jet propane burners, the ones that put out an intense, narrow flame.  They can create a decent hot spot in the bottom of the pot where you could get some scorching, especially if you don't turn off the burner when dumping in liquid extract.  Higher-end aluminum pots and the stainless ones have thicker bottoms that spread out the heat better.

Offline surfin_mikeg

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Re: Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2013, 10:25:28 AM »
My kettle has a nice 'tea-colored' staining in it.  I just give it a scrub to remove any trub after the brew and put it away to dry. 

Same here. Very easy to maintain.

I use both and keep the light stain. For scrubbing out the boil lines, steel has been easier to clean.  It comes right off where the alum requires a bit of scrubbing.  Just a data-point in the discussion.

Offline dnicholson

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Re: Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boil Kettle
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2013, 04:14:17 AM »
From an efficiency standpoint, aluminum is much more heat conductive than stainless - I have both and takes less propane with the Al pot (have to throttle the burner).