I'll start off with a story of the brewpot that couldn't.
Nearly two years ago I found myself wanting to do 5 gal batch full boils without all the excitement that comes with using my 7.5 gal pot. Plus the thought of getting a new pot with a spigot was very appealing.
After seeing some of the prices out there I thought I would just go cheap. Should have known better since this philosophy generally has not served me well elsewhere in life.
Anyway, I online-ordered the 10 gal brewpot from the budget line of a respectable Northern California homebrew retailer (who had recently revamped the line, claiming improvements).
Should have sent that back right when I got it, but just like a bad relationship I thought I could make it work. The stainless was rolled and rippled and far flimsier than any pot I'd ever seen. The bottom popped in and out with a thin loud echo if pushed on, a bit like a lid on an applesauce jar. But it did hold ten gallons and there was a brass ball valve for draining.
Boiling 7 or so gallons of wort, it did the job. Sure the painted metal valve handle burned like a mother when I touched it but I kept telling myself I could wrap it to solve that problem. And so a few brews were made in this cheap but functioning vessel.
But once nearly 9 gallons of hot wort had been fed into it, my confidence in its integrity weakened. I imagined the seam running the length of the bulging pot giving way to bathe me in boiling disfigurement.
My imagination was interrupted by searing and hissing as wort bubbled and smoked its way down the sides of the pot. No, not a boil over thankfully, but the wort level had risen to the pot handles and was slowing seeping out of the little bolts fastening the handle to the pot.
That was the last time I bothered with that pot. Now it has surrendered its role to a new MB heavy duty 15 gal megapot. Couldn't be more different.
Rather than kick that 99 dollar POS down the hill I drafted it as an HLT. So, I guess in the end it was not really a waste. After all, you can't really put a price on lessons learned. It's a lesson I remember each time I burn my fingers on the spigot handle.
Merry Christmas everyone! Oh, if someone gives you junk, just try to remember they mean well and then promptly return it. Don't try to learn to like it. That's for other aspects of our lives.
Life is too short to settle for crap equipment or crap beer.