Author Topic: Aluminum Kettle  (Read 751 times)

Online jpeets

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Aluminum Kettle
« on: March 13, 2018, 04:14:59 PM »
Thoughts looking to build a small batch electric set up and I own a 8gal aluminum kettle

Offline Hokerer

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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2018, 11:10:21 PM »
Aluminum works.  Just be aware that it's going to oxidize and kinda look like hell but don't try to scrub out that oxidation, it actually ends up protecting things.  Also be gentle with it as aluminum is easy to dent.
Joe

Offline Robert

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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2018, 11:34:05 PM »
I use aluminum and love it.  My mash/boil kettle is a 10 gal 6mm 3003 aluminum pot, I have an 8 gal for HLT.  Aluminum  is a much better conductor of heat than SS, so it heats quickly and boils superbly (why they put aluminum cores in high end SS cookware.) It is also  cheap (my 10 gal ~$70 at restaurant supply.)  As for denting? Heck, I could take a sledge hammer and I don't think I could dent it.  Steel is easy to dent and ding! They just don't make steel as heavy gauge and aluminum is still lighter.
  You do have to let that grey oxide layer stay on there.  Don't scour, don't use percarbonates like PBW or OxiClean, just use dish liquid only and a non-stick-friendly scrubber like a Dobie pad.
  The only other consideration I can think of is, if you were considering porting your vessels, you have to go with no-weld bulkheads. But on the upside I guess aluminum would be easier to drill!
Rob Stein
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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2018, 01:10:19 AM »
 Thanks guys especially on the cleaning tip

Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2018, 02:22:40 AM »
I use aluminum and love it.  My mash/boil kettle is a 10 gal 6mm 3003 aluminum pot, I have an 8 gal for HLT.  Aluminum  is a much better conductor of heat than SS, so it heats quickly and boils superbly (why they put aluminum cores in high end SS cookware.) It is also  cheap (my 10 gal ~$70 at restaurant supply.)  As for denting? Heck, I could take a sledge hammer and I don't think I could dent it.  Steel is easy to dent and ding! They just don't make steel as heavy gauge and aluminum is still lighter.
  You do have to let that grey oxide layer stay on there.  Don't scour, don't use percarbonates like PBW or OxiClean, just use dish liquid only and a non-stick-friendly scrubber like a Dobie pad.
  The only other consideration I can think of is, if you were considering porting your vessels, you have to go with no-weld bulkheads. But on the upside I guess aluminum would be easier to drill!

As an old automotive engineer, AL has 1/3 the Young’s modulus and 1/3 the shear modulus. So if it is 3 times as thick as steel it is equivalent.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline Robert

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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2018, 02:34:35 AM »
I have no idea what you just said.  I just know my kettle's a beast!  :)
Rob Stein
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Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2018, 02:35:33 AM »
Is this a Ford truck versus Chevy truck thing?

PS. As an old computer engineer I do modulo arithmetic: for the price of one stainless kettle I can buy 2 Aluminum kettles with a large remainder.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 02:39:12 AM by alestateyall »

Offline Robert

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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2018, 02:41:34 AM »
Is this a Ford truck versus Chevy truck thing?

I don't plan on dumping a ton of busted concrete in my kettle, but I think Jeff is saying I could.  As for Ford and Chevy beyond that, we're not supposed to talk religion on the forum.
Rob Stein
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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2018, 02:45:25 AM »
Is this a Ford truck versus Chevy truck thing?

I don't plan on dumping a ton of busted concrete in my kettle, but I think Jeff is saying I could.  As for Ford and Chevy beyond that, we're not supposed to talk religion on the forum.
Right! I forgot about that rule.

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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2018, 02:51:44 AM »
No what I said is that AL is 1/3 the strength of steel, so it need to be 3 times as thick for equivalent properties of the part. It can save weight in casings with complex geometry. It isn’t magic.

The heat transfer is better, but beware of thickness differences. Al is thicker, so it loses some advantage there. Years back I ran a test of an Alimknum pot vs. a SS pot, pretty much the same size. The SS pot got the water to a boil quicker. Thickness differences, and also the surface finish do the AL being rough, and allowing vapor bubbles to form and reduce heat transfer are what I attributed that to. I never did a follow up, where I would polish the AL pot and see if it got faster at heating the water.

So as in most everything homebrewing, it depends.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2018, 03:05:53 AM »
It occurs to me that that rough finish could be useful in promoting agitation in my low intensity boils.  Another thing to factor into the decision.  I can't say I've noticed significant (noticeable without actually timing) differences between other similar size Al and SS pots I have in the kitchen in time to boil.  I bet it's not worth paying up for steel just for that.  Thanks, Jeff, you've provided my "learn something every day" today.
Rob Stein
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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2018, 03:39:29 AM »
It occurs to me that that rough finish could be useful in promoting agitation in my low intensity boils.  Another thing to factor into the decision.  I can't say I've noticed significant (noticeable without actually timing) differences between other similar size Al and SS pots I have in the kitchen in time to boil.  I bet it's not worth paying up for steel just for that.  Thanks, Jeff, you've provided my "learn something every day" today.
Nothing wrong with an AL kettle, and as you say, the price is right.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2018, 11:28:04 AM »
Is this a Ford truck versus Chevy truck thing?

I don't plan on dumping a ton of busted concrete in my kettle, but I think Jeff is saying I could.  As for Ford and Chevy beyond that, we're not supposed to talk religion on the forum.
Right! I forgot about that rule.

Not to open a can of worms, but the whole steel vs. aluminum design thing is a GREAT thing for consumers. More options are a good thing if people properly weigh the pros and cons and select what best suits their needs.

Just like with aluminum and steel kettles.

The only downside to the truck debate is if you're a Ford guy and want a steel truck, or a GM guy and want to try aluminum. Honestly I find the debate about pushrods vs. modular motors to be the more interesting.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2018, 05:03:28 PM »
Is this a Ford truck versus Chevy truck thing?

I don't plan on dumping a ton of busted concrete in my kettle, but I think Jeff is saying I could.  As for Ford and Chevy beyond that, we're not supposed to talk religion on the forum.
Right! I forgot about that rule.

Not to open a can of worms, but the whole steel vs. aluminum design thing is a GREAT thing for consumers. More options are a good thing if people properly weigh the pros and cons and select what best suits their needs.

Just like with aluminum and steel kettles.

The only downside to the truck debate is if you're a Ford guy and want a steel truck, or a GM guy and want to try aluminum. Honestly I find the debate about pushrods vs. modular motors to be the more interesting.

The next time I'm on the market for a larger kettle I'm definitely considering the big pots at a local restaurant supply place.  Aluminum is fine with me.

On the truck side; I have an F150 with an aluminum body and haven't seen any issues.  Having owned both steal and aluminum trucks I can dent either one.   ???  I will say that no truck owner would willingly dump cinder block into their truck bed from 6 feet up. 

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Offline Robert

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Re: Aluminum Kettle
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2018, 10:53:04 PM »
^^^^
"The next time I'm on the market for a larger kettle I'm definitely considering the big pots at a local restaurant supply place.  Aluminum is fine with me."

Lots of threads comparing preferred sources for brewing supplies, usually meaning brew shops and online brew shops. 

For me the most important resources equipment-wise might just be the restaurant supply house and my neighborhood hardware store!
Rob Stein
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