Author Topic: Kettle Questin Beginner  (Read 1400 times)

Offline olcurt

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Kettle Questin Beginner
« on: November 08, 2010, 09:05:03 AM »
What are the advantages of a stainless versus aluminum kettle for a beginner?

Online theDarkSide

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 09:15:11 AM »
Biggest advantage of aluminum is cost.  SS is more durable. 

I use a SS kettle that has a sandwiched layer of aluminum on the bottom for better heat dispersion.   
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Offline BrewArk

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Re: Kettle Question Beginner
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 10:54:02 AM »
There's debate about this in backpacking circles.  There the major concern is weight.  Anodized aluminum seems to be the current favorite.


Aluminum: transfers heat better, weighs less, costs less, is less durable, and there's debate about leaching into food.
Titanium: has poor heat transfer, light weight, costs much more, and is durable.
Stainless steel: has poor heat transfer, weighs more, costs more, is durable.

note: the order of the list above is arbitrary.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 11:02:01 AM »
I am a fan of SS eventhough I believe aluminum is perfectly fine.

If you search the forum you'll find more opinions.

Here's a great thread from another forum debating the issue.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/faq-aluminum-pots-boil-kettles-49449/
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Offline euge

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2010, 11:21:11 AM »
I use aluminum. And haven't noticed any adverse affects. It's cheaper and if you decide to go and drill a hole in your kettle it's also easier than SS.

Alzheimer's arising out of using aluminum has been debunked as an urban myth as far I can tell.
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2010, 02:11:05 PM »
I question the contention that aluminum is less durable than other options.  I've got a 15 gal aluminum pot that is from the food service industry.  Its nice and thick and I'm not sure how I would damage it, short of going after it with a baseball bat!  Given the heat-transfer issue, I'd say that thick aluminum pots are the way to go. 

I'm not sure about the aluminum effects on health.  But to hedge my bets, I never scour my pot too strongly or expose the metal.  Just enough to remove all the trub and debris.  There is a nice brown patina in place in my pot...a reflection of its continued use!  Oh wait, there is no reflection.
 
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Offline BrewArk

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2010, 02:40:14 PM »
Question for those of you w/aluminum:  Do you get any pitting?  I know that some of my aluminum saucepans have over the years become pitted.  I know my stainless doesn't seem to get pitted as much in the kitchen.

The pH of wort is probably higher than some of the tomato sauces that I cook, so I don't know if that matters in brewing.

One observation that I have made is that in the craft breweries I've visited, they use stainless.
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Offline olcurt

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2010, 02:50:44 PM »
Can I readily find fittings to be welded to the aluminum pot? I have a friend who can TIG

Offline BrewArk

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2010, 03:01:38 PM »
Lots of weldless ones on the net.

Would electrolysis be a problem?  If so, you could solve that by removing the fittings between sessions.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2010, 03:56:56 PM »
You could always anodize the aluminum pot and make it Caphalon-grade.
http://www.focuser.com/atm/anodize/anodize.html
Site has some interesting background and photos--very instructive for DIY-types.

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2010, 04:30:00 PM »
Aluminum has a much greater heat transfer coefficient than SS.  In practice my brew day is not longer using my SS kettles.

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Offline olcurt

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2010, 04:44:08 PM »
ok...now a really stupid question....could one use copper for the kettle? i have a friend who says he could do that.

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2010, 04:50:49 PM »
You sure can.  It was even shown on a historic setup on the AHA page.  Tratitional European systems were copper.  Not good on the cold side, though, as the beer pH is low enough that you get off flavors from the copper.
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Offline olcurt

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2010, 05:33:36 PM »
Jeff
By the cold side do you mean it would be fine to boil in but  I would have to transfer ta another pot to coolly down?

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Re: Kettle Questin Beginner
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2010, 05:59:27 PM »
Hot side is everything before chilling, cold side after.  Copper is fine for mash tun and boiling vessels, and even the chillling device.  Once cold and yeast is pitched, the ph drops during fermentation.  You do not see copper fermenters, bright tanks, piping, other devices after the kettles (and sometimes chillers).
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