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Kettle Question

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I also have a kettle question but I didn't want to highjack rayallen's thread.

How can you tell if a kettle is actually good quality online?  I was looking at buying this kettle from ebay:

But that seems like almost too good of a deal.  I have no intentions of ever doing 10 gal. batches so a 9 gal. pot would be plenty for me.  With the cost of a thermometer ~30 the kettle will cost like ~115$ total.  Which seems like the price of a normal 8-10 gal. kettle without a spigot or thermometer.

Is this a good deal I should bite on?  Not sure if anyone can actually help here or not.

Whenever I look at stainless kettles, I always want to see mention of the "sandwich" bottom.  That is, the Stainless-Aluminum-Stainless layers that make the heat distribution much more even.  This listing has no such mention.

Also, you may think 9-gal is plenty for 5-gal batches but I just managed my first boilover in my 10-gal Megapot with a 5-gal batch of Dunkelweizen. :(

It's really hard to tell by looking at it. I look for specs like wall thickness and weight. Unfortunately you pay for what you get and my gut feel is that this kettle is exactly that. I would look for reputable dealers and take a look at any positive reviews. Recommendations are helpful.

Clad pots are nice, and reduce the hot spots.  Blichmann kettles and converted kegs are 18 gage stainless.  A lot of award winning beers have been made on converted keg systems.

As far as boil overs go, I have found a little Fermcap-S takes care of that.  Bigger is better, but as pointed out, you can still get a boilover.

You can't go wrong with a converted 1/2 bbl, IMO.


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