During this past summer I switched up to an all-grain set-up which made me really think about getting a larger brew kettle than I already had. Truth be told, my ‘brew kettle’ was a 7 gallon turkey fry pot that served me well for the first 6 months of my brewing. Please note, the price of this kettle went up to ~$30.
Some things to look into while researching your new kettle:
- Aluminum or stainless steel: There is an ongoing debate in the homebrew community on which is better, but for the sake of this post, I’m talking about price: Stainless is much more expensive than aluminum.
- Size: If you’re doing full boils, you’ll need something that can handle the 1.5-2 gallons of boil-off you’ll get per hour.
- Will it fit on your burner? I’ve seen tales online of some homebrewers who went all out with a huge pot and didn’t measure it compared to their burner and…got burnt.
- Price: I mean that is the reason why you checked out this article, right? What’s the best value you’re going to get that suites your needs.
Looking around I had a lot of options, and they can be overwhelming. There was a choice between aluminum or stainless steel, what size, getting one with a spigot, and or course, the price. A 10 gallon stainless kettle with a spigot and screen would certainly fit my needs for a long time, but the cost would probably run me north of $200. That’s a lot of cash for something that’s nice to have, but not a need when moving to all-grain.
After doing some research for my set-up an budget I decided to take a run to my (semi) local Target and pick up the IMUSA 32-qt. Aluminum Tamale Pot. Here is the link if your interested. I get paid $0.00 for posting this by the way.
I say, local Target store because my local Target’s didn’t seem to have these guys in stock. Perhaps it has to do with demand, or maybe they’re a little too large to fit on the shelf. When I picked up mine I had to ask an employee for it because I saw they had it in their inventory online, but it wasn’t on the shelf. Five minutes later, she was able to find it in the back.
After getting it home I noticed there was a nice steamer tray in the pot,
but I had no use for it. Don’t ask me why, but I still have it sitting with my other gear. Keep this tray, it works great to sparging an all-grain batch and also works well when you do a BIAB (brew in a bag)
Once I brought it home I also figured I’d measure 5, 5.5, and 6 gallons on the new kettle. This way I could see how much I was yielding from my brew sessions. This leaves a fair amount of space while I’m doing boils to avoid the dreaded boil-overs. I at least have some more time to react than I did with the 7 gallon turkey fry pot.
So what did I do with my turkey fryer pot, you may ask? I put it to good use. Since I now have two pots I will heat my sparge water using the turkey fryer pot while the new pot waits for the first runnings. I’ve also used it as a bucket when I mill my grain.
Now since this pot was so cheap, I may venture into putting a spigot in it. If I do go with a larger kettle (maybe 10 gallons) this 8 gallon pot will be great for heating my water without having to grab another pot on the fly.
Hope this helps you make your decision. Questions? Feel free to ask.