My $23 Brew Kettle

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.

IMUSA 32-qt. pot
My new kettle

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 interestedI 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.

Tamale steamer tray...useless for me, but a nice add on.
Tamale steamer tray…useless for me, but a nice add on.

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.

New kettle w/markings
New kettle w/markings

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.

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