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Graduating an Aluminum Kettle

I have a handful of AG batches under my belt now and am identifying some areas of potential improvement. I’d like to be able to get a rough volume measurement in my brew kettle. This way, I can know whether I’m starting with as much wort as I estimated and whether I’m boiling off more or less, than estimated. Is there any tried & true method for marking the inside walls of an aluminum kettle? Stamping, etching, denting?

I’m thinking you could scratch lines. Most people mark their spoon or a dipstick and use that. Don’t forget that water is something like 4% larger volume at boiling.

Thats a neat looking kettle setup.

Yeah, I’m really glad I found this turkey fryer. It’s 35 qts., so no worries about boilovers with a 5 gal. batch. On the stand the spigot just clears the top of my fermenter bucket. The best part is it was only about 20 bucks for the whole setup after Christmas last year. I guess the only thing I don’t know is how the burner compares to other brands.

Any issues with using an aluminum kettle? I am a first time brewer and read somewhere to use stainless or porcelin coated steel. It would be great to be able to use aluminum.

I use a dipstick made out of a copper tube. To make one for your kettle, pour in a gallon of water, mark the stick, pour in another gallon, mark again, and repeat until you you get to the top.

Aluminum is fine, stainless tends to be more durable and less reactive which is why it is preferred by brewers.

No problem with aluminum. Search the forum and you’ll find many pro-aluminum brewers. I used a coated steel kettle for about 5 or 6 years, but eventually it chips off and rusts. SS is very durable but heavier.

You can get a flat rod of aluminum from the hardware store and etch your markings on that.

Sounds like a dipstick is the winner. Thanks for all your input. Fabrication should be simple enough. I’m just surprised the idea hadn’t crossed my mind. Come to think of it, I still have several feet of copper tubing left from my homemade chiller. I’ll bet I can make that work.

When I calibrated my brew pot years ago I used a hammer and center punch to put small dimples at the gallon marks. Those won’t wash off or get lost. I didn’t make them too deep to collect dirt.

You’ll need to put it against a workbench or scrap wood to give you something to hit against.

+1 for the aluminum flat bar.

+1 for the aluminum flat bar.[/quote]

Sounds like a good idea to use aluminum instead of copper. That way my kettle won’t be working as a battery any longer than it already does.

I use an aluminum yardstick / straightedge. It already has markings (inches) on it. I made a reference table that gives the volume for each of my vessels (some are different diameters) corresponding to the measurement from top of vessel to surface of liquid. I have a binder that I use on brew days for log sheets, etc. The binder has the kind of cover with clear sleeves for cover pages - so I printed the table on a sheet that slips into the back cover. That sheet has a few other handy references I use on brew day like a Brix to SG conversion table that I use with my refractometer, and some notes about water chemistry adjustments.

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