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After many years of partial mash brewing, I finally gathering sufficient cash to purchase a 10 gallon pot. I am looking at the 10 gallon pot sold by Spike Brewing. Anyone have any experience they wish to share about this company and its products?

They offer the option of having two holes drilled. Of course, one would be for the ball valve and the other would be used for a thermometer. Is a thermometer necessary or just helpful? If I get two, should they be side by side or vertical?

Lastly, I can also order either a two piece or a three piece ball valve. Which would you choose and why?

Here’s a link to their site.

http://spikebrewing.com/collections/accessories

I am not familiar with their product but as far as the usefulness of a thermometer goes it depends on how you are using the kettle. IF you are doing brew-in-a-bag I hear the thermometers get in the way and could possibly puncture the bag. If you are using it for a mashtun then the benefit is obvious as it allows you to monitor the temperature of the mash. If you are using it as a HLT it will help dial-in the strike and sparge water temps. If all you are doing is boiling with it, then for me its really only useful if you are using a immersion chiller to cool the wort to see when its cool enough.

You can always get a new hole drilled, but can’t ever get it un-drilled. I say get a floating thermometer and try a few batches out first.

[quote=“Sigma Brew”]After many years of partial mash brewing, I finally gathering sufficient cash to purchase a 10 gallon pot. I am looking at the 10 gallon pot sold by Spike Brewing. Anyone have any experience they wish to share about this company and its products?

They offer the option of having two holes drilled. Of course, one would be for the ball valve and the other would be used for a thermometer. Is a thermometer necessary or just helpful? If I get two, should they be side by side or vertical?

Lastly, I can also order either a two piece or a three piece ball valve. Which would you choose and why?

Here’s a link to their site.

http://spikebrewing.com/collections/accessories[/quote]

I bought a 10 gal. kettle from them a few months back. I like it- it’s comparable to the Blichmann kettle except it doesn’t have a dip tube.

The main reason I went with Spike is because they TIG weld their kettles. I didn’t feel like dealing with O Rings with Blichmann. I would suggest you just have them weld the couplers wherever you want them placed. I would also suggest going with the 3-piece ball valve since it can be entirely taken apart and cleaned.

I’m currently brewing extract (full-volume 5 gal. batches). Not sure if you would need the thermometer but I find it useful for checking/maintaining steeping temp. and monitoring temps. while chilling. It does protrude about 4" into the kettle itself, so it might hamper whirlpooling.

I opted for the horizontal setup (thermometer and 3-piece ball valve). The default height of the thermometer is 4"; the drain hole is about 1.5" off the bottom.

Based on the features, I would consider this to be an upgrade over a Blichmann. This is what I would buy if I were starting out:

http://spikebrewing.com/collections/10- ... ight-glass

I assume you’re purchasing the kettle to do full boils, not as a MLT. My answers might change slightly if this is incorrect.

My two cents on the accessories:
[list=a]

  • Thermometer - not essential, but a lot more convenient than having to have manually measure every time you want to know the temp (when heating to a boil and when chilling if you recirculate or use an IC). I have one and would not want to be without it. Welded coupler on the Spike is a great feature.[/*]
  • Ball valve - this is essential IMO--especially if you have plans to eventually add a pump. Ball valves get very nasty in between brew sessions. You can easily disassemble a 3-piece for cleaning. I have found 2-piece valves impossible to disassemble. A 3-piece valve is only a few dollars more than a 2-piece. Money well spent IMO. Again the welded coupler on the Spike is a great feature.[/*]
  • Sight glass - Another unessential, but very convenient item. There are alternative ways to identify volume (homemade stick with graduation lines). I really like that they added a welded buffer to prevent the sight glass boiling. Very well thought out feature. I am annoyed that Blichmann did not add one of those to their kettle. [/*]
  • Pretty expensive pots. I recently bought a 25 gallon (100QT) HLT from this guy on eBay for $135 with the holes pre-drilled.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Stainless-Steel-Stock-Pot-Brewing-Kettle-Large-w-Lid-and-Precut-Holes-4-Sz-/131029173045

    Duh! Wrote that at work and totally forgot about the sight glass- thanks KC. That was the 2nd reason I went with Spike.

    True- the Spike kettle is fairly expensive, but I’m very happy with the quality and features of mine. It will last many years. Since the OP is obviously serious (going to AG), I have no problem recommending it to him. :cheers:

    Personally I would skip the thermometer coupler/thermometer. First its a dial thermometer which are notorious for being inaccurate. Second it will often get hit when you put your IC in the pot which can also lead it to being inaccurate.
    If it were me I would spend my money on a thermapen. You can use it for sparge temps, mash temps, and wort chilling temps. Its digital, fast, and accurate.

    Edited to add: if you think you will eventually use a pump and whirlpool then have the coupler added for that. You can plug it until future use. But even then I bought a special coupler that is MPT on outside and FPT on inside and had it welded on for $30.00.

    I have the Spike Brewing 10 gallon with ball valve and thermometer. I’ve made maybe 2 dozen batches with it and am very happy with it. I have the thermometer and am glad it’s there though the thermapen suggestion is a good one. I wish I had gotten the sight glass, but I’ve been fine without it.

    I’m not familiar with this manufacturer, but I would suggest you get all the bells-and-whistles if you can afford it. A kettle will last you a LONG time - I’ve been using mine for over ten years now. The thermometer comes in useful even though it is not essential. Dial thermometers are extremely rugged and reliable, so once you calibrate it (there is a small screw on the back that can be used for adjustment) it you can trust the results. I use the kettle for heating mash water, and even find it useful to be able to glance at the thermometer to estimate if I have time to go get something else done before the boil starts.

    Wish I had a sight glass; sometimes my homemade marked dip stick can be difficult to read.

    [quote=“MullerBrau”]Pretty expensive pots. I recently bought a 25 gallon (100QT) HLT from this guy on eBay for $135 with the holes pre-drilled.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Stainless-Steel-Stock-Pot-Brewing-Kettle-Large-w-Lid-and-Precut-Holes-4-Sz-/131029173045
    [/quote]

    We looked at these a while back but thought the holes were drilled to high. He does sell ones without the holes in them for a higher price, just wondering if these were mistakes that he is just trying it get rid of ?

    [quote=“chuck”][quote=“MullerBrau”]Pretty expensive pots. I recently bought a 25 gallon (100QT) HLT from this guy on eBay for $135 with the holes pre-drilled.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Stainless-Steel-Stock-Pot-Brewing-Kettle-Large-w-Lid-and-Precut-Holes-4-Sz-/131029173045
    [/quote]

    We looked at these a while back but thought the holes were drilled to high. He does sell ones without the holes in them for a higher price, just wondering if these were mistakes that he is just trying it get rid of ?[/quote]
    You’d leave more than a gallon of wort behind with the valve 4 inches from the bottom of the BK.

    Edit: Obviously I didn’t do the math before that post. Considerably more than a gallon… :lol:

    [quote=“chuck”][quote=“MullerBrau”]Pretty expensive pots. I recently bought a 25 gallon (100QT) HLT from this guy on eBay for $135 with the holes pre-drilled.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Stainless-Steel-Stock-Pot-Brewing-Kettle-Large-w-Lid-and-Precut-Holes-4-Sz-/131029173045
    [/quote]

    We looked at these a while back but thought the holes were drilled to high. He does sell ones without the holes in them for a higher price, just wondering if these were mistakes that he is just trying it get rid of ?[/quote]Yes, the bottom hole is much higher than I would like but I am using this for a HLT. I used a weldless spigot and a copper pickup tube so the siphon effect pulls all the water out as long as you don’t stop near the last few inches.

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