Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Newbie made a messy newbie mistake

I have brewed for a while with the “cheater” Mr. Beer setup. I recently got the deluxe kit at NB to take it to the next level. However, my mistake was I went cheap on the pot and got a 4 gal, stainless pot. All was well with my first batch, Cream Ale, doing it on the stove top, until I added the hops. I was stirring when I added it and hand was on the burner knob but to no avail.

It was not a full boil but a nice rolling wort boil but the instant I added the hops the foam rose like a volcano, up and over, flooded the stove down the stove on the floor all in about 4 seconds. I had to stop and clean up before it dried/cooked on. What a mess. I think boiling 3 gallons in a 4 gallon pot was pushing the limit too. Noob.

Also, I will be moving to a turkey fryer and take my work outside both for the mess avoidance and the wife complaints of the smell (which I think smells good). Is there a difference between aluminum and stainless steel pots when you are boiling? Aluminum is more pourus but a proper cleaning after wards should not cause that much of a difference would it?

After you get done laughing I do have a question. How do you add the hops to not have such a violent reaction???

One thing that helps is if, in a large bowl or something, have the hops set in there then add the hot wort to it, then pour it back in the pot with the hops. This will help prevent a boil over.

As for a pot, Aluminum is much cheaper and from what I’ve read,it’s fine to use. What I did first was to boil water in the pot, which creates a coating of aluminum oxide creating a barrier to avoid any alleged leaching of aluminum into the beer, or creating off flavors. This does cause the pot to color gray but unless you’re worried about having a shiny pot, it isn’t a big deal. You don’t need to sanitize it or anything, but if you used something like oxyclean, it would strip that oxide coating. I just rinse mine in water before I use it, because it was clean when I put it away.

Excellent tip. I never would have thought about ‘heating’ up the hops first, I have never seen that tip anywhere.

I will be getting a much larger Aluminum pot then. You’re right as long as you don’t any abrasive cleaners you’ll be fine. One of the guys at NB was saying that Aluminum gives off a metallic taste and he can tell a Aluminum vs. Stainless boil… may have been trying to make a sale on a pot too. Good thing I didnt pay that much for the pot at WalMart. I just have a good stew pot now.

Thanks!

Turn the flame off before adding hops to a boil then turn it right back on - once the hops are wetted they won’t cause a boilover.

When I had a small pot. to help prevent boil overs I would keep a small hand spray bottle handy. If it started to boil over give it a few squirts and it would knock down the boil over a bit.

Stir really well before putting in the hops and stir while you add them. Turn down or off the heat. If it starts to rise, you can blow on the top, or also use a squirt bottle.

You don’t need a vigorous boil when you add your hops either, just a boil will be fine. The more vigorous the boil the more intense the hot break can be.

The boil wasn’t vigorous just rolling. Spray bottle is a good idea too.

Thanks all!

I think he’s full of it. I’ve won ribbons for beers made in AL pots.

As was suggested, turn off/down the flame then add the hops. Also try using a few drops of Fermcap to help reduce the foaming. Of course the obvious…budget for a larger pot.

We’ve all been there with the boil overs. Live and learn.

Aluminum is cheaper, heats up and cools quicker. You can’t use any oxygen based or harsh cleaners (oxyclean, etc) because they’ll remove the oxidized coating that is built up on the pot. You WANT the oxidized layer. Like mentioned above, all you have to do is boil water in the pot for 30-45min. You’ll see a gray layer develop. That’s good!

Stainless looks nicer and is easier to clean. Also stronger and more sturdy. The negatives are that they’re a lot more expensive than aluminum.

Choosing one over the other is completely up to you and your needs. I brew on a turkery fryer and cool the wort by putting the entire pot in a sink with water and ice. I prefer aluminum because it cools much quicker this way. If you use an immersion chiller or a plate chiller, that’s not an issue. And if you want to spend the extra money go with the stainless. They’re just nicer. But there’s nothing wrong with aluminum. That’s what I use and I have no plans of spending a ton of money on a new SS pot just because it looks nicer. I’d rather spend that money on grain, hops and yeast to make more beer :cheers:

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com