Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Stainless steel - how thick is thick enough?

I’m looking to upgrade my boil kettle from a 32 qt stainless kettle to a 60 qt one (so I can do full-wort boils of 10 gallon batches). But looking online, I don’t know if the thickness of the kettle is sufficient… measurements like “18/8” at tossed about, but I don’t know what that means.

Can anyone help?

…oh, and a follow-up question: how big is too big for my (KAB4, #40202 on our host site) low profile banjo burner? :slight_smile:

[quote=“larsenj”]I’m looking to upgrade my boil kettle from a 32 qt stainless kettle to a 60 qt one (so I can do full-wort boils of 10 gallon batches). But looking online, I don’t know if the thickness of the kettle is sufficient… measurements like “18/8” at tossed about, but I don’t know what that means.

Can anyone help?[/quote]

Depends on if you want to use your pot upside down to stand on with a horse on your head in between your brew days.

The easiest way to do it is to set yourself a $ amount you want to spend, and move on from there. I spent $125 on my 8 gal pot, 15 gals are much more.

As far as thickness of the steel, it doesn’t really matter, as long as it will keep from bending when you have your wort inside it, which is the basic minimum for a pot.

Perhaps since you are using a propane burner, you may want to consider a clad bottom as it will even out the heat and prevent some scorching.

As far as how big is too big? It depends on the ambient temperature, the amount of wind, and how well you insulate the pot and if you use a lid or not, and the efficiency of the burner.

Using those variables you can calculate the loss do to the environment versus the input from the burner.

Long calculation short, I doubt you will have trouble using your 52000 BTU burner to heat 15 gals on a normal brew day. Perhaps if you were brewing at the north pole you may have problems.

I got this 60qt SS w/ 3 layer bottom & lid recently…

I’d call it a heavy duty pot and am thrilled with it. Currently it’s priced at $118 and I paid right at $20 for shipping.

It was the best deal I could find after a lot of searching online.

18/8 stainless steel has nominally 18% chromium, 8% nickel, the remainder iron as it’s composition.

[quote=“travtele615”]I got this 60qt SS w/ 3 layer bottom & lid recently…

I’d call it a heavy duty pot and am thrilled with it. Currently it’s priced at $118 and I paid right at $20 for shipping.

It was the best deal I could find after a lot of searching online.[/quote]

Looks good… how tall is the pot?

Make sure you get the “triple layer” bottom style pots, the ones that have a few mm thick piece of aluminum sandwitched between bottom of the pot and a stainless cap. Helps prevent from scortching the wort as well as helps even out the heat and bring a boil quicker.

I need to find a 32 quart replacement. 20qt is nice but I want to do full boils, and I could still use the 20qt and do some partial mash. Don’t cheap out on the boil kettle…my 20qt was only $40 from target, but its very nice quality. At the least, it will make a really really nice canner once I upgrade!

[quote=“nymtber”]Make sure you get the “triple layer” bottom style pots, the ones that have a few mm thick piece of aluminum sandwitched between bottom of the pot and a stainless cap. Helps prevent from scortching the wort as well as helps even out the heat and bring a boil quicker.
[/quote]

None of the blichmann style pots have this type bottom. I’ve found it hasn’t affected the wort. As for brew speed, the best and simplest expedient is to keep the lid on the top while you’re heating (of course, remove once you’ve reached boiling).

My pot, a Bayou Classic, also has no sandwich bottom. It really isn’t necessary for what is essentially boiling a big pot of water. I have seen a small amount of protein coagulate in the pattern of the burner stand, but never any scortched looking wort in this area. I’ve also done decoctions and concentrated boils without any scorching. However, if you are adding extract with the heat on (always a bad idea!) or making candy in it, a clad bottom would be nice.

For wall thickness, it’s nice if the wall is thick enough so that it doesn’t flex when you try to put in a drain valve. It really sucks trying to tighten a weldless fitting on a super flimsy wall, like a cheapo turkey fryer pot. Unfortunately, most of the distributors don’t tell you the wall thickness of the pot, “18/8” is a material specification as Greg says, not form. Mine is 20 gauge stainless, which is thick enough to resist flexing around holes. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with anything thinner though without seeing it first. You might be able to get this info from the manufacturer if you call.

Quality aluminum stock pots are typically much thicker, 4 mm minimum for a 15 gal pot (some are 6 mm). The difference in thickness (~3X) is close to the difference in elastic modulus between stainless steel and aluminum (~4X), so you would get about equal deflection of the pot in either material for a given amount of liquid. In other words, don’t buy a thin walled aluminum pot :wink:

[quote=“larsenj”]

Looks good… how tall is the pot?[/quote]

It’s right around 14 3/4" and just a hair shy of 18" on the inside diameter

I love my 15 gallon Megapot. A little on the high side but it’s a quality pot. Buy once use forever.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com