Whether you have brewed one batch of beer or a hundred, having the right brew kettle or brew pot on brew day can make all the difference in the world.
Brewing kettles and pots are where the beer making process begins. A brew kettle can come in all shapes and sizes, and accommodate a small 1-gallon beer batch or a monster 45-gallon batch.
In addition to the construction material and the volume size, they may also come with added features to make your brewing day go much smoother. Although these extra features can make the brewing process more efficient and more of a convenience, they certainly are not required.
Of course your budget will be a factor in your decision, but it is important to find a good quality product that you can still use, if and when you step up to all-grain brewing and larger batch sizes.
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7 Of The Best Brew Kettles and Pots
In this post, we are going to review our top 7 of the best brew kettles for homebrewing.
But if you are in a hurry, here are the ones that we recommend you have a look at.
CONCORD Home Brew Kettle Stock Pot
This brew kettle is perfect for someone looking to upgrade their 5-gallon extract brews to all-grain. This brewing stock pot comes in 3 different sizes and is made from commercial quality 304 grade stainless steel and is economically priced.
It comes with a ball valve and thermometer that is not installed for shipping purposes. But it has pre-drilled holes for the mounting of the thermometer and ball valve.
Unfortunately this brew kettle is not built with the Tri-Clad bottom that other brewing kettles have, which can cause scorching on the bottom.
- Comes in various sizes (10, 15, 20 gallon)
- Thermometer is included
- Good value for the price
- Quality 304-grade stainless steel
- Fittings can leak
- Thermometer extends too far inside
- Some assembly is needed
Northern Brewer Megapot 1.2 Brew Kettle
This heavy-duty brewing kettle from Northern Brewer is part of the “Megapot” family, comes in 5 different sizes, and all are available with an optional spigot and brewing thermometer.
It is made from a higher grade stainless steel and has a thick 4mm thick Tri-Clad bottom to ensure even heat distribution. It also has sturdy welded heat-proof silicone handles to protect against burns and make lifting easier.
Another feature on the Megapot 1.2 that is not available on every brew kettle are the etched volume markings that are on the inside of the pot. All models are also induction cooker ready and suitable to be used with an optional false bottom, and as a mash tun for all grain brewing.
No matter what size batch you are brewing, or the features you are looking for in a brewing kettle, you will find a Megapot that will work for you.
- Solid construction and built to last
- Available in 8, 10, 15, 20, 30 gallon sizes
- Can be ordered with or without ball-valve and thermometer
- Heavier than other pots
- Temperature gauge readings can vary
Anvil 10-Gallon Brew Kettle
This high-quality 10-gallon brew kettle from Anvil won’t let you down on brewing day. No matter if you are brewing all-grain, or the “brew in a bag” method, this kettle will get the job done.
The pot is constructed of heavy-duty 18-guage, 304 grade stainless-steel, which is highly durable and easy to clean. It has a tri-ply clad bottom, which means it can be used on an induction burner if needed.
Also included in a dual F/C temperature gauge, and etched internal side-wall markings for water volume, in gallons and liters To eliminate leaks and to prevent contaminants from finding a place to hide, no rivets are used in manufacturing.
- Very sturdy and durable construction
- Perfect for 5-gallon BIAB
- Dual-gauge thermometer included
- Easily assembly
6-Piece Bayou Classic 10 Gallon Brewing Kettle
This 6 piece, Bayou Classic 10-gallon brew kettle will work for any homebrewer that is using malt extract or going with the all-grain method, and can be used as either a boiler or mash tun.
It’s made from premium stainless-steel and has a try ply bottom (stainless-alluminum-stainless) to prevent scorching or burning on the bottom of the pot. It also comes with a domed lid, thermometer, false bottom, filter screen, stainless-steel spigot and ball-valve, and etched volume markings on the inside walls.
Of course there are a few minor things to be aware of. Some assembly will be required to install the thermometer and spigot. The spigot is mounted a little to high which can leave about a 1/2 gallon of liquid inside the pot. Also, if you are boiling a smaller batch (up to 3-gallons) the temperature probe will not make contact with the liquid.
- Comes in multiple sizes (8, 10, 16 gallon)
- Great for extract, all-grain, or BIAB
- Stainless steel thermometer and spigot included
- Fittings can leak if not installed properly
- Thermometer temperature not always accurate
BrewBuilt Brew Kettle
Buying this brew kettle from BrewBuilt might be the last one you ever need. Ranging in various sizes, you can choose the best size pot for whatever beer batch size you are brewing.
Like many other brew kettles, it’s built with high quality 304 stainless steel construction, and has an aluminum tri ply bottom that is sandwiched between to layers of stainless steel. It has a lid that is made to hang on the silicon coated handles, a 2-piece stainless ball-valve for simple cleaning, and etched volume markers on the inside walls of the kettle.
One other feature that is unique to this model is the notched lid and the hard silicone plug. This gives you the flexibility to use an immersion chiller or a sparge arm with the lid on.
- Solid construction
- Leak-free valves
- Designed for minimum evaporation
- Can be used on an induction burner
- Thermometer is not included
- False bottom is not available
Ss Brewtech Home Brewing Kettle
This is another recommended brew kettle that comes from Ss Brewtech. It is made from the same quality 304 stainless steel construction and should last a lifetime if taken care of.
It has an aluminum core clad tri ply bottom for even heat to prevent burning and scorching, a 3-piece ball valve, etched liquid volume markings in gallons & liters, silicon and coated carrying handles.
This brew kettle can be used on a gas or electric stove, propane burner, or an induction burner. One cool feature is a “trub dam pic-up tube”, which minimizes hop material and trub during the transfer of your wort to your fermenter.
- Only brewing kettle that comes with a trub dam
- Built with Ss Brewtech quality
- Comes in 5.5 and 15-gallon options
- Thermometer not included
5-Gallon Standard Brew Kettle
This 5-gallon stainless steel brew kettle comes from Bayou Classic and is suited for the homebrewer who is interested in doing 5-gallon extract brews with partial boils.
At a lower cost than many other similar models, this is a budget friendly, no-frills, brewing pot that will get your smaller brewing jobs done. Weighing just over 4 pounds, this standard brew kettle can be easily handled and stored away.
Because some brew kettles are made with a thinner gauge steel, it will lack the sturdier construction of other larger brew kettles. This model has the tendency to rattle on the stove when heating up, and doesn’t have the Tri-Clad bottom which is more susceptible to burning on the bottom.
- Great for small batch brewing or extract partial 5-gallon boils
- Easy to clean
- No assembly is needed
- Lighter weight stainless steel
- No liquid volume markings
- Not suited for use on induction burners
The Basics Of Brewing Kettles & Pots
Most every item for sale these days has a “top-of-the-line” option, along with a bare-bones, stripped-down version too.
Beer brewing equipment is no different, and that includes a brewing kettle too. When it comes to finding the best brew kettle or pot, there are a few things for you should consider before you make your purchase.
- The cost
- Kettle material & construction
- Capacity of the kettle
- Physical size of the kettle
- Volume markings
Cost usually is the deciding factor when it comes to buying a brew kettle. Unfortunately, that is not always the best way to go as the least expensive is not always the best deal. The last thing you want to do is buy the cheapest model and find out later that it was the wrong decision.
You know how the saying goes : “You get what you pay for”.
But that doesn’t mean you should buy the most expensive one in the bunch either. It’s best to find out what your brewing needs are going forward, and then decide on how much you can afford to spend.
Material Of The Brewing Kettle
Most brew kettles are made from stainless steel or aluminum, and each one has its own advantages.
Although aluminum is more lightweight, conducts heat better, and cools down much faster than its stainless steel counterpart, aluminum is not as durable as stainless steel and can be easily damaged.
Unlike stainless steel, the aluminum oxide coating that is protecting the surface of the kettle can corrode over time, where stainless steel will not. Not to mention that aluminum can have a tendency to leave off-flavors in your beer.
Stainless steel is the preference for most homebrewers because of its durability and resistance to corrosion. Stainless steel can last a lifetime if taken care of.
Amount Of Beer You Are Brewing
As mentioned above, a 20qt or 5-gallon kettle is enough for making a 5-gallon beer batch, as long as you are doing a partial boil. Many extract beer kits recommend a partial boil, then adding the rest of the water to a primary fermenting bucket, carboy, or a conical fermenter to make up the total 5-gallons.
But when you take the next step to BIAB (brew in a bag) or full all-grain brewing, a 20 quart kettle won’t be big enough. A larger brew kettle will give you the much needed volume you need, and to prevent a messy boil-over.
Even for a 5-gallon BIAB or all-grain recipe, you have to account for evaporation during the boil and the amount of water that will be absorbed into the grains. This process can add an additional 1-1/2 to 2 extra gallons of water to the brew kettle.
A larger kettle will give you the needed capacity and flexibility of brewing with extract, all-grain, or the brew in a bag method.
Physical Size Of Brew Kettles
The actual physical size of the brew kettle matters. One thing you want to avoid is using a brew kettle that is too small for the batch size you are brewing.
The perfect kettle size should have a height to diameter ratio of 1.2:1. Choosing a kettle with taller sides will help with the amount of evaporation loss. This will allow you to boil the total amount of liquid that is required, leaving enough head-space to prevent a disastrous boil overs.
Are There Volume Markings On The Brew Kettle?
It doesn’t seem like much, but having volume markers on your kettle can take the guess work out of traditional measuring and make your boil much easier.
Many brew kettles, especially in the larger sizes have these gallon/liter markings etched on the inside wall of the pot.
Bells & Whistles Of Brewing Kettles
You might be fine with a basic no-frills 20 quart stock pot for extract brewing. But other times having the option to include some extra features can make your brew day easier and more efficient.
As the kettles increase in size and in price, you will find that many of these models have more “bells and whistles”. If they don’t already come included, many manufacturers have made them where you can purchase separately and be added later.
- Ball Valve
- Silicon handles
- False bottom
- Sight Glass
Most homebrewers can handle pouring 5-gallons of wort into theie primary fermenter without too much trouble or making a mess. But when brewing 10 or 15-gallons, not so much.
Some brewing pots come with or with out ball valves. Using a siphon to transfer the wort to a fermenter is fine and many do it this way. Brew pots with an installed ball valve will make transferring your beer much quicker and easier.
There are two different types of ball valves are welded and weld-less. The welded ball valve is just what it sounds like, it is welded to the pot and is considered to be leak-proof. The other ball valve is the weld-less style where the valve can be taken apart. While this is good for cleaning, these fittings can leak if not installed correctly.
Making sure the water temperature is correct before adding the grains for steeping then checking the wort temperature before pitching the yeast is needed.
Brew pots that have a thermometer installed is nice, but it certainly isn’t necessary. Any good brewing thermometer, preferably an instant read thermometer is fine.
Silicone handles have nothing to do with the actual beer brewing process, but rather for convenience and safety. These handles can be quite handy when moving or repositioning brew kettles that are extremely hot.
If you are brewing all-grain and you want to use your kettle as a mash tun, some models come equipped with a false bottom.
A false bottom is a round, perforated piece of stainless-steel that is used to keep your spent grains separated from the wort during transfer which can help in the overall clarity of the beer.
The false bottom will not be needed if you are extract brewing or with the BIAB method.
While none of these brew kettles come with a sight glass, it is an inexpensive accessory you can add to the kettle yourself.
A sight glass is mounted externally on the kettle so you can get a more accurate reading of the liquid volume inside your brew pot, without the need to look at the internal etched markings.
Just be aware that unless you have an open port on your kettle, you will need to drill a hole to install the sight glass.
Does The Brew Kettle Height/Width Ratio Really Matter?
The height/width ratio can make a difference when boiling the wort.
Many manufactures build their kettles using the 1.2:1 ratio, which means that the wall height is 1.2 times taller than the width, or diameter of the kettle.
Many homebrewers need to calculate the amount of evaporation that will be lost in the long 60 minute boil. It has been proven that a kettle with a 1.2:1 ratio will have a more consistent evaporation rate of 10% during the boil.
Other than being able to account for a specific amount of evaporation, a taller brewing kettle can also prevent boil overs.
Things To Think About Before Buying
Making beer at home is all about experimenting and learning as you go, while making the best brew possible. As you continue home beer brewing, you will always be on the hunt for new and improved brewing tools and equipment that will help your brewing process run much smoother.
No it doesn’t have the bells and whistles like some of the more expensive brew kettles, but as far as a brew kettle is concerned, a basic, 5-gallon/20-quart budget friendly pot will do the job for most novice brewers who are only interested in extract brewing.
But if you plan to brew a long time, or considering stepping up to the BIAB method or all-grain brewing, a larger brew kettle of at least 10 gallons/40-quart will be needed for a 5 gallon batch. The best thing to do is decide what features are most important to you, and buy the best home brewing kettle that you can afford.
If you want the 10-gallon size, but need something a little more cost-effective, the homebrew stock pot from Concord is a solid choice. The main downside of this choice is the lack of the tri-clad bottom that is needed if using an induction burner. But, if you are using a propane burner, this one can handle the job.
You certainly have a lot to think about before you make your buying decision, especially when you have so many options to choose from.
But for us, the best brew kettle for our money is the Megapot 1.2 from Northern Brewer, narrowly beating out the Anvil brew kettle, which also made our list a one of the best brew kettles.
They are both built with high quality stainless steel construction, internal volume markings, ball-valves, included thermometer, and a tri-clad bottom, which makes them induction burner compatible.
One thing we did like with the the Megapot over the Anvil were the silicone coated handles that were more heat resistant But the final and deciding factor of why this was chosen as our favorite brew pot, was the slightly lower price.
Whether you are brewing 5-gallon batches, or large 30-gallon batches, or something in between, the Megapot 1.2 is one of the best brewing kettles, and sure to last a long time.
P.S. If you need a new propane burner to go along with your new kettle, be sure to check our our review page of the best propane burners for homebrewing.