There are many advantages to brewing your own beer; however, selecting the right brew pots can be a difficult process. A person needs to be concerned about the brew pot material, the size of their pot, and also whether or not they can afford their pot. One of the common areas that people can skimp on is in the material cost. By buying a cheaper pot home brewers are able to afford a much wider range of brew pots such as aluminum pots. An area of particular discussion and concern for some is in the thickness of their brew pot. There are various schools of thought on this subject so let’s dig in.
The bottom thickness of brew pots plays an important role in the heating of the pot. It is possible to find brew pots that have extremely thin bottoms in the range of 1mm and also pots that have very thick bottoms such as a 5mm bottom. There are a few different thoughts on the bottom thickness, some people prefer to have a thicker bottom and others a thinner. Some stainless brew pots have what is called a double-bottom which means they have an inner core of aluminum sandwich in the middle of the inside and bottom of the pot. This is with the intent to speed up heating time since aluminum is said to transfer heat much more quickly. There is some debate whether this is a benefit or not.
Thicker bottom brew pots tend to be much more durable as they will not dent or warp very easily due to the strength of material. However, they also take much longer to heat up, also if you over heat the pot the bottom will retain the heat for much longer care must be ensure that the correct temperature has been set. A thicker bottom will also prevent scorching from occurring but the drawback is that a large thick bottom brew pot will have a hard time being heated on a stove so a burner is a must.
Thinner bottom brew pots will tend to heat and cool very quickly and this can be a bonus for some allowing for fast boils and fast chills. Additionally, this aspect makes a thin brew pot ideal for stove top use as it will heat fast and hold a boil well. However, a drawback to brew pots with a thin bottom is that the material can dent, and become damaged very easily. Another drawback to thin bottom pots is they also tend to have thin sidewalls which we will get into in the next section.
The side thickness of a brew pot should also be carefully considered. Generally speaking the thicker the bottom the thicker the sides of the brew pot will be. A clear advantage to thick sides is that the thickness will reduce the transfer of heat through the side of the pot. This aspect of holding in heat better will be beneficial for consistent heat during a mash. This benefit is also a drawback initially as it will take more time to heat up the sides of the pot during the beginning of the boil. Another drawback to thicker side walls is that the chilling process will take more time using an ice bath or immersion chiller due to the walls retaining heat.