Barley gruel: The words hardly sound appetizing, do they? Yet from this foodstuff we can trace the history of beer and brewing. Once upon a time, thousands of years ago, in a time and place lost to history, someone left a bowl of the stuff out in the sun. From there, the sun fermented the barley, making a tantalizing mixture. That was the birth of beer and brewing. From these humble beginnings, the brewing industry has grown and grown. Now, it is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that sells many brands of beer. However, there’s a rebellion against these drinks. Some people consider the mainstream beer to be too watery and weak; hardly a fitting tribute to the taste-buds. Now, people have taken up brewing as a hobby. They create microbrews, homebrews, and experiment with recipes. This hobby was once considered esoteric and rare, but it’s quickly becoming a trend. Many brewers have been experimenting with more than just the drinks; they’ve also been working on what is used to make the brew. The resulting products are varied, but amongst them, the stainless brew kettle is a popular and efficient choice. But is it the best choice for a brewer in such a wide and popular market? Read on to find out!
What is a Brew Kettle?
A brew kettle is essential for creating your own homebrews. These pots can look intimidating to an outsider: They’re covered and filled with pipes and valves, painstakingly constructed to create the best brews every time. This is hardly a trivial task, which means that you can’t skimp on the pot. You must go for the best kind with the best construction. Trying to brew in a pot without the right valves, thickness, material, or even addition is a nearly impossible task.
Is It Important to Choose the Right Kettle?
The drawbacks to the wrong kettle are numerous. You have to deal with problems from the beginning to the end of the brewing process. These problems are not little bumps in the road, but rather hazards that can derail your entire plan. If your pot is not durable enough, leaks will spring in the outside and lead to ruined brews and floors that need to be thoroughly cleaned. If heat isn’t evenly distributed through the material, then you will have scorched or uneven brews. If the material isn’t proper, your brews will be scorched and you’ll spend too much time scrubbing the pot and cleaning up after yourself to actually be able to enjoy your brew. Don’t let these mistakes happen to you – pick the right kettle.
What Are My Choices?
The brew kettle comes in many forms, some of them more popular than others. One slang term for kettles is a ‘copper’. Why? Because for a long time, copper was the standard for a high quality kettle. However, due to shifting markets and demands, copper has become prohibitively expensive. Since then, there have been many attempts to find a replacement. Some of them have been successful, and others have failed.
Aluminum is the lowest priced material, which means that many new brewers make the mistake of picking it. It has all the right qualities that a kettle needs in terms of heat distribution, adaptability, and ability to build into the proper size. However, the cheapness of the material means that you will have to worry about leaks, bumps, and other breaks in the exterior. In addition, you’ll have to suffer through soapy brews if the process isn’t monitored carefully.
Ceramic is one material that’s been proven to work through history. Ceramic has been used in ancient cultures, and is still part of interior decoration and kitchen accessories today. The original barley mash from history was likely held in a ceramic container. A kettle can certainly do the job if it’s made out of ceramic – but is it the best choice? There is one major drawback to a ceramic kettle, and that is the fragility of the product. It can shatter at high heats or from accidental drops. While carefulness is a virtue, the brewer has more things on his or her mind than just worrying about the kettle constantly.
This leaves us with the final popular material: stainless steel. A stainless brew kettle all the strengths of ceramic or copper – it gives an even heat distribution, can be altered with valves, couplers and other bells and whistles upon construction, and is perfect for brewers of all stripes. Luckily, it also lacks the drawbacks of the other contenders. The price isn’t as high as copper, it’s more durable than ceramic or aluminum, and soapy or sour tastes are absent in its brews. A stainless brew kettle has slightly more of an upfront cost, but you’ll thank yourself every time you avoid a repair or a replacement for spending the extra money up front.
There are kettles of all sizes and materials, and the field of choice can be confusing to a new brewer who wants the best product but isn’t sure where to start. If you encounter one of these brewers, pass the word on: a stainless brew kettle can offer him everything he or she wants without any of the hassle or drawbacks. If they can pay the extra cash, they’ll love their new kettle, and you can welcome them to the brewing elite once they learn the basics. After all, brewing is supposed to be a fun and useful alternative to the big companies – not an expensive, filthy inferior. Make sure you choose the right kettle, or let your friends know which one is best, then enjoy delicious brews without regret.