A long-lasting investment, our 5 best brew kettles for homebrewing are perfect for the beginner and experienced homebrewer alike.
The humble brew kettle is a homebrew necessity that is often overlooked. Also known as your brew pot, or boil pot, or just that giant pot that you brew your beer in. Many of us have started small, with a regular stock-pot on our kitchen stove.
But when you’re ready to take the leap into larger brewing quantities, the first investment (yes, that’s right it’s an investment) you’re going to make is your brew kettle.
Most local homebrew stores will carry a variety of nice brew kettles. Looking at the price tag may be a bit of a shock for new home brewers. However, spending more today, means you get a kettle that will last, and will make brewing beer at home easier and more enjoyable.
Our picks for the 5 best brew kettles for homebrewing are versatile options that will help you grow your home brew skills from small-scale experiments to gallons of delicious beer.
Brewing kettles aren’t a low-cost investment. Most good brew kettles will set you back $100 or more. With that kind of price tag, to come up with our list, we had to rely on different means of evaluating kettles. Our picks come from interviews with other homebrewers and product reviews on a variety of brewing supply sites across the internet.
We also used some general features to narrow down our list.
- Size – When you are selecting a brew kettle, your first consideration should be capacity. Even if you’re only making 5-gallons batches, you need to consider foaming in your capacity equations. Here are suggested kettle sizes, based on a 5-gallon end volume.
- Extract brewing – an 8-gallon kettle is more than enough room for boiling wort and minimizing boil-overs
- All Grain Brewing – Grain wort foams more than extract wort, so you’ll want to go for a larger kettle if you’re all-grain brewing. A 10-gallon kettle should give you plenty of room for wort and to avoid boil-overs.
- Boil in a Bag (BIAB) – Remember with this method, you’re doing everything in one pot, so it needs to be big! You’ll need enough room to cover your grains, sparge AND boil wort, without boil-overs. For BIAB, consider a 15-gallon brew kettle.
- Metal – Brew kettles generally come in two different materials: stainless-steel and aluminum. Both are great options; both have downfalls you should consider.
- Aluminum – Aluminum is great. It conducts heat incredibly evenly, and it’s a lot lighter than stainless-steel. It also requires a bit of work to season the metal, so the aluminum won’t oxidize into your beer. Aluminum oxide can form in a chemical reaction between your beer and your aluminum pot. It isn’t dangerous, but it can make your beer taste funky. Seasoning your pot will stop this from happening, but it adds an extra step to your brew day schedule.
- Stainless Steel – This option is heavy-duty, and durable. This option is also heavy. Add to your already heavy pot, 5-gallons of hot liquid, and you’ve got an adventure. However, stainless-steel is made to last, and while it may cost more, you get a brew kettle that will last a long time and won’t impart funky flavors to your beer. If you want the benefit of the even heating of aluminum but want the durability of stainless-steel, look for a kettle with a tri-clad bottom. These pots have a layer of aluminum between two layers of stainless-steel. You get the even heating of aluminum without having to season your brew kettle every time.
- Upgrades – Sure, you could just buy a simple brew kettle. It will work fine, but why not consider some upgrades. Brew kettles come with all sorts of add-ons to make brew day easier. Some to look for include:
- Ball-valve spigots
- Hop screens
- Trub blockers
- False bottoms
One thing to mention about brew kettles with false bottoms. They can be used as a mash tun, so if you really want to commit to all-grain brewing you may want to consider investing in two brew kettles.
Now, on to our list of the 5 best brew kettles for homebrewing.
Best Over-All Brew Kettle for Homebrewing
Bayou Classic 10-gallon Brew Kettle Kit
Where to Buy: Bayou Classic Depot, Amazon
The Bayou Classic brew kettle is a favorite of homebrewers everywhere. The 10-gallon size is perfect for extract and all-grain brewers alike. This is one of the few brew kettles on the market that is made to accommodate a false bottom, making it also a great mash tun. The 4-piece kit comes with the pot and lid, thermometer, ball-valve spigot, and splash guard. The false bottom is sold separately but isn’t a huge added cost.
- Tri-clad bottom
- Sturdy handles
- Great Value
- A bit on the heavy side
- Thermometer isn’t very accurate.
Best Budget Brew Kettle
Concord Home 10-gallon Kettle
Where to Buy: Amazon
This is a really basic brew kettle, but it gets the job done. It’s made of heavy-duty stainless steel for durability and longevity. The Concord Home brew kettle comes with a thermometer and ball-valve spigot for easy transfer of wort to your fermenter. The lid of this pot can hang on the side of the kettle, so you don’t have to worry about where to set it.
- Great value
- Comes in other sizes
- Reasonable price
- Assembly required
- Handles don’t feel as sturdy.
Best Brew Kettle for BIAB Brewing
BrewBuilt Brew Kettle
Where to Buy: BrewBuilt, MoreBeer!
The second generation of the BrewBuilt brew kettle comes with more bells and whistles than before. Made from solid 304 stainless steel this kettle is sturdy enough to handle the load of grain and water necessary for BIAB brewing. BrewBuilt kettles come in a range of sizes, but we like the 15-gallon for BIAB brewing. This kettle also has silicone-coated handles for heat protection.
- Comes with ball-valve spigot and thermometer
- Spigot and thermometer are pre-installed
- Can be used on an induction cook top
- Great flame control
- Doesn’t come with a false bottom
- A little pricey
Best Brew Kettle for Extract Brewing
Northern Brewer MegaPot
Where to Buy: Northern Brewer, Amazon
A great basic pot, but one that will make a good investment should you decide to move from extract to all-grain brewing. The Northern Brewer MegaPot comes in a variety of sizes and is made from 304 stainless steel for longevity and durability. You can get this pot plain or pre-drilled for add-ons like a thermometer, spigot, or dip-tube.
- Great Value
- Silicone coated handles
- Tri-clad bottom
- Doesn’t have a false bottom
Best Brew Kettle for All-Grain Brewing
Blichman BoilerMaker Brew Kettle
Where to Buy: MoreBeer!, Amazon
Certainly, this is the most expensive kettle on our list. However, if you’re making the transition to all-grain brewing this kettle is a worthy investment. It comes with all the bells and whistles including a site-tube, thermometer, spigot, and silicone-coated handles. The Blichman BoilerMaker has its own line of accessories, made to fit this pot, so your brew kettle can convert to mash tun in a breeze.
- Most accurate thermometer on a brew kettle
- Multiple size options
- Level gauge is standard on all sizes
- False bottom is an add-on