So I recently purchased a Barley Crusher grain mill which will allow me to buy base grain in bulk (big savings) and control how fine my crush will be. The local homebrew store’s mill has been way off lately, and it seems like it’s always been worked on or modified again every time I go in. Had a terrible crush last brew and had to scramble and add dried malt extract to the boil on brewday just to get a drinkable beer. My bad for not realizing how course the grain still was when I put it through the lhbs’s mill, but relying on their mill (and therefor their store hours) kinda sucks. I was buying/crushing my grain often at least a week before my actual brewday. Far from ideal.
So, I am looking forward to using it very soon.
However, I now need to buy yet another piece of equipment. A kettle to heat my strike water in. I had been using the aluminum pot that came with the turkey fryer. However, for Labor Day, we hosted a big cookout and I used the turkey fryer to steam about 30 lobsters. Needless to say, I’m never getting that stink out of that pot. Ever.
My current set-up is a rectangular cooler/mash tun, an 8 g stainless pot (no ports), and the turkey fryer burner and aluminum pot. Aluminum pot for heating strike water, stainless pot for boiling wort. I lift and dump aluminum pot into the cooler/tun. Cooler has at ball-valve from which I run my wort to the kettle (gravity). I currently have to use a siphon to get the wort from the kettle to the fermenter.
The burner is very basic, and looking a bit beat. The burner itself doesn’t have nearly all the nozzles that I see on the banjo/Blickman burners.
So, my issue is I no longer have my pot for strike water. The question is, do I simply replace that pot. I do 5 gal batches as rarely need to heat more than 5 gallons of strike or sparge water, OR do I step up my boil kettle and use the current one for strike/sparge water?
If I went with this 8.5 gal economy kettle from morebeer, I would have the ability to use a ball valve to run wort via gravity to my fermenter. But, I would need some kind of false bottom, correct? So as to leave as much of the solid matter behind? Or, is only used for boil and not mash, can i skip the false bottom and use the kettle tube screen?
I could step up to the Heavy Duty Brew Kettle, which is a good amount more money. My current Stainless pot fairly thin and probably more like the economy kettle More Beer offers. Perhaps move that to the be the strike/sparge water pot, and replace with a better quality kettle?
Eventually I’d like to step up to a better burner too, but wouldn’t be able to do that right away if I go for the heavy duty kettle.
Thoughts?? Please add comments here, as I could use feedback from those experienced with these various kinds of equipment.