Author Topic: Aluminum  (Read 20749 times)


  • Guest
« on: September 24, 2004, 10:36:35 AM »
Does anyone use aluminum for the boil pot?  I need a new pot and I happen to have a huge aluminum pot sitting around.  Are there any draw backs?


  • Guest
Re: Aluminum
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2004, 11:21:45 AM »
Not personally. Have heard that they can pit over time and be harder to clean because of that.

Also have read that they (aluminum) may be linked to alzheimer's. Not a doctor, don't know.

I'll stick with stainless. Personal opinion, personal pref.

Offline jeff

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Re: Aluminum
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2004, 03:37:02 PM »
Aluminum is ok to brew with. Palmer talks about this in his book. I'd say that 90 percent of the food done in restaurant kitchens is done in aluminum cookware. It gets lots harsher treatment than you'll ever give it brewing beer.

brew on,


  • Guest
Re: Aluminum
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2004, 08:44:56 AM »
Just don't scrub it bright clean after using it. It has to have a dull gray appearance to it, which indicates a passive layer of oxidation. If you scrub it bright clean, you'll get a metallic taste in your beer is all. Not the worst thing that could happen, but not the best either. ;)


  • Guest
Re: Aluminum
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2004, 02:19:28 PM »
I'd say that 90 percent of the food done in restaurant kitchens is done in aluminum cookware. It gets lots harsher treatment than you'll ever give it brewing beer.

brew on,

The las time I check boiling water did not have any kind of acids in it, most restaurants aren't doing much more than boiling water, making stock for soup and what not. Aluminum is OK to use, but be very careful when you clean, if you get any kind of scorching from any liquid extract you may have used, you can't do much, if any scrubing on it. Aluminum will pit from acids, making your cleaning task a chore.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2004, 02:25:38 PM by SAHomeBrew »


  • Guest
Re: Aluminum
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2004, 04:56:37 AM »
Well I went with a 9 gal SS pot.  I figured I might as well get the good stuff and be done with it :)


Steve Nicholls

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Re: Aluminum
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2004, 12:45:07 AM »
Hi guys,

Aluminium is excellent for brewing. read Palmer's tips for use and don't scrub shiny. My system is Aluminium and I'm told my beer's aren't too bad:)

My mash tun is direct heated under a 50 litre Aluminium pot and I have zero scorched grain problems because Aluminium distributes heat far better than SS.

The gray coating is an oxide layer that forms a barrier between the metallic Aluminium [shiny] and the wort. The oxide reforms in about an hour or less in normal air flow.

To clean your pots a soft cloth and a mild detergent is all you need , then rinse well.

To remove any really tough stuff neat phosphoric acid is fine as it naturally restores the oxide coating. Don't use caustic [highly alkali products] and check on the cleaners you have as some are very agressive on Aluminium.

Don't fear Aluminium pots, they are excellent for brewing.

There are many myths and legends in our hobby and Aluminium is bad is one of them :)



  • Guest
Re: Aluminum
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2004, 02:51:12 AM »
Here is about the best response I have seen to-date regarding aluminum pots;

I have investigated the use of aluminum in every brewing text I could lay hands on, including some very old ones. Regarding aluminum kettles, I came up dry. It seems the metal has never been considered for brew kettles until home brewers came along. I suspect the reasons for this are purely practical. Kettles are the hardest of all brewery vessels to clean, and strong chemical cleaners corrode aluminum. Caustic soda literally eats it up. It is soft enough that hand scrubbing with wire brushes will scratch it badly, which in turn will make the surface harder to clean the next time around. It is no wonder that commercial brewers apparently never considered using it for brewhouse vessels.

It came from Brewing Techniques web-site

And he sums it up best in the last paragragh;

Meanwhile, my advice to anybody putting together a home brewing setup remains: Copper and stainless are the best materials for a brew kettle. Enamelware works, though it is harder to clean than copper or stainless; it is even cheaper than aluminum. I see no reason to buy an aluminum kettle for home brewing.

He says in the article that he can see no real good reason not to use aluminum, he even talks about iron as a brew kettle. Even when John Palmer talks about aluminum, he doesn't just come out and say use aluminum, it's simply listed as a choice.

I'm still going to go with my original choice, stainless. It should last longer, and I won't have to worry about "being careful" when I clean it with-in reason. I have scorched mine, and it cleaned up quickly with a green scrub pad (gently of course, just enough to lift it) and then I was done.

And this takes the cake so to speak;

DM: First of all, I would not pay $100 for an aluminum kettle. For that kind of money, I could get a stainless steel Sankey keg and have it modified to make a first-class kettle, with none of the doubts or disadvantages aluminum carries.

$100 is high for an aluminum stock pot, but I have seen them for around $50-$60 range for a 40 qt. and for that kind of money, I can get a half barrel sankey keg, cut the top out, put a weldless bulkhead in it and now I have a 15gal brew kettle.

As a side note, I bought a 34qt turkey fryer from sam's club for $78 with burner and stainless base and pot that works very nicely, it's not the best pot I have ever seen, but it's holding it's own.

Aluminum is an option, but it's not the best one for the money, it has more than it's fair share of drawbacks. If you do a little shopping around you can find a better option for just a little bit more money. If it works for you, great!, but I wouold not go in search of an aluminum pot to make up my equipment with.


  • Guest
Re: Aluminum
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2004, 07:41:29 AM »
I have a 40qt aluminum boil pot that I paid $30 for, It is very thick and I have never ever had a problem with it scorching.  I used to scorch my 5 gallon SS pot every now and then but never with my aluminum pot and I've used it for well over 100 batches.  It's also very easy to clean, after I tranfer the wort out of it I squirt it off with the hose then wipe it down with dish rag and i'm done, no scrubing scorch marks off the bottom like I used to have to do in my SS pot.  Personal preference I guess but I'll stick with my aluminum.

Offline ol

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Re: Aluminum
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2004, 08:28:16 AM »
where did you find a 40qt Aluminum pot for $30? You can tell, I am interested!!
Just keep brewing and keep brewing...


  • Guest
Re: Aluminum
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2005, 04:34:19 AM »
I bought the sams club turkey fryer with ss 34 qt pot. It's a nice set up, but up north here, boiling in the unheated garage took quite a while with 3 gal of wort. still wound up scorching. anyone know any tricks to hep avoid this?

Offline bonjour

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Re: Aluminum
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2005, 07:51:33 AM »
Put a metal plate between the pot and the flame.  this will even out heat distribution.  "Scorching" occurs from flame contact with the kettle (I'm assuning and extract is disolved and not sitting on the bottom).  A good thing for malty brews.



  • Guest
Re: Aluminum
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2005, 01:09:52 PM »
Did some research on alum. pots. First of all you have to start with new. An old pot, if it is scratched will retain oils from whatever was cooked in it and release into your wort. Next fill it with cold water, bring it to a boil and let it boil for an hour. This will oxidize the inside of the pot. Lastly use it for nothing but brewing.
Now for cleaning, Just wash it with soap, water and a dish rag. If you do happen to burn it, try de-glazing it before washing. Just pour some water in it, turn on the head and as the temp. rises scrape the bottom with a woden or plastic spoon till what's on the bottom becomes un-stuck, then wash. In case of a total disaster and you do need to scrub it start with an SOS pad. After the bottom is clean re-scrub with 100 grit steel wool and soap. Finish it off with a wet sand of 300 grit emeroy cloth. Rince well and then re-boil with water to re-oxidize. Bottom line is you have to watch it a bit closer so it dosen't scorch.
As far as price, I have seen 15 & 20 gal alum. pots selling for as little as $30 to $40 at Smart & Final and restruant supply stores.


  • Guest
Re: Aluminum
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2005, 08:03:42 AM »
I went to an "economy restaurant supply store" to try and find a decent pot for my brewing...  the minimum price they had was $80 for a 25 qt aluminium pot.  pardon my french but F that!!!

I then searched online for and about aluminium pots and came up with some cheaper ones that were used to fry turkeys, roughly 25 qts. for like $45, but also read (as posted above) that there MAY be a link to aluminim and alzheimers, but noone is realy sure...

Then i found this guy on ebay...

Why pay too much for bottom of the line thin aluminium pots in these "restaurant supply" stores, when i got a 1/8 inch thick 30 qt (7.5 gal) stainless steel pot with encapsulated aluminum base for proper heat exchange AND it came with a glass lid with a whole in it that fits perfectly my digital thermometer!!!

It was $40 and was nicer than i ever expected to get...

Just a suggestion, i am very happy with my pot... and dont have to even bother with worrying about if someone is right or wrong about aluminium causing alzhiemers or not... because it is SS

« Last Edit: June 15, 2005, 08:05:50 AM by saylinaway »


  • Guest
Re: Aluminum
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2005, 04:05:36 AM »
God is this thing still alive...I'm still going to stick by my original statements about aluminum and not buy it. Not one single brewpub, micro brewery, or big brewery uses it, so why even "try" to find a cheap source for it? You can find deals and all you have to do is look (for stainless that is) A local resturant supply store (used) is closing up shop after 23years and is just getting everything gone, 40qt stainless pot (used but not abused) $25.

Homebrewers are the only people looking for any and every excuse they can come up with to use aluminum.