Kettles can range from simple, no-frills spaghetti pots to high-tech kettles built specifically for brewing. 10 years ago there were not many homebrewing-specific kettles and brewers were forced to re-purpose cookware. While a large spaghetti pot is just fine for starting out with malt extract brewing, once you get more comfortable with brewing we think you’ll really enjoy the benefits offered by a brewer-built kettle.
Find the Best Kettle for You
Now for some recommendations:
Brew Kettles New Brewers
See our New Brewer page for our beginning brewer kettle recommendation.
High-End Brew Kettles
Once you’re ready to move beyond a cheaper economy kettle (which may not take long), we recommend any of the three kettles found below. All of them are great kettles and your decision will likely come down to personal preference based on which features each kettle offers.
Blichmann is the the most expensive, largely due to its quality of components, durability, and the little features that make a big difference (like the handles on the front/back which gives you more space when placing kettles side by side). Talk to a Blichmann owner and they’ll likely say “worth every penny.” However, the Spike and SS Brewtech have very happy customers as well. You really can’t go wrong with any of these kettles.
What about a mash tun?
Most all-grain homebrewers use either a cooler or a kettle as a mash tun. All of the kettles listed below can also be used as mash tuns. Just be sure to purchase the accompanying false bottom for it.
- Material – Higher quality kettles will use stainless steel instead of aluminum. Then, higher-end kettles will use higher quality stainless steel. Lower quality stainless steel is very flimsy and gets burnt and beat up over time by the demands of homebrewing.
- Volume markers – Measuring the amount of liquid in your kettle is important in homebrewing. Look for kettles that have volume markers. This is usually accomplished via a sight glass or etching on the inside of the kettle.
- Ports – Some brewers desire multiple ports (i.e. openings) on their kettles because their brew system demands it. For example they may recirculate the wort back through the top of the kettle.
- Valve – Once you start performing full boils (as opposed to partial boils) you’ll want a kettle that includes a valve for draining the kettle.
- Pickup tube – The pickup tube allows you to drain the wort below the level of the valve. Look for a kettle that includes one to save you the trouble of constructing one.
- Built in thermometer – Useful for knowing when you hit your pitching temperature and also for mashing (if you use one of these kettles as a mash tun)
Ss Brew Tech is making a name for themselves in the homebrewing world. Mostly known for their innovative fermenters, their brew kettles are becoming very popular as well. They offer many of the advantages of Blichmann at a lower price.
Spike makes extremely durable, high quality brew kettles. What sets them apart is their use of welded fittings (most kettles use weldless). If you prefer welded fittings, and want the ability to customize the location of your couplers, go with Spike.
Blichmann has been making top-notch homebrewing gear for years. Their Boilermaker kettles are legendary are known as the "ferrari" of brew kettles. If you want a kettle with all the bells & whistles, this is it.