In this article, we will answer the question “Can you brew beer in an aluminum pot?”, and what cleaners to use for aluminum pots?
Can you brew beer in an aluminum pot?
Yes, you can use an aluminum pot for brewing beer. However, you must know the pros and cons of doing so. Homebrewers are often confused by which material to choose for brewing beer. This article takes you through some of the basic advantages and disadvantages that would help you make the right choice.
Aluminum vs stainless steel
Aluminum pots pros and cons
- Aluminum pots are readily available and inexpensive. You can find a good quality aluminum pot at half the price of a stainless steel pot.
- As compared to stainless steel, aluminum conducts heat faster. It will boil and come to room temperature quickly.
- Aluminum will become discolored over time due to the formation of an oxide layer. This is evident by the grey color of the pot. So It doesn’t really look pretty. Due to this oxidation property, you can not use caustic-based, high acid, or oxygen-based cleaners like oxyclean to clean aluminum pots.
The darker grey layer formed after cooking in aluminum is actually protecting it from corrosion.
- Brewing in aluminum will not make the aluminum leech off into the contents of the pot and cause Alzheimer’s.
Secondly, It is said that the acid in the contents of the pot will react to the pot resulting in its wearing off. It can also make it unsafe for consumption whilst adding undesirable flavors to it.
While this may be true for some highly acidic foods contained in low-quality aluminum pots, this doesn’t apply to the brewing of beer. Because the wort is not acidic enough to wreck all this havoc.
Pros and cons of stainless steel
- Stainless steel is the choice of professional and advanced brewers. It is expensive as compared to aluminum pots but It is worth its price.
- Stainless steel pots are shiny ad attractive and do not form an oxide layer. The passive oxide layer formed is not visible.
- Caustic or oxygen-based cleaners won’t corrode stainless steel pots which makes it a top pick for professionals who have to wash and clean large stainless steel vats thoroughly.
However, bleach-based cleaners should be reluctantly used to clean stainless steel vessels or pots.
- For the same wall thickness as aluminum pots, stainless steel containers are less vulnerable to denting and scratching. As compared to aluminum pots, stainless steel vessels are more resistant to acid attack due to a compact oxide layer.
- The main drawback of stainless is that It is not as good of a heat conductor as an aluminum pot. It will take time to come to a boil and will take longer to cool down as well.
The bottom line is that as long as you choose a high-quality pot, the material is not much of a concern. Make sure the pot is heavy, has thick walls, and is a good conductor of heat.
A well-made and well-maintained aluminum or stainless steel vessel will last a lifetime. If you have a tight budget, go with aluminum pots.
Similarly, If you do not have a better option than an electric stove, aluminum wins the battle.
When you are interested in buying a bigger say a 10-gallon stainless steel pot, make sure It is a tri-clad.
How to tell If your pot is stainless steel or aluminum?
Weight and color are the major indicators of the type of metal the pot is made up of. Aluminum has a light and dull-looking grey surface. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is shiny and has a darker silver color.
What cleaners to use for aluminum pots?
Up till now, It has been established that acidic, basic, or oxygen cleaners are a big no for aluminum pots or vessels. Your best bet is to use “Barkeepers friend”. Though It removes the protective oxide layer. But It forms back on once you boil water in it.
Best brew pots for beginners
For a beginner, 5-8 gallon stainless steel or aluminum pots are perfectly fine. An 8-gallon aluminum pot could be easily used to boil 5 gallons of wort without worrying about a boilover.
Best brew pots for advanced brewers
When we are talking about advanced brewers, we are talking about 10-15 gallons of pots. This is where you need to pay attention to the price. A 15-gallon aluminum pot will be readily available in under 300 bucks. On the other hand, you cannot find a 15-gallon brew tech kettle under 300 dollars.
In this article, we answered the question “Can you brew beer in an aluminum pot?”, and what cleaners to use for aluminum pots?