Kettles

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The kettle is the name given to the large metal vessel used to boil the wort.

Size

The kettle must be large enough to contain the full final wort volume, plus the amount of water lost to evaporation during the boil, plus some extra headspace to allow a good rolling boil without spillage. For a single batch size (23 litres in the fermenter), a 50 litre kettle is about right. For double batches a larger kettle in the region of 80 - 100 litres is needed.

Construction

Kettles can be made from a very large stainless steel stockpot, or more cheaply made by cutting a hole in the lid of a second-hand beer keg - this is sometimes called a keggle (please note that stealing kegs from the back of pubs is illegal).

The kettle has a hole drilled low-down on the side for an outlet with a tap to allow the boiled wort to be drained out. The outlet can be welded in, or can be screwed in with a back-nut and washer on threaded pipe or nipple.

A hop screen can be utilised inside the kettle to prevent the outlet (and plate chiller if used) from becoming clogged with trub.

If using an immersion chiller, a simple dip-tube or diverter plate can also be utilised to prevent trub going into the fermenter.