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I've been looking to upgrade from my 15L Aluminium Pot I use on the stove to a Stainless Steel kettle I can do full boils in (for 20-25 Litre batches). I'm trying to be reasonably thrifty with this and have found some 38L Stainless Steel stock pots on eBay going for a good price. However I noticed these are only 1mm thick. Will that be thick enough?

I am planning to install an element into the kettle itself (with weldless fittings) rather than heat it directly on the stovetop (I'm currently in an apartment with no outdoor space for a gas burner). I'll also most likely fit a ball-valve. Will the thickness matter when drilling holes and adding weldless fittings?

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IMHO 1mm Stainless is a bit thin for drilling and retaining things like a heating element and a ball valve. It is not impossible but the potential to bend or dent the steel when in use is quite high. It does of course depend on the steel - there are different grades and some are "stiffer/harder" than others. I recently drilled a "economy" stainless sink that was quoted as 1mm thick. It was easy to drill but somewhat "bendy" and I would not be happy to cut a larger hole and mount a electric element in a similarly constructed pot. The leverage on the element might well cause the pot wall to bend. With careful handling it may all be OK and if economy is the driving force then it is possible to do. But personally I would like to use something a bit more substantial. Brewing is always a bit "rough and ready" the equipment should be able to stand a few knocks and drops - so it may be a false economy to use the cheapest materials. As a guide I would prefer a stainless thickness of at least 1.5mm and preferably 2.5mm or more. The curve of the pot wall may need to be adjusted/flattened to fit the flange of the heating element. That will be easier with thinner steel but it may not hold the flange so securely/steadily. Ultimately you can only judge when you have the steel vessel in front of you and by then this question would be academic! Good luck either way.

  • I wonder if you think going for a thicker Aluminium pot at a similar price would be a more sensible idea? – hollow_legs Nov 28 '16 at 20:39
  • Thicker aluminium would be a better option for reasons of strength and general handling but stainless is "chemically" optimal for food/drink production. Aluminium is generally OK to use for food stuffs/beer but very alkaline or very acid solutions might corrode the metal surface. There is some "advice"/rumour against using them for boiling or storing acidic juices - but that is not usually a problem when making beer! Never use a strong alkali (eg, soda or drain cleaner) to clean an aluminium pan. It will corrode and eventually dissolve! – barking.pete Nov 29 '16 at 9:09

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