I have a new stainless steel brew pot and it doesn't have any quantity markings. How do you recommend marking each gallon? I tried to make an indent but it's not very noticeable, any ideas?
The solution I use is to mark my spoon with permanent marker. I have marks for each half gallon. Works really well without messing with the kettle itself.
This obviously is kettle specific, so if you are using multiple kettles you can have markings of different color to differentiate the different markings per kettle.
I use an aluminum yardstick, which let's you do pretty accurate measurements on multiple pots/kettles, without needing to use a marker on anything (I've had problems with marker wearing off and worry about toxicity of the ink). Put a gallon of water in your pot, measure how high it is, and write it down somewhere. Then you'll always be able calculate what the measurement on the yardstick is equal to. If you keep the measurement conversions for each pot written down, you can use the yardstick for lots of different pots. The aluminum washes off easily and can be sanitized, so you can use it post-boil. I think it was $3.50 at Home Depot. I was looking for stainless steel yardstick, but couldn't find it without a cork backing, but the aluminum is fine - lots of people brew with aluminum and it's only in contact with the wort for a second.
If you want to do a DIY project you can also put a hole in your pot and get a weldless sight glass kit, but that seems like a lot of extra work to me plus more stuff to clean.
I have aluminum HLT and BK and used a dremel to make a small mark at each gallon level. I marked with a china marker when the water was in there (adding one gallon at a time), and after I dried it out, I used the dremel. I marked in 3 columns, 120 degrees apart, so I'd be able to see at least one measurement no matter which side I was standing on. Also, I measured the distance between marks (a gallon is 17 tenths of an inch...my kettle has vertical walls,so it's the same for all marks). I have a caliper that measures in tenths of an inch and it's easy to get accurte volume measurements by using the etched marks and the caliper.
Ya agreed JMEYERING I brew in converted kegs and use the dip tube that came with it (a long stainless pipe/tube very similar to a corney keg dip tube but bigger and thicker = perfect for measurement and stirring). I poured in one gallon at a time into my keg (measure right don't just use a 1 gal jug, although you will be very close after 5 or 10 gal that "little bit off" will equal way more off. Anyways beyond the simple, I marked each gallon by dipping the tube in, duh, but pull it out very quick (metal specific) because the water doesnt "cling very well (marking in the water is ok only if you don't put anything in the water, ie. hand, as that will skew your reading). I used a hacksaw to mark each gallon then went back and marked each half gallon with an offset and smaller hash mark. I think half gallon marks are very important for the obvious reasons but quarter gallon marks get cramped and confusing, instead use the 1 gal and 1/2 gal marks to calculate 1/4- measurements during measuring. Be careful to always take your readings at the same place if you have a concaved bottom like I do and keep your measurement tool vertical when marking and measuring (easy to get off when trying to look in). So in closing I agree again with JMEYERING in using whatever you stir with to mark, and to add, indent the utensil instead of marking it. CHEERS MAN AND GOOD LUCK!
A brewing friend of mine uses an old broken wooden broom handle. I'm not a big fan of that, as the wood can't be clean or sanitized all that easy. However, when he put's it in water or wort, the liquid makes a very clear distinct line on the wood and stays there for a 5 minutes or so, it is very easily to take a reading. He has the stick marked for two different brew kettles and boiled it in water for a while before he started using it. He never uses it after the boil for obviousness reasons.