Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

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Matt12398

Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by Matt12398 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:16 pm

I'm looking to put together an independent kettle because at the moment I just use a combined HLT and boiler.

I'm planning on using a plate chiller so the insulation won't be a problem as cooling will be external to the pot. I was primarily thinking about it because I though it would help to get a good boil but obviously there is more expense to buy it and a bit more faff cutting the holes.

Has anyone gone down the Thermopot route for their boiler?

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Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by barneey » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:42 pm

Yep more than a few times :)

Matt12398

Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by Matt12398 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:15 pm

Did you see any positives? I guess it could also allow for a bottom drain if its one of the ones that have decent thickness of insulation,

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barneey
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Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by barneey » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:13 pm

Biggest one is the insulation, the others are you can hide stuff in the insulation, the outer skin doesn't get hot, the minus is it electric only and more difficult to do a conversion.

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Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by Fil » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:54 pm

+1 a thermopot would make an excellent kettle imho as long as your not intending to chill in the pot as then the insulation will work against you, but with a plate or cfc solution great idea. a bit more work in the build but if I can mod a thermopot into a tun anyone can do it and if u get stuck theres lots of support in here..

Your element options are wider as you could consider bottom mounted burco style elements, and of course its gonna be visibly shiny during the brewday and not jacketed up at all :)
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Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by darkonnis » Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:58 pm

I use a thermo pot, it's ideal, much stronger boil and a sealable lid which comes in handy for when you turn the boiler off and are ready to drain it out, the boiler conversion was easier than a bottom draining mash tun conversion (i found) and I don't think deadspace will be too much of a problem with a good syphoning filter.

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Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by chastuck » Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:33 pm

Here's my 60L thermopot boiler half-way through conversion. I've yet to add the elements and skirt, which I hope to do before the weekend. It uses 1" BSP ball valve and fittings, except for the sight glass outlet. I have previously made a 50L and a 70L stockpot boiler, but was concerned about the high surface temperature with my grandchildren about and didn't want to wrap layers of foam around to make the boil more efficient. Fitting a skirt makes the plumbing easier and the centre drain when I tested it only gives 550ml dead space. Fitting the elements is more difficult, but when I post my finished boiler pictures you will see my solution to water tightness.
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Matt12398

Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by Matt12398 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:31 pm

Thanks for the replies guys.

Like you chastuck, I'm partly thinking about my one year old daughter and the insulation will stop her burning herself on the outside when my back is turned.

I think I've decided the thermopot is the way forward.

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Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by bob3000 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:43 pm

Matt12398 wrote:Thanks for the replies guys.

Like you chastuck, I'm partly thinking about my one year old daughter and the insulation will stop her burning herself on the outside when my back is turned.

I think I've decided the thermopot is the way forward.
classic brewing/child care issue. Its a tricky one.

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Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by chastuck » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:17 pm

Got round to working on my thermopot 60L boiler again, so thought I would post more pictures, especially to show how I mount the 2.75Kw elements. Gordon in Ireland customised some of his shrouds for me so that they had a double thread. This means I can screw up the thread tight to the inner skin, but still make a watertight connection to the outer skin as well.
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The outer nuts are KM10 M50 stainless steel bearing locknuts, so they shouldn't rust. Indeed, I kept the locknuts in a glass of water for a week and no sign of rust developed.

I used home made washers of 2mm white silicon sheet under the lock nuts to ensure a watertight fit, just in case the boiler overflows or when I wash down the outside. I made sure the inner skin hole was flattened slightly to make the element fit more squarely to the inside. On the outside as I tightened the locknut this caused the outer skin to flatten and thus made a better seal.

The other pictures show how I fixed the skirt to the underside of the thermopot. Also, to hide the ugly pipework, I fitted a circular bottom of 1mm stainless steel. I used a cheap square off-cut, then cut a circle using a stainless steel blade in a jigsaw.
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I've yet to complete the sightglass as I'm still awaiting an equal tee. I will put up more pics of the sightglass fitting and the inside of the pot in a few days.

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Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by barneey » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:40 pm

How do you find the sight with the tap on a combined outlet, quite a few members had problems with that technique a couple of years a go.

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Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by chastuck » Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:04 pm

barneey wrote:How do you find the sight with the tap on a combined outlet, quite a few members had problems with that technique a couple of years a go.
I only really rely on the sight glass for filling, so the combined outlet makes no difference. However, when you open the tap it does cause a suction effect on the sight glass. All my vessels have sight glasses fitted in this way, so I have learnt to make allowances for this suction effect. What I do is open the tap in spurts, allowing the sight glass to settle in between the tap openings. Also, if you drain off slowly the suction effect doesn't occur. For me the advantage of a combined outlet is that the sight glass doesn't retain any liquid when the vessel is empty and also doesn't need to rise above a certain level before showing the actual fill. The sight glass and its pipework can also be cleaned more effectively.

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Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by chastuck » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:19 am

Forgot to add, it also means you don't have to cut a hole in the pot for the bottom of the sight glass.

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Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by barneey » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:54 am

chastuck wrote:
barneey wrote:How do you find the sight with the tap on a combined outlet, quite a few members had problems with that technique a couple of years a go.
For me the advantage of a combined outlet is that the sight glass doesn't retain any liquid when the vessel is empty and also doesn't need to rise above a certain level before showing the actual fill. The sight glass and its pipework can also be cleaned more effectively.

On my previous builds I`ve included a tee piece for the sight glass to enable cleaning and draining, although with a standard 100 lt or less pot you can just turn the thing upside down to dispose of any water in the sight tube pipework.

Haven't bothered with the tee piece on the latest build.

so it comes down to the same old question do you want the skirt or not around the bottom of the pot.

Matt12398

Re: Stockpot vs Thermopot Kettle

Post by Matt12398 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:14 pm

Ok with my decision made I need to work out what size I want. I have asked questions like this before but never went as far as buying one.

Bearing in mind that my brew length will never be more than 25 litres I'm thinking a 50 litre pot will probably be ample. My preboil volume is always less than 40 litres and realistically only about 34 litre usually.

I know someone will probably say that I will end up wanting to go bigger in future but my brother has an all, singing all dancing full shiny set up that can handle more than twice my brew length so can use that if I want bigger batches.

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