Brewing beer has been a passion of mine for a few years now. Well, good beer in general is of interest to me! I grew up in the Midwest drinking Miller-Bud-Coors and I thought that is how beer was supposed to taste. Then, at the old age of 35, I moved from Central Illinois to South Texas. Maybe it was the dramatic change of life, but I discovered so many things that I never sought out living up north. New cultures, new foods, and I discovered interesting beer. It’s been an adventure ever since. Walking into any restaurant and finding a beer I have never tasted is a pleasure that I still enjoy to this day, and with the explosion of craft brewers both local to the Austin-San Antonio area and nationwide, it’s easier and easier to find a new brew to electrify my taste buds.
Speaking of electric, I finally have the room and the drive to build my electric brewery. I have been brewing the last few years with propane turkey fryer type burners, which works great, but I desire a greater control of temperature in the brewing process for a variety of reasons that I will not bore you with here.
I am using the The Electric Brewery as my guide on this journey. I am taking some deviations from the guide as I just can’t bring myself to spend the money on the Blichmann Boilermakers. Let me be clear, I have no doubt that the Blichmann’s are clearly superior to anything else out there, but I want to spend my money on improved controllers and such, so, I opted for the 20 Gallon Megapot 1.2 and bought it from Northern Brewer Homebrew Supply.
I ordered the 20 gallon with ball valve only for a boil kettle and the 20 gallon with ball valve, thermometer and false bottom for the mash tun. I am going to order one more 20 gallon with ball valve only for the HLT as soon as my bank account recovers from these two purchases.
So, Northern Brewer tells me that they have refreshed the product line and that the 20 gallon kettles now come with a bulk head, ball valve and a dip tube. As it turned out, the boil kettle came with the old set up; just the ball valve and the coupler with female threads on the inside with no dip tube. However, the 20 gallon unit with the thermometer and ball valve DID come with the dip tube and the male threaded bulkhead on the inside of the pot. So, I just switched these two around. The dip tube version is what I installed on my boil kettle and the older version is what I used on the mash tun, since I am using a barbed connector and tube to connect to the false bottom anyway, so it all worked out. But if you are ordering, make sure you have them send you the updated version with the dip tube if you need it.
Upon closer inspection, the difference between what I would think a Blichmann and the less pricey Megapot is quite clear. The seam where the pot is made is very visible and appears a little rough, in my opinion. There is also considerable scratching on the inside, presumable from the manufacturing process, But, I am not buying this thing for how it looks on the inside. I am interested to see how the gallon markings on the inside of the kettle hold up over time with the many boils and cleanings to come. See the slide show below for more photos of the inside of the kettles.
Overall, I am pleased with my purchase and I am anxious to brew some 10 gallon batches with these bad boys!