Planning Ahead For My First Batch

Question

I am trying to get all my ducks in a row and get all my loose ends squared away before starting my first batch. It’s a Scottish Ale Extract/Grain kit that came with the starter kit from my local Home Brew Store.

1. I purchased a turkey fryer for about $60.00 at Sears that has an aluminum 30qt pot with a valve. Now I have read numerous pros and cons regarding aluminum, and couldn’t find a thread on it on this board, but it seems aluminum is ok. I asked a friend of mine who is pretty experienced and of course he suggested stainless steel. But due to budget I need to conserve $$$. I boiled some water only in it today and noticed the Aluminum discoloring at the top of the pot, where there was no water and on the lid. (basically the areas where there was steam only) is this going to be a problem?

2. I also plan to do the full wort boil method because I do not trust that our water out here is that great. It is municipal well water and most people around here won’t drink it out the tap. (I do though) and it is usually cloudy, so I figure it will produce better results if 100% of the water is boiled. The pot I have has a threaded valve, my idea for cooling the wort is somewhere along the lines of a immersion cooler.

Can I run copper tubing from the brew kettle through cold water/ice then into the fermenter to cool the wort?

3. I am also worried I don’t have a proper environment for fermenting. I have obtained the commander’s (wife’s) permission to use the guest bathroom tub for fermenting. But our house is usually somewhere around 80 degrees. Any suggestions on trying to cool below 80 degrees?

Answer

1. No problems with aluminum. You need the oxidation layer on the aluminum so don’t try to scrub it off.

2. Yes but you’ll need to stir the ice water around your coils.

3. If your fermentor is in a tub of water and you have a T-shirt or towel over it, it will wick the water. Have a small fan blowing on the shirt/towel to cool. I’ve also seen people use a small pond pump to bring water to the top of the shirt/towel and use a fan. It’s tough to ferment  in the summer at 120°F. Scan Craigslist for a cheap fridge or freezer alternatively.

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