microbrewery machine

45 Gallon Brew Kettle

Homebrewing beer on a larger 45 Gallon Brew Kettle allows serious hobbyists and small producers to make batches efficiently. Choosing the right brew kettle is critical to control mashing, boiling, fermentation and achieve desired flavors. This guide covers key considerations from kettle types, design, customization, installation and suppliers to help select the optimal 45 gallon set-up.

Overview of 45 Gallon Brew Kettles

Homebrew kettles with a 45 gallon capacity enable larger batches for distribution or commercial sale once licensed. Key features buyers evaluate are:

Types – stainless steel, electric vs propane heating

Dimensions – diameter, height and thickness

Features – thermometers, ports, valves, handles, stands

Customization – etchings, fittings, automation

Price Range – from $1500 – $4000

Top Suppliers – Blichmann, Brewer’s Hardware, Colorado Brewing Systems

Matching kettles with burners and the brewing system design is vital. Beyond capacity, prioritize efficiency, durability and ease of handling.

45 Gallon Brew Kettle

Brew Kettle Types

45 Gallon Brew Kettles are available in stainless steel or aluminum with electric or propane heating.

Kettle TypeDescription
Stainless SteelLong-lasting, stainless steel is ideal for food/brewing use. More expensive but higher quality and easier to maintain/clean.
AluminumAffordable but less durable option. Can react with wort, requires careful cleaning.
ElectricHeated with electric elements, digitally controlled for precision but high energy costs.
PropanePowered by propane burners, adjustable manual control. High BTU output but temperature fluctuations.

Stainless steel electric kettles are most popular for advanced homebrewers due to consistent mashing and boil temperatures.

Key Brew Kettle Components

Beyond the basic container, additional ports and parts maximize functionality.

Essential Features:

  • Thermometer
  • Ball valve
  • Sight glass
  • Reinforced rims

Optional Upgrades:

  • Etchings/volume markings
  • Multiple ball valves
  • Automated elements
  • Handles/lifting rings
  • Stand/cart

Upgrading to a tiered steam condenser kettle or an automated electric brew-in-a-bag (BIAB) system improves efficiency further.

Dimensions – Size Considerations

With a 45 gallon capacity, key dimensions buyers evaluate are:

ParameterTypical Range
Diameter28″ – 32″
Height28″ – 36″
Thickness1.2mm – 2mm

A wider diameter provides a larger surface area for boiling and evaporation. Greater height allows active fermentation with kräusen foam without overflowing. Thicker metal increases durability and heating efficiency but also price.

Design Aspects

Kettle design focuses on facilitating movement, heating efficiency and cleaning.

Design ChoiceBenefits
Flat bottomStability on burners/stands, easy cleaning
Conical bottomSmoother liquid flow, transfers solids
Stand/legsEasier mobility, adjustable height
Lifting ringsHelps carry, pour heavy volumes
EtchingsVolume markings for tracking
Sight glassVisually assess volume/process
SpigotContained transfers to fermenters

Conical shaping is better for transferring hot liquids safely. Legs, wheels or carts help rearrange kettles. Volume etchings and sight glasses simplify monitoring.

Customization Options

Beyond standard models, brew kettles can be customized with:

EtchingsVolumes, manufacturer branding
FittingsAdditional ports, valves, handles
AutomationElectric controllers, sensors
Tri-clad basesEncapsulated aluminum/steel
Interior finishesElectro or steam polishing

Custom etchings display volume measurements or company branding. Automated electric kettles allow programming temperature curves accurate to 1°F for perfect mashes. Other options like encapsulated tri-clad bases enhance performance.

45 Gallon Brew Kettle Price Range

With advanced components and larger capacity, 45 gallon brewing kettles range from $1500 to $4000 based on:

Price FactorTypical Range
Basic stainless model$1500 – $2000
Electric elements + Control$2000 – $3000
Conical shaping$3000 – $4000
Automated BIAB$3500 – $4000

Upgrading from basic stainless hardware to precise sensors and automated programming greatly improves functionality but also increases costs.

Top Brew Kettle Brands/Suppliers

BlichmannPremium electric brewing equipment made to order in USA
Colorado Brewing SystemsCustom fabrication from 5 to 240 gallon systems
Spike BrewingSpecialize in electric kettles and all-in-one systems
SS BrewtechHighly configurable stainless steel kettles and accessories
Brewer’s HardwareWide range of kettles, burners and brew gear

These leading homebrew brands offer 45 gallon kettles from stock or custom fabricated with a full range of fittings. They also provide guidance on designing entire breweries.

Kettle Installation Considerations

Setting up the 45 gallon brew kettle requires:

Space Planning:

  • 5-10 ft clearance around kettle
  • Ventilation for boilovers
  • Outdoor/dedicated utility sink


  • Mount thermometers, sight glasses, valves
  • Attach ball valves for transfers
  • Add etchings if needed
  • Test heating elements if electric


  • Anchor stands, strap kettles in place
  • Install catcher trays for spills
  • Have multipurpose foam or extinguisher ready


  • Break in steel with initial boil and discard
  • Compare thermometer temperatures
  • Calibrate electric controllers if needed
  • Check valve seals with soak test

Leave room for staging fermenters and moving vessels around the kettle. Secure all fittings before firing up to prevent accidents.

Brewing Process With a 45 Gallon Kettle

The key brewing steps optimized with a 45 gal kettle are:

Mashing – Mixing milled grains with water at 150-160°F to extract sugars, proteins and flavors

Lautering – Separating sweet wort from spent grains before boiling

Boiling – Heating wort vigorously for 1-2 hours, adding hops

Whirlpooling – Creating a vortex to separate trub and hops

Chilling – Rapidly cooling boiled wort to 75-85°F to pitch yeast

Fermenting – Allowing yeast to convert sugars into CO2 and alcohol

Transferring – Moving fermented beer into serving vessels using valves

The kettle is involved from mash through boil and whirlpool stages before transferring to fermenters.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Effective kettle cleaning prevents off flavors and contamination:

RinsingHot water rinse after brewingEach use
PBW SoakFill with water + PBW powder soak >20 minsWeekly
Citric Acid2% citric acid solution soak if hard water or stainless oxidationMonthly
Re-passivationNitric or phosphoric acid soak rebuilds chromium oxide layerAnnually
Deep ScrubBottle blaster pressure spray staining; non-abrasive brush surface areas not reached by chemicalsAnnual deep clean

PBW and citric acid remove organics; passivation prevents corrosion. Avoid abrasives that damage interior finish. Electric elements and probes require specialized care.

Maintenance checks:

  • Inspect sight glass, thermometer clarity
  • Ensure valves fully seal, smooth operation
  • Check hoses, seals for wear; fittings for oxidation

Replace any unclear markings, stickiness or leaks immediately to prevent downstream issues.

Tips for Selecting a 45 Gallon Brew Kettle

Choose a brewing kettle using criteria like:

ParameterEvaluation Guidance
TypeStainless steel protection; electric precision
DimensionsScale to match batch sizes and system
FeaturesMore ports and valves enable closed transfers
AutomationControllers for accurate, repeated mashes
Brand ReputationEstablished manufacturers with testing
ConfigurabilityFlexible fittings and customization
BudgetInvest upfront in essential features
MaintenanceEasy to disassemble valves, open access
DurabilityWithstand repeated heating and cleaning
SafetySturdy base; contained transfers

Finding the right balance of budget and features takes research. Upgrade smartly for efficiency and consistency gains over time rather than buying everything upfront.

Comparing Stainless vs Aluminum Brew Kettles

Stainless steel and aluminum are both used to fabricate kettles, with pros and cons:

ParameterStainless SteelAluminum
DurabilityHighly durable material, lasts for yearsProne to dents, wear unless thick gauges used
Taste ImpactNo metal leaching or oxidationCan infuse metallic tastes without special linings
CleaningEasy, retains polished shineDark stains build up over time
CostMore expensive, especially for electric modelsSignificant cost savings for basic kettles
WeightHeavier, often thick gauges usedLighter weight for the capacity
CustomizationFull range of fittings, valves availableGenerally lesser upgrade options

Stainless steel kettles resist corrosion and provide years of peak performance. But aluminum offers an affordable starting point before investing in stainless pro models long term.

45 Gallon Brew Kettle

Electric vs Propane Brew Kettles

Both propane burners and electric elements can rapidly heat brew kettles.

ConsiderationElectric KettlesPropane Burners
Temperature Control± 1° precision with digital controllersManual adjustment on burners
ConsistencySet automated temperature ramps and holdsVariability batch to batch
EfficiencyFaster heating uses less energy overallHigh BTU output but greater heat loss
SafetyNo open flames, lower riskHigher diligence needed around gas
ConvenienceProgram and walk awayActively monitor temperatures
CostMore expensive elements and electronicsLower hardware cost
CleaningDelicate sensors and heating coilsMore forgiving with sprays

Propane setups provide great power at lower equipment cost but require constant diligence. Electric systems enable perfect control and repeatability for rapid precision brewing.


What material should I choose for making a 45 gallon brew kettle?

Stainless steel offers the best durability, beer taste and ease of cleaning long-term. Upgrade from aluminum batches start selling.

What are recommended dimensions for a 45 gallon homebrew kettle?

Most homebrew models range 28-32 inches wide, 28-36 inches tall and 1-2mm thickness depending on gauge. Size to match your batch volumes adding extra space.

Should I customize my 45 gallon brew kettle?

Consider key functional etchings for volumes, additional ports/valves to simplify transfers, lifting rings for safe handling, stands for height and mobility. Fully automated electric kettles take precision further. Custom branding brings professional pride for commercialization down the road.

How much do 45 gallon brew kettles cost?

$1500 – $2000 buys basic stainless kettles, while $3500+ provides conical shaping or electric automation. Prioritize must-have features first before expensive “nice to have” upgrades.

Where can I purchase reliable 45 gallon brew kettles?

Leading homebrew brands like Blichmann, Spike, SS Brewtech and Colorado Brewing Systems offer premium kettles in this capacity. Brewer’s Hardware stocks more affordable production equipment at scale.

What maintenance does a 45 gallon brew kettle need?

Follow good cleaning procedures using PBW soaks after each use and occasional acid baths to prevent staining. Check sight glasses, gaskets and valves periodically for clouding/wear. Replace fittings proactively to avoid mid-batch issues.