Category Archives: Spike Brewing

Spike Brewing Equipment V3 Kettles Closeout Sale

Thanks to HBF Readers Stack and Timothy for this tip!  [8 Ways to Connect with HBF]

With the announcement of their V4 lineup of Kettles, Spike Brewing Equipment is also clearing out all V3 stock.  These are featured filled, high quality kettles that are rarely discounted.  The closeout is a rare chance to get a deal.  NOTE: Limited to stock on hand, when these are gone.. they’re gone.  Check out the Bargain Cave for complete selection and availability.

V3 Kettle Closeout via Spike Brewing’s Bargain Cave!

More: Recent Great Deals

Hands on Review: Spike Brewing Equipment Spike+ Kettle! + v3 closeout sale

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Spike+ Kettle and Mash Tun

Spike kettles come in sizes from 10 gallons all the way up to 50 gallons. The 10, 15, and 20 gallon kettles all share a common trait of 1.2 mm thick walls and a 5 mm thick base. The 30 and 50 gallon units up those numbers to 1.5 mm walls and a 6 mm base. Spike is quick to point out that these are the thickest kettle walls on the market. At first that might not seem like something that matters, it just seems like something that makes them heavy to lift and move around. But if you accidentally bang it into a doorway or a table you’re thankful for sturdy kettle walls that keep it looking new rather than beat up.

The heavy bottom is sturdy enough to hold a level flat bottom rather than a slightly convex shape thinner kettles experience from stamping pressures. This lets it sit truly flat on your brew table and keep its weight centered low for a sturdy footing. The bottom is a tri-clad design that has layers of stainless steel on the bottom and top for strength and stain resistance, and a layer of aluminum inside to make use of its thermal conductivity properties to help distribute heat across the bottom of the kettle. The heat distribution helps avoid wort scorching on cooktops and gas burners.

Cut-away view showing stepped bottom

The bottom has a step designed in that helps simplify the false bottom. With the step, the false bottom rests on this and lets gravity and the hydrostatic pressure of the wort keep the false bottom sealed to the bottom of the kettle without requiring a grommet or seal on it. And the Spike custom false bottom is unique. It’s heavy-gauge and sturdy like the rest of the kettle, but that’s not what makes it unique. It’s perfectly sized to the stepped bottom of the kettle, and provides 2 stages of filtering. The top layer that the grain rests on has slots cut into it, and the bottom has a supporting ring that has holes cut into it. The Spike custom pickup tube extends to the center of the false bottom, collecting wort from inside the ring. So most of the wort getting to the pickup tube has to first pass through the top layer slots, and then through the holes surrounding the pickup tube.

A look at the top of the false bottomOutlet Port and Inlet Port Level Inside

The bottom port of the standard kettle sits at about the 2.5 gallon level with the 15-gallon kettle. If you’re using the Spike pickup tube, this extends in and touches down on the bottom. So if you’re transferring wort out with a pump, you can vacuum out the last bits of wort, leaving almost nothing behind. The temperature port sits a bit higher, and a temperature probe requires about 4 gallons of wort to be submerged. The Spike thermowell accessory that mates to the TC port is extremely well made. A polished, smooth surface extends in and has no visible gaps or crevices at the joints and a mirror-like shine.

Outside TC Fitting Weld


A Rare Sale, Review Continues Below:

With the announcement of their V4 lineup of Kettles, Spike Brewing Equipment is also clearing out all V3 stock.  These are featured filled, high quality kettles that are rarely discounted.  The closeout is a rare chance to get a deal.  NOTE: Limited to stock on hand, when these are gone.. they’re gone.  Check out the Bargain Cave for complete selection and availability.

V3 Kettle Closeout – a v3 Spike+ kettle is reviewed in this post

Get the Gear, Review Continues Below:

The reviewed mash tun is a Spike+ Kettle + false bottom, pickup tube, TC Valve, Gaskets & Clamps


Hands on Trial

Butterfly Valve Attached to Pickup Tube

The heft of the 15 gallon kettle was noticeable while moving it around my brew area (30 lbs empty weight with butterfly valve, center pickup tube, false bottom, and thermowell w/ temperature gauge). But its strength was impressive, and definitely seemed liked something you’d use until you passed it down to your kids (or something like that). The 15-gallon size was just about the limit for my 2 ft x 2ft stainless sink to fit in for cleaning. With the weight of it, I was definitely having to be more creative with more of bringing the water to the kettle and less filling at the sink and lugging it around.

The weld quality of the TC flanges was phenomenal. The surface of the weld was so smooth and uniform, it made for very easy cleaning. Which of course is great, since that’s the whole point of the TC ports. This was my first experience with these ports. Cleaning was made so easy, as fittings were removed just by hand loosening the clamps and pulling hardware out. And when putting them back on, I kept thinking that I would end up needing to fiddle with the clamp/gasket to get a good seal, but they were flawless. There really is no comparison to NPT fittings with Teflon tape, or weldless fittings with O-rings in this regard. You pay more money, but there are tangible results with speed/ease of cleaning and hassle free no-leak operation.

The dial temperature gauge was large and readable, with markings every 2 degrees, making it easy to read within 1 degree (i.e. if you’re on a line or in between two lines). The gauge did require some adjustment to be accurate, but luckily the adjustment screw was easy to reach. After adjustment it maintained accuracy in the couple batches I brewed after.

Conclusions

These kettles come with a price tag that’s a step up. Sometimes you can’t afford that, and there are other options out there. But if you do pony up some extra money for nice gear, you expect to see a benefit from it. The Spike kettle/mash tun definitely delivers on that, with durability and super high quality that’s plain to see. The TC fittings fall into that category as well, providing you extra benefits with ease of use and ease of cleaning. Overall, the whole line up from kettle to accessory is exactly what you’d expect to see in a high quality offering.

Get the Gear

More Photos

Closeup TC Weld Quality – Inside the Mash TunBottom View of the False BottomA look inside Spike Brewing Equipment’s Mash Tun – note that a Blichmann AutoSparge is installed in this photo
TC Clamps and Silicone Gaskets

Special Thanks to Spike Brewing Equipment for for providing the unit used for evaluation in this review.

By Brad Probert.  Check out Brad’s website – beersnobby.com

Also: All Grain Tips & Gear | 10 Gallon Mash Tun Conversion Kit [Review] | Cereal Killer Grain MIll |  Batch Sparge SpreadsheetBIAB Brew Day Spreadsheet | The Brew Bag – Purpose Made BIAB

Recent Great Deals [view more]:

review:spikemashtun

Expanded Selection! Spike Brewing Equipment’s Bargain Cave – Limited Availability

BARGAIN CAVE: V3 -10 GALLON BREW KETTLE - 2 VERTICAL COUPLERS

Spike Brewing Equipment has a Bargain gave that features discounted gear.  Selection can range wildly from new gear to canceled custom items to cosmetic blemishes to commercial scale items.  Availability of items is generally limited.  Many times, only one is available.  Spike Brewing Equipment gear is rarely discounted.  The Bargain Cave is a rare opportunity to get a deal.

The Bargain Cave has been getting pretty slim lately.  Well that’s fixed… Spike has added a bunch of gear to the Cave – including a number of conical and kettle options as well as a couple complete systems.  Availability is limited, check the Cave to see what’s what.

Note: I posted this same sort of post earlier in March and most items were snatched up quickly.  As of this posting, lots of options are available again.  If you see something you like, I would suggest acting sooner rather than later.

Check out Spike Brewing’s Bargain Cave – to see what’s available

Also at Spike Brewing… v3 kettles are on closeout

More: Recent Great Deals

rp:spbc

Update: Spike Brewing Equipment’s Bargain Cave – Expanded Selection + v3 kettle closeout

BARGAIN CAVE: V3 -10 GALLON BREW KETTLE - 2 VERTICAL COUPLERS

Spike Brewing Equipment has a Bargain gave that features discounted gear.  Selection can range wildly from new gear to canceled custom items to cosmetic blemishes to commercial scale items.  Availability of items is generally limited.  Many times, only one is available.  Spike Brewing Equipment gear is rarely discounted.  The Bargain Cave is a rare opportunity to get a deal.

The Bargain Cave has been getting pretty slim lately.  Well that’s fixed… Spike has added a bunch of gear to the Cave – including a number of conical and kettle options as well as a couple complete systems.  Availability is limited, check the Cave to see what’s what.

Update: many items sold out quickly after I posted this notice.  There are some 10 gallon 2 coupler kettles still available as well as several custom options.

Check out Spike Brewing’s Bargain Cave – to see what’s available

Also at Spike Brewing… v3 kettles are on closeout

More: Recent Great Deals

rp:spbc

Spike Brewing Equipment V3 Closeout Sale + TWO Reviews

With the announcement of their V4 lineup of Kettles, Spike Brewing Equipment is also clearing out all V3 stock.  These are featured filled, high quality kettles that are rarely discounted.  The closeout is a rare chance to get a deal.  NOTE: Limited to stock on hand, when these are gone.. they’re gone.  Check out the Bargain Cave for complete selection and availability.

v3 Kettle Closeout!

Also: Spike Brewing’s Bargain Cave!

Two Spike Brewing Equipment Reviews… Hands on Review: Custom Spike+ Boil Kettle! + a rare sale on closeout v3 kettles AND Hands on Review: Spike Brewing Equipment Mash Tun!

More: Recent Great Deals

Spike Brewing Equipment’s Bargain Cave… Spike Conical Unitanks + v3 kettle closeout

CF15 SPIKE CONICAL UNITANK

Spike Brewing Equipment has a Bargain gave that features discounted gear.  Selection can range wildly from new gear to canceled custom items to cosmetic blemishes to commercial scale items.  Availability of items is generally limited.  Many times, only one is available.  Spike Brewing Equipment gear is rarely discounted.  The Bargain Cave is a rare opportunity to get a deal.

As of this posting, the Bargain Cave has a selection of conical unitanks available.  Features in prices vary.  Availability is limited, check the Cave to see what’s what.

Check out Spike Brewing’s Bargain Cave – to see what’s available

Also at Spike Brewing… v3 kettles are on closeout

More: Recent Great Deals

rp:spbc

Update: Spike Brewing v3 Kettles – Closeout & Cosmetic Imperfections

With the announcement of their V4 lineup of Kettles, Spike Brewing Equipment is also clearing out all V3 stock.  These are featured filled, high quality kettles that are rarely discounted.  The closeout is a rare chance to get a deal.  NOTE: Limited to stock on hand, when these are gone.. they’re gone.  Check out the Bargain Cave for complete selection and availability.

Update:  We posted an update about this a few days ago and all 10 and 15 gallon size kettles had sold out, with only larger 30 and 50 gallon models still available.  As of this posting, a number of 10 and 15 gallon models are back!  I have no idea how many they have or how long they will last.  Check out the Bargain Cave for complete selection and availability.

Update: Spike Brewing has 15 to 50 gallon models that are available that have slight cosmetic damage.  The new/unblemished v3 closeout stock is here.  Currently 30 through 50 gallon models are available

Spike Brewing’s Bargain Cave! – v3 cosmetic imperfections & more

Check out our recently released review of Spike Kettles… Hands on Review: Custom Spike+ Boil Kettle! + a rare sale on closeout v3 kettles

More: Recent Great Deals

Update… 10 & 15 Gallon Kettles Are Back! Spike Brewing Equipment V3 Kettles Closeout Sale – What’s Left + Hands on Review

With the announcement of their V4 lineup of Kettles, Spike Brewing Equipment is also clearing out all V3 stock.  These are featured filled, high quality kettles that are rarely discounted.  The closeout is a rare chance to get a deal.  NOTE: Limited to stock on hand, when these are gone.. they’re gone.  Check out the Bargain Cave for complete selection and availability.

Update:  We posted an update about this a few days ago and all 10 and 15 gallon size kettles had sold out, with only larger 30 and 50 gallon models still available.  As of this posting, a number of 10 and 15 gallon models are back!  I have no idea how many they have or how long they will last.  Check out the Bargain Cave for complete selection and availability.

Update: The 10 and 15 gallon models that are available have slight cosmetic damage.  They have moved remaining, non-cosmetic damage v3 kettles to a different page, linked to from the Bargain Cave.

V3 Kettle Closeout via Spike Brewing’s Bargain Cave!

Check out our recently released review of Spike Kettles… Hands on Review: Custom Spike+ Boil Kettle! + a rare sale on closeout v3 kettles

More: Recent Great Deals

Hands on Review: Custom Spike+ Boil Kettle

This review is by Homebrew Finds Contributor Brad Probert.  Brad is an engineer, expert homebrewer and experienced reviewer.  Grab a link to Brad’s website at the end of this review.

Spike+ Custom Boil Kettle

Have you ever stood and looked at a friend’s brew rig and thought, “That’s genius! I should do that”? Or stood and looked at your own brew rig and thought, “If I could only have another port there, that would solve my problem with _______”? After using different systems, I found myself with a list of features I loved, and had an idea of the ideal set-up for me. But these ideas never went anywhere because I didn’t have the right skills to build it myself.

Spike offers a solution to this problem, with their Custom Kettle service. And they do it at a competitive pricing to DIY, but with professional quality (not knocking your welding skills- they’re great…). When designing a custom kettle, 1/2″ threaded ports are added at $30 a pop and Tri-Clamp (TC) ports are $50 each. Compare this price to $25 for a weldless TC fitting + $20 for a carbide bit hole saw. And with that weldless fitting you don’t have the smooth sanitary weld surface that’s easy to clean and keep free of beer-souring bacteria. Not to mention the heart stress induced by drilling a hole into the side of your stainless kettle, hoping you’re not going to let the drill slip!

To make a custom kettle, you can either have your own specific design in mind, or you can have a general idea and work with their engineer to detail it. By doing this, you have the benefit of working with someone that has the experience of having built a lot of custom kettles to help guide you through the process.

Custom Boil Kettle Drawing

Once the drawing for your kettles is determined, your project is transferred to the person that will coordinate the build of your kettle and help you with any accessories you want to add to your order. Once the kettle is built, they box it up with your accessories and ship it out together.

Spike features two types of kettles, differentiated by the types of weld ports. They have traditional 1/2″ NPT threaded ports (full or half thread), and also 1.5” or 2” TC ports. They’ll even mix and match if you want with some of the fittings NPT and some TC on the same kettle.


Get the Gear, Review Continues Below:

Brew Kettles at Spike Brewing


Hands on Review

This trial started with the creation process. I had a solid idea of what I wanted. I needed a boil kettle to use with an electrical element to heat strike water, use as a RIMS device for mash step temperatures, and for the boil. I knew most of what I wanted, but was undecided on a couple aspects. So through a series of back and forth questions and answers, I was able to hone in on how I wanted it configured.

The engineer working with me to finalize the kettle port layout was responsive and we exchanged emails daily for a few days until it was settled and I had agreed to the kettle drawings. When I was handed off to the Customer Service contact, she was equally as responsive, and we exchanged a few emails a couple times a day until we had the full order detailed. Five days later I got an email with the FedEx tracking number as it was all being shipped to me. I was amazed at how fast the whole process went.

The 15-gallon Boil Kettle configuration had three 1.5” TC flange ports and one 1/2″ NPT port. I had a TC fitting down low (2” up from the bottom) for the outlet drain, and another TC fitting also at 2” up from the bottom for my electric heating element. This required about 3 gallons of wort to completely cover the heating element. At 4” up, I had a TC fitting for a temperature probe. This required just over 4 gallons of wort to keep it submerged. The 1/2″ threaded fitting was up high on the kettle, 1.5” down from the top flange. To this I fitted a whirlpool recirculation tube from NorCal Brewing Solutions.

The kettle quality was top-notch. Heavy gauge steel walls were straight and true, and the extra-thick bottom helped provide a solid base to keep things stable. The purpose of the thick base is to make it induction heat compatible or help more evenly distribute the heat from a gas burner flame, but it also helped make the pot feel secure sitting on a brew table full of hot wort. The finish on the outside was a bit shinier to look more impressive when showing off to your friends, and the inside was a bit more brushed so the inevitable markings of multiple batches of boiling wort isn’t as noticeable. Both sides cleaned up really easily with hot water and a scrubbing sponge. I only had to use cleaning products prior to its virgin voyage to ensure all the machining oils were cleaned off.

The weld quality was superb. The NPT port was clean and without any porosity or crevices to make cleaning difficult. The TC flanges were beautiful. The way they were integrated into the walls of the kettle almost looked they were formed/pushed out of the side wall of the kettle rather than welded on. I really can’t overstate how flawless these were.

Kettle with PIckup Tube, Recirc Tube, 2,250 Watt Element and Temp Probe

Shorty Pickup Tube

The accessories were all of good quality and reasonably priced. There were two accessories that stood out for me. The first was the short pickup tube to connect to the TC fitting down low on the kettle. This dropped down low to almost touch the bottom of the kettle to ensure the maximum amount of fluid to be extracted. With a slight angular cut on the tube, it built a natural blocking barrier to any trub in the center, and then sloped upwards to ensure it didn’t create a flow restriction problem.

Spike Brewing Butterfly Valve

The other accessory that was impressive was the butterfly valve. The price was a bit intimidating, about twice the price of a decent 3-piece ball lock valve. But I was impressed. The heft and quality of this beast was impressive. Being a much more open design than a ball valve, it certainly was easier to clean and know you got everything out. The handle used to open the valve contained a locking mechanism so you could open it to a fixed position and the mechanism kept it locked in position so the flow going through didn’t cause the valve to float or try to close.

All of the TC fittings worked easily and sealed to a fully leak-proof condition with no fiddling required and nothing more than hand torqueing of the clamps- no tools required. The black painted/etched volume markings at every 0.5 gallons were very clear and easy to read while filling the kettle, and I liked how they went down as low as 2 gallons.

The main selling point of the TC fittings is ease of cleaning. I was curious to try this out because I’m not one to be obsessive about cleaning, so I figured I could give it a good critical review. I’ll shortcut to the ending and tell you that even a non-cleanfreak found these to be great. I especially loved the ability to pop the electric heating element out and easily clean it. I scalded the element a couple times so I was thankful at how easy it was to pop this out. The smoothness of the weld on the TC fittings also made cleaning easy without requiring brushes to clean inside threaded fitting grooves.

Conclusions

So overall, this custom kettle service is kind of a hidden gem. The kettles themselves are very high quality, and Spike makes creating your own custom build super-easy and relatively affordable. I was skeptical of the benefits of TC ports before, but now am a firm believer in how they make cleaning so much easier. If you’re in the market for a new kettle and have some ideas of what you might do a little differently, Spike Custom Kettles might be able to hook you up.

Get the Gear

Brew Kettles at Spike Brewing

More Photos

Spike Two Vessel SetupOpen Butterfly ValveSpike Custom Mash Tun DrawingTC Ports Make for Easy Cleaning!

Special Thanks to Spike Brewing Equipment for for providing the unit used for evaluation in this review.

By Brad Probert.  Check out Brad’s website – beersnobby.com

Recent Great Deals [view more]:

review:spikecustkettle

Update: Spike Brewing Equipment V3 Kettles Closeout Sale – What’s Left + Hands on Review

With the announcement of their V4 lineup of Kettles, Spike Brewing Equipment is also clearing out all V3 stock.  These are featured filled, high quality kettles that are rarely discounted.  The closeout is a rare chance to get a deal.  NOTE: Limited to stock on hand, when these are gone.. they’re gone.  Check out the Bargain Cave for complete selection and availability.

Update:  Some 30 and 50 gallon closeout models are still available as of this posting.  Check out the Bargain Cave for complete selection and availability.

V3 Kettle Closeout via Spike Brewing’s Bargain Cave!

Check out our recently released review of Spike Kettles… Hands on Review: Custom Spike+ Boil Kettle! + a rare sale on closeout v3 kettles

More: Recent Great Deals