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If you are looking at getting into home brew or have perhaps been brewing your own beer for a while then you’ve probably thought a bit about equipment.
Having the best equipment for home brewing is key to making sure that your end product is high quality. There’s nothing worse than going through the whole brewing process only to find that the flavour has been affected by poor quality equipment.
One of the key pieces of equipment for any home brewing kit is a good quality boiler. A good quality boiler will improve your brewing by distributing heat more evenly, boiling more quickly, and allowing you to brew greater quantities of beer than you would be able to on the stovetop.
Bayou Classic is one of the most respected names in boilers, creating high quality products that are great for brewing beer as well as other, general cooking.
Two of their most popular products are the KAB4 and KAB6 boilers. Looking at these two home brewing boilers, you might be wondering what the difference is – as from a quick glance they look very similar.
Of course, the price is different – so let’s have a closer look at these two products and decide whether the KAB4 or the KAB6 is better for you.
The KAB4 vs KAB6 At A Glance
|Product||Material||BTU Output||Regulator||Flame Enclosed?||Size||Maximum Capacity|
Our Best Pick
|Cast Iron||210000||30 PSI||Yes||22”||162 quarts|
|Cast Iron||210000||30 PSI||Yes||16”||100 quarts|
The KAB4 vs KAB6 Compared
Price is one of the most important factors to consider when you’re buying and comparing products such as the KAB4 and KAB6. You want to be sure that you are getting your money’s worth from the product.
The KAB6 is slightly pricier than the KAB4 boiler. Prices vary, but the KAB6 is typically about $15 more expensive than the KAB4, which is roughly 15% more.
While this difference is relatively modest, the KAB6 needs to have better features or performance in order to make it worth the price difference. Let’s find out if that is the case.
One important point to consider when choosing a boiler is what material it is made from. Most are made from either cast iron or stainless steel, which are both good options for boilers.
Both the KAB4 and the KAB6 are made from cast iron, which is a high quality and durable material that holds heat well.
One note about cast iron is that it can be prone to rust if it is left outdoors without a cover, so if you brew outside, be sure to either bring the boiler in when you are finished or cover it to protect it from the elements.
Therefore, there is no difference between the KAB4 and the KAB6’s construction material.
Particularly for homebrewing, you want a model that has a relatively high BTU output so as to enable the boiler to get to the temperatures required to brew properly.
Both the KAB4 and the KAB6 have a maximum BTU output of 210,000 which allows them to burn very, very hot. Therefore, there is no difference between the KAB4 and the KAB6 in relation to BTU output.
Despite its high input, neither the KAB4 or KAB6 makes much noise at all, which is important.
Ease of Adjustment and Consistency
You want to be able to control the boiler’s temperature so as to be able to make adjustments to get the peak temperature for brewing.
Then, once you have adjusted it, you want it to stay at a consistent temperature for consistent boiling.
Both the KAB4 and the KAB6 feature a 30psi regulator and can be easily and safely adjusted. Once burning, the cast iron frame and regulator ensure that consistent heat is achieved and maintained, leading to perfect brewing results.
The flame is enclosed on both burners which means minimal heat loss and maximum consistency of temperature.
Therefore, the KAB4 and the KAB6 perform the same on this measure.
We have seen that so far, the KAB4 and the KAB6 are more or less the same, with identical boilers and features. So, what is the reason for the price difference?
The answer is that the difference between the KAB4 and KAB6 is the size of pot that they can hold and therefore how much they can boil at one time. The KAB4 has a 16” (40.5 cm) cooking surface, capable of holding pots up to 100 quarts (113 litres) in capacity.
On the other hand, the KAB6 has a 22” (56 cm) surface which is capable of supporting pots up to 162 quarts (184 litres) in size. As a result of this size difference, the KAB4 is also lighter.
Therefore, if you are looking at brewing large quantities of beer frequently, the KAB6 is going to be more suited to your needs, although many home brewers will find that the size of the KAB4 suits them just fine.
The Verdict: The KAB4 vs the KAB6
Both of these burners are high quality products that have a great reputation amongst home brewers and other cooks. The only major difference between the two products is the size and therefore the capacity that they can boil at once.
If you are the average homebrewer, the lighter and more inexpensive KAB4 should suit you absolutely fine and be the best value purchase.
If, however, you frequently brew large quantities of beer and don’t want to do it in multiple batches, then you should look at buying the slightly more expensive KAB6.