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Old 06-11-2007, 05:26 PM   #1
Bobby_M
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Default Bulkheads; bottom or side w/dip tube?

Already have a keggle with side bulkhead and dip tube so I'm pretty familiar.

The trouble is, I'm getting set to convert two more kegs, one for HLT and one for MLT (I may even convert a 3rd to replace my current BK).

I THINK that putting the welded coupling bulkheads into the bottom of the kegs is the best way to run off because the one (sometimes) crippling aspect of dip tubes is that siphon must be maintained to drain them to the bottom. When you're running off a BK, even using a good hopstopper, there will be a point where the liquid level goes to the bottom of the dip tube while there is still wort trying to make it through the partially clogged screen. It will eventually catch up, but you've already lost a good siphon by then. I could picture the same issue with a MLT that has grain still giving up wort, but not as fast as the runoff. Again, siphon lost. Even if you run a pump, maybe you'll become airbound. With a bottom mount, you don't need siphon and you get every last bit of liquid out.

The one problem with bottom mount is heat right? How well would solder joints hold up? Perhaps all threaded stainless is the only way to make this happen.

The one place I'm quite sure I'll use bottom mount bulkhead is for the MLT which I plan to heat via HERMS so there will be no burner under the MLT.

I'd love to hear from those who had the same struggle and find out which way you went.



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Old 06-11-2007, 06:08 PM   #2
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I know what you mean about losing some wort w/ the pickup tube setup. I've thought about that too, and decided to just live with it. I don't think it's that much, really.

The bottom drain solves the siphon problem, but as you say heating it is still a problem. I was given a keg with a coupler welded in the bottom. Eventually I gave up on it and ended up taking it to the scrap yard, took the money, acquired a new one I converted w/ the bulkhead on the side.

If you're sure you won't want to heat the MLT (like I do and wouldn't change it), it might be worth a try.



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Old 06-11-2007, 08:34 PM   #3
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There's certainly a lot of my brain power being consumed trying to decide on direct fired MLT vs HERMS. One reason I'm leaning toward HERMS is that I know I want a March pump anyway because I'm not going 3-tier. Once you pump, now you can direct fire and use the pump to keep from scorching or use it to pump through the coil in the HLT. HERMS allows one less burner, but it's really not that big of an expense in the grand scheme. Buying the copper would offset it, but I already have 10' of 3/8" handy. I'm still not convinced that direct firing a bottom drain is bad. That small run of pipe would get pretty hot, but you'd never have it on full bore to keep temps up anyway.

Do you circulate your mash to prevent scorch? Did you take any pics of your new setup yet?

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Old 06-11-2007, 08:52 PM   #4
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I just stir and apply low heat to increase at a rate of 1-2 degrees/minute. Eventually I'll get a pump to eliminate the need for stirring, but the beers I've done w/ a step mash profile this way have come out great.

I haven't really made any changes to the brew setup lately. Here's a pic of it that was taken a few weeks ago when Reidstav was over doing a double batch of oatmeal stout.

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