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Old 02-28-2009, 01:14 PM   #1
mandoman
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Default burner/logistics for 55 gallon kettle?

So I'm eyeing the sweet 55 gallon blichman kettles and wondering to myself, "How would you heat 55 gallons?" and "How friggin' heavy is that and would a structure hold it". Anyone have experience doing this kind of thing? It'd be killer to brew a 1 bbl batch using 3 55s and a 42 gallon conical.


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Old 02-28-2009, 01:27 PM   #2
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Well, firstof all, you wouldn't really be boiling 55 gallons to make a 1 bbl. batch.
figuring in boiloff, you'd probably be boiling at most 36 gallons at a time. If you figure the wort is roughly 8-8.5 lbs per gallon, at most it would be 306 lbs of boiling wort. Add to that the weight of your kettle(maybe 60 lbs) your total is around 370 lbs. I would thimk any kind of steel structure you could put together would hold just fine, so long as the welds are solid. As far as a burner that would boil 36 gallons, I can't answer that. I have a 52 gallon SS pot, but have not yet used it.

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Old 02-28-2009, 02:21 PM   #3
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Chuck Norris should be able to just look at a 55 gallon pot and make it boil.

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Old 02-28-2009, 03:59 PM   #4
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I'm a gas safety engineer and I love this kind of stuff! For that quantity I'd use an induced draft SS tube-type heat exchanger immersed in the wort. Power wise you are probably looking at 400,000 BTU but that is largely dependent of the efficiency of your system. Also very expensive...

If you didn't go immersion then a jacketed kettle would work. Again, forced draft, custom fabbed which is generally a little out of a homebrewer's scope....

Hmmm... if the kettle is big enough you could simply put 3 KAB5's under it. Very inefficient but it would work. You would need to run them near wide open and use 3 20 lb tanks or a 100lb tank with manifold to prevent freeze-up. Possibly more on a cold day.

What is the diameter of the kettle?

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Old 02-28-2009, 04:29 PM   #5
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chillhayze, great name - my bandmates and I go by that name sometimes.

I could really use your expertise. I'm seriously considering a teeny 'pro' brewery operation. I have completed several business plans and I even have one with my basic keggle system. Of course, the smaller the system the more work so I'm trying to figure out how to fill a fermenter big enough for about a 1 bbl batch and 55 gallon kettle, mlt, and hlt would work perfectly. My biggest stumbling block is how to do it indoors without crazy $10k worth of ventilation. The 55 gallon kettles average around 24" diameter outside and about 28 inches tall. I'm very interested in the internal heating as jacketing something sounds difficult and expensive. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!


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Old 02-28-2009, 05:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mandoman View Post
chillhayze, great name - my bandmates and I go by that name sometimes.

I could really use your expertise. I'm seriously considering a teeny 'pro' brewery operation. I have completed several business plans and I even have one with my basic keggle system. Of course, the smaller the system the more work so I'm trying to figure out how to fill a fermenter big enough for about a 1 bbl batch and 55 gallon kettle, mlt, and hlt would work perfectly. My biggest stumbling block is how to do it indoors without crazy $10k worth of ventilation. The 55 gallon kettles average around 24" diameter outside and about 28 inches tall. I'm very interested in the internal heating as jacketing something sounds difficult and expensive. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!


Chris

If the tube heat exchanger is a route you might want to take there are essentially 2 options: One is to build the heat exchanger yourself. This would require some knowledge of gas combustion, burner design, etc. There is a publication called "The fundamentals of Gas Combustion" it is about $70 but well worth it if undertaking a project such as this.

The other is to call Heatco, give them your information. They do the calculations and quote you on a system. $$$$

The design of this works similar to your household furnace, if gas or oil. Gas is fed to a burner at low pressure (less than one psi) and is forced thru an orifice at this point, the air is drawn in and mixed with the gas. In the presence of heat from an ignition source, the mixture is ignited. These burners are firing into long U-shaped tubes about 2-3" dia. A draft inducer blower is used to pull these hot gasses through the tubes (heat exchanger). Your heat exchanger for this application would need to be appropriate for food applications so you are looking at some 400 series SS ($$$) If the blower did not run, the system would be out of balance and cause many problems which is why if the blower is inoperative the gas cannot ignite due to safety controls. Exhaust is directed through the blower and then outside.

Your setup would involve the tubes running through a kettle. Likely through the side so as to be completley exposed to the wort.

All this boiling would make a lot of steam to get rid of. So much you would need make-up air and a type 2 exhaust hood. Making and installing it yourself wouldn't run more than a few hundred dollars. Might look ghetto but would work just fine for home use (Check NFPA 96). A professional install may run $5-10k.
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:08 PM   #7
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Why does it have to be an indoor system? If I was trying to boil 55 gallons at a time...I'd do what the maple sugar producers do and use wood like in a sugar shack.

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Old 03-01-2009, 04:05 PM   #8
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Indoors mainly for weather and sanitation concerns I would bet.

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Old 03-01-2009, 04:19 PM   #9
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originally, indoors to appease the ttb - i'm asking them if outdoors is an option.

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Old 03-02-2009, 03:50 PM   #10
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My boil kettle is a 55 gallon SS drum. I heat it with two 4500 watt hot water elements running on 240 vac controlled by a PID. For a 30 gallon batch, I start with 39 gallons of wort. After I bring the wort to a boil, I back off my elements to 85% power to maintain the boil.

I used to easily boil 21 gallons of wort with a single propane turkey fryer burner from Cabelas. I would think you could easily boil a 30 gallon batch with two of these burners. Indoor would be a major ventilation issue. Outdoor, no problems.

The Chuck Norris approach would also work.

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