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Old 12-18-2008, 03:57 PM   #1
madewithchicken
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Default Half Barrel Fermenters? Anyone have pics?

So I want to move to stainless steel. Like everyone I would like to have a conical, but unless my hypnotism classes pay off i doubt my girlfriend will go for it.

So I think I will build a half barrel keg fermentor. I was hoping someone could give me better directions because My best seems a bit too bootleg. I guess I am having problems with the lid. Here is my idea explained as simple as I can explain it:

1. Acquire a half barrel keg. If none show up on craigslist I plan to just go down to the local party supply store. Then find someone that is returning a keg for a deposit. I will offer them $2 more than their deposit. (Maybe someone knows of a cheaper way. I think the deposit is $30 or $40 depending on the make of the keg.)

2. I want to be able to reach inside to clean it so I then would chop the top off kind of like I would if I were making a keggle. I want to leave I little more lip than most people leave when cutting out the sanske tap. I will come back to this later.

This is a pic of a normal keggle with a kind of small lip.



3. (I am not sure what material to use on this step.) I want to cut out a circle that will rest on the lip of the newly cut hole. I may use a platic cutting board.

4. Place a bike inner tube (I will have to get the right size) on the lip.

5. Put our plastic (or other material) lid on top of the spare inner tube.

6. Slide a piece of wood in one handle and out the other. This is to hold down the lid.

7. Inflate the inner tube.

8. Drill a hole in the lid, find the right sized stopper to fill that hole, put a fermentation lock in that stopper.

My concerns:

C3. I am not sure what to make the lids from. It should almost never make contact with the beer. I only do 5 gallon batches, and may do a 10 gallon in the future, but I do not think that the beer will foam that high. My best idea right now for this is to cut up a big plastic cutting board. Do they make PET cutting boards?

C4. There has to be a better way to get a better seal on this. A thin bit of rubber will not do the job, but what might? Will rubber let O2 in? Keep in mind that I can always fill the inner tube with CO2.

C6. My metal working skills are very limited. Otherwise I just weld some kind of latch to hold down the lid. I also thought of a ratcheting strap, the kind you might use to hold down cargo in the back of a truck.

In the end I am sure there is a much better way to do this. I am sure there someone that will provide a link. Revvy? BierMuncher?

I am hoping that this post will not devolve into a debate of what fermentor is best. I know everyone has their own point of view.

**Edit**
I should mention that I could always ferment in corny kegs. I have a plan for this as well.

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Last edited by madewithchicken; 12-18-2008 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 12-18-2008, 04:10 PM   #2
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That is actually a pretty good idea, but my concern would be the bike tire. I have no idea what the oxygen permeability of that would be, or how it may impart flavors to the beer.

I wonder if you just took the diptube out how well you would be able to clean it. My guess is you'd have to spend more on cleaning chemicals. You could leave an airlock in the top where the diptube was and have a hole in the bottom for draining your beer.

I'm sure there are better ideas than mine though.

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Old 12-18-2008, 04:16 PM   #3
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[Here is what I have been working last couple of weeks. I cut a smaller hole in the keg about 10 inch and used the cutouts from other kegs this is large in dia. The gasket is latex tubing split and glued together with super glue.

Looks like I'm not smart enough to post a picture on this web site. Sorry




Hope this helps

Surfsupks

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Old 12-18-2008, 04:33 PM   #4
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Don't cut the top off! You don't need to see inside.

A lot of people have done this on the B3 forum and with great results. The easiest way is to heat up a 6.5G carboy cap and stretch it over the stem port. Now you have a seal, a racking cane port and blow-off tube port. Works like a charm. The really nice one I saw, a guy made a plate with fittings in it and used a tri-clover gasket/clamp to attach it. Very nice.

To clean them....

Fill them part way with water and PBW, put the whole thing on your burner and bring it up to 170* ish. PBW at 170* will remove anything fermentation left behind. Likewise for sanitizing. Fill with about 2-3 gallons of just water and while you're mashing, bring it to a boil. Even if there were a slight amount of organic material in there, you can bet that after 20-30 minutes of steam it ain't alive! A friend of mine and I have been discussing the tri-clover plate idea and making a plate that has a pressure relief valve and the weight from a Presto canner. Then you could pressure steam sanitize and sterilize the inside of the thing at 15psi for 15 minutes... Do that with a conical!

No gaskets, no clamps, no cutting.... Just a easy to use SS fermenter!

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Old 12-18-2008, 05:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derrin View Post
Don't cut the top off! You don't need to see inside.
I knew before long we would have to talk about preferences in fermentors.

One of my reasons for not liking carboy (and BB) is I can not touch the inside. Yes I have a brush that can reach all the spots you need to clean. But it never feels clean. I can get into a keg and clean it.

I know this seems odd. I am sure you are right that it cleans it just fine.

Plus I do all of my cleaning at work. I have time here to do that kind of thing. And my girlfriend would kill me if she saw me with a keg on our little electric stove. (I do my brewing at my friends house.)

**EDIT**
I should mention that I am still considering this idea.
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Old 12-18-2008, 05:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madewithchicken View Post
I knew before long we would have to talk about preferences in fermentors.

One of my reasons for not liking carboy (and BB) is I can not touch the inside. Yes I have a brush that can reach all the spots you need to clean. But it never feels clean. I can get into a keg and clean it.

I know this seems odd. I am sure you are right that it cleans it just fine.

Plus I do all of my cleaning at work. I have time here to do that kind of thing. And my girlfriend would kill me if she saw me with a keg on our little electric stove. (I do my brewing at my friends house.)

**EDIT**
I should mention that I am still considering this idea.
I'm not telling you you're wrong. I don't blame you for wanting to see inside. If it's something you're considering, why not try a few batches that way. You'll be out a carboy cap. Look inside with a mirror and flashflight and see if you're Ok with it. You can always cut the top off if you see something you're not happy with, but it's a hell of a lot more work to weld it back on!
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Old 12-18-2008, 06:05 PM   #7
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She better be smokin hot and the best lay in town! Won't let you brew at your home? WOW!

Seriously, though... cleaning with the right chemicals is good. Think "clean smarter, not harder". Elbow grease is fine with a turkey fryer pot, but once you move up to bigger vessels and things, it's time to start figuring out how to clean them while leaving them intact so they work the best way possible. A keg is a great vessel, and that one small opening gives you an opportunity to assure sanitization with access.

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Old 12-18-2008, 06:08 PM   #8
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You stole my picture!@@#!

search function is your friend!

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/larg...60/index2.html

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Old 12-18-2008, 06:22 PM   #9
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Sabco has a sanke adapter for just this purpose. IIRC, you remove the stem and replace with their adapter which clamps in a tri-clamp fashion. The adapter has a very small footprint and replaces the original stem.

They don't list adapter prices only but you might call them to see if you can get the parts to adapt your own keg.

Fermenters by Sabco

Say what you will about Sabco's fees but, they do have some good ideas.

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Old 12-18-2008, 07:55 PM   #10
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Wortmonger also has a regular sanke adaptor with a spunding valve attached.

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