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Old 07-07-2011, 02:40 PM   #1
TwentyDollarTurkey
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Default Question on 55 Gallon Stainless Drums

I've got a line on some 55 gallon stainless steel drums that I am wanting to purchase. Over the next 1-2 years, I want to build an electric brewery with a coworker, with a capacity of 1-1.5 BBL, modeled on "The Electric Brewery".

The specs on the stainless barrels are:

-Were formerly used to transport silver based emulsion (I believe used in photography)

-316 grade stainless steel

-62lbs per cylinder

My plan is to use 3 of these, 1 for HLT, 1 for MLG, and 1 for my brew kettle.

The rest of the plans are in development, and I don't plan on having it operational for at least a year, but think the deal on the barrels is probably too good to pass up, at $160.00 per barrel.

Does anybody have any thoughts on this?

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Old 07-07-2011, 03:08 PM   #2
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Can you get more? I will take 3. Make sure you get at least a 50amp circuit. You will need two 4500 watt elements or push the limit and get two 5500 wat elements. I built a 30 amp panel and wish I built it for 50 and two elements.

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Old 07-07-2011, 03:35 PM   #3
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With that large of a brewery I'd go with a 50-60A circuit as stated above. Many others have built systems based on barrels and they seem to work fine.

Also, if you don't mind could you share your source? I've been looking for a SS Drum for a reasonable price for a while. Cheers!

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Old 07-07-2011, 04:40 PM   #4
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316 ss, at 62 pounds they are likely 16 gauge ss. A great buy fo $160.

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Old 07-07-2011, 08:03 PM   #5
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I firmly believe you should get several more of them while you can. Reason? You need fermentation vessels and vessels for aging. Your other choices would be very expensive gear or made of plastic 'stuff'. Do it right while you can.

For your Electric Brewery setup: You can do that without throwing tons of cash at it. Plan it out with the idea of keeping it simple (and safe). "Bling" does not matter when you are brewing. A working system with decent control really does matter.

I posted an updated diagram for such a controller today in another thread. It is based on 2 - 5500W elements in the HLT and BOIL kettles. Bottom line? There is more than one way of doing things. "Bling" is great - but - expensive.

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Old 07-08-2011, 02:03 PM   #6
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I use several drums as fermenters. The top was cut off and a coupler welded an inch off the bottom. Lids are food grade plastic drum covers from US Plastics.

After racking, yeast can be harvested by gently rocking the drum to re-suspend yeast in the last few gallons of beer which is then collected.

That volume of beer fermenting requires adequate temp control. It is amazing the heat generated by 50 gal of ale with a generous pitch of yeast. It can run away pretty fast.

My original rig used drums for HLT and the brew kettle. Worked great.

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Old 07-08-2011, 06:40 PM   #7
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Sorry I've been so slow to respond to everyone; now that I've got my 3 on order, I'll share the wealth... Some of you may have already found the source by now.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...#ht_500wt_1127

I spoke to the guy on the phone, even though they're listed at $175.00, he'll sell them at $160 for 3-9 pcs, he may give further price breaks above 9, I'm not sure.

I'd love to buy twice as many at least right now, but we are in the VERY early stages of planning; space is a constraint right now, as well as money. I just couldn't pass up getting at least enough for the brewhouse itself though.

Thanks for the electrical advice, there's a sticky thread on Kal's site with loads of great information for scaling his system up to 1.5 barrels. I would highly recommend checking it out to anyone going that direction, even if you don't intend to follow his plans.

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Old 07-10-2011, 02:19 PM   #8
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TwentyDollarTurkey, your pm is full, wanted to ask you another question.

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Old 07-11-2011, 11:27 AM   #9
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Sorry about that, I can't figure out how to delete PM's from my phone... Had to wait til I could get to a computer.

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Old 07-11-2011, 01:18 PM   #10
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"-Were formerly used to transport silver based emulsion "

Is this able to be cleaned enough to be food grade?

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