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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kegerators and Keezers > Can I build a half-barrel system for under $2000?
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:12 AM   #1
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Default Can I build a half-barrel system for under $2000?

I am new to brewing, having only made a handful of batches with the extract kit / partial brew / bucket system, and I plan to continue learning and doing this for a while, eventually moving to partial mash and then full mash. Meanwhile, in the medium term (6-12 months, or sooner if possible), I'd like to put together a half-barrel brewing system to eventually use to fill my full-size kegerator (15 gallon). I have spent about 20 hours over the past week scouring this forum and using google-foo trying to gather as much knowledge as I can about such a system.

I'm not the most handy person, but I have a couple of friends with construction and welding experience who will help me (as long as I pay them in beer).

What I need help with is itemizing and pricing all of the things I will need. And if anyone has made step-by-step instructions for this, please point me in the right direction. If it can't be done for that price ($2000), what should I shoot for?

Would a kettle of this size work:
http://www.amazon.com/King-Kooker-80...743484&sr=8-11

Will this burner throw enough heat:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Where can I get a container large enough to ferment 15 gallons?

Etc... etc...

Any and all advice is welcome. I realize this probably sounds a little too ambitious for such a n00b, but I've really caught the brewing bug and I am committed to making a medium investment in time and money to the hobby. If I get enough positive feedback and I think I can put the project together, I will post my progress here.

Thanks.

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Old 03-10-2011, 08:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B0rnFrustr8ed View Post
I am new to brewing, having only made a handful of batches with the extract kit / partial brew / bucket system, and I plan to continue learning and doing this for a while, eventually moving to partial mash and then full mash. Meanwhile, in the medium term (6-12 months, or sooner if possible), I'd like to put together a half-barrel brewing system to eventually use to fill my full-size kegerator (15 gallon). I have spent about 20 hours over the past week scouring this forum and using google-foo trying to gather as much knowledge as I can about such a system.

I'm not the most handy person, but I have a couple of friends with construction and welding experience who will help me (as long as I pay them in beer).

What I need help with is itemizing and pricing all of the things I will need. And if anyone has made step-by-step instructions for this, please point me in the right direction. If it can't be done for that price ($2000), what should I shoot for?

Would a kettle of this size work:
http://www.amazon.com/King-Kooker-80...743484&sr=8-11

Will this burner throw enough heat:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Where can I get a container large enough to ferment 15 gallons?

Etc... etc...

Any and all advice is welcome. I realize this probably sounds a little too ambitious for such a n00b, but I've really caught the brewing bug and I am committed to making a medium investment in time and money to the hobby. If I get enough positive feedback and I think I can put the project together, I will post my progress here.

Thanks.
You could look into conical fermenters. They can be had (14.5 gallon ones) for 600 bucks, less if used.
Or you can use a trash can like winemakers do:
http://morewinemaking.com/view_produ...on_FDA_Plastic

Not really a trash can, but yeah.

As long as you aren't boiling 20 gallons of water, that burner should be able to bring 16 or so gallons of water to a boil. It will take a while, but it will get there. Keep the lid on while coming to a boil to keep the heat in.

Also, look into the BIAB, or brew in a bag technique for a quick entrance to all grain.

Also also, you are using an aluminum pot. You should could might want to boil that guy for 30 minutes to get a good oxide layer on there. I don't know how valid this argument is as pure aluminum oxidizes in seconds, but it can't hurt. Heck, it will be a way to test the power of your burner for that pot.
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:43 AM   #3
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I would look more at fermenting the amount you want over how to make the amount in one go. For instance I would like to start making 1-2 barrel batches. My plan is to get a few chest freezers with temp controllers(ebay aquarium temp controller thread) A handful of Delex 15 gallon barrels, and then brew enough to fill each one through a double brew day and one more batch the following day. Then each freezer holding three fermenters represents 1 barrel. Pricing wise the three fermenters and freezer from craigslist represent a total cost of $200 give or take. I know this is not exactly what you have in mind but it is another idea to consider for brewing ever larger batches. From everything I have learned it is the fermenting space and time that will ultimately slow you down. I'd worry more about this aspect over the actual brewing process. Good Luck

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Old 03-10-2011, 09:58 AM   #4
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you can buy a 15 gallon demijon (glass) we use one and it works fine the cost is about $100 delivered.
you will need to have a brew kettle of 25-30 gallons for a 15 gallon batch.

i would skip the partial mash and go strait to AG keep a couple lbs of DEM on hand incase you miss your OG.

good luck on your projecct

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Old 03-10-2011, 11:34 AM   #5
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When you say half barrel do you mean 15.5 gallons of finished beer if so you will need at least 20 gallon mash tun, hlt and a 25 gallon boil kettle. Then I would say you will need a 20 gallon fermentor,look at the plastic mart web site for a fermentor and stand.
I built this for under two grand but I did it all myself.

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Old 03-10-2011, 12:27 PM   #6
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Check these guys out for your kettle and fermentor... be sure to ask them to make the kettle bigger for you: http://brewhemoth.com/

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Old 03-10-2011, 12:49 PM   #7
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Default Hell yes it's doable.

You're not going to have all blichman products but it can definitely be done. This is for the brewery alone; not for tools or labor, ingredients, bottling/kegging equipment, malt mill, etc.

$600 pots I got x3 45 gallon pots on ebay for $598 shipped. They were chinese and dent/scratch but they're fully functional and all three were cheaper than one blichman of the same size.

$200 plastic conicals from spraysmart.com. x2 15 gal shipped $122 plus $75 to put drain/racking hardware on them. You could also spend $30 each for the buckets mentioned above..

$200 for steel for your sculpture. I'd say this is a bit high but a safe estimate.

$100 false bottom (Recommend Jaybird's) He might charge a bit more but I hear they're well worth it. I plan on ordering mine from him for my 45 gal MLT.

$150 fittings (go onto bargainfittings.com or e-bay). Stick to two piece ball valves or you'll use $100 on them alone.

$100 camlocks (proflow dynamics for stainless camlocks) This price is quite high. $70 was enough for 6 stainless steel disconnect sets. A little padding won't hurt though.

$100 for burners (amazon or agrisupply.com) This price is high too. That's plenty for x3 BG-14 burners. I prefer multiple sp-10s personally. BobbyM did a x3 sp-10 burner under his 50 gal BK. They are also $9.00 each (minus shipping).

$100 for gas bar parts (home depot/lowes) A little padded here as well. Shouldn't be that high, stick to brass fittings. Get a 0-30 psi regulator off of agrisupply.

$100 for a pump (ebay). You can buy a march pump brand new if you want for slightly higher but I got mine off of ebay for $25..

$50 for a plate chiller (duda diesel) also on e-bay. great prices, a 10 plate heat exchanger is plenty.

That puts you at $1700.00.. I'd say it's easily doable... Again, you still need bottling equipment. A good place to spend some of your excess. Good luck with the build. Create a thread when you get started!

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Old 03-10-2011, 12:53 PM   #8
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Default Other kettles

I also hear that penrose kettles from brewhemoth are awesome. they'll also do some welding for you for a very reasonable price. Do a search for their reviews in the forum; they're plentiful!

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Old 03-10-2011, 01:38 PM   #9
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I think you're going to find a lot of miscellaneous expenses add up quickly. I'd plan at least 25% creep in your estimate. Personally I think some of the estimates above are actually on the low side.

I would sit down and draw everything out. Draw the stand, draw the pots, draw the ports in the ports, hoses, pumps, filters etc etc and how things will flow. This will give you a good idea what you're going to need. You also need to decide if you're going to build a HERMS or RIMS system as this will affect what you'll need.

Already said above but to restate, once you have a stand go all-grain. I mean you can do extract or partial brewing on a stand, but the expense of the stand really is so you can easily brew larger batches of grain that weigh a lot and require a lot of liquid to be moved around.

Good luck!

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Old 03-10-2011, 03:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lehr View Post
When you say half barrel do you mean 15.5 gallons of finished beer if so you will need at least 20 gallon mash tun, hlt and a 25 gallon boil kettle. Then I would say you will need a 20 gallon fermentor,look at the plastic mart web site for a fermentor and stand.
I built this for under two grand but I did it all myself.
That looks pretty close to what I had in mind. I'll be reading that thread, and probably asking you a ton of questions, if you don't mind.
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