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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > Need input on my new electric 1.5 bbl system
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Old 09-22-2011, 07:01 PM   #1
EarthBound
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Default Need input on my new electric 1.5 bbl system

I purchased a 55 gallon stainless steel drum last night.

It will be used as a boil kettle in conjunction with my existing single-tier brewstand, which consists of three keggles. One of the three keggles will be used as a HLT, and the other two keggles will be used as MLTs.

My maximum batch capacity will soon be increased from about 12 gallons to about 47 gallons. That's right: one vessel will quadruple my capacity. With a 47 gallon capacity, I would do a double batch in one day, yielding 94 gallons. That's more than 3 barrels. Not bad for a day's worth of work. If I took the shelf out of my fermentation chamber (easily done), I could fit two 55 gallon fermentation vessels. This would provide adequate fermentation space for the aforementioned 94 gallons of beer.

1. What do you think of using two keggle MLTs feeding one 55 gallon BK? Have you heard of this before?

2. From where do you suggest I get the fittings? I plan to use 1" tri-clover fittings.

3. Do you think that two 5500W elements in the BK would be adequate? Would you suggest I use more?

4. I plan to whirlpool with this BK. I will usually be doing very hoppy beers, mostly with pellets, so I need an efficient way of keeping all that out of my fermenters. Do you agree that's what I should do?

Let me know if I need to post any pics. I'm open to any criticism, suggestions, or comments you may have.

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Old 09-22-2011, 07:18 PM   #2
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not really helpful but what on earth do you need with nearly 100 gallons of beer?

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Old 09-22-2011, 07:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by EarthBound View Post
If I took the shelf out of my fermentation chamber (easily done), I could fit two 55 gallon fermentation vessels. .
Sorry I have to ask what is your fermentation chamber that you can fit two 55 gallon drums?
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:41 PM   #4
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we require pictures of set up and fermentation chamber and fermentation vessels. if that isn't too much trouble.

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Old 09-22-2011, 09:08 PM   #5
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Unless you have the proper paperwork and are selling this, what in the world do you need that much beer for? I can see doing group brews with it. But for personal consumption, just seems like a waste of time and materials. I'm not usually a naysayer on this forum but I'm just trying to save you a lot of money and your time.

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Old 09-22-2011, 09:12 PM   #6
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Wow....enough beer for an army. Hope no infected batches!

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Old 09-22-2011, 09:18 PM   #7
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You will have to look into a good pump. No way a March 809 can whirlpool that much volume.

Would a 5 gallon batch be used as your starter? Would that even be enough?

How are you going to Chill?

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Old 09-22-2011, 09:19 PM   #8
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would be nice to be able to fill up a bourbon barrel with one batch

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Old 09-23-2011, 12:11 AM   #9
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I have a similar project in the works, i picked up a 120 gallon stainless water tank and cut it 75/45. So i have given alot of thought about kettle sizing. A good rule of thumb is your BK should be 50% bigger than your batch size if you want 0 boil overs. I know i get boil overs from time to time doing 10 gallon batches in a 15 gal kettle, imagine how much worse it will be at the 1bbl + scale.

As to the Mash tun capacity, each tun would be capable of 37 lbs of grain according to a post by bobbym Here. Therefore the highest gravity you could get would be 1.043 at 75% in a 47 gal batch. And thats stretching it. I would recommend finding another vessel in the 40 gallon range because maxing out two MTs seems like alot of hassle. Not to mention energy inefficient.

Two 5500 watt elements might JUST get 47 gallons boiling. My thoughts on that are 1 element per 15 gallons for reasonable water heating. I assume your going to prepare strike water in your kettle. So i would recommend 3 elements.

I dont want to upgrade my pumps for my system, and i know 1 march wont whirlpool 40+ gallons so i was just gonna put a screen over my kettle outlet like my current system has. It almost acts as a hopback, i get very good aroma this way on flameout additions. Thats all i got for now

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Old 09-23-2011, 08:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwitz View Post
I have a similar project in the works, i picked up a 120 gallon stainless water tank and cut it 75/45. So i have given alot of thought about kettle sizing. A good rule of thumb is your BK should be 50% bigger than your batch size if you want 0 boil overs. I know i get boil overs from time to time doing 10 gallon batches in a 15 gal kettle, imagine how much worse it will be at the 1bbl + scale.

As to the Mash tun capacity, each tun would be capable of 37 lbs of grain according to a post by bobbym Here. Therefore the highest gravity you could get would be 1.043 at 75% in a 47 gal batch. And thats stretching it. I would recommend finding another vessel in the 40 gallon range because maxing out two MTs seems like alot of hassle. Not to mention energy inefficient.

Two 5500 watt elements might JUST get 47 gallons boiling. My thoughts on that are 1 element per 15 gallons for reasonable water heating. I assume your going to prepare strike water in your kettle. So i would recommend 3 elements.

I dont want to upgrade my pumps for my system, and i know 1 march wont whirlpool 40+ gallons so i was just gonna put a screen over my kettle outlet like my current system has. It almost acts as a hopback, i get very good aroma this way on flameout additions. Thats all i got for now
Based upon the discussion initiated by your post I had last night with my friends, I decided that it would be impractical to normally do 1.5 bbl batches. Just because it's possible doesn't mean it's practical. I will normally do 1 bbl batches. Here's my response to your recommendations:

1. I agree that 3 elements would provide a 47 gallon boil in a much more reasonable amount of time than 2 elements. However, I would prefer not to install 3 elements. The existing wiring (between the breaker and receptacle) for my brewery is 8 gauge which is adequate for 2 elements in the BK. I believe I would have to up-gauge my wiring to run 3 elements.

2. I agree that two MLTs can seem like a energy inefficient hassle, but I'm more interested in why you think that. I'm willing to suffer through it to significantly increase my batch size without requiring another vessel. I would prefer to just use my existing equipment plus this 55 gallon SS drum. I would prefer not buy another vessel until further capacity increase is required.

3. I believe an adequate whirlpool could be created by using a drill-operated SS paint mixer. What do you think?

Congrats on the sweet scrap yard find. I look forward to watching your build progress.
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