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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > BIAB Kettle Build - Sight Glass and Spigot Combined?
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:20 PM   #1
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Default BIAB Kettle Build - Sight Glass and Spigot Combined?

I am getting one of these Bayou Classic 44qt steamer kettles with the basket and a spigot for a BIAB setup.


I would like to add a sight glass and a better spigot to the existing weld like this:


I don't foresee any problems with this but wanted to bounce the idea around here to see what you other brewers thought? My goal is to not drill any more holes since it already has a welded fitting.

Wayne at Bargain Fittings mentioned that with this configuration the wort in the sight glass would of course drain as soon as I open the valve. I also thought about aeration of the wort with a sort of a venturi effect? With BIAB style brewing I think this may be a benefit as long as the wort is cooled in the kettle before draining.

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Old 03-27-2011, 01:43 AM   #2
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While you folks were pondering my question about the combo sight glass/spigot I took some pics of my mesh bag.

Here is the mesh bag I am using. This is a paint strainer bag from my local hardware store. I got two of these in a pack for about $4.00.


The stitch on these bags looks quite sturdy with two rows and a zig-zag pattern on the outside edge. The size is about 16 in wide x 21 in tall.

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Old 03-27-2011, 01:50 AM   #3
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The problem with having the sight glass in-line with the spigot is as soon as you open the spigot, our liquid level will drop ad you'll lose the ability to read your sight glass. If you have any intention of controlling your liquid level, it won't work.

The paint bag looks good. I use an el cheapo five-gallon paint bag for mine (just a hop bag as I mash in a cooler, but the same concept) and it works fine. That one looks quality.

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Old 03-27-2011, 01:56 AM   #4
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The paint strainer bags are ok IMO, but the Voile material is far superior. It will leave you with a much clearer wort as the pores are much finer. Worth the effort to find someone to stitch up a bag for you.

I have a sight glass on my single tier HLT keggle, but I am not bothering to put one into my BIAB set-up. A measuring stick is really all I need for a one pot potion.

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Old 03-27-2011, 02:06 AM   #5
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The measuring stick is a good idea. I thought about using a steel ruler I have in the tool shed. I think it is aluminum and should be fairly clean.

I guess I will have to get the SWMBO to stitch up some of the Swiss Voile for me. She may actually enjoy contributing to my brewing hobby.

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Old 03-27-2011, 02:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetSmooth View Post
The problem with having the sight glass in-line with the spigot is as soon as you open the spigot, our liquid level will drop ad you'll lose the ability to read your sight glass. If you have any intention of controlling your liquid level, it won't work.
JetSmooth,
Thank you for the comments. With BIAB I am thinking the only time I will need to measure water levels is before I dough in and after the boil? This will allow me to set my mash volume and then take a post boil reading. The only time I can think I will really be opening the spigot is to drain the wort into the fermenter.

If for some reason I do open the spigot for a moment before I am filling the fermenter, for instance to take a hydrometer reading, wouldn't the sight glass fill back up?
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Old 03-28-2011, 03:13 PM   #7
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Ditch the small paint strainer bag and go with a voile panel. You can pickup a 59x84 panel (curtain) for $4.75 at Wal-Mart. Voile is far superior to those paint strainer bags.

Keep the 1g and 5g bags for hops; anything besided 12+ pounds of grain.

I have a similar pot from Bass Pro. I removed the spigot and installed a weldless bulkhead and ball valve. Much cleaner than the spigot.

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Old 03-28-2011, 03:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
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JetSmooth,
Thank you for the comments. With BIAB I am thinking the only time I will need to measure water levels is before I dough in and after the boil? This will allow me to set my mash volume and then take a post boil reading. The only time I can think I will really be opening the spigot is to drain the wort into the fermenter.

If for some reason I do open the spigot for a moment before I am filling the fermenter, for instance to take a hydrometer reading, wouldn't the sight glass fill back up?
I don't do BIAB, so I can't comment on that. It may not be a problem for you. But do you want to start out with what may be a potential problem down the road? What if you change your brewing style or want to only drian off half the liquid volume at some point? It may come back to bite you.

Yes, the sightglass will fill back up. So it'll work for you. But you may fine yourself needing to separate the fittings, requiring another hole later on.

Not trying to discourage you. But this was something I considered when I made my first pot and this line of logic steered me away from it.

Best of luck!
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:29 PM   #9
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Your sight-glass/ball valve combo won't drain below the level of the sight-glass because you won't be able to create a siphon. Unless of course you use your thumb to create an airtight seal on the top of the sight-glass when you drain below that level.

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Old 03-30-2011, 04:19 AM   #10
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Finally got my Bayou Classic 44qt kettle in today with the steamer basket. Here are some pics.

This should work well for most all the brews I want to do up to 5 gallon batches.


The steamer basket gives me about a 3" gap above the bottom of the kettle to protect the bag from burning.


The welded port seems to be a 1" FPT. The spigot is easy to remove btw.

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