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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > Scrap waterheater as brewery?
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:25 AM   #1
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Default Scrap waterheater as brewery?

Hello good people;

I see in the US it's very common to use sanke-kegs as components in the home-brewery. Here in Norway, many people use scrap-water heaters, as kegs aren't that readily available (and scrap-hotwater tanks are usually free).

People use them both as mash-tuns, hot-liquor, and boilers. Some people make them quite decorative as well. Offcourse, there is usually a little welding involved. Cleaning scrap hotwater-tanks inside to remove the "rusty film" is fairly easy using hydrochloric acid.

Has anyone on this forum tried using scrap-hotwatertanks for brewing? I'd love to see how you did it!


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Old 08-13-2009, 08:34 AM   #2
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Wow, Id love to be able to get my hands on something like that, what kind of water tanks is that?

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Old 08-13-2009, 08:43 AM   #3
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Wow, Id love to be able to get my hands on something like that, what kind of water tanks is that?
It's a regular home-hotwater-tank. I think the brand-name is OSO. Here is an american page with the same types: Products - American Water Heaters

To get to the stainless tank, you have to strip off the outer covering of the hotwater heater as well as the insulation. The element from the factory is fine for heating sparge-water in a hot-liquor tank. For the boiler, some people replace the element with circular elements mounted on the bottom of the tank. Then you could start heating the wort with only a few cm of wort. 6000w is preferable for a wort-volume of 100-150 liters. (roughly 25 gallons) A friend of mine did this:
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Old 08-13-2009, 05:00 PM   #4
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I might be wrong here, but I don't think most water heaters in the US are stainless? If they were, I would think some yank would have already done this. Nice kettle btw!

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Old 08-13-2009, 05:02 PM   #5
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Ayup. Many US tanks are glass lined. Most I have ever heard of is people salvaging the burners and gas valves for a NG rig.

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Old 08-13-2009, 05:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erlendso View Post
It's a regular home-hotwater-tank. I think the brand-name is OSO. Here is an american page with the same types: Products - American Water Heaters

To get to the stainless tank, you have to strip off the outer covering of the hotwater heater as well as the insulation. The element from the factory is fine for heating sparge-water in a hot-liquor tank. For the boiler, some people replace the element with circular elements mounted on the bottom of the tank. Then you could start heating the wort with only a few cm of wort. 6000w is preferable for a wort-volume of 100-150 liters. (roughly 25 gallons) A friend of mine did this:
Very good thinking on your part plus a quick little jig to make a straight cut plus allowing you the option to make the volume of the tank fit your needs. Looking at the photo of the round elements, they screwed in from the bottom so quick easy replacements not a problem?
One of our forum members used stainless swimming pool filters that were free or cheap replaced tanks in stainless for his brewery that polished up to show condition.
I also recall another member used 2 x 4's with casters with fixed wheels to make a jig then he used a lathe bit in it's holder mounted on a vice then hand rotated the keg cutting the lids off on his 15.5 gallon kegs. Sure it took some time but a perfectly round opening when done. It's all in a the thinking on what's available and how to use it, hats off to you. Just think of the savings that can now be used towards your other brewing equipment to finish your brewery.
Question; what's the diameter of those hot water heater tanks?
You must post the finished brewery when your done. Cheers for those hands on thinking "this will work" people, plus look at the money you saved vs having to purchase stainless kettles.
That cutting wheel looks like a diamond impregnated wheel for tile and stone, that correct or that a carbide cutting wheel?
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Old 08-13-2009, 05:07 PM   #7
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Unfortunately, in the US most tanks are glass-lined steel, not SS.

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Old 08-13-2009, 05:09 PM   #8
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This is an interesting concept tho. Especially for the gas heat crowd. since most, if not all, gas water heaters have the flue running through the middle of the tank I wonder if this would help to increase the heating potential as the heating surface are would increase somewhat.

If I hadn't already bought a brewery I'd be looking at this.

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Old 08-14-2009, 08:21 AM   #9
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Thanks for the replies!

Wow, I didn't know they used glass-lined tanks in the US. Still, I suppose a glass lined tank could be used for sparge-water i brewing. If you could find a scrapped one with minor leaks, some good food-grade silicone would probably do the trick. Maybe even replacing gaskets.

The photos refer to a friends' project, you can see his blog here: Ølbrygging. (It's in Norwegian, but has some nice pictures.)

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Old 08-14-2009, 02:03 PM   #10
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Yeah, I got a 10 gallon one for free that I'm currently turning into my HLT. I already cut the top out of it. I'm going to leave the insulation and outer shell. I also scrapped the thermostat and wired the plug (110 volt) directly into the element. I'm going to use a temperature controller to monitor temps.

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