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Old 05-02-2007, 12:39 AM   #1
Kokamantratarius
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Default Aluminum kegs

Ok so I got really really lucky. I am planning on making my AG set-up and I was asking around work and I found 3 guys who had empty kegs so score....I think. I have a set of carbide high speed bits so I was trying to see if I could drill a hole for the plumbing to come out and low an behold the keg that I got from 1 of the guys is aluminum, I will be getting the other kegs tommorrow so I don't know if either one will be aluminum.

Is it ok to use aluminum kegs as a lauter, mash or boil keg? I plan on puting a steel plate on the bottom of any keg that is aluminum. Are there any reasons I can't or shouldn't use an aluminum keg?

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Old 05-02-2007, 01:16 AM   #2
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The opinions on the virtues of SS and aluminium are bound to start flying.

Plenty-o-brewers use Aluminium for brew kettles. I did too. I don't see a problem using the keg for any of your brew tasks.

I'll step aside now and let the "commentaries" begin.

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Old 05-02-2007, 01:18 AM   #3
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I didn't think any kegs were made of AL. How do you know for sure?

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Old 05-02-2007, 02:33 AM   #4
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Well it went through really easy hardly any stress on the bit and I took a magnet to the keg and it wasn't magnetic. I'm pretty sure stainless steel is magnetic but I know aluminum isn't magnetic.

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Old 05-02-2007, 02:36 AM   #5
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No, SS kegs aren't magnetic. The holes I drilled in mine went through without too much effort. Does it look like a standard keg? What's the brewery?

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Old 05-02-2007, 02:42 AM   #6
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It is a standard sankey keg from anheuser busch.

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Old 05-02-2007, 03:00 AM   #7
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It is definitely stainless steel. Some types of stainless can exhibit some magnetic permeability in the areas where it was cold worked, like rounded edges and sharp bends for example, but for all intents and purposes magnets can't be used to determine if something is made of stainless steel. Aluminum kegs would never survive the beating that kegs need to endure to have any kind of a service life.

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Old 05-02-2007, 04:39 AM   #8
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Awesome thanks guys. I was down at my HBS saturday talking to someone about converting kegs to pots and I asked about converting it myself and he said that stainless steel is way to hard to drill and I would need a plasma cutter. Well me being me I have to try it to make sure and well it drilled perfectly fine, I had no problems drilling it at all.

On to my next question. Since I am not going to use a plasma cutter I am thinking instead of welding connectors on I could just drill my hole to size and use a threaded connector through the keg wall and use copper or brass (which ever would work best) gaskets to seal it. How does that sound? Any suggestions?

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Old 05-02-2007, 05:10 AM   #9
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I think some REALLY old kegs were aluminum. I doubt you'd find one these days. The sheet metal is so thin on the stainless ones that it probably drills rather easily.

If you're welding stainless, be sure to back-purge, or you'll get some ugly crystallization (sugaring).

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Old 05-02-2007, 10:57 AM   #10
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Personally, I use weldless fittings that I bought from Northern Brewer for ~$15. If you don't have experience welding SS, this works great for me (no leaks at all), and all I had to do was drill the hole and clean it up. Then, I just hooked up a standard brass ball value and hosse barb, and I was good to go.



http://www.northernbrewer.com/weldless.html

Did you get the top cut off the keg yet? Since it doesn't sound like you have access to a plasma cutter, the consensus next best option is an angle grinder with a cut-off wheel. Just take it easy, give it a couple passes, but this, too, works great.

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