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Old 08-07-2012, 09:24 PM   #1
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Default The 1.5 BBL Build. FINALLLYYY

So after about a year and a half of searching and purchasing materials we have finally begun to build our 1.5 BBL system. Most of my ideas have come from right here on homebrew talk so I thought I would return the favor and give some of you out there a chance to see my progress and pick my brain.

First of all I was able to purchase five (5) 55 gallon SS drums in near perfect shape. They came from South Carolina so for a home brewer like myself in Miami, Fl. this was great since the shipping was much lower than if I would have found them elsewhere.

After sourcing the barrels it was time to purchase fittings and all of the other goodies. I bought most of my fittings from barginfittings.com go figure.

I got my false bottom from NorCal brewing, the FB is awesome I had a small issue with the stand that I purchased with it and after not being able to get an answer from them as to what to do, I had to take matters into my own hands. In NorCals defense it was the holidays and I am sure that they were busy.

Now I had all the pieces of the puzzle but was a little overwhelmed with doing the work, so I just sat in limbo reading the forums looking at other peoples systems brewing as much as I could with my smaller 5 gallon system. This was a blessing because I did not just start drilling holes into these perfect pieces of steel and later regret my lack of patients. I also was able to get an understanding of what works for me and how I personally wanted my system to work.

Finally last night the fun began and we did a lot in 1 night compared to the year worth of just waiting. The barrels were drilled using a unitbit step drill bit with 3 level 1/2'' holes. The top and bottom had a 3 piece ball valve installed with weldless bulkhead fittings. The middle has a thermowell with thermometer. A straight dip tube is connected to the bottom valve which passes through the false bottom. I had to drill this hole in the FB.

My original plan was to place the FB higher than the bottom valve eliminating the dip tube. However once you place the false bottom on the stand I purchased the FB was not sealed along the edges of the barrel as well as if I dropped the FB down 2''. So I scrapped the stand, placed a thermo hose around the bottom of the barrel and sat the FB right on top, and it fit like a glove.

I have attached pictures and would love to help anybody out that has questions.

imag0228.jpg   imag0225.jpg   imag1456.jpg   imag1464.jpg   imag1468.jpg  

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Old 08-07-2012, 09:44 PM   #2
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Looking good so far. This for personal use, or are you opening up a brewery?

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Old 08-07-2012, 09:45 PM   #3
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Looking good so far. This for personal use, or are you opening up a brewery?

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Old 08-07-2012, 10:09 PM   #4
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This is my step in that direction. We have a warehouse I teach homebrewing classes, and we have a member base thta uses the warehouse to brew instead of making a mess at their own place. I would like to take this pro one day, and this could be the system that started it all.

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Old 08-07-2012, 10:52 PM   #5
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I like it.
Couple questions though, first what are those barrels used for originally or how do you even search for them for sale?

Secondly, instead of doing the drop why not drill in from the bottom and just have a small stand under it to creat a space for the hose?

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Old 08-07-2012, 11:53 PM   #6
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I found them right on this very forum. I found a thread that talked about SS 55 gallon drums. I was able to track someone down that had purchased them a few years back I will look for the thread again and see if I can post it here. They are food grade and I was told they were used for that purpose, what exactly they were used for I did not ask.


Like I said before. The original plan was to do just that. I had purchased a 2'' stand with the FB, this would allow me to place the ball valve below the FB, and there would be no need for the dip tube at all. However the FB would have a bigger gap along the side of the barrel the higher up it sat. This was no good and I needed to find a method to correct since I knew I was not gonna get a new FB cut. So the lower placement of the FB makes a much tighter fit and thus the Dip tube was the way to go. I could always have the stand that I purchased cut to be 1/2' and replace the thermo hose eventually but I need to find someone for that. I have attached a picture of the gap that was formed by the higher placement.

imag0622.jpg   imag0625.jpg   imag0623.jpg  
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:09 AM   #7
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Looks good..
I have seen some that put silicon tubing on the edge of the FB to give it a good seal. Not sure if you want to go that route.

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Old 08-08-2012, 12:20 AM   #8
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"Looks good..
I have seen some that put silicon tubing on the edge of the FB to give it a good seal. Not sure if you want to go that route."

I've done this with one of my old FB and it worked really well. You can check it out at the following link:

http://morebeer.com/view_product/20306//Tubing_-_Silicone_3_8%22_ID_-_By_the_Foot

Just splice it hot dog style and it'll take care of everything for you. It's 1/8" wall thickness if that helps at all.

Cheers!

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Old 08-08-2012, 01:24 AM   #9
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I had seen that before and I tried it with the thermo hose but I think it was to thick or something because I was never able to get it on without slipping off b4 getting it down to the stand. I think at this point its to late since it has already been drilled.

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Old 08-08-2012, 02:12 AM   #10
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Maybe after you vorlauf and get the grain bed set, that gap may not really be much of a problem?

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