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Old 10-28-2009, 02:18 AM   #1
Nerdie
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Default If you could redo your kettle what would you do different?

Many questions ahead, maybe I can get it right from the start (not live in regret) as well as thefuture generations of homebrewers =) I did to lots of research but I still have questions. Thanks in advance.

Hey guys, so here's the scope... I have been trying to go all-grain for months but I'm on a very busy schedule and I have performed ZERO all-grain batches (the undying desire still lives on)!! I only have a 2.5-3 gallon pot so I have been using extract which tastes GREAT... but I have the itch to learn more like most of you probably... (I want to even try grains in a laundry dryer like papazian did)

The Bowery in NYC has some cheap POTS and I was going to convert it to a HL, MLT and BK but decided not to after researching more... I'm going 15.5 gallon kegs baby!!!! Why did I decide to go kegs? Well, the main reason it just looks WAY COOLER!! Goes with the theme... second, it may come out cheaper (need the same parts later but starting cost is cheaper)... third... you guys are... hehehe has to be good

so now I have 3 kegs all in pretty good shape (I bet a lot of you's wished you didn't convert that beat up keg? that's what this post is about!!) I sold a keg that was a little beat up to a guy who wanted to use it to work out... plus it didn't match the other kegs... (call me a control freak)... but I did this because I had months to reflect and didn't start converting YET

I think I'm going to go gravity setup and then convert to brutus slowly when I get more money and time... I WANT TO DO AN ALL GRAIN ASAP! Help me get the kegs ready and well start a new post on the brutus when the time is right =)

First, let's talk about parts...

What should go on the HLT?
Research + Jay suggested...
theromometer, sight glass, ball valve and diptube
why do I need a diptube? to get all the liquid out? Do you suggest more or less hardware?
You don't need a false bottom because it's expensive and it's only water (many people may not know that, took me some time to figure out... I was going to make 3 identical kegs)

What should go on the MLT?
Research + Jay suggested...
theromometer, ball valve and diptube, false bottom and lid

Can you make the lid from the one you just cut off the top of the keg?
definitely need the false bottom here. A sight glass isn't practical, is it? Can you explain why? I sort of get it.

What should go on the the BK?
Research + Jay suggested...
ballvalve, diptube, lid (once again can I make it?)
you don't need a thermometer because it will be boiling DUH! 212 degree F always. Now the sightglass and false bottom are optional. What do you suggest. I think "NO" for sightglass because it gets too hot and "NO" to false bottom because it is too expensive and doesn't really keep hop pellets out right? I was thinking of just swirling and using a bazooka... what do you think of that? Can you attach a bazooka to a diptube?


Some other questions...

Welded or Weldless? What's your take? Do I have to disassemble and clean after I brew everytime? When someone makes stainless steel weld what should I be looking for? What solder should they be using? I read a post about going to someone who is a food grade stainless steel welder? Is that necessary? I don't know about welding...

How big of a hole for the top of the keg? What do you recommend?

Where would you put all the holes for sightglass, temp, valve? I heard some people putting it on the wrong place and it heated up too much. What's the ideal location after it has been said and done?


I was going to buy from jay or morebeer.com .... need to see prices and your advice first =)


is this a good sightglass
http://morebeer.com/view_product/18699/102218/Sight_Gauge_-_16

might as well get a chiller...
http://morebeer.com/view_product/19523/102204/Wort_Chiller_-_B3_5_10_Split
this seems good... i can do 5g and 10g.. what do you think?

for false bottom...
http://morebeer.com/view_product/19812/102318/Welded_Mash_Conversion_-_Stainless


Which valve? 3/8 or 1/2? Can't really pick since i'm not sure of welded or weldless.... I'm either going to order all from Jay or all from morebeer... unless u guys suggest otherwise....

bazooka
http://morebeer.com/view_product/9685/102309/Bazooka_T_Screen

I'm not really feeling that copper... is the T better or straight one better? SHould I even get it? It says "(Pellet hops can clog the screen)."

What kind of tubing are you guys using? I can't just using tubing made for fish tanks... can i?

Okay many more questions to come... hopefully this helps me and others like me =)




are there better ones? cheaper ones? what do you suggest?



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Old 10-28-2009, 02:27 AM   #2
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What kind of bit should I buy to make a hole in the kegs? Can I buy it at home depot? I might have to make up to nine and I heard that it dulls fast.

What kind of blade should I get for angle cutter?

What is the best propane burner to buy? do i need 3 or can i get away with one? and move it around?

how's this one? I think you guys mentioned this a few times
http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-3066A-30-Quart-Outdoor/dp/B0000BXHL0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1256696666&sr=8-2
I can probably use the pot to do my extract and mead brewing indoors if i want
or this one
http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-3016-30-Quart-Outdoor/dp/B0000BXHL1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1256696666&sr=8-1
to become a cook... is it over priced now? I heard the price drops sometimes
is this a waste of money?
http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-1195-Stainless-Steel-Turkey-Fryer/dp/B000291GCU/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1256696666&sr=8-4

I heard on some propane the fire is too power even on the lowest setting...
what do you recommend... I'm going to use propane now.. and maybe use gas when I get the Brutus set up in the (far) future



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Old 10-28-2009, 03:12 AM   #3
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Way too many questions. Can't do it. Sorry.

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Old 10-28-2009, 03:33 AM   #4
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HAHA thanks for trying... =)
This is what goes on in my head while I wait to build the perfect system...
I'm sure I didn't even write half the questions I have... These are just the few I remember... I am sure this will answer many question for future keg-verters, too

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Old 10-28-2009, 04:33 AM   #5
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I skipped the last few pages of your OP.... so here I go...

HLT - Agreed.... but the site tube is really not needed.
MT - Agreed
BK - Agreed however the lid could come from Smart and Final or someplace... I have used a bucket lid for 5 years here. Regarding the Thermometer, yeah it's boiling but it could be handy to tell you when your at pitching temps...Now the sight glass I don't see as a need and the false bottom is great. Using 1 Oz of whole leaf hops with the false bottom acts as a great filter bed. I love this.

I go Welded.
Do I have to disassemble and clean after I brew everytime? NO - I do like to run PBW through the ball valves every few brewings...
When someone makes stainless steel weld what should I be looking for? TIG
How big of a hole for the top of the keg? What do you recommend? 12" matches the lid to my extract 5 gal kettle.
Where would you put all the holes for sightglass, temp, valve? Low, as low as you can. Avoid any holes exposing the flame to the keggle ports.

Sight glass, again I don't view as needed so I'll refrain from further comment on them.
Wort Chiller - Make it yourself... Easy and part of the manly pride thing...
I picked up the WL131 klit (weldless of your WL210 kit) the pickup tube went unused as it was too short.
Bazooka, I don't like my buddies bazooka pick up but he loves it....

You ask too many ?'s.... space them out next time... whew!

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Old 10-28-2009, 01:43 PM   #6
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About the only thing I would change would be to lower the spigot. It got welded about 2" about the bottom and I have to tilt the kettle to finish draining it. This disturbs the crud and I get more of it into the fermenter than I would like. Not a real problem, but it makes for big trub.

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Old 10-28-2009, 02:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerdie View Post

First, let's talk about parts...

What should go on the HLT?
Research + Jay suggested...
theromometer, sight glass, ball valve and diptube Sight glass not absolutely necessary, but nice, dip tube not absolutely necessary, but nice, (you can leave water in the HLT, just heat more up to begin with!)
why do I need a diptube? to get all the liquid out? Do you suggest more or less hardware?See above
You don't need a false bottom because it's expensive and it's only water (many people may not know that, took me some time to figure out... I was going to make 3 identical kegs)Right.

What should go on the MLT?
Research + Jay suggested...
theromometer, ball valve and diptube, false bottom and lidSounds good.

Can you make the lid from the one you just cut off the top of the keg?
definitely need the false bottom here. A sight glass isn't practical, is it? Can you explain why? I sort of get it.Yes make the lid out of the keg top by welding on washers or bolting them on to increase diameter of lid. Sight glass isn't practical because grain takes up space, so you will know what the level is in your MLT, but half that will be grain. Sight glass IS usefull on an MLT if you fly sparge, so you can make sure you are maintaining a certain level of water without having to look in the top

What should go on the the BK?
Research + Jay suggested...
ballvalve, diptube, lid (once again can I make it?)
you don't need a thermometer because it will be boiling DUH! 212 degree F always. Now the sightglass and false bottom are optional. What do you suggest. I think "NO" for sightglass because it gets too hot and "NO" to false bottom because it is too expensive and doesn't really keep hop pellets out right? I was thinking of just swirling and using a bazooka... what do you think of that? Can you attach a bazooka to a diptube?it's not too hot for a sightglass, (my rubber on my handle of my ball valve doesn't melt, and you can make/buy borosilicate glass sight tubes...), I don't use a FB in my BK, in fact I even gave up using the hop bag. Some swirling (whirlpooling) and changing the location of the diptube to the edge of the BK instead of the dead center keeps most/all the hops out of the fermenter. EDIT: This is all for pellet hops, which won't clog a dip tube....if you use whole hops, you'll need a FB, bazooka, or stainless scrubby...


Some other questions...

Welded or Weldless? What's your take? Do I have to disassemble and clean after I brew everytime? When someone makes stainless steel weld what should I be looking for? What solder should they be using? I read a post about going to someone who is a food grade stainless steel welder? Is that necessary? I don't know about welding... I have weldless, it works fine, I did it myself, I don't disassemble the whole thing each time, jus blast it with water. If you get a stainless steel weld, make sure they know how to do it and make sure they flush the back side with argon, (dairy tank welders know how to do all this). You can try silver solder, (welds don't use "solder"), but that's tricksy too. I like the simplicity and flexibility of my weldless.

How big of a hole for the top of the keg? What do you recommend? 12" is standard pot lid size, that's what I have, it works great.

Where would you put all the holes for sightglass, temp, valve? I heard some people putting it on the wrong place and it heated up too much. What's the ideal location after it has been said and done? Put the valve maybe 1" above where teh curve of the bottom meets the side of the keg....any lower and you might not have clearance for nuts/couplers on the inside because of the curve, (this is moot if you do a welded design). Sight tube can be low, but if you want to combine it with thermo, you might want it a bit higher. Just don't put them directly above the vent holes on the bottom of the keg where flame heat will leak out.


I was going to buy from jay or morebeer.com .... need to see prices and your advice first =)


is this a good sightglass
http://morebeer.com/view_product/18699/102218/Sight_Gauge_-_16 dunno

might as well get a chiller...
http://morebeer.com/view_product/19523/102204/Wort_Chiller_-_B3_5_10_Split
this seems good... i can do 5g and 10g.. what do you think? make your own, I got 50' of 1/2" copper for $38 at menards, then 10 bucks in fittings and I had a nice super duper chiller

for false bottom...
http://morebeer.com/view_product/19812/102318/Welded_Mash_Conversion_-_Stainless


Which valve? 3/8 or 1/2? Can't really pick since i'm not sure of welded or weldless.... I'm either going to order all from Jay or all from morebeer... unless u guys suggest otherwise.... 1/2" for sure.

bazooka
http://morebeer.com/view_product/9685/102309/Bazooka_T_Screen

I'm not really feeling that copper... is the T better or straight one better? SHould I even get it? It says "(Pellet hops can clog the screen)." nothign strains pellet hops well. Many say bazookas clog up. I used to use a stainless scrubby on my dip tube, but gave up cuz it clogged too, (had to reach into my wort last time to unclog and remove the scrubby). Locating my dip tube tip near the side of the BK and whirlpooling means I don't need any filter, and still only have 1/2" gal deadspace in the BK.

What kind of tubing are you guys using? I can't just using tubing made for fish tanks... can i? No. Siphon tubing is fine for cool liquids, you need silicone tubing if you plan on transferring any boiling liquids

Okay many more questions to come... hopefully this helps me and others like me =)




are there better ones? cheaper ones? what do you suggest?
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nerdie View Post
What kind of bit should I buy to make a hole in the kegs? Can I buy it at home depot? I might have to make up to nine and I heard that it dulls fast. Read this: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/putting-weldless-fitting-help-143369/

What kind of blade should I get for angle cutter? Dunno, I used a sawzall with a carbide blade...like butter my man.

What is the best propane burner to buy? do i need 3 or can i get away with one? and move it around? You can get away with moving it around. Having 3 is nice because you don't have to do any heavy lifting fo full kegs, etc....but expensive...

how's this one? I think you guys mentioned this a few times
http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-3066A-30-Quart-Outdoor/dp/B0000BXHL0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1256696666&sr=8-2
I can probably use the pot to do my extract and mead brewing indoors if i want
or this one
http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-3016-30-Quart-Outdoor/dp/B0000BXHL1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1256696666&sr=8-1
to become a cook... is it over priced now? I heard the price drops sometimes
is this a waste of money?
http://www.amazon.com/Bayou-Classic-1195-Stainless-Steel-Turkey-Fryer/dp/B000291GCU/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1256696666&sr=8-4

I heard on some propane the fire is too power even on the lowest setting...
what do you recommend... I'm going to use propane now.. and maybe use gas when I get the Brutus set up in the (far) future
No opinions on burners...I got one off of craigslist, some no-name brand, and it works kickass....it's just one of those cast iron burners that costs like 7 bucks online.
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:45 PM   #9
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I'd make sure my spigot was lower and relocate everything, thermo, valve, and sightglass, to the handle side of the kettle. It's pain to carry and have all that crap in the way.

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Old 10-30-2009, 01:22 PM   #10
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Way too many questions at once.
If you can go electric you will save big over propane tanks.
12" hole/lid, common lids are easy to find in 12", or you can have washers welded to the cutoff and use it. Sight glass on HLT and BK. If you have a glass on the HLT you will know how much liquor you put into the mash/lauter tun so one is not needed there pius it could get clogged with grain, etc.
Combo sight glass/thermo port would be one less fitting to have welded. Silicone 1/2" tubing from AHS or someone selling similar is the way to go. 1/2" on ball valves, and stainless if you have the dough, if you decide to do a pump based system later you will be kicking yourself for going 3/8.
Bayou classic makes nice burners, the SQ10 ring type burner or it's big brother the KAB4/5 seem to be more efficient by having many small flames rather than a big jet, and they are much quieter, too. I recently upgraded my BK burner from one of these:
to one of these:

And I am very pleased but you could do fine with one like this:


There are hundreds of threads here about each of the questions you asked. The site's search engine is amazing.



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