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Old 07-25-2010, 12:29 AM   #1
Zamial
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Default Possible cheap and large 30 gallon fermenters...

Ok so I jumped the gun as normal and bought 4-30 gallon HDPE #2 drums. They were originally used to hold syrups/concentrates, mostly apple. They are marked w/ lines for every 5 gallons up the side, have 2 screw type caps/ openings in the top and are a blue in color.

I was thinking that I could use these as fermenters. I am very close to be moving outside onto a make-shift brew stand but that will be set before these; and should be ready soon.

I also have started looking into a few hydrolic "lift carts" to aid with transfers.

I will further plan to cut an off-center hole, in the top that will be a window/ access lid inside for inspections,cleaning and mounting a spigot near the bottom. I will then use the other "cap/lid" to have a blow off tube.

My questions are:
-Other than the obvious things like weight limits, be sure to clean/sanitize them and some oxygen permeability are there any other issues I should be concerned about?

- If others are also using these, what spigot/ball valve would be a good choice to install in the bottoms for transfers (I am thinking SS like the keggles...)?

any other advice?

BTW The score was pretty good even if they are near worthless for brewing, I only paid $50.00 for everything: 4-30 gallons and 2-55 gallons (the 55's are for a different project...)

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Old 07-25-2010, 02:00 AM   #2
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Do you have something big enough for temp control?

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Old 07-25-2010, 02:32 AM   #3
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Do you have something big enough for temp control?
I assume the answer is yes. I have "the chamber" aka the computer room that is kept at on constant 63 degrees F (+/- 1 deg. and can be set lower if it really needed to.) This is where I do all my fermenting at. Oddly the beer, like me, does not see ANY sunlight in here.

I do understand that the fermentation temp will be slightly higher than the ambient but I have not had any issues with 6 gallon batches so far.

I may need to remain semi-mobil; so I can not build a structure to hold them at this time.
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Old 07-25-2010, 03:30 AM   #4
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Ok I hope this works...



The green part is a hydrolic lift/cart. like : http://www.harborfreight.com/1000-lb...art-93116.html That would hold both 30 gal Barrels on it with ease
The red part is the spigot.

The holes:
1's "cap/screw in lid" will get drilled out and fitted with a large diameter hose, probably vinyl, for the blow off tube.

2 will get cut open for an inspection window. I am still thinking this part over. I am thinking a gasket and some stainless bolts/wingnuts with an acrylic window? It will be an inspection window to verify the cleanliness of the barrel or to just take a peak at the fermentation. It will probably end up covered by the blow off bucket 90% of the time; it may also be the "fill port"?

I think this is a good idea for a 30 gallon fermentation vessel for a pittance of a price. When the keggle is done, I believe that set up can easily handle 12-13 gallon batches?, I can make a double batch that should be an easy 24-26 gallons of beer all ready at one time.

IMO doing a large double batch x2 in 1 weekend (1 for me and 1 for SWMBO)every 4-6 weeks is much more controllable and obtainable, than to continue down the path I am on now: brewing every other weekend and sometimes during the week, juggling carboys and ale pails. It is however a bit of an inconvenience to SWMBO's plans for me...lol. I love brewing but being able to hammer out a massive brew weekend on the above schedule seems much easier to plan for.

Also, if I do ever decide to go off the deep end and open a small brew pub this would be a very manageable system for minimal dollars...I think...

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Old 07-25-2010, 03:56 AM   #5
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How are you going to boil the 30 gallons of wort? lol

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Old 07-25-2010, 04:08 AM   #6
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How are you going to boil the 30 gallons of wort? lol
LOL I will not be boiling the 30 gallons all at 1 time I will be doing "split boils' of about 12-13 gallon batches in a keggle system, these are simply fermentation vessels, think gigantic Ale Pail ...
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:46 AM   #7
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LOL I will not be boiling the 30 gallons all at 1 time I will be doing "split boils' of about 12-13 gallon batches in a keggle system, these are simply fermentation vessels, think gigantic Ale Pail ...
So you will do a 13 gallon batch put it in the chamber then do another 13 gallon batch the same day and also add it to the chamber then pitch?
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Old 07-25-2010, 05:28 AM   #8
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So you will do a 13 gallon batch put it in the chamber then do another 13 gallon batch the same day and also add it to the chamber then pitch?
yes, basically that is my plan or very close to it..
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Old 07-25-2010, 05:50 AM   #9
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do a cheap batch for you first one HDPE is notorious for flavor scapling and ruining that much beer would be horrible

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Old 07-25-2010, 05:56 AM   #10
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A couple thoughts...

Your design shows a drain near the bottom. Have you thought about how you will get the beer out of that thing after fermentation? You won't be able to lift it. You'll likely need a pump.

Make sure your seals are sealed.

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