My brother scored big last night when he found four retired 15.5 gallon Sanke kegs at a local scrap yard. Ended up getting all four for $50 and they are actually in pretty good condition. We're going to convert one to use as an HLT (thermometer & welded 1/2" stainless ball valve). As for the other three, I want to use them for fermenters.
My plan is to essentially construct a DIY stainless fermenter with most of the advantages of a conical. I'd appreciate your feedback. Below is a step by step list of my approach.
1. Cut a hole in the top of the keg to receive a cornelious lid like this one sold by B3. (is this even possible?) This will allow for easier cleaning & inspection and also has the added benefit of having a threaded fitting already welded to receive blow off, airlock or forced CO2.
2. Cut & weld a 1" stainless ball valve to the center of the concave bottom to allow trube and yeast dumping.
3. Cut & weld a 1/2" stainless ball valve on the side about 1/2"" from the bottom for racking.
4. Construct a stand out of 2x4's to elevate and allow for easy movement.
Here's a preliminary parts list (stand not included).
1 x Cornelious Keg Lid - 1/2" Half Coupler Welded On $42.95ea
2 x Stainless 1/2" mpt x 1/2" barb $4.95ea
1 x Stainless 1" mpt x 1" barb $7.00ea
1 x Stainless 1/2" Ball Valve $18.95ea
1 x Stainless 1" Ball Valve $27.00ea
1 x Stainless 1/2" Half Coupler $3.00ea
1 x Stainless 1" Half Coupler $4.50ea
For a grand total of $113.30 plus tax, shipping & welding cost and these are all B3 prices. I'm sure I can do better.
Any thoughts or feedback on possible improvements. This really seems like it could work and be a poor man's conical for a fraction of the cost. I'm also considering going with tri-clover fittings to make cleaning & sanitation easier and more thourough.