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Old 10-01-2009, 03:59 AM   #1
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Default Fermenting in a 55 gallon food grade plastic drum

I picked up a 55 gallon food drum - $15.00. It has a slight odor of like ceasar salad dressing.

If I can clear the odor, has anyone used one of these for fermenting? I think it's ploypropelene like a milk jug.

I plan on rigging a burp valve into the top. One of the guys at work suggested using vodka to act as a seal in the valve - it' naturally sterile, and if any gets abck into the beer.... Well it would be a tad stronger.

Thanks,
Bill


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Old 10-01-2009, 06:27 AM   #2
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A few thoughts occur:

1) DUDE! Fifteen bucks?! Score!

2) You can clear the odor with a decent-strength soak of hot water and oxiclean.

3) It'll work just fine. I'm sure if it was used for food then there are no chemicals that could leak. Just to be sure check to see what number is on the bottom. I think "2" is HDPE, good stuff. I found some buckets previously used for feta cheese that are HDPE and they work spectacularly.

4) Yeah, vodka works well as an airlock liquid. I used to use an iodophor solution but over time it would become increasingly paler and I'm a worry-wort


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Old 10-01-2009, 11:19 PM   #3
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It works like a dream!! I brewed 25 Gallons of my Belgian Dubbel and fermented in one of the 55 gallon plastic malt barrels you see at the HBS. Got mine for $30 from my HBS. I put a drain valve just above the rolled edge on the bottom and could drain fermented beer off the yeast cake no problem!!! Just careful when you go to look in to the barrel during fermentaion, that amound of CO2 will suck the air out of your lungs!!
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Old 10-02-2009, 02:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nwcw2001 View Post
It works like a dream!! I brewed 25 Gallons of my Belgian Dubbel and fermented in one of the 55 gallon plastic malt barrels you see at the HBS. Got mine for $30 from my HBS. I put a drain valve just above the rolled edge on the bottom and could drain fermented beer off the yeast cake no problem!!! Just careful when you go to look in to the barrel during fermentaion, that amound of CO2 will suck the air out of your lungs!!
i have a couple of these but have not fermented in them yet. I was curious to know how you were cleaning them?
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Doesn't blowing on it when its soft cause it to get hard? It's been a while, but I think that's how it used to work...
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Old 10-02-2009, 02:43 PM   #5
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I've never like any of my beers enough to want 40 gallons of it.
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Old 10-02-2009, 03:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
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I've never like any of my beers enough to want 40 gallons of it.
I HIGHLY doubt that!

I suck at brewing and I have never have enough.
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Old 10-02-2009, 04:19 PM   #7
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We have brewed several pilot batches with a local brewery here using food grade 55 gallon drums. Works like a champ. We fill to the 45 gallon line, sometimes a bit lower if we have a yeast that likes to go gangbusters and rarely if ever have blowoffs.
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Old 10-02-2009, 05:06 PM   #8
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I HIGHLY doubt that!

I suck at brewing and I have never have enough.
No seriously. No matter how good I think a beer is when I start drinking it, I'm tired of it by the end of the 5 gallons. Even when I do 10 gallon batches, I seldom tap the second keg immediately following the first one.

There are way too many BJCP categories I haven't even approached and variety is the spice of life (along with hops).
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cold_Steel View Post
i have a couple of these but have not fermented in them yet. I was curious to know how you were cleaning them?
I filled them with hot water and oxyclean for a day or so and then gave it an iodaphor soak followed by a rinse and then fermenting wort.
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:58 PM   #10
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I used barrels from a fish industry and used normal 'dish soap' and water to clean them.
No fishy smell or taste.
So some ceasar salad dressing should be a walk in the park.


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