Back in April I moved to a new house and became an outdoor brewer. As a former indoor brewer my system was set up for small spaces and when I moved outside I was liberated! However, I started upgrading this and that with absolutely no direction or plan of action and eventually ended up with a crappy contraption of a brew system that worked but not to the level of efficiency (not mash efficiency over all brew day efficiency) I wanted. In the end I donít have the ability to brew for a few months so I flushed everything and have begun anew.
A few months ago I picked up a 50qt Igloo Ice Cube with the intention of bumping up to 10 gallon batches. After hours of research, deliberation, and designing Iíve come up with a plan that I think will work; Iíve designed my two cooler set ups to work interchangeably as HLT and MLT.
This is the beginning of my Hot Lickher (liquor) Tank.
Now Iíll preface this with this statement, Iím a wanabe DIYer. Can't cut a straight line or hammer a nail in without bending it to save my life. Iíll insert little comments on my mistakes here and there but over all Iíve been relatively successful so far.
The build started out relatively easy, or so I thought.
Here are the bits and pieces.
I had drilled the sight glass hole a few weeks ago and didnít really place it right, the hole is too low for a washer and itís been leaking. I was able to get the leak to stop and have a plan to improve the fitting. One problem was the brass elbow that I was using (in the pics) has crappy tolerances and bumpy surfaces that did not allow for a smooth fit. I swapped it out for a hard 90 elbow and itís much better. About a drip every 5-7 seconds but I can fix it later.
My previous HLT/MLT had a 3/8Ē fitting and a Brewmomter that I had jury rigged through the wall with lots epoxy and cutting. Iíve decided to go with the through the valve thermometer idea with the ball valve off to the left. Iíve temporally capped the end with some fittings I had until I order the thermometer. The real issue Iíve had with installing this fitting is that I donít have the proper washers. The ĺĒ washers from the big box stores are just a hair too small. I recently picked up some 11/16Ē washers for my 3/8Ē fittings from Grainger but they were out of stock on the 13/16Ē. So the valve is far from complete.
The final install of the night was the hot water in port. Iím aware that some people have excellent results pumping water into their main ball valve and filling their HLT that way. In my experience, and Iím not alone on this Iíve seen others with the same issue, that hasnít worked for me so I decided to install the port. Itís a ĹĒ barb that reduced to a 3/8Ē. I donít have to lift the lid and can use the sight glass to monitor the water level. This elevates any height issues should I go with a partial gravity fed system later on and will also allow me to option to recirculate if I go RIMS or HERMS later on.
All in all Iím very happy with the results so far. Still have some work to do but itís on the right track.
Final dry fit.