Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > 55 gallon SS drum recommendations
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Old 09-25-2010, 11:35 AM   #1
lakeshorebrewer
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Default 55 gallon SS drum recommendations

So I have an itch to buy a Brew-Magic, but there are two things stopping me. One is the cost and the other is the size. I am looking at the alternative to build something that would do a barrel at a time and have seen that some folks use 55 gal SS drums.

If you have gone this route or helped to brew on a system built by these, can give me your thoughts on how it's worked out? Any recommendations?

Cheers!
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:51 PM   #2
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I have not used one, but here is an example of a commercial turnkey brewery using them:
http://pico-brewing.com/ and the price sheet: http://pico-brewing.com/

You could buy used drums on ebay and make your own. I live on the north side of Atlanta, so these in Spartanburg, SC would be an easy 2hr drive for me.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Stainless-Steel-...item45f1bbe1bb

Edit:
I forgot to add this one:
http://conical-fermenter.com/about/a...rewing-system/
It needs additional hardware to make it complete, but not a bad price.
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:22 AM   #3
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In the interest of using something that looks a bit better and new, I sent in for some info on these process drums.

I've seen the pico-brewing system online before and still have a hard time convincing myself that the traditional barrel shape with the bands is ok. Might need to get over that if these are really expensive.
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:28 AM   #4
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Wow. I visited the conical fermenter location you added. I think this might be just what I was looking for. They seem to offer a great start with the major components. Have you seen or know of anyone who has used any of their equipment?

Thanks a bunch limulus!!
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Old 09-26-2010, 12:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lakeshorebrewer View Post
Have you seen or know of anyone who has used any of their equipment?
I have a 7gallon conical from them. Nice simple and functional, FWIW.
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:23 AM   #6
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Found these on CL, can't beat the price.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f16/cl-5...-drums-197278/
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:32 PM   #7
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Sure is a good price for SS. Interesting that the seller would even make them into "brew pots".

Thanks klyph!
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:49 PM   #8
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I'll recommend Blichmann's kettles. They go for $620 or so. For heating with a burner, they would be much more efficient than a drum because of the larger surface area of the kettle bottom. You can also order one and have a kettle with a valve with a dip tube, level gauge, thermometer, and handles already installed in just a few days. It comes with a lid as well. The false bottom for the 55 is massive, and compared to a drum, it would be easier to reach it because the Blichmann kettles are so much shorter than drums.

How do you plan to heat each pot?
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Old 09-26-2010, 09:25 PM   #9
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Surface area is a good point to make dark. As far as heating goes, it will either be propane or natural gas. I know the Blichmann kettles are popular. I think they have threaded components instead of welded. Personally I'm not sure if it matters or not, but I would think you have to disassemble things periodically at least to clean it well.

The site conical fermenter site above has the kettles that are welded. I'll have to review the comparison chart at their site a little more when I get a chance. Either way, it's great to see there's a choice of kettles already available to run as a 1 bbl system.

The idea of using 55gallon drums would be based on money only from my view.
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Old 09-26-2010, 10:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lakeshorebrewer View Post
I think they have threaded components instead of welded. Personally I'm not sure if it matters or not, but I would think you have to disassemble things periodically at least to clean it well.
Any place where there is threads, grooves, or internal anything, you will collect hops/grain/what-ever during the process no matter how its constructed. Welded fittings have plenty of threads exposed to the wort where solids collect. This is true with any brewing system. Even inside cavities in triclamp valves and such, you will find solids after brewing a few times.

But with any case, if a plate chiller is used, any dirty nasties hanging out in these cavities wont survive the trip to the chiller at 212* F.
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