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Old 01-21-2007, 05:13 PM   #1
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Default Measuring volume in boil kettle...

I have a keg I converted into a boil kettle, and I'm still trying to determine the best way to go about this. I was going to install a sight glass, and make marks on it in 1/2 gallon increments, but LHBS guy recommended against putting one in a keggle, because he said once the sugars get in there, they're very hard to clean out. He said he only recommends using them in HLTs. So I scratched that idea. I don't know a practical way to label volume increments on the keg itself, so I'm not going to pursue that avenue.

I have heard that some take a long rod or dowel, stick it in the keggle, and add water, gradually making marks on the dowel. That seems like the way to go, but I'm not sure what exactly to get. I assume I'd have to go with SS for material, and I wonder how easy it would be to etch marks on it. The other thing I was thinking was getting a temperature resistant plastic mash paddle. That may be the way to go, although it will cost a bit more than I'd want.

Does anyone else have any creative ideas that haven't occured to me? I've asked this many times, and you folks have yet to disappoint me with your ingenuity...


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Old 01-21-2007, 05:20 PM   #2
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How about an engravers gun to mark off gallons?


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Old 01-21-2007, 05:20 PM   #3
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Well, I have a plastic mash spoon that I have not yet gotten around to marking up with measurements, but that's a $5 solution. PITA for me, though, 'cause I have about a half-second of peering into the boil kettle before my glasses are fogged up.

I wouldn't worry about the sugars in the sight glass, lots of people have them, and I can't imagine how it would be an issue; any residue would re-dissolve (and get sterilized) the next time you boiled. Sight glass is definately on the to-do list, seems like the best, cleanest solution so that I can get my evaporation rate dialed in.

Incidentally, any recommendations on the best source for a sight glass? There was one at Williams Brewing that looked pretty cheap, but I couldn't tell for sure if it came with the weldless fitting or not.

EDIT: I take it back, this does include the fitting. Anyone see a better deal than this? http://www.williamsbrewing.com/WELD-...D_AD_P1033.cfm
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Old 01-21-2007, 05:24 PM   #4
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I use a straight length of 1/4 inch copper grounding wire. Available at big box and better hardware stores. I laid out gallon marks by filling my kettle gallon by gallon, and using a tubing cutter to score the wire. Works great, and you can make one for each kettle or boiler you have. The wort wets the copper well, so you can see exactly where the level is. Be sure to use an accurate gallon measure, lots of the ones we use, like juice jugs and water/milk jugs are inaccurate.
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Old 01-21-2007, 06:53 PM   #5
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My keg has a seem on the 5.5 gallon mark and a curve above that. I know that I need to be 3 inch below the curve and an inch above the seam to hit target volume. I ain't fussed to a pint or so.
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Old 01-21-2007, 07:25 PM   #6
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You could het a treaded rod from HD or Lowes and use the appropriate nuts to mark off the half gallons... Of course, you would have to find a way to secure the nuts in so that idol hands do not waste your calibration efforts.
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Old 01-21-2007, 08:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan_PA
You could het a treaded rod from HD or Lowes and use the appropriate nuts to mark off the half gallons... Of course, you would have to find a way to secure the nuts in so that idol hands do not waste your calibration efforts.
There's a creative idea...I'll have to think about a practical way to "secure the nuts" (wear a cup? ).

Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 01-21-2007, 08:03 PM   #8
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Use two nuts and tighten them against each other. (Lock nut)
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Old 01-21-2007, 08:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
I take it back, this does include the fitting. Anyone see a better deal than this? http://www.williamsbrewing.com/WELD-...D_AD_P1033.cfm
That seems like a great deal. I was ready to drop $50 for a sight glass yesterday, until I was talked out of it by LHBS guy. The one I was looking at was made from glass, versus many others that are made of temperature tolerant plastic. I'd assume that's what this one is, but at that price, it's really hard to complain about it.

One thing that concerned me was the user review of that sight glass. Apparently the reviewer had no luck with the o-rings holding a seal, and had to build his own gasket to get a proper seal. Maybe he just didn't have it adequately tightened, or drilled slightly too big of a hole? Who knows.
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Old 01-21-2007, 08:42 PM   #10
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If you use a threaded rod, find out what the plating is on it, if any. If it's cadmium plated you do not want to use it. If it's zinc it might be okay, if it's plain jane unplated steel you risk getting iron in your wort. This of course it all minimized by the short time it's in the wort. I don't know how well the liquid level will be read off the threads, but it may be fine. I still like my copper one.


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