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Old 09-19-2011, 06:07 PM   #1
Sep 2011
Rossland, British Columbia
Posts: 2

Hey Folks!

It's an exciting time in the life of Ken. I'm getting near the end of the design stage of my first custom brew setup. The one hangup I have is the gauge of 304L stainless I should be using. So far here's what I've figured.

Three tanks, M/L tun, Kettle and Primary Fermenter. 3 tiered brew system, gravity fed with a recirc pump on the M/L. Copper for the recirc and cooling.

Tanks are 23 3/8" tall (same as a 50L keg) but with a larger diameter which increases the volume to contain 115L. The batches would be 100L with 15L of space to allow for the kettle boil and space in the primary for fermenting.

I'm going to probably use propane as a heat source to start, I know it takes long to boil but I'd like to get this made before I move back to the west in a couple weeks. Hopefully I'll be able to upgrade to electric in the spring.

I worry that direct contact between burner and kettle with thin gauge steel could result in burned wort/damaged or cracked stainless so I've been considering putting some kind of buffer plate in between. Mild steel would be loads cheaper.

Any thoughts on the setup, gauge or kettle boil situation would be really appreciated. I feel like I'm trying to find the lightswitch in a dark room with this stuff sometimes. I just found this site and the prospect of drawing on the wealth of knowledge and experience here is freaking revolutionary for the way I've been approaching all this. Finally people to talk to!

Oh! and for a secondary... I could make another stainless tank... other than that I'm not sure what the hell to do. Carboys? Wood Casks? Are glass carboys larger than 23L available?

PS. I'm an ironworker by trade so I'm hoping to make all these tanks myself in co-operation with my stainless provider's rolling machine and plasma cutter.

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Old 09-19-2011, 06:35 PM   #2
hopsalot's Avatar
Sep 2007
Corpus, Texas
Posts: 1,553
Liked 18 Times on 17 Posts

Originally Posted by lovethinebrewer View Post
I've been considering putting some kind of buffer plate in between.
bad idea
In Illa Brettanomyces Nos Fides

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Old 09-19-2011, 11:02 PM   #3
orangehero's Avatar
Apr 2010
Posts: 1,748
Liked 306 Times on 193 Posts

Consider purchasing or making your primary fermentor a cylindro-conical vessel (ideally with sanitary tri-clamp fittings) and you will not need to secondary: all you will have to do is open the bottom valve to dump yeast and trub.

If you have a pump, consider making your stand 2-tier for ease of access. With two pumps you can go single tier, but in my opinion it is ok just to have the HLT gravity draining.

Also I would recommend considering a tippy dump set-up for your mash tun.

Go with the thickest gauge stainless you can afford. Minimum I would say 18 gauge, 16 better, 14 or less best.

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Old 09-19-2011, 11:31 PM   #4
Feb 2011
Tampa, Florida
Posts: 370
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

Exciting stuff man, I'm in the exact same boat only Nora's far along as you are. Just trying to acquire kegs to convert to brew kettles at this point. Good luck to you and keep us updated with pics

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Old 09-19-2011, 11:33 PM   #5
itsme6582's Avatar
Nov 2009
Posts: 883
Liked 29 Times on 26 Posts

From this thread. Kegs are 18 gauge. Use that as a guide. Kegs are plenty thick for direct fire.

You'll be fine with propane burners. If you want to go electric, go for it but time to boil is a weak reason. I'm from tap to mash in 20-30 mins. That's a bigger jump than from mashout to boil. I crank up my boil kettle with my first runnings and I am boiling by the time I finish a beer. If I get set up to fly sparge I bet I can start my boil timer as soon as my last runnings hit the pot. My brewday goes like this:

Step 1: Fill HLT and start heating
Step 2: Get my act together
Step 3: Overshoot temp because I'm still trying to figure out why my wireless printer only prints over usb
Step 4: Stir MLT to get down to mash in temp
Step 4a: Forget about printer until next brew day

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