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Old 12-05-2011, 05:07 PM   #1
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Default My Keggle Build (Question at bottom)

I was able to score a couple decent shaped kegs from Craigslist, $20 per, and figured I'd make one into a mash tun (even though I currently batch sparge using cooler) and the other into a brew kettle (even though I have 2 other kettles). Here are some pictures of my build (just 1 of the kegs)... it's not done yet, but I'll continue to update.

This keg was in OK shape. I bought it from a guy who picked up a few kegs of beer from Karl Strauss in San Diego, then brought them to a party in Fresno (where he lives), with no plans to return to San Diego. Ehh... whatever.


I measured 1.75" from the inside of the raised part of the top of the keg (that was confusing). I marked multiple points around the top of the keg to be cut, then used twine and a sharpie to connect the dots. Using a 4.5" angle grinder with a metal cut-off wheel, I traced the inside of my line- this only took about 15 minutes. I tossed the cut-off wheel afterwards, as it took a pretty good beating. To smooth out the rough, sharp edges, I used a grinding stone on the angle grinder, a smaller grinding stone on a Dremel, then an 80 grit attachment on the Dremel, in that order. It worked great and took only about 20 minutes.


My measurements were good...


...the lid fit like a glove!


The next step was cleaning up the outside of the keg. A seemingly simple task, removing that damn sticker was much more difficult than I expected! I started by spraying it with WD40 and scraping it with a razor... that did not work very well. My neighbor brought over a SS wire brush attachment for the angle grinder. While this made things easier, it was still surprisingly tough. Underneath that sticker was layer of the most difficult-to-remove paint I've ever worked with!


After about an hour of arm-numbing grinding, the sticker and paint were gone. Thanks to a HBT recommendation, I lathered the keg in Bar Keepers Friend (BKF), scrubbed the hell out of it, and rinsed it off. I had decided earlier I was not going for the super shiny chrome look... way too much work for what I deemed unneccesary. So here's what I got:


I also scrubbed the inside out with the BKF. I must say, that is some amazing stuff.


My plan from this point is to drill two holes at the bottom, one for a ball valve (and potentially keggle conversion kit) and the other for a sight glass. I realized yesterday the step-bit I purchased was too small (3/4" max, I need 7/8"). I also still need to buy my hardware.

My question: if I'm only using this as a kettle, should I still use the false bottom to filter out trub from the boil? will it have any impact? I currently don't use one and just leave a half-gallon of wort in the kettle with the leftover trub... no big deal. All advice is much appreciated!

I'll post updates as I progress! Cheers


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Old 12-05-2011, 05:26 PM   #2
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I was going to ask that same questions today...following along.


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Old 12-05-2011, 05:44 PM   #3
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I just got my sight glass in the mail today from BrewHardware. Probably going to work on it this week then in a couple weeks work on getting the stuff for the ball valve and dip tube. Instead of a false bottom, I was thinking of a filtered dip tube that was rotate-able depending on the beer I'm making. IPA's have a lot more trub than say a Weiss, so I could rotate it up a bit higher to get out of the trub for the IPA, but leave it lower for the Weiss.

Either way, I don't have too much of a problem with trub with my hop spider, but still nice to have the option if/when something does get through.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:46 PM   #4
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When I first built my keggle, I just stuck a stainless scrubby under the center dip tube. The scrubby works, but they are a pain to clean out of. I've upgraded to a false bottom since then. If you bag your hops, you probably don't need one.
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Old 12-05-2011, 06:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongrel View Post
When I first built my keggle, I just stuck a stainless scrubby under the center dip tube. The scrubby works, but they are a pain to clean out of. I've upgraded to a false bottom since then. If you bag your hops, you probably don't need one.
I do bag my hops... and I plan to continue doing so... perhaps I'll just get the ball valve setup, which is significantly less expensive than the keggle conversion kit. Word.
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Old 12-05-2011, 08:22 PM   #6
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I use a Hop Spider and have never had any problems. I recirculate through my CFC back into my kettle for approx 6 mins as it cools down to pitching temps. As a side note, I found when I went to the hop spider my hop utilization shot up.
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasert39
I was going to ask that same questions today...following along.
So what are you thinking at this point? I'm going to use a weldless ball valve setup for this keggle, keep it simple since I'm only using it as a kettle, then upgrade later should I decide to do so.

Any pics of your build??
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Old 12-05-2011, 10:58 PM   #8
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[QUOTE="absoluthamm"Instead of a false bottom, I was thinking of a filtered dip tube that was rotate-able depending on the beer I'm making. [/QUOTE]

Please explain! This sounds interesting.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:22 PM   #9
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My experience use nothing but a dip tube for pellet hops and whirlpool at the end to avoid picking them up (a good stir and wait 15 minutes will do).

If using leaf hops just toss a stainless scrubby under the dip tube (as mentioned above).

No need for false bottoms or bags/devices--if going either of those routes.

That said:

Just don't use a stainless scrubby and pellet hops (or combination of pellet and leaf) = clog city if any appreciable amount of pellet hops are used with scrubby.
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Old 12-05-2011, 11:27 PM   #10
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I installed a false bottom from NorCal/Jaybird in my mash tun keg... I've also added a recirculation fitting and Blichmann AutoSparge to it.

Some pics of my setup:




Before adding the AutoSparge:


I would also go with a hop spider. I use one that's 100% stainless steel (except for the nylon bag for the hops)...


With stainless, it can actually get immersed in the boiling wort without any issue at all. Can't say that about PVC...


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