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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > 1BBL Single Vessel All Grain Steam Kettle Conversion
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:10 PM   #1
MaxOut
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Default 1BBL Single Vessel All Grain Steam Kettle Conversion

I frequently search the web for items that can be used to improve my current brew rig and recently have been looking for a larger kettle to boil in. I have plenty of mash lauter tun capacity but need more boil capacity. I frequently brew the same recipe over and over to keep my pipeline flowing with a house flavor “444 Triple Lager”. I have this recipe down and would like to brew it less often and in larger quantities so I have time to try other small recipes. Well in my searching I found an add on Craigslist for a 40 gallon jacketed steam kettle on wheels that ran on propane advertised as “the ultimate crab or lobster cooker for the man cave”. I tried to contact the seller for over a week and the add was nearly a 5 weeks old I figured it was sold and the seller was not interested in returning calls. Well out of the blue my phone rang and it was the seller. I went the next morning to meet him and purchased the kettle. When I arrived to pick up the kettle it was much larger than I had imagined and was quite a bear for three of us to lift up into my box truck. Long story short I got it home, cleaned it up and connected it to my propane at my brewery and fired it up. At this point I went on line to look for a manual or schematics so I could figure out how to interface with the existing controls. When I pulled up the model number things started to make more sense….GL60N…60 Gallon Not the 40 Gallon Advertised. Much bigger than I originally intended to purchase but now it’s got me thinking…Hmmm. Should I sell this and continue to look for another boil kettle or entertain the idea of a single vessel 1BBL all grain all in one system from grain to glass?

I’ve searched the forums and see some threads on using jacketed steam kettles to brew in but have not found a complete thread with details on how this is done or can be done. I have a few ideas but wanted to run it through HBT to get some opinions…


Please go easy on me this is just a theory at this point and looking for consrtuctive criticism. Thanks In advance


This is what I’m thinking-

Make a large perforated stainless steel basket that fits inside kettle to hold grain (kinda like BIAB). Use my instant hot water heater to supply strike water and sparge water (goes to 180 degrees). Integrate kettle gas valve to existing BCS, add thermister to long custom rod that can be positioned in the mash where desired through hole in lid and regulate mash temp with kettle. Mount a wort pump and a plate chiller to the kettle. Install inlet through lid for recirculation return and weld tri clamp adapter to existing dump valve. Rig chain fall above kettle to lift basket after mash and elevate above wort during sparge. After sparge remove grain basket and bring to boil adding hops in a large hop spider. Remove hop spider after boil and recirculate through plate chiller to cool. Pitch yeast close lid and add airlock. Add valves to front and rear in existing ports to allow water through jacket to help cool/heat wort as needed to maintain fermentation temps. Water in jacket will be in a closed loop to avoid contamination and deterioration of jacket. I will add a high tem gasket to the lid of the kettle and a latch to lock it down during fermentation. Dump yeast and trub with dump valve and siphon beer into kegs.

Included a couple pictures of the steam kettle for visualization. I’m going to run some water tests with the kettle to determine some base line capabilities. At this point I’m not even sure this thing will boil water? OK fire away……


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Old 01-30-2012, 07:37 PM   #2
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Mind if I ask how much you grabbed it for?

I have a few sources for cheaper used equipment but they are mainly for restraunts, so it is more out of curiosity.


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Old 01-30-2012, 07:58 PM   #3
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Go one more step and make a brewery using it.
two 50 gallon rubber-made barrels and some tubing. One for a HLT and the other for MT.
you got it. after the boil and cool down use the HLT for a fermenting bucket
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:31 PM   #4
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Nice rifle next to the kettle!
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:35 PM   #5
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I have a 40 gallon unit similar to yours. Mine is electric, and it will boil water in no time! I plan on using a separate MT, using the kettle for the boil only.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:05 PM   #6
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Sounds like a pretty good plan. Nice find BTW. Very cool it's 20 gallons over what you thought. I bought (3) kettles about a year and half ago that were advertised as 45 gal and they were only 40. It worked out though becasue I like to split up the batch into two boils so that I have some variety. A whole barrel of the same beer gets old after a while.

The only issue I see so far is how you plan to sparge. I like to biab hybrid idea, but two things I see as a concern. First off, your basket will have to be somewhat heavy duty. I don't know your recipe, but we're talking in the ball park of 70 pounds of grain plus the water that the grain will absorb. So you'll have around 150 lbs of saturated grain give or take. Assuming the basket can handle the wieght, I'm not sure about the sparging method. I'm worried that you won't get a good effeciency this way. However, I've never done a BIAB batch so maybe I'm wrong. I do a batch sparge with my setup using a slotted copper manifold and get between 80-85% efficiency depending on how much grain I use. I guess a few extra pounds of grain won't be that big of a deal and it will save you having to lauter and pump the wort back over after the sparge.

One other thing, since you are brewing a lager, don't you want to get as much break material out as possible? I don't brew lagers but I've read that this is the case. It will be hard to get the break out unless you are going to filter the wort before or after the plate chiller.

Anyway, keep us posted on the progress. I love the idea of an all in one vessel.
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:36 PM   #7
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What's the brand name on this beast? I'd like to look up similar models...
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texan
Mind if I ask how much you grabbed it for?

I have a few sources for cheaper used equipment but they are mainly for restraunts, so it is more out of curiosity.
Sure no problem...

$350.00 and $50.00 for the big paddle. I put new casters on it, re-wired the control and added a new power cord. So I have a total of $450.00 in it. I feel like its a great price for what it is considering the original sale price was over 18K. I figure if I decide not to use it for brewing I should be able to sell it.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaltnHops View Post
Nice rifle next to the kettle!
thats to protect the investment

Nice!
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boar Beer
Go one more step and make a brewery using it.
two 50 gallon rubber-made barrels and some tubing. One for a HLT and the other for MT.
you got it. after the boil and cool down use the HLT for a fermenting bucket
Good ideas. I remember seeing someone on this board using the white Rubbermaid barrels as mash tuns. Were they yours? Interesting. At this point I really want to explore the possibility of a single vessel system. Thanks for the input I will keep in mind if my goals change. Cheers!


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