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Old 02-28-2012, 06:24 AM   #1
CthulhuDreaming
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Default Design help adding a ball valve, sight tube, and thermometer well to a SS kettle.

I'm in the process of planning my conversion of a 36 quart stockpot into a brew kettle. Initially, I'm going to be using it for a BIAB process but don't want to set it up in such a way that I'd be married to that process.

The kettle is a 36 quart Bayou Classic stainless steel pot, I'm adding a ball valve and a thermometer well with a sight tube (from bargainfittings.com) - I have all the parts in hand, and have a pro welder lined up to cut the holes and weld the couplers. As I'm going to be doing BIAB and boiling hops in bags, I have no immediate plans for a false bottom, though it would be nice to have the option to use one should I find the need to. I'll be doing my mash, sparge, and boil in the same pot for now, but it may be that in the future I will use it only for boiling (~5 gallon [net] batches).

I can certainly add a pickup / siphon / drain tube should it be required, my welder has told me he can do either copper or stainless with a 1/2" NPT male end and has the parts on hand to add it if I want.

Here's what I want to know -

1) What should I consider when deciding the placement of the valve coupling (in terms of height from the bottom of the kettle)? Keeping in mind that I won't immediately be using a false bottom, but might in the future. Would it make sense to put the coupling say 2" or so from the bottom and use a pickup tube of whatever length / style makes sense for the process being used?


2) The thermometer well and sight tube use the same fitting (a SS tee attached with a close nipple through a 1/2" NPT coupling). What should I consider regarding placement (both in terms of vertical placement and offset from the ball valve)?

If it matters, I plan on draining the pot via gravity feed through a plate chiller.


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Old 02-28-2012, 08:40 PM   #2
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Lateral placement will be your preference. Think about where you want the sight glass and valve to be in relation to the handles, then put them as low as possible. If your welder can install them with the bottom of the fitting flush with the bottom of the pot, you've hit the sweet spot. Your sight glass will have maximum range and your ball valve will drain completely without a dip tube (huge benefit) and accommodate a false bottom with minimal dead space.
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