My DIY Racking Arm for Boil Kettle/ HLT
To reduce the problem of Trub getting into my fermentor, as well as too much deadspace in my HLT, I decided to build two copper racking arms that could solve the problem for each of my kettles.
Materials and tools List:
- (2) 1/2" male threaded to 3/8" copper fitting
- 3/8" copper tubing (ask for free pieces from hardware store scrap box)
- (2) Large hose clamps
- short length of silicone tubing from brew store (melt temperature >500F)
- flat head screw driver
- dremel with metal blade or hacksaw with metal blade
- plumbing tabe (not necessary, but a little never hurts)
The male threaded copper fitting screws into the coupler on the ball valve that is inside my kettle. (The weldless valve kits sold on most brew sites or in brew stores made it easy for me to do this.) The copper fitting also has a receiving side for 3/8" copper tubing, which will be the racking arm. Normally, a plumber would solder the joint between the two pieces of copper, but we dont want that stuff in the kettle. So, I decided to attach a small length of 3/8" silicone tubing onto the 3/8" receiving end of the copper fitting, and secure it with a large hose clamp. This way I can screw the copper fitting into each kettle first, then take my racking arm and slide into the silicone tube and insert into the copper fitting. It seals very nicely, and allows very limited movement, that way the racking arms can be tilted just above the trub layer.
I got a two foot piece of 3/8" copper tubing out of the scrap box from my local hardware store for free. I bent one side very carefully until I had the curve I wanted for the racking arm to go into my boil kettle. Then I used my Dremel and cut the copper tubing down to size. The second piece I used for my HLT was much easier to make, since I only needed a slight curve to hit the bottom of my HLT. Just be careful when putting a curve in the pipe, cause the can collapse easily.
Then I screwed each copper fitting (with silicone tubing and hose clamp) into my brew kettle and HLT. Then I took each racking arm and inserted them into each copper fitting with a 3/8" receiving end.
The first two pictures below show the racking arm for my boil kettle. I designed it curved, because after the whirlpool, the heavy particles from the wort are going to collect in the center. The curved arm allows me draw the delicious wort from the side of the kettle without getting Trub and other unwanted particles into the fermentor.
The last two pictures show the racking arm for HLT. The Arm is slightly bent and goes directly to the center of the HLT. This way I can draw my sparge water directly from the bottom of the kettle and reduce my overall deadspace.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments. And Happy Brewing!