I've been researching and thinking about how to setup my 3-keg brewstand for way too long and I'm almost there. This thread is a way for me to document my thought process for those who might be thinking the same thing and to solicite feedback if you have any. It's a long post so I don't blame you if you skip it.
I have the kegs, burners and March 809. I know I'm going single tier, direct fired MLT with a constant recirc'd mash and for now will use a CFC. I've decided on brass "coolant" QD's from Mcmaster instead of hard plumbing, I scored three stainless 3-piece ball valves for $10 each... Well on my way right?
Ok, not so fast. I want:
1. A dip-tubed drain on each vessel (no brainer). I'll use a 1/2"MPT to 5/8" tube compression fitting on the inside for this.
2. A sight glass on every vessel. I'm planning on using cut down 3/8" racking canes shoved into a compression fitting for this. I don't like the idea of Teeing this off my drain bulkhead. It's silly to have to cap off the tube to maintain siphon.
3. I want a probe thermometer in each vessel. Obviously I'm mostly concerned with an accurate mash temp. I have 6 thermos available at the moment: 3 Tel-Tru 3" face, 20-240F with 1/2" NPT and 6" probe:
and 3 Trend 2" face, 50-300F, 2.5" probe, 1/4" NPT on the back.
I've ordered all my fittings that will be welded into each vessel, actually more than I'll use just for flexibility. I like designing things with the parts in my hands rather than on paper but my initial ideas are as follows:
a. 1/2" coupling for the drain bulkheads, close nipple, ball valve, male disconnect.
b. 1/4" Tee into which threads the 2" probe thermos into the front and the compression fitting for the sight glass on the branch leg.
Pros: Two welds per, nice and clean and compact.
Cons: the 1/4" NPT thermo probe won't penetrate into the vessel far enough to be accurate.
a. 1/2" Tee welding for the bulkhead with the branch to the side. On the front, insert 1/2" probe thermo. On the side leg, close nipple to ball valve.
b. 1/4" NPT elbow welded in for the site glass.
Pros: two welds, still compact.
Cons: temps are measured inside the diptube. In the case of the MLT, it will read higher than the overall mash temp.
a. 1/2" coupling welded for bulkhead drain, close nipple, ball valve, male discon.
b. 1/2" Tee welded with branch "up" for thermo and sight. 6" probe thermo in the end, compression for sight glass on the branch.
Pros: temp probe makes it into the vessel by at least 4.5". Still two welds per.
Option 4 - everything on its own bulkhead
a. 1/2" coupling for the drain.
b. 1/2" coupling for the thermo.
c. 1/4" elbow for the sight glass.
Pros: Most compact, most flexible.
Cons. Most expensive, 3 welds per.
Thinking, thinking.. but not brewing.