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Old 03-19-2008, 12:07 AM   #1
Mar 2008
Posts: 50

I'm a complete beginner to brewing, I have a couple questions about going large scale (compared to what I'm doing now atleast)

Like 200gallon batches and such

I was just wondering what the expensive things I'm not thinking of are, what is difficult about doing it at such a large scale

Just brainstorming here, I know I'm a long ways away, but if I can start looking for parts the more time the better

I was thinking of a oil tank for a home would make a good boiler and fermenter.

Maybe connect 5 or 6 car radiators in series and have them sit in cold water to cool the batch on its trip to the fermenter

For the boiler, because it's not a round container I could put 2 or 3 motors on the top in order to stir it...

I dunno, it just seems so easy....when I know it's not

what are some more complicated issues I'm not thinking about, I know people spend several thousand dollars on a 200 gallon setup, why?

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Old 03-19-2008, 12:20 AM   #2
Mar 2008
Posts: 50

ok just found out radiators wont work, maybe solid aluminum turbo intercoolers though, whatever, I'm sure I can figure that out

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Old 03-19-2008, 12:29 AM   #3
Jul 2006
Ontario, Canada
Posts: 82
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Things that immediately pop to mind:

1. The legal limit for homebrewing is 200 gallons a year per household (in the US), so you would only be able to brew once.

2. Are oil tanks and car radiators even remotely 'food safe'? Could be hazardous material used in the construction, like lead solder.

3. 200 gallons of boiling wort has a huge amount of stored energy, and although I am not able to do the physic calculations, I would assume it would take a huge amount of cold water to bring that much volume to pitching temperature.

4. How would you move that volume of liquid around? It would have to be pumped, and how much would a food grade pump cost to move that sort of volume around in a timely manner?

5. Keeping a mash that size at a constant, uniform temperature would also be very difficult.

That's all I can think of right now, but those are pretty big hurdles...and you would have to have a pretty big keggerator or one massive collection of bottles to hold 200 gallons!


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Old 03-19-2008, 01:12 AM   #4
Moonpile's Avatar
Apr 2007
Pasadena, MD
Posts: 668

I've heard of the occasional 55gal drum homebrew system. Those are the largest I've heard of and are by far the exception. (I'm sure someone will pitch in with their 80bbl homebrew system to prove me wrong now).

However, if you're curious your local craftbrewery will likely be happy to give you a tour. I went to Clipper City here in Baltimore recently. They have 10x 130 bbl primaries! Their copper was about 75 bbl or so, meaning they have to brew twice to fill a fermenter.

During the tour I was standing next to a blowoff from one of the fermemters that was gurgling into a 5gal bucket which was overflowing with yeasty froth that then ran down a drain. It even gurgled onto my pants!

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Old 03-19-2008, 04:42 PM   #5
Jun 2007
Hoplanta, Georgia
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Originally Posted by Moonpile
It even gurgled onto my pants!
LOL!! The doesnt sound good.
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Old 03-19-2008, 04:49 PM   #6
Dec 2007
Posts: 53
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Here are some pictures I took of 3 breweries I toured near Toronto, last November:

Some interesting ideas, there. I especially like the frosty glycol pipes (-:


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Old 03-19-2008, 05:40 PM   #7
Feb 2007
Posts: 468
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from my limited familiarity with the fuel oil tanks in houses....they're made from steel.

That works fine with oil, but the acidic wort will rust them out in a hurry...putting loads of iron in your beer, and creating lots of pits in the tank for bacteria to hide, you could treat the inside, but you'd still have a problem with cleaning...there's lots of nooks and crannies that would be difficult to keep clean.

you might get away with using one as a boil kettle, but you'd still have the rust issues...and don't forget water weighs more than oil...and you don't want 200 gallons of boiling water to suddenly find itself uncontained

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Old 03-19-2008, 06:35 PM   #8
Dec 2007
Posts: 449
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OT: but what breweries are they in Toronto? Is the one Steam Whistle?

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Old 03-19-2008, 07:10 PM   #9
Boerderij_Kabouter's Avatar
Dec 2007
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,750
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As far as doing this cheaply... I hope cheap to you is similar to buying a new summer house on a whim, because if it is not this will not be cheap project. Put it this way, just your ingredients for one batch on that bad boy will cost you around $1200 USD, maybe less due to the ridiculous bulk you could buy in.

Your best bet would to go, as previously suggested, to a local brewpub and find out how much their setup cost and where they got their equipment. You can find liquidated microbreweries on ebay and criagslist every once in a while of that size for around... say... $25,000. Sounds cheap to me.

Not to rain on your parade, but I would start with a smaller batch size first. Get into it, and if you still want to have a brewpub sized homebrewery, get the permits together and brew to your hearts content.

Good luck with the madness!!!

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Old 03-19-2008, 08:57 PM   #10
5 Is Not Enough
Oct 2007
Erie, PA
Posts: 463
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Originally Posted by BryanZ
what are some more complicated issues I'm not thinking about, I know people spend several thousand dollars on a 200 gallon setup, why?
1) Energy required to bring 200g to boil.

2) Means of accepting and storing pallet loads of grain.

3) Fermentation Temperature Control.

4) Means of transferring: Hot Wort, Grains - Dry and Spent, Finished beer

5) Potential Risk of 1 Bad Batch

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