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Keg into Brewpot Help

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pilkinga

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I have been thinking of upgrading soon to all grain and I know I will need to start boiling larger batches to make it worth my time. My local brewshop sells keg-kettles for $125 and that is a little more than I have at the time. What I do have is an old keg in my backyard that I could possibly convert myself.

1) Has anyone ever cut the top out of a keg themselves and how difficult was it?

2) Would it be more beneficial to take it to a machine shop and have them cut out the top for me?

3) If I end up going the machine shop route, should I have them do any other modifications like welding in some stainless steel fittings for me, and if so what fittings would I need and for what purpose?

Thanks for all your responses in advance and I look forward to upgrading.
 

beernut

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Stainless steel is tough to cut! If you haven't tried to cut any before be ready for some work. If you have lots of patience try to drill a bunch of holes in a circular pattern and connect with a saw. Run a 1/4" high speed drill at about 600 rpm or so or else you'll burn it up in a few holes. A 12" finished hole needs about 130 holes. Makes sawing a bunch easier and if you get a double cut half round file it will smooth out the cirlce pretty quick (still a lot of elbow grease required). I can post a procedure if you're interested. I'll bet a weld shop with a plasma cutter may be a better way to go than a machine shop. Be sure they fill the keg with water before cutting to keep the slag from sticking to the innards of the keg. Trading some of your homebrew might get you a better price at the weld shop. Welding is thirsty work! Good luck!
 

smorris

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Find a friend with a plasma cutter or a weld shop. If you need fittings, that would be the time to do it, although some do not like welded fittings. If it is going to be a boil pot then the welds should not be an issue.
 

Janx

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I'd go to a machine shop, as you'll get nicer results, and cutting stainless really sucks.

And *definitely* get them to weld in a spigot/valve at the bottom, and a threaded nipple for a thermometer a little ways up. With 10 or more gallons in your kettle, you can't tip and pour it, so the spigot is much safer. And the thermometer helps when it is getting closer to boil. My beers take 30 minutes at least to reach boil on a 250,000 BTU burner. It's nice to know when they're getting close so you can watch for boilovers.

Janx
 

Witbier

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I've cut open several with a saws-all. It's not that bad once you get the hang of it. There are a few web sites out there that will take you step by step through the process if you're up to it.

Try this one: http://www.brew-beer.com/kegs.htm

It's definitely easier with a second person there to help you hold the keg down. For fittings I used the Schmidling easy masher. Works perfectly.
 

Uncle Fat

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I cut mine with a dremmel tool using heavy-duty cutoff wheels. It wasn't tough at all, but I went through about a dozen wheels. If I had known better, I'd have used an angle grinder with a heavy duty cutoff wheel, it would have been much easier, and the wheel wouldn't even have noticed. I went weldless with the valve / down-tube, and got the hi-temp o-rings online for a few cents.... All in all, the most expensive thing was the thermomoter at $24.
 

Roger

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Witbier said:
I've cut open several with a saws-all. It's not that bad once you get the hang of it. There are a few web sites out there that will take you step by step through the process if you're up to it.

Try this one: http://www.brew-beer.com/kegs.htm

It's definitely easier with a second person there to help you hold the keg down. For fittings I used the Schmidling easy masher. Works perfectly.
Can't believe the stuff you chaps have over there, amazing. Brought a conical fermenter over to England on the plane, managed OK thro customs etc, was going to cost over $200 to ship, I wouldn't have one otherwise. Have just converted a picnic box masher the hard way.
 

Witbier

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Roger said:
Can't believe the stuff you chaps have over there, amazing. Brought a conical fermenter over to England on the plane, managed OK thro customs etc, was going to cost over $200 to ship, I wouldn't have one otherwise. Have just converted a picnic box masher the hard way.
What size is the conical Roger? Have you had a chance to use it. It looks like they greatly simplify that part of the brewing process.
 

Roger

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Witbier said:
What size is the conical Roger? Have you had a chance to use it. It looks like they greatly simplify that part of the brewing process.
Yes Witbier, It is easier, just dump the crud out of the dump valve, primary & secondary in one tub with thermometer on the front. I bought a Mini Brew 8 from Alternative Beverage, holds my batch of 5 uk gals OK. I think it's 6.5 US gals. I've done about 8 batches in it.
 

Janx

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Roger said:
Yes Witbier, It is easier, just dump the crud out of the dump valve, primary & secondary in one tub with thermometer on the front. I bought a Mini Brew 8 from Alternative Beverage, holds my batch of 5 uk gals OK. I think it's 6.5 US gals. I've done about 8 batches in it.
Is it plastic or stainless?
 

Roger

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Janx said:
Is it plastic or stainless?
I ferment in my garage which at the moment is about 6c, I control the temp with a heater band & a home made cosy which slips over, which does seem to keep temp within optimum. It has the thermometer on the front so it's very easy.
 

Janx

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Very cool. My local homebrew store guy told me about some plastic conicals last time I was in there. Sounds pretty darn nice to have a conical for less than an arm and a leg :)
 
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