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Major Keg Score! Now what to do with them?

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BlackenedBrew

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Man-o-man am I stoked!!!

A few weeks ago I decided that I want/need kegs. I want a sanke to be able to convert to a kettle. I want a sanke that I could use as a primary. I want a sanke that I could use for pressurized fermentation. And hell, since everything else is made out of a keg, lets skip the whole bottling thing and just go straight to kegging.

For those of you who don't know, I have yet to brew a single batch. I stumbled upon this site a few months ago, loved it, and I've been spending the last month or two reading up, gaining knowledge, and trying to secure equipment to make my own brew.

I am in love with the Stout! Hence the name down below, Blackened Brew, Brewing Co. For quite a long time, I will only be brewing the Stout. My SWMBO doesn't care for beer, but I have seen her drink a Butt-Light (bud light... barf!) before. So maybe someday in the future I will have to do a lager for her, and I know I'll have to do a lager for her Dad, because he's a BMC guy. Don't worry, I will do all in my powers to change that. I'll get him to realize what beer can be like.

My future father-in-law, Don, is a very resourceful kind of guy. I love to work in the machine shop for a hobby, and said, "Hey Don, you know where I can get a turbo for a car? I want to try and make one." No kidding, he had a turbo in my hands that I can tear apart and keep forever in 3 days.

Knowing how he's the kind of guy that gets along with damn near everyone, I posed the question, "Hey Don, you know where I can get a keg? I want to brew beer."

He replied, "You mean like the one I cook crabs in?"

"Yup, that's the one..."

"Let me make a phone call," he said.

The next day he tells me that he has a buddy with a few that he wants to get rid of. It'll only cost me $12 a piece and he has 4 of them that are supposed to be in great shape.

I hear that this guy likes to strike a deal, so I make the offer of $10 a keg. The offer is rejected!

I thought about it for a week or so, and told Don to make the deal, I'll pay $12 a piece. Guys on here that I talk with regularly with just about killed me when I told them I passed up on it.

Don calls me up the next night and asks, "How much do you love me?"

"What did you do now, Don?"

"I got you all 4 kegs you wanted."

"Sweet! How much do I owe?"

"No, listen to me, I got you all 4 kegs you wanted at no cost."

At this point many expletives came out of my mouth... damn, that was cool!

So yesterday Don and I went to pick up the kegs. This is what I was expecting to get:



When we got there, the buddy asked, "So, how many do you want?" To which his wife replied, "... all of them! I want them out of here."

So this is what I ended going home with:



I also got the equipment to tap the older kegs.

So here's where all of this was leading... What should I do with them all? The one in the front center of the second picture will become a Keggle. It's the most beat-up of them all. Probably two of the other ones will become primaries in some shape or form. I eventually want to move onto pressurized fermenting, so I'm going to keep them in tact.

Anyone know how to take apart the older kegs? I was able to dismantle the newer ones without any trouble, and I put them back together for now. I'm totally lost on the older ones.

What would you do with them?
 

ibrewdou

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congratulations! what a great deal. and your brewery name is very good. see if your wife likes saison dupont, its a nice light belgian farmhouse ale. very elegant. my wife loves it. no wait, my...swmbo!
 
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BlackenedBrew

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Just putting something in here to bring it back to the top... want to hear what people think I should do with the kegs.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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The Five newer Sankeys
1. Hot Liquor Tank
2. Mash Tun
3. Boil Kettle
4. Secondary Fermenter I
5. Secondary Fermenter II

Two older mystery kegs:
1. Primary fermenter
2. A grill to go with your brewery, alternatively, you could make a sweet smoking setup for making smoke beers.

That was a good score, well done.
 
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BlackenedBrew

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Boerderij Kabouter said:
The Five newer Sankeys
1. Hot Liquor Tank
2. Mash Tun
3. Boil Kettle
4. Secondary Fermenter I
5. Secondary Fermenter II

Two older mystery kegs:
1. Primary fermenter
2. A grill to go with your brewery, alternatively, you could make a sweet smoking setup for making smoke beers.

That was a good score, well done.
I like the thought of using one of the older ones as a Primary. I didn't even consider that. You have any clue as to how you get into that effer? :drunk:

I can't say that I looked at it too closely, but I'm at a loss as to how I open that thing up. The nice thing about using the older ones as a primary is the fact that they have a tap opening down below and I already have the tapping equipment for it. It's practly a built in valve. :rockin:

Awesome idea, thank you! :mug:

Oh yeah, some day I would like to get into pressure fermenting (I'm always trying to plan for the future, doesn't mean it will ever happen)... Should I get the older kegs pressure tested? :confused:
 

Lil' Sparky

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Yeah, great score! Build your dream 3 keg AG setup first. With the others you can use them as fermenters as Boerderij Kabouter suggested, or you can donate/sell them to a buddy you brew with who has also been looking for kegs. If it was me, I'd do the latter since I've got a few friends who would love to have a few to play with.
 
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BlackenedBrew

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Greggy said:
The two older ones were probably for rootbeer.

Greg
I haven't figured out how to open them up to check. Is it true what I've heard about rootbeer kegs? Can't ever get rid of the smell?

I do know they say Blitz on them... one of them had a tag about Ranier Brewing Co.

I had a piece that I was able to hook on there and purge any pressure... one didn't have any pressure, the other had a very small amount.
 
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BlackenedBrew

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wortmonger said:
Yuck, Hoff-Stephens kegs. Poohey. :D
Actually I'm kind of liking them as the posibility of a primary fermenter. With the low nozzle on the side, it makes it easy to drain, and with the nozzel on top I could easily put on a pressure relief or rig up some type of air lock.

Come on guys, someone's gotta know something about these damn things. I'd like to try and work with 'em if I can. I'm a glutten for punishment, just look at all my ex girlfriends. I must have been :drunk: with some of 'em...
 

WortMonger

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I told you how to get the bungs out ;P. You are right though, if you used them on their sides you could have a great fermenter. I bet a #11 drilled stopper would fit in the bunghole, bunghole, lol. I still don't know what you would do with the H-Steph tap fitting. That is the main problem I see unless you could drill it out and attach a spigot, or you could always jusy siphon from the top through the bunghole, bunghole, lol. I used to hate removing the bungs, sometimes they had a little pressure behind them and....BOOM! The bung would fly!!!
 
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BlackenedBrew

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wortmonger said:
I told you how to get the bungs out ;P. You are right though, if you used them on their sides you could have a great fermenter. I bet a #11 drilled stopper would fit in the bunghole, bunghole, lol. I still don't know what you would do with the H-Steph tap fitting. That is the main problem I see unless you could drill it out and attach a spigot, or you could always jusy siphon from the top through the bunghole, bunghole, lol. I used to hate removing the bungs, sometimes they had a little pressure behind them and....BOOM! The bung would fly!!!
Wait, I'm lost... why would I need to drill out for a spigot? If you look at the top of the keg, you see the tapping connection... yes/no? There is a second connection just like that on the bottom of the keg (not pictured, I'll try and get one tonight so you can see). I also already have taps (I'll get some pictures of those too) that I could use as a spigot.

For the airlock, I was thinking of fabbing up something that could attach inside of another tap connection I have (again, I'll get more pictures tonight or tomorrow depending on how late bowling goes tonight).

That bung on the side of the kegs (I'm calling it a bung, almost looks like a plug)... do I need to reinforce that effer?
 

WortMonger

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I didn't know it had a tap connection at both ends, but that bunghole in the side has to have a bung in it. The bungs need to be replaced as they are wood. Normally, these kegs are purged or CO2/beer and the bungs are pulled out. Kegs are cleaned, and then they are either filled through the bung (not recommended because of possible oxidation) or are bunged and then purged and counter pressure filled. Either way the wooden bung is replaced after each use. This is not fun. You will run the risk of infection the same as a wooden barrel without proper cleaning, and the bung will give out eventually and blow under pressure. Even non-pressure you have the former to worry about of infection from wood. I am just recommending finding a way to use the keg without the wooden bung (AT ALL!!!) never seen a Hoff-Stephens with two ports though. They usually have one just off-center on the top and the dip tube assembly runs inside the keg to a depressed collection reservoir same as the bottom of any keg.
 
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BlackenedBrew

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Ok, now I'm tracking with what you're saying. I'll have to remove that bung and see if I can get a stainless plug welded into that spot. Then I'm thinking I'll be ok with that thing.
 

WortMonger

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That is money. If it were me, I'd find a way not to spend anything to use them. There has to be a way to get the tap end out. If you could then replace it with a spigot assembly or something and then you would have a horizontal fermenter.
 
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BlackenedBrew

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wortmonger said:
That is money. If it were me, I'd find a way not to spend anything to use them. There has to be a way to get the tap end out. If you could then replace it with a spigot assembly or something and then you would have a horizontal fermenter.
What do you mean that's money? I don't have to pay for good welding, I've got connections homes! ~It's good to be the King!~

Is there a reason to not use the tap connection that's already on the keg? I don't see why I would need to replace it with a spigot when I already have a "spigot tap"?
 

WortMonger

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If you are using it as a keg, then use the tap that came with it. I was saying if you were modifying then to do that. If you weld a "bung" how are you going to clean the thing? Those Hoff-Stephens holes aren't but about a pencils girth? I mean if you can get the dip tub assembly out it would be no different than a Sanke, but if you can't......
 

Orfy

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I would pass some of the good fortune on to others who want to go AG.

Maybe for the price of some ingredients or parts.

I have 8 spare here but no AG HB friends in the area.
 
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wortmonger said:
I didn't know it had a tap connection at both ends, but that bunghole in the side has to have a bung in it. The bungs need to be replaced as they are wood. Normally, these kegs are purged or CO2/beer and the bungs are pulled out. Kegs are cleaned, and then they are either filled through the bung (not recommended because of possible oxidation) or are bunged and then purged and counter pressure filled. Either way the wooden bung is replaced after each use. This is not fun. You will run the risk of infection the same as a wooden barrel without proper cleaning, and the bung will give out eventually and blow under pressure. Even non-pressure you have the former to worry about of infection from wood. I am just recommending finding a way to use the keg without the wooden bung (AT ALL!!!) never seen a Hoff-Stephens with two ports though. They usually have one just off-center on the top and the dip tube assembly runs inside the keg to a depressed collection reservoir same as the bottom of any keg.
Ok, I know I've been saying that I will get pictures on here to explain what I mean about the dual connections, and what taps I have. Here they finally are... yeah, I'm pretty effing lazy...

If you want any higher resolution pictures of these, to take a closer look at anything, just let me know because I do have higher resolution. I love these cameras they got us at work for Christmas! 3264x2448 pixels baby! Hell Yeah!!!

Picture #1 of 4: Hoff-Stevens Keg showing both connections and the bung hole... I never get tired of laughing at that... Is there a way to open the keg without using the hehehe... bung hole? That way I can have the bung hole welded shut and be able to access the insides like you would a Sanke Keg?



Picture #2 of 4: Top Hoff-Stevens hole



Picture #3 of 4: Bottom Hoff-Stevens hole



Picture #4 of 4: The taps themselves... this is what I have... are they good/bad?



That's what I have and know gents... thoughts on making the Hoffs my Primary fermenters?
 

WortMonger

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Wow, I have never seen them with the side bottom port like that. If you can get the spear and tap stuff out of the keg from the outside, then yes you could weld shut the bung hole and use them for primary fermenters. But....... :D you could sell the hole HS kegs and setup and buy some way cool brewing stuff, like a counter flow plate chiller. Those things look like more trouble than anything else. There isn't a remotely straight side on any part of them and IMHO even if you got Sankes in trade for them you would be better off. I am just saying, they are worth a lot of good brew stuff or at least money toward it that can really help your brewery. Still, can't believe you got all that for what you guys paid. Lucky, that's the dog's ballocks right there.
 
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BlackenedBrew

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Ok, fair enough... I should probably get rid of them then. Maybe I can find someone locally who would like to trade the two HS kegs and taps for a couple of Pepsi Cornies and maybe a few parts that will be needed to hook them up? Anyone locally interested?
 

WortMonger

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I really think you will be happier trading them for money in some way to add to your brewery. When I look at this, and if it were me "without a brewery" knowing what I know now.


I see one Miller keg that would get the top cut out to make a keggle. I also see two Hoff-Stevens kegs that could be traded/sold for two large coolers. I then see a primary fermenter and 3 huge serving kegs all Budweiser so your dip tubes are all the same. Even if you don't pressure ferment like I do, using a keg for fermentation is a great way to go. Then you have pre-insulated HLT and MT from the coolers, ball valves, and all shouldn't be that much more than what you sold the two HS kegs for. As far as welding goes, with a auto siphon, you wouldn't need to have any couplers welded onto your keggle. Just make a racking wand like this and you are golden.
https://www.homebrewtalk.com//attachment.php?attachmentid=4498&d=1203455331
This is BierMunchers setup. I'm building mine for a large hop sack so I can use my ball valve, but if I had to do it again I would save all the money SS ball valves and couplers welded and things cost and do it this way.

I would also slowly work out trading some of those bud kegs later on for 3 1/6 bbl kegs so you can split it into smaller portions and get more on tap in the same amount of space. Like I said in the future, but now I would be filling those bad boys with beer and drinking the crap out of it. Just my two-cents. :D
 
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