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ljforster701

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Just wondering if the Stout Brew Kettles are worth the money. Currently do extract but will be moving to AG. Looking for equipment that's going to last. Am I better off buying equipment that will do 10 gal batches from the start meaning 10 gallons worth or beer or buy something that results in 5 gallons worth of beer. Don't really want to spend the money twice. Thanks in advance
 

rico567

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I don't know anything about Stout kettles, but I think from reading various threads on HBT that there are lots of good brands out there- Polarware, Blichmann, Brewhemoth's Penrose Kettle, etc. Me, I just use a cheap 30 qt SS Proctor-Silex pot. It was my starter pot 4 years ago, and has made the transition from extract to AG just fine.

The other question here, which you seem ambivalent about, is going to 10 gallons. I thought about it at one point, but decided against it. You brew 10 gallons, you have to drink (or have someone else drink) 10 gallons. In the meantime, storage space is tied up. A normal person can handle 5 gallons of beer in a pot or fermenter without resorting to pumps, lines, valves, etc......I can continue to apply the KISS principle. And, as the brewer at a local brewpub remarked to me, "You learn more brewing 100 5 gallon batches than you do brewing 50 10 gallon batches."
 

TwoGunz

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I have that same proctor-silex pot and recently tried to buy a second to do side by side 5 gallon batches. I started kegging and supplying my family with kegs so needed more output but wanted to stay lifting and pouring without having to go too pumps.
 

oakbarn

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I have ordered a 45 gallon Kettle from Stout. I have two of their Conical fermenters (14.5 and 27 gallon) and I love them. One comment I would make is to stay away from weldless fittings. I have two Blickman pots (10 and 20 Gallon) and they both give me fits over the weldless fitting as it always leaks. I discovered this the hard way when I had filled my 10 gallon with distilled water the night before a lager brew. I came in and all my distilled water was on the floor. I have replaced the O rings, tightened the nuts, and generally cussed them out. Stout is weldless and also has ball valves that are easy to clean.
 

Coldies

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Im not sure how much stout kettles cost, but there probably more expensive than a bayou classic SS pot, and in regards to the weldless fittings you can always have a coupler welded onto the bayou pot. BUT there is something sexy about those Stout kettles, I really dig the tall and small (in diameter) look of them. OP I think Rico567 nailed it on batch sizes, I am the only beer drinker at my house and space is limited. I have 2 5 gallon cornys plus a 2.5 gallon corny on tap and that is plenty for me, even with friends drinking it. Just means I have to brew more, but I wont get sick of the beer.
 

bdjohns1

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Stout's tanks are the only "off-the-shelf" solution I'd consider. Anything that involves threaded fittings (whether a weldless system, or welded on NPT fittings) is going to simply be harder to effectively keep sanitary than tri-clamp fittings.
 

Guess42

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Stout's tanks are the only "off-the-shelf" solution I'd consider. Anything that involves threaded fittings (whether a weldless system, or welded on NPT fittings) is going to simply be harder to effectively keep sanitary than tri-clamp fittings.
Why do you need your boil kettle sanitary? When you boil the wort in it you will effectively sanitize the pot to the same degree as the wort.
 

bdjohns1

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Why do you need your boil kettle sanitary? When you boil the wort in it you will effectively sanitize the pot to the same degree as the wort.
Because there are various microorganisms out there which can do nasty things even after being exposed to boiling conditions.

Botulism is one such thing - C. bot spores can survive boiling conditions, and until there's enough alcohol developing in the wort, they could grow.

There's another nasty little fellow out there called Bacillus cereus - it can produce a neurotoxin that can even survive a sterilization process, even if the bacteria are killed off. Suppose you get a little bit of trub or something caught against a weldless bulkhead's gasket and you miss it when you clean after making a batch. A spore of B. cereus ends up there. It starts growing, eating what it can, cranking out its toxins, and then runs out of food and new spores go dormant. If you hit it with some Star-San before you brew, it might kill the spores, but the toxins could be left behind, and make it into your next batch.

Effective sanitation requires a few elements:

1) Sufficient time exposure to temperature and/or chemicals.
2) All surfaces must be free of visible product residue before you even start chemical sanitation.
3) Mechanical agitation (whether sprayballs in a tank, scrubbing by hand, or by high-velocity fluid flow)
4) All equipment must be designed with no points that can harbor contaminants. That means surfaces must be smooth (generally, equivalent to a 180-220 grit finish or better), with no sharp corners or crevices that are difficult to clean. By default, that excludes threaded fittings or weldless assemblies unless you tear them down and manually clean everything. Hose barbs too, unless you take the hose off the barb. When you buy sanitary hoses (and you pay big $$$), you get something with tri-clamp ends that has the hose material joined with a stainless insert that has a very smooth, flush transition.

Plate heat exchangers can be sanitized effectively with a CIP system, provided that you're filtering out your trub pretty well, and you've got a lot of flow. A March 809 with minimal head loss would be marginal for the plates we all use. The "throw-it-in-the-oven" method would be OK - 350F for long enough would be enough to even destroy spores and heat-stable neurotoxins.

At work, we've got a milk pasteurizer (basically, a plate heat exchanger that's 2x6x6 feet) that runs about 120 gallons/minute during production. At the end of the day when we CIP, there's a booster pump that takes the flow up to more like 300+ GPM to get the mechanical agitation in the plate needed to clean effectively.

Sorry for the brain dump - food safety is something that is a very serious subject at work.
 

Guess42

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Right. I do take apart the valves and clean between each batch. Meaning they get just as "sterile" as my wort as they see the same temp for the same time. Also, if your only welding a bulkhead into the kettle and and screwing a valve on you still need to disassemble an clean.

Edit: I apologize I realise this is incredibly off topic. Stopping now.
 

orangehero

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Has anyone had bad welds on their stout equipment? What was wrong and how did you have it repaired?

I was excited about my shiny kettle, but all of the fitting welds leak.
 

bethebrew

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Has anyone had bad welds on their stout equipment? What was wrong and how did you have it repaired?

I was excited about my shiny kettle, but all of the fitting welds leak.
Have you called the shop and/or company?
 

heckels

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orangehero said:
Has anyone had bad welds on their stout equipment? What was wrong and how did you have it repaired?

I was excited about my shiny kettle, but all of the fitting welds leak.
I got my Stout kettles a month or so ago. All the welds looked great and were nicely polished.
 

Crito

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I got their 19.8 gal mashtun with bottom outlet. Only a few spots that have black temp marks on welds. A few dents on it too. (Not from ups).

Its really nice packaging for ups. Double boxed. The inside box and a few punctures but the outside box didn't. The mashtun itself had thinner walls then I would of liked. (1 mm) my megapot has thicker side walls

Overall its a good Chinese product. Works great. Just clean everything several times before use. It was covered with residue (the lube used during manufacturing).

Stout is about the only company that sells small mashtuns with bottom outlets. Really pretty mirror finish. Welds are nice too.
 

orangehero

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All three fittings at the bottom of the kettle leak at the welds on mine. I was told I have to start looking for a stainless steel welder to do repairs. I will add that besides this issue the service at stout has been great.
 

Crito

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All three fittings at the bottom of the kettle leak at the welds on mine. I was told I have to start looking for a stainless steel welder to do repairs. I will add that besides this issue the service at stout has been great.
Was this within the one year warranty? If so, would stout pay for the repairs?
 

DragonHartBrewing

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I also just received my new 19.8 gallon mash tun with the bottom dump. One of the nice things is that if your brew stand is fitted with a 10 gallon Igloo round cooler this will fit right in place of it.
I just sized up from a 5 gallon system to a 10 gallon one so my advise would be go larger its cheaper then buying everything twice. Remember you can always make a 5 gallon batch in a 10 gallon system but you can't fit 10 gallons in a 5 gallon system, Just Saying
See my pictures of the 10 gallon system I posted on the 3rd. Cheers

BT V2.2.jpg
 

orangehero

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It's a new kettle. Stout will reimburse the weldor, but I have to find one that does sanitary stainless first and schlep this thing over. At least I have something shiny to look at in the meanwhile. I guess on the new guy's first and only day at the factory he worked on my kettle. Anyone know a good weldor in CT?
 

Crito

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The area has to be flooded with argon gas. The cheap welding tape will not work.

Call a dairy farm. (Edit: they deal with stainless welders and sanitary issues) Make sure you ask the welder on how he will weld it. How to avoid the oxygen.

Hell. Stout is being cheap.

Welder will charge a premium. Its not a everyday weld due this thin metal.

Also tell the welder to use a new buffing bit too.
 

orangehero

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It's a real problem finding a weldor here in CT. I've probably sent an e-mail to every brewery, winery, and dairy in the state. The closest recommendation I got is an hour drive away. Some places even asked me to let them know if I found one.







 

bethebrew

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I think I would push Stout to ship me a new tank, and send yours back. What is freight that much on these?

Frankly, that bottom weld looks like a really crappy uneven, rough weld, let alone the leaky ones.

Don't they warranty these tanks?
 
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I can't see the actual weld where it's leaking. I would bet it's a small pin hole leak caused by the welder stopping short. I do not agree with the above comment of the welds looking rough and uneven; they look fine.

I bet these cost A LOT of money to ship. I know FedEx charges us an extra $50 if the box's 4 corners plus height measure over 130 inches. I'd assume these are under that but I bet it still costs at least $40 to ship each one to you so I see why they would rather have you source a welder.

Sending an email to a brewery, winery or dairy farm isn't always the best. They don't have a welder on staff and all they can do is recommend a company that makes their equipment. More than likely that shop won't want to do such a small job like yours. I think you'll have better luck contact local welding shops. Ask them if they can sanitary weld stainless. If you get the deer in headlights or the "what is that?"; move on. If it's a pinhole leak it'll take 10sec to fix and you don't need to make an elaborate back purge setup. Just tape a hose near the weld and turn up the flow rate.

If you have any questions shoot us a PM and we can help ya out! :mug:
 

bethebrew

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The welds look great, that's why only three of them are leaking!

The bad press a thread like this gets from a vendor not wanting to do the right thing and ship the guy a new tank must cost them more than shipping the guy a new tank.
 

jsguitar

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orangehero, I have to agree about getting stout to take back the bad kettle. That's a manufacturing defect that's going to be hard to get fixed properly. They should take the issue up with the manufacturers and give you a new kettle, whatever it takes. Sucks for them, but its not fair to you either.
 

Crito

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They need to inspect the product instead of just shipping them out right after they get it. If its to much time, then stout should suck it up and get it fix. What happens if the welder that YOU choose destroys the weld completely? To many 'what ifs' for my liking. Their products are not cheap, they are expensive. People buy them because of their reputation.
 

GotPushrods

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They need to send you a new kettle and pay to get their leaky one back. End of story. It shouldn't cost you any more time or money to get what you already paid for. This is a simple solution for most reputable businesses. I second the comment that stuff like this will cost them more in bad PR than just sucking it up and fixing the problem.
 

oakbarn

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I agree. Stout should make it right. If John does not want to pay for the shipping, he should find the welder and pay them directly.
 

orangehero

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I don't think it's going to happen. Unfortunately I don't know when I'll be able to get it repaired either. Still can't find anyone local.

I never anticipated that this would ever be an issue, otherwise I would have told them to test it first. I assumed that they did at the factory, but I guess not.
 

GotPushrods

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orangehero said:
I don't think it's going to happen. Unfortunately I don't know when I'll be able to get it repaired either. Still can't find anyone local.

I never anticipated that this would ever be an issue, otherwise I would have told them to test it first. I assumed that they did at the factory, but I guess not.
What did Stout say? Did you contact them? Something doesn't seem right here.
 

orangehero

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They did send me some links they found on google and yellow pages to help in my search. Taking the kettle back was never offered as an option. Apparently their factory doesn't guarantee anything .
 

TNugent

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Wish I would have seen this prior to ordering my new fermenter. I would have went with a different option and let them know why. This is no way to treat a customer,I think it's a valid option to offer in a situation like this but definitely shouldn't be the only option.
 

steveh01420

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Yes, it is a valid option and they say so in their warranty section, to bad. They imply they will take it back but certainly leave their options open to take the easiest path for them. For the prices paid for these kettles they should be all over this. I realize there will be mistakes in manufacturing but it is how a company deals with the mistake when it goes to a customer that sets apart integrity and pride from the "fastbuck" kind of people. Stout should do the legwork to find a welder in the area, there are plenty in CT and MA. Stout should also pay all of the expense for shipping and instruct the welding company on how it should be welded. But really most their customers do not usually do this kind of thing, so they should take care of it. So Orangehero I don't know what part of CT you are in but there is a high end welding firm in Worcester MA called Micro Arc that could do this fix for you or send you in that right direction, good luck. Also let's start posting on Stout's Facebook page and see if they will do better for this guy...
 

bethebrew

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I think OP may not be enough of a squeaky wheel to get the grease.

No question had this happened to me, I would have had a new tank. Granted it's an hour drive away and shipping isn't the issue, because I would have been at their door returning the defective tank, and getting a brand spanking new one for my drive back home. Let them repair it on their own time. Had I bought it on a credit card, this would be a non-issue completely as I would just call the bank and explain the situation to them and then just not pay a stinking dime of that bill.
 

kevink

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Orangehero,

They definitely should test everything before shipping it out. Any good welder does! If you're ever near Philly, stop by and I'll fix those leaks for you!
 

BadWolfBrewing

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I for the most part really love my stout vessels (boil, HLT, MLT, all 20g), except for the HERMS coil in the HLT. With the heating element option taking up some space, and their weird tiny diameter coil, it ends up as about 30' of 8 mm stainless coil (<3/8). The flow rate and heat transfer from the HLT to the coil is awful, to the point that I'm looking into getting a new coil and mounting through the lid as I did with an old brewery. 50' of 1/2" coil replacing their coil.

The HERMS wasn't a cheap upgrade, and due to the problems it is not sufficient to control temperatures in the MLT. The idea is, the liquid coming out of the coil should be REALLY close to the liquid in the HLT, and this isn't the case.

Other than that, I like the vessels a lot. I would suggest they don't sell the HERMS upgrade until they've increased its usefulness.
 

jawsbc

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Hi Everyone,

This is John from Stout Tanks.

We do warrant the products we sell. I believe I know which item this is and we did ask our customer to see if he had a local welder do the repairs - we prefer to have repairs done locally for two main reasons:

1) it's the fastest way to solve the problem
2) it avoids the risk of causing additional damage in shipping

If there are no other options, then we will take a kettle back to solve the problem.

We have not said to our customer that we would not deal with the problem - we are in the middle of dealing with the problem now. It was just late Friday afternoon when he emailed us about the welder (it is now Monday), so we're still within a reasonable response period, I think.

If we can help him find a local welder to fix it, that will solve the problem quickly and safely. We will, of course, either reimburse our customer or pay the welder directly. We do not shirk our responsibilities, and we want to have happy brewers as customers! That's why we do what we do and keeps us motivated every day.

And, if there are no local/nearby welders to do the repairs, we will take it back and either fix it here or replace it.

Cheers,

John/Stout Tanks and Kettles
 

jawsbc

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This is John from Stout Tanks again.

Regarding the HERMS coil - we've sold many of these hot liquor tanks with the same configuration as BadWolfBrewing has without this issue.

We received an email from him about this just today and have responded to help figure out what is going on with his coil.

Cheers,

John
 

BadWolfBrewing

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Yep, stout replied to my email, I'm hopeful that we'll find a solution.

I'd like to reiterate, aside from some temp control issues, the vessels are great. The bottom drain in the MLT alone is a godsend. The quality of the welds, where visible, is impressive. For the welded fittings, it is actually hard to see the seams on a few of them. I haven't had any of the leaks that were reported. One of the valves leaked a tiny amount, but I just tightened the crap out of it after cleaning and it is fine now.

Perhaps the community can weigh in. I'm pumping through the coil full throttle with a center inlet pump (march motor, chugger head), and getting 1 - 1.3 gpm or so of recirculation. I look at other electric HERMS systems, and they get matching (or near) temps in HLT and MLT with the same pump, and similar vessels. The only difference is they use larger HERMS coils. If they get higher recirc rates, it is due to less restriction from the coil.

So, is the solution a bigger pump or a bigger HERMS coil? A bigger herms coil (hung from the lid) could double as an IC chiller, while a bigger pump could create a very awesome whirlpool. Would a higher flow rate cause grain bed compaction?
 

oakbarn

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I contacted John and can quite understand why a "local" solution would better aid his customer. Since most items are "special order" and a long lead time, if it can be fixed locally then it would be quicker. In all my dealings with John, he has been very responsive.

As far as the small HERMS coil, I also would have preferred a little bigger tube. The flow is constricted so there is not a lot of volume throughput. It is easy to control the temp of the mash however. It would not matter if the coil was tube was bigger or not, you would still have some point of equilibrium to match. We had previous used a Chin Chiller Counterflow chiller as my coil. It worked well and the flow was higher. But is this a problem? My Wort comes out crystal clear amber using the Stout HERMS and my efficiency is very good. I just like to see flow! We measure the temp on the outlet of the MLT and on the recirculate inlet. We do see stratification in the MLT top to bottom. Ours does not have the bottom outlet but I may have an exchange in the future!
 

BadWolfBrewing

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I ran the numbers, using the pump curves and some heat transfer / fluid dynamics equations.

Switching from a small coil to a large coil should result in 100 +-50 % increase in heat transfer to the coil, using conservative vales. The error range is so large because the head loss through a coiled tube is a tough thing to predict. I've also neglected the skin effect, which would favor the larger diameter tube even more. Potentially, the difference could be even larger from this. Using the pump curve and assuming a straight tube, I estimated that the flow rate through a larger coil would increase 1.5 to 2x, even with the longer length. If you bring Dean's equations into it to include the effects of the coil diameter (the stout is ~5"), it would be an even bigger difference, though I didn't trust the numbers I was getting.

To achieve the same increase in heat exchange to the herms coil by only modifying the flow rate, I would have to increase the flow rate by at east 4.2x, potentially much more. I'm not sure how fast you need to recirc before grain bed compaction becomes an issue, but I'd bet that would do it. Trying to recirc that fast through their coil would also require a reasonably beefy pump...

For the most part, the huge difference is just in the surface area of the coil. The convective heat transfer coefficient does go up with the smaller diameter coil, but not as fast as the surface area decreases.

EDIT: I made a small sign error, the flow is not laminar. One isn't much more turbulent than the other though, maybe a 5-6% difference. Oddly enough, the turbulent flow favored the larger pipe more. I guess by being turbulent, all of the flow gets in on the action and the whole cross-section of the pipe gets utilized for heat exchange.
 

DragonHartBrewing

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Hey BadWolfBrewing just wondering if you have tried to slow the flow down through the coil so the wort has more surface time in the coil? I had a similar problem with a herns system I built in another brew stand of mine! when I slowed down the flow that helped to control the temperature. Good luck
 
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