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Weldless Fittings vs. Welded Fittings for Keggles

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Stevorino

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I'm aiming to purchase the final parts of my AG system today online--all I need now are the fittings for my keggle. I've been thinking about just getting weldless fittings for a while now...but the owner of my LHBS suggested that I get the top of my keggle chopped off by a welder w/ plasma cutters-- which made me wonder how much it'd cost to get fittings welded on too.

Anyone know how much welding services would be? Are welded fittings advantageous over weldless fittings?

Thanks again everyone!
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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I am very happy with my stainless weldless fittings. Obviously, the welded fittings would be more permanent and more robust, but... I like how I don't have to worry about rusting pitting, leaks, getting a crappy looking weld,.... the list of my worries goes on. Plus I like how once a year I can undo my assembly, thoroughly clean and sanitize everything and reassemble with new seals etc.

I don't think the cost is really to big a factor, I think I have seen welding been quoted here at around ~$20 a fitting. But that could be wrong.

I am sure that others are big supporters of welded fittings and I am sure they would be correct as well. As with almost all homebrew decisions it comes down to your preferences and what you think will look best. Both fitting styles will make awesome beer.

Cheers to ambiguous non-conclusive answers!:mug:
 

McKBrew

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The only thing that can be a PITA with weldless fittings is getting them not to leak, but patience and Teflon tape will help out with that.
 

joejaz

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I used the weldless fittings. Drilled hole and installed in less then 5 minutes. As for cutting the top, check out Bobby M's video. I cut two, one with roto zip grinder attachment and one with dremel cutting discs. Just take your time and you'll save enough to buy the weldless thermometer for $40.
 

Stout Man

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I actually bought 2 weldess fittings at first. Just enough to have one attachment on the HLT and MT. Each one was $14 online as that was the only place I could find the couplings and o-rings, etc. I was lucky enough to meet up with a friend who has been a welder for some time, welds for one of his jobs, and has a mig welder at his house. I was also able to find more ss couplings for $1.89 a piece at an agriculture store. Now I can have a lot more attachments on the keg for a lot cheaper. After borrowing an argon tank, getting the 8 couplings together, and dragging everything to my friends house he welded everything. It is much more solid and my nerves are at ease about the whole setup being much more solid, leak proof, and not having to worry about any washers or o-rings. I only had to fork out $19 for 2lbs of stainless wire for the welding.

The whole preparation of cutting the holes took forever for me, even with the vast array of drills and conduit punches available.

Now I have room for sight glasses, thermometers, and ball valves on all my kegs.
 

Bernie Brewer

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+1 on the weldless fittings here. No problems at all. The problems, I've heard is when you remove them for some dumbass reason and then you need to get a new high-temp washer to reinstall it.

And get yourself an angle grinder to cut the top off. Probably wouldn't cost any more than paying some dude to cut the top off, and you'll have a new toy to play with.
 

WorryWort

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I realize this is a WAY old thread....but +1 on the angle grinder. I rented one from home depot for $17/day and bought a few metal cutting discs (one per keg.) for $4 each. I cut and sanded it with that, and its perfect, and cheap. I suck with DIY projects in general and this was easy. My first cut wasnt' a perfect circle, but it doesn't look terrible.

If you have time, money and patience then getting some pro to use a plasma cutter is surely a great option...
 

ScubaSteve

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An angle grinder is an awesome tool. It cuts like butta.
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

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I prefer weldless, but just because I wanted to do the whole keggle thing myself. It's probably the same amount of money to get either (welded + fitting) or just weldless fitting. I've not had a problem with any of my weldless fittings leaking on me...not even when bumped or when cranking on the valve. It would be nice to have the comfort knowing the fittings would NEVER leak, but even if they do it would just be a drip here and there.
 

Duckfoot

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Let me see if my friend's plasma cutter is working and I will let you know... Used his old one for mine...
 

Brew-boy

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I use weldless for all my equipment and had no problems at all. I also like the fact I can take apart and clean them.
 

caspio

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I started with weldless, had one that was 100% rock solid through every brew, had another that would leak if you so much as looked at it wrong.

Ended up getting the LHBS to weld my kettle and HLT up for me, can't be happier with the results. Between the cost per weld and the cost of the 1/2" couplers I provided, I paid almost exactly the same I would have for weldless bulkheads.
 

WorryWort

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hijack alert...

Someone told me that valves (weldless or not) can be hard to keep sanitized. Does anyone find this to be true?

I think it's a bit of BS, or at minimum a moot point, because any wort that touches valves on an MLT will be boiled immediately afterwards, and a kettle valve will be boiled too - I'm pretty confident nothing could live in there after 60-90 minutes of vigorous boiling, and in my case a little fire.

Unless they meant hard to "keep clean", not sanitized, which I'm not so concerned with. A old piece of grain or two stuck in the valve won't hurt me as long as its not bacteria laden (which it won't be)!!

Thoughts?
 

menschmaschine

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Someone told me that valves (weldless or not) can be hard to keep sanitized. Does anyone find this to be true?
Nothing that could infect your wort on a weldless fitting that comes into contact with the wort will survive a 60 minute boil. Heck, not much will survive the temps getting to boil, much less the boil itself. As long as you keep them clean, you won't have a problem.
 

neckbone

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I'm sure the fittings do get sanitized during the boil, but according to the new More Beer catalog, the bal valves will not be sanitized during the boil, and should be removed and boiled separately.
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

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I'm sure the fittings do get sanitized during the boil, but according to the new More Beer catalog, the bal valves will not be sanitized during the boil, and should be removed and boiled separately.
Not sure why they would say that...the valve itself it as hot as the liquid inside the kettle. If you touch the metal part of the ball valve during or even leading up to the boil...you WILL get a nice fat burn. So, if you keep the ball valve clean and free of gunk, anything on the surface of the metal will be killed by the heat of the boil. Now if you're REALLY paranoid about it you can always pick up a 3-piece SS ball valve and soak it in sanitizer beforehand. But that is a little overboard...212+ degrees for 60 minutes will do the trick.
 

billtzk

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Or if you have a pump, you can recirculate the wort through the valve, the pump, and back to the kettle during the last ten minutes of the boil. That is what I do.
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

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Or if you have a pump, you can recirculate the wort through the valve, the pump, and back to the kettle during the last ten minutes of the boil. That is what I do.
I've got a friend that sanitizes his counterflow chiller in this manner...pretty easy method, and makes me jealous every time I see it. Gotta get a pump...when will the obsession end?
 

Stinkonamonkey

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I have weldless on my keggle and MLT cooler. I had to get some silicone to seal them as nothing I could do otherwise was doing the trick. It leaked at the ball valve threads on both of them. Getting them to seal was such a pain in the butt that I wont take them apart again for anything.

If I knew a welder, or where to look (or if I wasnt lazy), I would get mine welded. Much cleaner install in my opinion.
 

billtzk

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Ask at your LHBS. They probably know a welder or two, as it is very common for home brewers to need to have some welding done.

I got my LHBS to have their welder cut the top from a keg and clean it up, drill and weld in two 1/2 inch full couplings, reweld four leaking couplings in two other keggles I had, add a third 1/2 inch coupling to each of those two kegs and clean up the sharp edges on the tops. So that was a total of four new holes drilled and couplings welded in, four existing leaking couplings rewelded (this is not something that would ever be required of a properly welded fitting - mine were bad), one top cut, three tops cleaned up to remove sharp edges, all for $175.
 

TwoHeadsBrewing

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I really don't see how the weldless kits would leak with high temp silicone gaskets on both sides, or at least on the interior. I suppose if it were installed incorrectly, or the gaskets are a few years old you could have trouble with leaks. But with mine, I just tightened down the connection by hand...no problems. Just got a weldless sight tube and weldless thermometer from AHS...so we'll see how those do.
 

Rickybrew

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I was wondering if it would be possible to use the weld less spigots on the boiling vessel or is it just reserved for the mash tun? I wasn't quite clear on if it would stand up to a 90 minute boil.
 

kal

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Definitely work in the boil kettle too. All three of my Blichmann pots use weldless fittings for thermometer and valve right from the manufacturer.

Kal
 

Beehemel

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I just got my keggle welded, but I'm having a problem sealing the threads on the ball valve and the hose nipple. Can regular pipe seal (teflon) tape withstand the heat, or do they make a high temp teflon tape?
 

mr_cad

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I just finished installing my weldless fittings in my boil kettle and they are leak free. I had no problems installing it. Used 4 to 5 wraps of teflon tape. My O-ring seems to be bulging out from behind the locknut just a tad, but it is even on all sides. I will do a test with a boil just to make sure before brewday. So far not a drop of water leakage! :ban:
 

kal

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To stop the o-ring from bulging, use a washer/shim outside of the o-ring. This is what Blichmann does with their kettles. It lets you do a 100% secure weldless fitting without worrying about squishing the o-ring.

Like this:







This is the method I use in my setup for all my valves (HERMS in/out shown above). Complete instructions and parts list are on my www.theelectricbrewery.com site.

Kal
 

otownpyle

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Been researching this for the past few weeks... Trying to figure out what to do.. I already have an angled grinder for sharpening my lawnmower blades so FTW... Just need the right discs... And gonna try the weldless fittings for sure. Thanks HBT fam!
 

millaj92

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I have 3 kegs I want to convert. I plan to have one HLT, one MLT, and one keggle. Where is the cheapest place online to get stainless fittings such as ball valves, temperature gauges, and sight glasses and things like that?
 

ajhill

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I have 3 kegs I want to convert. I plan to have one HLT, one MLT, and one keggle. Where is the cheapest place online to get stainless fittings such as ball valves, temperature gauges, and sight glasses and things like that?
Hey,

My dad has a saying for this: "Only The Rich can afford to buy cheap things".

That being said, I bought three combo thermometer/sight glasses from Bobby M from N.J. His prices were reasonable and a lot of thought went into getting a good solid product, designed for homebrewing. I have enjoyed his videos as well. He deserves to profit from all the knowledge he has shared with the community.

As to the fittings, I plan on purchasing them from http://www.bargainfittings.com as they are a supporter of this forum. They are very reasonable and friendly as well.

Why not support the people who help make this a great forum for home brewers?

Cheers, :mug:

Al
 

justinakajuice

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I have 3 kegs I want to convert. I plan to have one HLT, one MLT, and one keggle. Where is the cheapest place online to get stainless fittings such as ball valves, temperature gauges, and sight glasses and things like that?
After a bunch of looking around on the interweb, I just purchased 2 weld-in fittings, and 1 weldless setup for the cooler MLT I'm putting together along with some misc. pieces from bargainfittings.com

Cheapest I could find for most of it and they just happen to be a sponser of the site, too.
 
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I actually bought 2 weldess fittings at first. Just enough to have one attachment on the HLT and MT. Each one was $14 online as that was the only place I could find the couplings and o-rings, etc. I was lucky enough to meet up with a friend who has been a welder for some time, welds for one of his jobs, and has a mig welder at his house. I was also able to find more ss couplings for $1.89 a piece at an agriculture store. Now I can have a lot more attachments on the keg for a lot cheaper. After borrowing an argon tank, getting the 8 couplings together, and dragging everything to my friends house he welded everything. It is much more solid and my nerves are at ease about the whole setup being much more solid, leak proof, and not having to worry about any washers or o-rings. I only had to fork out $19 for 2lbs of stainless wire for the welding.

The whole preparation of cutting the holes took forever for me, even with the vast array of drills and conduit punches available.

Now I have room for sight glasses, thermometers, and ball valves on all my kegs.
I am heading from Ontario, Canada to Az soon. What is name of agricultural store with ss fittings? Thanks
 

Leobeezer

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Hey Guys, I am new here. This is all great information so far. Are certain vendors better than others for fittings welded or weldless? Does anyone here have a favorite go to person for fittings and boiling equipment? Thanks guys, just looking to start my brew setup and am undecided about welded or weldless.
 
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I'm obviously biased but I wouldn't go anything but welded. Something that will last a lifetime and will never have any issues is a strong selling point for me.

With that being said feel free to check out our kettles! www.spikebrewing.com
 

kal

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When done correctly, weldless is every bit as solid and permanent as welded.

For example, most people do not know this but all of the fittings on Blichmann kettles are all 100% weldless. That includes the thermometer, the ball valve, and the two holes for the sight glass. All 100% weldless.

Blichmann kettles are not inexpensive. They are (IMHO) a good example of building something for long term use and robustness over cost. I'm sure if they felt welded would cause less issues, they'd go welded. They've been doing weldless now since the launch of their kettles. They certainly do do welding with their products, just not with their kettle fittings.

There's a lot of bad press on weldless fittings, mostly because there have been some extremely poorly implemented weldless fittings sold over the years that left a bad taste in peoples' mouths.

Kal
 

StainlessBrewing

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It's all personal preference really. If you have a welder or want to buy one welded...go for it! Wayne at Bargain Fittings posted a nice thread about soldering your own fittings and BobbyM at Brew Hardware posted a video on how strong the joint is in that thread as well. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/soldering-stainless-steel-155782/ And last, there are hundreds of people using weldless fittings making award winning beer. It's all up to you! If it drains, doesn't leak, clean and rigid...doesn't matter what way you go.
 
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