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Free Keg. How To Open It.

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Brizbrew

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I went to price a job this afternoon for an woman who lives nearby and when I went into the outhouse there in the corner we're 3 shiny kegs. The job I am doing was worth about $150 so I asked her if she would be interested in doing a deal for the kegs, part cash and one of the kegs, she replied that if I could take them away I could have them on top of my fee. It turns out that her husband used to use them for balancing on while doing his painting and decorating.

I am looking to slowly turn to all grain brewing and was in the market for a large boil kettle, I intend to cut the top off one and use it for boiling in, the problem is there is some pressure in the keg when I press the little thing in the middle of the lid so obviously I want to make sure it is free of pressure before opening it with a grinder, are there any safe ways of going about this?

Another thing I am thinking about now I have three kegs is one for boiling, one for a mash tun and one for fermenting, can this work?
Either that or I will sell two on Ebay.
 

sluggerdog

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Brizbrew I am in the same position as you, collected my kegs on saturday, I have two.

They are the flat top type (??) I just want to release the pressure so if anyone has any tips?


Brizbrew, if you have the 3 why not use them for:
- HLT
- Mash Tun
- Boiler/kettle

I am going to use mine for:
- HLT
- Boiler/kettle
and I have an esky for the mash tun
 

jgriffin

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I'd love another 2 kegs :-(

Anyway, just push the little thingy in the middle to release the pressure.
 

warrenlw63

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When you release the pressure make sure you put a rag over the ball-bearing. Then push down with a screwdriver.

10 year old VB or Tooheys dregs don't make for a very nice beer-shampoo. The rag will take the impact.

Warren -
 

homebrewworld.com

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I was carefull when it did the same thing.
I grabbed the drill, and made a little hole in the top of the keg (anywhere) and the pressure blew out of there, and i didnt get covered in swill !
Put a soaking wet towell around the keg to keep the noise down a little and attack with grinder..........Oh, a friend who is a nurse in Emergency told me that 9 out of Ten accidents with DIY tools are from grinders !!!!!
Be very carefull, the edge of the s.s. is like a razor...........dont put the grinder inside the keg lip, cause if it jumps your gone ( or your hand is ) and use a cutting disc, not grinding disc, ear muffs and eye protection !!!! Whew !
Good luck...
 

jgriffin

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Oh, and use a brand-new cutting disc. If it's been used before on steel you can end up rusting your keg.
 

Wortgames

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After you've released the pressure you can bash the valve in with a hammer and a suitable bashing thing. Obviously when the keg heats up it will start to develop pressure again, so I'd be very careful about cutting into a sealed one even if you had released the pressure.

Depending on your budget, I'd take it to someone with a plasma cutter for the neatest job. If you decide to do it yourself, you'll probably go through several discs. Mark out a line first, the disc gets smaller as you go along so don't rely on the angle grinder to provide a radius.

Finally, whichever way you go, it's a good idea to half fill the keg with water - this will stop the red-hod grindings (or drippings) from embedding themselves in the inside surface.
 

sintax69

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Use the thin metal cutting disks about 3 mm thick
 

siiren

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You could use a dremmel, or similar product (some brands go for $20) and use a heavy duty cutting disc, about 3 should do. Very noisy job, so use the usual protection. Clean up with a grinding attachment.

Try to get an old pot lid to use as your guide leaving enough room for the lid to seat, which will speed up your boil time.

I would recommend a large screwdriver and rag to degass.

Do a search, plenty of info, also for tap fittings, sight glass etc.....

I love this site!!!
 

vlbaby

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Fitting a lid to your boiler is a good idea. Not that i would use it during the boil because i think it causes boil overs, but it is a great way of minimizing air bourne nasties entering your brew whilst it is chilling.

vlbaby.
 

FNQ Bunyip

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one disk did 3 kegs for me .. nice and slow saftey first is the go ....

if you tillt the keg on a 45 deg when degasing you wont get swill spray all over you .. use the handle of a screwdriver and a rag . ...

I have 4 set up as fermenter and I used them as open fermenters for a feqw years with only a couple of infections ,,, have recently made perspex lids and now have them sealing .... well most of the time I need to find a better softer O'ring material.......

Cheers and good luck ...fnqbunyip

oh and it is illegal to sell these kegs and could raise unwanted interest in your brew.... :)
 

warrenlw63

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Another good article.

Angle grinder can be substituted as a cheaper replacement for a dremel.

Cutting a Keg

Warren -
 

beer slayer

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Briz brew
I recently cut the tops of a couple of SS kegs. Its not so hard as long as you have the right cutting wheel on your grinder. I went to a good tool retailer and he sold me a couple of cutting wheels that are specific for cutting SS. They are only thin approx 3mm they cut the keg as if it were butter. They are german made (dont rember brand) and approx $3-5. Take your time, hold grinder steady and wear saftey gear. I was suprised at how easy I did it

Cheers :beer:
beer slayer
 

warrenlw63

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Trick is to not force the grinder into the metal. Let the grinder eat its way in and it will cut the keg like butter.

I find the best approach is to start by grinding a small groove around the whole circumference of the keg. This more or less gives you a path.

Then just start on the first point of the groove until you cut right through. Then just keep gently pushing along. The grinder more or less will run like it's on rails then.

You should have the top off in about 20 mins and about 1 and a half discs later.

For my first keg I paid $4 each for non-metal cut-off wheels which are supposed to be the duck's nuts (and they were).

However for my 2nd keg I just used 4 discs for $2 cheapies from the Warehouse and got pretty similar if not entirely the same results.

Get yourself some Emery paper to finish up the job as well. Otherwise the razor ribbon along the cut will rip your hands to shreds.

Warren -
 

Darren

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Hey BrisBrew,
If I were you and seeing how you got the kegs for free I would take them to your local stainless steel fabrication workshop.
Have them cut the lids out with a plasma cutter and ask them to weld a couple of tabs around the perimeter of the cut-off lid.
Plasma cutter will leave a nice clean cut with very little of the metal removed.
You can then use the cut-off portion for a lid for your kegs.
Remember most heat will be lost through the top of a vessel and you will want to cover them during the mash time.
Bet I am too late though and you have already taken to them with an angle grinder!
cheers
Darren
 

warrenlw63

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Pizza trays a cheap and come in all sorts of sizes.

Just drill a hole through the centre, screw on some kind of knob and you've got a fairly cheap lid.

I'll even bet that there's numerous SWMBOs who have them chucked up in the cupboard and haven't even used them. (Hint, hint). :)

Warren -
 

ozbrewer

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the trick i found with Stainless is to work slowly and try not to let it get to hot...even when drilling, slow and steady wins the race
 

Brizbrew

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Some top advice here, thanks, I will bookmark this for when I am ready to do the job and hopefully it will go as plan.
One thing though, how far down the keg should I make the cut, just under the handles?
 

arthur

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I cut the top of my keg with a jigsaw and a cheap blade. It was easy. A perfect circle.
 

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