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How To Use 50lt Keg To Brew With

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Gout

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I was given a beer keg and the guy wants to be able to brew in his. Is it possible to use it for home brew???? (hard to clean out mind you.)

I want to "try" to use it for home brew but think it will end up a boiler for the All grain
 

Justin

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It depends what brand it is. I wouldn't go mentioning brands/owners but if it's a Sankey keg like CUB use there is a circlip that you can remove and then the spear screws out. (there is a site that shows how to remove the spear but I can't seem to find it, search on Grumpy's I know it's on there somewhere). I don't know about tooheys kegs. But that allows you access inside. If the keg has been recently used then the inside will be sparkely clean apart from some stale beer, so easy to clean and sanitise.

But after a homebrew you may get some cruddy stuff, you will probably need a caustic mix to clean properly but maybe just hot water and a hose may do the job. If it's a "borrowed" keg why not just return it, swap it for another and let the brewery clean it ;)

As always, make sure you release the pressure before you do anything.

JD
 

joecast

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hey ben,
i just picked up two 40ltr kegs yesterday. the "plan" i have is to use one for a mash/lauter tun and the other as a boiling kettle. both will need the tops chopped off and a hole in the side welded shut. also they both need a hole near the bottom to run a tap out of. usually a small ball valve does the trick.
the mash/lauter keg will need some copper tubing laid out around the bottom connecting to the ball valve to separate out the grains from the wort. let me know if you need any more info on this. as i said, i havent done this yet so actually doing it may not be as easy as it sounds.
joe
 

Justin

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Ah, Joe's been to Boag's hasn't he ;) . Give me a PM and we can meet up Joe, I see your in the Hobart area too. Perhaps I can help you out in some way. Introduce you to a few of the boys as well.

Cheers, JD
 

crackers

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joe,
i also got two of the 40L kegs from boags.
i cut the top out and plugged the side hole with a tank fitting and bung.
so it can be removed if i whish to add a temp probe of something. plus it was easier for me to do it at home than take it to be welded.
i used a hole saw to cut a hole in the bottom, once again used a tank fitting, 1/2" threaded brass pipe and 1/2'" ball valve on that.
inside i've a copper pipe bend with the s.s. scourer to filter the hops etc. form the wort.
works a treat.
my only complaint, is that the barrel shaped ones i have, make the outlet angle downward.
but sat upon brick edges, not a problem.
i'm still trying to borrow the work camera, hopefull this weekend, and i'll post some pictures and assemly photos.


cheers
crackers
 

Gout

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well mine aint boags .... its a super new one though looks like its been used once, (mate works at the pub)

Its a hiniken (spelling?!?! dam it)

I used to have the artical where they took out the spear but i cant find the dam thing.

how do you release pressure safely??

If i cant use it for the brewing i will cut it open for the mash tun, and try for another for the boiler

still would like to have a 50Lt brew in it:) hehe problem is then i need a 70Lt boiler and mash tun etc
 

Wozza

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Ben,

To release the pressure, cover the outlet with a towel or some old rags and push down on the valve with a screwdriver. Lota pressure in those things, so steady as she goes...

Crackers,

I was going to fit a s/s tap onto one of my kegs this weekend. Going to drill a 1/2" hole and poke a threaded brass pipe through, fixed either side by 2 brass nuts (and maybe some washers. Plastic? Neoprene? Stainless?). The tap then screws onto the pipe. Is this what you mean when you say 'tank fitting' or is there something I can get that will make the assembly more foolproof?

And how do you fix the copper pipe on the inside to the screwed brass pipe?
 

Justin

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The fitting your refering to is often called a bulkhead fitting, you can find lots of information about it when looking at Gott/Rubbermaid conversions. Basically though you are going to want 2 s/s washers and a big rubber, silicon (ideal), neoprene washer or o-ring for the inside. You will also find handy a 1/2in tap washer (the red fibre ones for hot/cold taps) to go between the nut and the washer, plus a healthy portion of teflon plumbers tape. Then screw that baby tight.

You will need a compression fitting to join your copper piping to your threaded brass nipple (your all threaded bit of pipe). Makes a lovely seal when tight.

You can also get so silicone sealant (Dow Corning. Product R732). This stuff is food grade to 232oC and handy for any pesky leaks.

If all else fails, get it welded but this should do the job.

JD
 

crackers

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wozza
the tank fitting is like a externally threaded pipewith a flange on one end, fabric washer over the thread and nut to screw over the pipe.
i found this to be very water tight.
even replace the contraption on my mash tun with one of these.

got the camera tonight, will take some piccies.

cheers
crackers
 

Justin

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That sounds quite interesting Crackers. I haven't seen what your talking about but it sound alright. Keen to see photos.

JD
 

big d

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something like this justin

bulkhead.jpg
 

crackers

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thats nearly it big d but slightly different.
it doesnt have that plain pipe piece.
ppp what a mouth full.

crackers
 

Jazman

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well i have one of those 45 litre barrel kegs and i have some heavy guage stainless that i will weld over the hole and i will have to find a tap for the bottom as it is already threaded if not i will weld over it and im going to wel d handle then i will have a boiler will post pics when done
 

Gout

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How do the mega swill brewers use the kegs.
Its has only one in/outlet

do they ram the beer in under huge pressure, then they pour from there? but ho do they mantain pressure, etc

confused, as home brew kegs have a inlet for gass and outlet for beer. the 50Lt keg has only one...

thanks
 

popsy

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The 50lt kegs need a coupler to be of any use for cleaning/serving of beer.

Depending on what sort of keg it is(CUB or Tooheys) they have different couplers, the CUB is a "well" type fitting that you will be able to see the metal ball that seals the keg in the middle. The Tooheys have a flat type of fitting on them. The couplers are readily avaliable on ebay(they go for around $40) or through kegsystems($120 new).

Before you go ahead and start cutting/playing with these you should really release the pressure, as when I released my first keg I was not ready for the amount of pressure in these things, and the screwdriver took off at quite a rate (enough to pierce a hole in my garage wall!).

As far as using them to keg your brew, there is nothing stopping you from doing this but you need to consider a few things as follows:

1) commercial kegs have no pressure relief valve to "burp" the keg when you fill it up. I am getting a good mate of mine to spin up an attachment for the coupler to take a valve to allow this. You must also either incorporate some sort of system to protect the keg from having to much pressure or be careful with you gassing/pouring.

2) you must have a fair bit of faith in you cleaning ability as you will not be able to see what is in there. If the keg you have has been sitting in the sun for ages it will be rank as hell, so try and get a fairly recently used one.

3) the full kegs a bloody heavy and very difficult to move, and also take up a huge amount of space in fridges. I have invested in a chest freezer(350l-10 bucks what a bargain) and this will only hold one brewery keg and two soda kegs at best.

4) 50lt is a fair whack of beer to go bad on you. You should probably not do any radical experiments, and drink it as fast as possible. As I am a finely tuned beer athlete and am not scared of a challenge this is not a problem.

5) most of the fittings(disconnects etc) will not work without some modification/manipulation. Some stainless fittings will help in a big way here.

If you want any other info or pics of what things look like pm me and I will organise some for you - my system is not quite working yet but we are not far away.

Matt
 

crackers

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finally here the photos of the tank fitting i was talking about.
this is the assembly for the mash tun.
boiler is the same.

mash_tun_assem.jpg
 

crackers

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some explanation
copper manifold, plastic pipe (for tight bend), white locking thinging with brass cap nut, then the tank fitting & nut (black washer not shown), threaded brass pipe, ball valve, reducer & hose barb.
i place a stocking over the manifold, but now ive got a large grain bag.

cheers
crackers
 

joecast

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some great help here. got my note book and pen writing down as much as i can. oh, great pictures too. make the explainations much clearer.

got the top off one keg at "work" last night. will pick up some pieces today and hopefully put it all together next week!
joe
 

crackers

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inside of the boiler
tank nut & fitting, white locking thinging with brass cap nut and the other brass thing (all brought as one unit) and the copper pipe pickup. stainless steel scourer not shown.

as you can see i dont have a clue what things are called.
so heres another picture of the inside of the boiler assembly.

boiler_assem.jpg
 

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