Scrounging Equipment For Ag

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Beer Budda
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I'm in the process at the moment, in scrounging bits and pieces in prep for going AG.
I managed to score a 50L keg which i was hoping to convert to a HLT but I am not really sure of the best way in which to attach a drain tap. I've seen these weld-b-gone thingys, but havent been able to locate them locally. And having a look at the few pictures in the gallery, I notice most are using a locknut and thread assembly of some kind with a suitable kind of washer. Does anyone have any good suggestions about the best way of doing this? And does the ball valve or tap etc have to be food grade or anything like that, or can I use the ball valve I can buy at bunnings?

thanks guys.
Ahhh plumbing.......
The Hbers worst nightmare- what the hell do you call that thing in the picture?

I have started buildinga website to help everyone out with this is nowhere near finished - need to borrow a digital camera from someone- (any brissy brewers feel like lending a hand!!!)

The parts you need are
1) 4-6 inch long piece of 1/2 inch BSP all- thread.
This can be picked up at most plumbing supplies

2) Ball vall - preferably with 2 female threads each end or alternativly one of those tap ones with a male thread and a socket (adapter) again all in 1/2 BSP (B.S.P. (British standard pipe) refers to the thread size and type)

3) Flange nuts and lock nuts
A flange nut or large locknut is needed on the inside to press down on your washer which creates the seal. Theoretically you shouldn't need an external washer/seal as the internal one is the important one
You won't need a metal washer but a fibre washer should cut it- this is standard plumbing practice to use fibre washers. Maybe rubber or silicone washers are good but hard to find in the right size in my experince- i would love to try a nylon washer but have had no luck at all with finding the right size.

Obviously you need anoher nut on the ouside to lock the all- thread in place.

4) A standard hex nipple or barrel nipple will not suffice as the thread is tapered and you can't screw nuts onto these without stuffing around with metal spacer washers.

5) Pickup tube - optional - female 1/2 inch Bsp thread to 1/2 inch compression fitting (for 1/2 copper tube) or 3/8 compression fitting - for 3/8 copper tube

6) depending on how you want to move the water to your mash tun ie tube or whatever - haven't quite sorted this out yet

In the HLT brass is fine - Most standard plumbing in your house is brass and that is all that is going throught the hlt
have fun - at least the guy in the plumbing shop will know what your talking about even if you don't :D :D :p


Beer is Good
thanks lou,
I'll be heading down to the plumbing supplies this morning to make a goose of myself. I thought about using fibre washers, but i thought it would introduce a source of contamination into the brew, especially when it got hot.

thanks again


Had a quick look at your web site. Looks great. Just what the doctor ordered for us technically challenged brewers. If I lived in brissy I'd be over in a flash with a camera and a 100 questions. Unfortuneatley I'm 1000k south.

On your web site you say not to use brass ball valves in the kettle, (only the HLT). Why?? I've made a kettle and have installed a brass valve from Bunnings. HAvn't used it yet - so was a bit worried when I read your comment.

Any help much appeciated and can't wait for the Plumbing for Dummys site to be finsihed.

cheers -
The concern with the use of brass in the kettle is that the lead which is in the brass will leach out to some extent, and get into your beer. It is my understanding that any amount will be small, but, with something like lead, and for the few bucks involved in putting on a stainless nipple and valve, it seems like money well spent.
That said, I have used a brass nipple before my stainless valve without any problem for several years... however, I have obtained a couple of stainless nipples, and have pulled the brass out of my kettle to replace with the stainless before my next brew.


Think I'll invest in a stainless ball valve !!. Anyone know a good supplier in Sydney for stainless fittings. I've pretty much bought all my stuff from Bunnings up till now but looks like I'll have to spread my wings a bit..

These guys call thmselves "Fluid Transfer solutions" If that description doesn't suit homebrewing to a tee I don't know what does. They have all those "weld-b-gone thingys" of which you speak.
I got all my SS fittings and SS braid there
Thanks Mikey. There's one down the road from work so I'll check it out.
err ,hallo again plasticman i too am trying to set an ag brew system for the ss fittings,eg ball valves try your nearest boating supply store they usually carry all types of ss fittings for boaties and yachties.
Spog - cheers - good idea. I actually went into Whitworths,(Discount Chandlers), the other day and bought a plastic skin fitting. Should have thought about them again for the SS ball valve. I'll shoot up tomorrow.

Ta again !!!
Gotta tell ya, people: Keep brass away from your wort.
I was gifted a thermometer in a cool brass sleeve (for protecting the glass, of course) and used it in my mash vessel.

I had brassy-tasting beer. Not good if you are mashing to improve the quality of the brew.

Fixed now, by using a stainless dial-type thermometer (also gifted).

Friends who work in the dairy food industry may be able to help with stainless items. I got the 2 thermometers coz my friend's employer was gonna toss 'em, and she thought of her brewer friend...Aaaaawwww!
yep its highly preferable to have stainless, but if you can only afford brass it would be OK. Just need to pickle the brass b4 use to ensure u don't get the brassy taste is a good link that suggests that brass is probably OK on the 'hot side' of the proces

I hate to say it but while i agree with what most of this guy says the fact is that brass contains between .5 to 2 percent lead. not just on the surface, all the way through and as the acidic beer passes over it the brass corodes, copper, zinc and lead dissolve in the beer. IMHO it is not 'surface lead' you need to worry about. oxidised copper and lead is toxic and not very tasty! It is one thing to run ph neutral water through these pipes - another to run hot acidic wort.

These metals are not used in the food industry so why should i feel safe using them at home. ps well maintained copper on its own appears to be okay.
interesting i wonder why many say brass is OK eg from

"Professional brewers prefer stainless because it is very tough and will stand up to corrosive cleaning chemicals. Brass is softer and can be corroded. Another problem with brass is that most brass contains a small amount of lead. Fortunately, the lead can be removed by treating the brass with acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide (for more details, see reference 2). I agree, consumer prices for stainless valves are out of sight (so are the prices microbrewers pay!). Brass should work alright as long as you "de-lead" it before use and avoid caustic-based cleaners or oxidizing acids such as nitric. Stick to noncaustic products and the brass should hold up well"

I note other sites sugest Brass and Copper is classed as food grade if ph is 6 and above. Wort is typically around 5.5 so dunno where that leaves us.

For mine it is a decision about price of brass v ss. tho if metallic tastes are coming through then it may be the galvanic reaction by using dissimilar metals, rather than the brass per se.

i am not a metallurgist and so would be guided by the experts
vlbaby,for the life of me i cannot remember who posted this site, but you seem to be in the same boat as me eg ag scrounging fact finding ,i was after a simple set up and as per post found a top site for a basically no weld no bull site with plenty of explainsions and pictures to put it all into (the keg ) so to speak and easy to visually set it all up cheers spog.

Great site. I hadn't seen it before. The pictorial tutorial is great. Loved the pipe !!

Of interest is the ball valves which all looked like brass?? The debate continues.....

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