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Building a Keg still

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  • Levi Langershank
    Finally getting started building my beer keg still....it is a 15 gallon SS SanKey type....I plan to install water heater elements...just looking for ideas as
    Message 1 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
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      Finally getting started building my beer keg still....it is a 15 gallon SS
      'SanKey' type....I plan to install water heater elements...just looking for
      ideas as to how you guys may have done this or would have done it if you had
      it to do again....I have a few ideas of my own but any advice is
      welcome...also thinking of installing a drain plug in the bottom..anyone
      done this?...pros/cons?...thanks


      Levi

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    • suitcase1499@aol.com
      In a message dated 2/1/2005 4:51:21 PM Eastern Standard Time, unit_77@hotmail.com writes: I have a few ideas of my own but any advice is welcome...also
      Message 2 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
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        In a message dated 2/1/2005 4:51:21 PM Eastern Standard Time,
        unit_77@... writes:

        I have a few ideas of my own but any advice is
        welcome...also thinking of installing a drain plug in the bottom..anyone
        done this?...pros/cons?...thanks


        Levi



        I went to the plumbing supply store and got a 1" threaded female coupling SS,
        heating element screws right into it. And got 3/4" X 2" SS threaded nipple
        and a 3/4" gate valve. Took it to machine shop they cut the hole and welded em
        both in for $20.00 US

        Suitcase


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Levi Langershank
        Thanks for the info...welding the female into the keg was the way I had planned to go...I work in a Tool and Die shop so the drilling and welding wont be a
        Message 3 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
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          Thanks for the info...welding the female into the keg was the way I had
          planned to go...I work in a Tool and Die shop so the drilling and welding
          wont be a problem.....what size element do you use?...I was thinking of
          installing two...heat up with both then cut back to one........:>)



          Levi

          (THIS REPLY HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY EDITED)




          >From: suitcase1499@...
          >Subject: Re: [Distillers] Building a Keg still
          a 1" threaded female coupling SS,
          >heating element screws right into it.>Suitcase
          >
          >

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        • suitcase1499@aol.com
          In a message dated 2/1/2005 6:19:39 PM Eastern Standard Time, unit_77@hotmail.com writes: heat up with both then cut back to one........: ) Levi Well I m not
          Message 4 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
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            In a message dated 2/1/2005 6:19:39 PM Eastern Standard Time,
            unit_77@... writes:

            heat up with both then cut back to one........:>)



            Levi



            Well I'm not sure I just built a new one I actually heated my keg with a
            propane burner. The new one I built is larger and rectanular shaped holds 30
            gallons and has 2 columns, So I've got to do some testing I'm thinking of using two
            1500 watts for heat up then cut back to one for running but I don't know that
            might still be to much heat I need to find some kind of thermostat, I was w
            ondering if a light dimmer switch would work ????

            Suitcase


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Levi Langershank
            No,I doubt the light dimmer would handle the amperage...unless it was for a BIG light....I use a 10AMP variable transformer.It controls the voltage from 0 thru
            Message 5 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
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              No,I doubt the light dimmer would handle the amperage...unless it was for a
              BIG light....I use a 10AMP variable transformer.It controls the voltage from
              0 thru 100%.I plan to wire one element directly and run the other thru the
              VT....when the still is up to operating temp I will unplug the direct wired
              one...maybe the 'experts' can tell me if 1125 watts will be enough to keep a
              10 gallon wash 'cooking'....:>)

              Levi

              (THIS REPLY HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY EDITED)
              >From: suitcase1499@...

              >Subject: Re: [Distillers] Building a Keg still
              >Well I'm not sure I just built a new one I actually heated my keg with a
              >propane burner. , I was w
              >ondering if a light dimmer switch would work ????
              >
              >Suitcase

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            • Levi Langershank
              The main reason I dont want to use propane is...by the time I attach my column on top of the keg,then sit it on my burner,it wouldnt fit in my
              Message 6 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
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                The main reason I dont want to use propane is...by the time I attach my
                column on top of the keg,then sit it on my burner,it wouldnt fit in my
                'stillhouse'......besides that,I like the efficiency and convenience of
                electricity......I seriously doubt an 'outside' heat source, is going to be
                as efficient as an inside source,where 100% of the heat is going into the
                wash....not simply sitting a keg on a propane burner anyways...thanks for
                the input...:>)

                Levi

                (THIS REPLY HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY EDITED)

                >From: David W Lunsford <maxtonnage@...>

                >Subject: Re: [Distillers] Building a Keg still
                >why not use propane? in a larger boiler, propane may be the way to go, as
                >opposed to hours of kilowatts....maxtonnage

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              • David W Lunsford
                why not use propane? in a larger boiler, propane may be the way to go, as opposed to hours of kilowatts....maxtonnage ... using two ... that
                Message 7 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
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                  why not use propane? in a larger boiler, propane may be the way to go, as
                  opposed to hours of kilowatts....maxtonnage



                  At 06:28 PM 2/1/05 EST, you wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >In a message dated 2/1/2005 6:19:39 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                  >unit_77@... writes:
                  >
                  >heat up with both then cut back to one........:>)
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >Levi
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >Well I'm not sure I just built a new one I actually heated my keg with a
                  >propane burner. The new one I built is larger and rectanular shaped holds 30
                  >gallons and has 2 columns, So I've got to do some testing I'm thinking of
                  using two
                  >1500 watts for heat up then cut back to one for running but I don't know
                  that
                  >might still be to much heat I need to find some kind of thermostat, I was w
                  >ondering if a light dimmer switch would work ????
                  >
                  >Suitcase
                  >
                  >
                  >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Distillers list archives : http://archive.nnytech.net/
                  > FAQ and other information at http://homedistiller.org
                  >Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Brandon Lee
                  it s farily strait forward--if u live in the states get three stainless 1 pipe couplings--the threads in heater elements are the same--cut holes with a
                  Message 8 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
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                    it's farily strait forward--if u live in the states
                    get three stainless 1" pipe couplings--the threads in
                    heater elements are the same--cut holes with a regular
                    hole cutting bit--the one with the .25" drill in the
                    center works best--u can braze or weld (which i
                    prefer) the two couplings to the keg--cut one more
                    hole at the bottom on the other side to install your
                    drain--
                    I have a 9" hole in the top of mine which makes it
                    easy to clean out--i use 1500 and 4500 watt
                    element--it takes approx. 30-40 minutes for your wash
                    to get up to temp-
                    Feel free to ask if more help is needed
                    your brother in the spirits
                    Blueflame 456
                    --- Levi Langershank <unit_77@...> wrote:

                    >
                    > Finally getting started building my beer keg
                    > still....it is a 15 gallon SS
                    > 'SanKey' type....I plan to install water heater
                    > elements...just looking for
                    > ideas as to how you guys may have done this or would
                    > have done it if you had
                    > it to do again....I have a few ideas of my own but
                    > any advice is
                    > welcome...also thinking of installing a drain plug
                    > in the bottom..anyone
                    > done this?...pros/cons?...thanks
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Levi
                    >
                    >
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                    >


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                  • Dave Lorimer
                    Look on ebay for dimmer switch and dimmer switches that will handle 1500 watts I am using one now and it works great. I also use two eliments to start then
                    Message 9 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
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                      Look on ebay for dimmer switch and dimmer switches that will handle
                      1500 watts I am using one now and it works great.
                      I also use two eliments to start then unplug one.
                      1125 watts will work fine ,you may have to turn it down .

                      Levi Langershank <unit_77@...> wrote:

                      No,I doubt the light dimmer would handle the

                      >wondering if a light dimmer switch would work ????
                      >
                      >Suitcase

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                      Distillers list archives : http://archive.nnytech.net/
                      FAQ and other information at http://homedistiller.org





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                    • suitcase1499@aol.com
                      In a message dated 2/1/2005 9:36:42 PM Eastern Standard Time, blueflame456@yahoo.com writes: i use 1500 and 4500 watt element--it takes approx. 30-40 minutes
                      Message 10 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
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                        In a message dated 2/1/2005 9:36:42 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                        blueflame456@... writes:

                        i use 1500 and 4500 watt
                        element--it takes approx. 30-40 minutes for your wash
                        to get up to temp-
                        Feel free to ask if more help is needed
                        your brother in the spirits
                        Blueflame 456



                        Do you use the 1500 watt element at full power to run???

                        Suitcase


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Levi Langershank
                        Turnig it down isnt a problem...what size wash do you normally distill?...TIA...: ) Levi (THIS REPLY HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY EDITED) ...
                        Message 11 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
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                          Turnig it down isnt a problem...what size wash do you normally
                          distill?...TIA...:>)
                          Levi

                          (THIS REPLY HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY EDITED)


                          >From: Dave Lorimer <bbmdave@...>
                          >Subject: Re: [Distillers] Building a Keg still
                          >
                          >1125 watts will work fine ,you may have to turn it down .
                          >

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                        • Robert N
                          http://home.insightbb.com/~benschoep/keg/sankey.htm Hi Levi, you probably already know this but in the interests of safety, the link above shows how to remove
                          Message 12 of 16 , Feb 2, 2005
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                            http://home.insightbb.com/~benschoep/keg/sankey.htm



                            Hi Levi, you probably already know this but in the interests of safety, the
                            link above shows how to remove the spear on a sankey keg. We use a very
                            similar setup here in Australia. Fit the element/s as necessary, remembering
                            to keep them as low as possible in the keg as you don't need it to boil dry.
                            Use as big a gate valve as you can afford for the drain. It also needs to be
                            as low as, for obvious reasons. Remember when it's late at night an you just
                            want to drain the keg and put everything away, that spent wash will be hot
                            and you want it to drain as quickly as possible.



                            I have a thermometer in the top of the keg which I find quite handy. While
                            it's not a necessity, I can glance at it and see what the boiling
                            temperature inside the boiler is. This in turn lets me know where in the
                            batch process I am and when the tails should be coming through.



                            Get a piece of light plate and cut it out to sit on top of the keg around
                            the tower, you now have a place to sit the collection bottle. Make it stable
                            but easily removable.



                            Weld four plates (angle) on the base of the keg and screw 35mm (11/2")
                            castor wheels onto the plates. This makes it easy on your back to move
                            things around within the brew shed. Screw them on so replacement isn't an
                            issue when they wear out. Use an elbow pipe for the drain in the centre of
                            the keg, then a length of pipe to extend the drain out between the castors,
                            making the castor wheels big enough to keep the drain from fouling on the
                            ground.



                            If you are going to use an electrical fly lead, from a junction box mounted
                            on the side of the keg, then make sure the fly lead is long enough to reach
                            the power point that you plan on using.



                            Levi you haven't mentioned the diameter of the column you plan on using and
                            how you plan on joining it to the keg. I have used 4" triclover clamps and
                            recommend them as they allow support for the tower and I can just get my arm
                            inside the keg to clean it when necessary.



                            Think about a way of building in a site glass, you could weld a "T" onto the
                            keg near the base which goes out to the gate valve for the drain, position
                            the spare spigot of the "T" to point up, which you attach the site tube to.
                            The thermometer is at the top of the keg using the same type of "T" with the
                            spare spigot pointing down and in line with the bottom drain spigot. Join
                            the two spigots with some decent re-enforced clear hose.



                            Yours in spirit



                            Robert



                            _____

                            From: Levi Langershank [mailto:unit_77@...]
                            Subject: [Distillers] Building a Keg still


                            Finally getting started building my beer keg still....it is a 15 gallon SS
                            'SanKey' type....I plan to install water heater elements...just looking for
                            ideas as to how you guys may have done this or would have done it if you had

                            it to do again....I have a few ideas of my own but any advice is
                            welcome...also thinking of installing a drain plug in the bottom..anyone
                            done this?...pros/cons?...thanks





                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Levi Langershank
                            Thanks for the food for thought ....... Levi (THIS REPLY HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY EDITED) ... _________________________________________________________________
                            Message 13 of 16 , Feb 2, 2005
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                              Thanks for the 'food for thought'.......

                              Levi

                              (THIS REPLY HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY EDITED)

                              >From: "Robert N" <dinks_c@...>
                              >
                              >Subject: RE: [Distillers] Building a Keg still
                              >Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 21:51:50 +1000
                              >Hi Levi, you probably already know this but in the interests of safety, the
                              >link above shows how to remove the spear on a sankey keg.
                              >Yours in spirit
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >Robert

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                            • Brandon Lee
                              i have the 1500 watt on a dimmer that is used for a vent fan from Grainger wholesale--model 4c933--it handles 12 amps and works very well ...
                              Message 14 of 16 , Feb 2, 2005
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                                i have the 1500 watt on a dimmer that is used for a
                                vent fan from Grainger wholesale--model 4c933--it
                                handles 12 amps and works very well
                                --- suitcase1499@... wrote:

                                >
                                > In a message dated 2/1/2005 9:36:42 PM Eastern
                                > Standard Time,
                                > blueflame456@... writes:
                                >
                                > i use 1500 and 4500 watt
                                > element--it takes approx. 30-40 minutes for your
                                > wash
                                > to get up to temp-
                                > Feel free to ask if more help is needed
                                > your brother in the spirits
                                > Blueflame 456
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Do you use the 1500 watt element at full power to
                                > run???
                                >
                                > Suitcase
                                >
                                >
                                > [Non-text portions of this message have been
                                > removed]
                                >
                                >




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                              • Brendan Keith
                                I ve read about removing the ball lock and spear from a Sanke American keg, and am about to do it on the one that I have, but is there a process for removing
                                Message 15 of 16 , Feb 2, 2005
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                                  I"ve read about removing the ball lock and spear from a Sanke American keg,
                                  and am about to do it on the one that I have, but is there a process for
                                  removing the works from a European keg?

                                  Or is there no point. Just cut a big hole and clamp a bowl on top?

                                  --
                                  Brendan Keith
                                  bkeith@...




                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Levi Langershank
                                  Regardless of what type keg you use,be sure to relieve the pressure immediately before you start drilling,cutting etc....relieving pressure from a dirty keg
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Feb 2, 2005
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                                    Regardless of what type keg you use,be sure to relieve the pressure
                                    immediately before you start drilling,cutting etc....relieving pressure from
                                    a 'dirty' keg today,dosnt mean there will be no pressure tomorrow...good
                                    luck...:>)
                                    Levi

                                    (THIS REPLY HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY EDITED)

                                    >From: "Brendan Keith" <bkeith@...>
                                    >Subject: RE: [Distillers] Building a Keg still
                                    >Or is there no point. Just cut a big hole and clamp a bowl on top?
                                    >
                                    >--
                                    >Brendan Keith
                                    >bkeith@...

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