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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: oscarvan on December 07, 2010, 03:25:21 AM

Title: Working with half barrels....
Post by: oscarvan on December 07, 2010, 03:25:21 AM
OK, these five gallon kegs are moving quickly. So, I am now working on an AG system, 50 lb bags, 10G batches, fill two kegs . Have the basic infrastructure figgered out, will report on that when it starts happening.

HLT is most likely ($$$) going to be a half barrel, with the lid removed, a thermometer bolted in and a sight gauge on the side....

QUESTION: How to best remove the top. I have a plasma cutter, a grinder and most things in between.... Stainless steel gets VERY hard when heated. What is the best way to cut the lid and then smooth the edge? Looking for people that have done this, and know how to do it WELL.
Title: Re: Working with half barrels....
Post by: jeffy on December 07, 2010, 12:06:18 PM
A quick search of this forum gets this:
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=3109.0
Title: Re: Working with half barrels....
Post by: tumarkin on December 07, 2010, 01:24:34 PM
most people use an angle grinder, but a plasma cutter is the best way to go. don't know if you have an old lid from a large pot laying around (probably not), or maybe you can pick one up cheap at a garage sale or thrift store. if so, cut your opening to fit the lid. thinking ahead pays off.
Title: Re: Working with half barrels....
Post by: beersk on December 07, 2010, 03:52:09 PM
Man, you're going through kegs that fast?  My kegs last an average of about 3-4 weeks a piece.  You must be either drinking a lot yourself or have several people drinking from them as well.  I've thought about brewing 10 gallon batches eventually, but I don't drink fast enough to consume all that beer; even at 2-3 pints a night.  And what if I don't want 10 gallons of a particular beer?  Sometimes it's hard to finish 5.  But now I'm starting to work on repeat recipes, so hopefully that won't be a problem much longer.

Good luck building up your new system, it sounds exciting.
Title: Re: Working with half barrels....
Post by: EHall on December 07, 2010, 08:13:51 PM
Plasma cutter and possibly use the angle grinder to smooth down the edges so no one gets cut... thats what I did.
Title: Re: Working with half barrels....
Post by: Slowbrew on December 07, 2010, 08:29:08 PM
Make sure to fill the keg at least half full of water before cutting it with a plasma cutter.  The slag come off the cut will stick to the inside walls if you don't.  You'll be grind for a week to clean it up.

Paul
Title: Re: Working with half barrels....
Post by: oscarvan on December 08, 2010, 04:36:50 AM
Thanks Slowbrew, THAT is good info.

Allrighty then, I will give the plasma cutter a shot at it. Still wondering about the effect of the heat on the SS.
Title: Re: Working with half barrels....
Post by: ggltd on December 08, 2010, 05:58:14 PM
I made a jig I saw in a blog that fits over the tap hole and rotates while holding the plasma cutter at the right dimension.  PM me and I can send you a file so you can see how it works and make your own.  And absolutely fill with water first or the slag will stick to the interior.
Title: Re: Working with half barrels....
Post by: oscarvan on December 08, 2010, 09:47:04 PM
Thanks gglt..... Oscar"at"noln.com