Hot water tanks for brewing?

Just an idea, use old hot water tanks for brew pots and maybe mash tuns?

I’d seen the hot sticks, using PCV pipe and a water heater element awhile back to help bring up water temps faster.
I got to thinking about using a water heater element or 2 in a brew pot. My concerns though is would I burn the wort sugars to the heater element? Also I don’t want them in the way when scraping the bottom of the pot to keep things mixed.
I wondered if using a Hot water tank would work for a brew pot also? They are made for heat and food grade safe hot water :wink:
Though normally the controllers are limited to lower heat temps, it is super easy to modify them to turn up higher. I used a 120V small model once for a still for alcohol fuel. A friend had the permits to be legal using it and I basically built it for him which he used it for years.

Not been to the scrap yard for a year or two now, but I used to buy up old hot water tanks for $3 or so and most actually worked fine other than they were never flushed out so full of sediment. At most on electric ones I’d just have to replace a $10-$20 element and they would work.
Course sometimes I would get one that had a leak.
I mostly was cutting them up and using for other stuff. I may even have 1/2 doz bandjo burners and controllers for the gas water tanks around here somewhere :stuck_out_tongue:

I may need to put some thought into water tanks again and get out the tools :mrgreen:
Even if nothing else a $5 scrap electric water tank turned up to near boil would make a great water preheater.
Perhaps a nice mash tun also, heat water first and add grain, insulated and drain near bottom already.
I’d cut them open of course to clean out all the sediment, when grinding off the weld for the top it can make a nice lid. I’d probably weld a splash ring around the outside top of the bottom section so that any spills or boilovers would not get into the insulation.

Do you think it would be worth trying or any obvious problems I may not be thinking about?
If the tanks would work well it would be the cheapest way for me to build a brew station.
Using electric tanks I could set the controllers to the desired temps and just turn them on when needed and off when not needed, let the controller take care of the correct temps during use.

I’ve been thinking of a few different ideas to upgrade from the electric stove and 4gal pot so I can try All Grain. Don’t have much money to spend on stuff and propane gets a bit expensive around here now also.

Do you ever see rust inside these heater when you open them up? Without a sacrificial anode, the exposed steel on the tank’s fittings will start to rust when you are trying to use it for a kettle.

I’ve had a tank or two that did have tiny pinhole rusted in them but not many of those.
Not had any rust problems with the ones I cut for stock water tanks years ago when I was using those. Course I wasn’t brewing in those either.
That would be something I’d have to watch out for though I guess.

What is the actual inside of the tank made of?

I used to know what that inner coating was and allot about it, but now can’t remember what it is.
It is very heat resistant, I once cut open a tank with a torch and it did not really burn, just turned to a goo and stringy till it cooled back to normal. That was the first tank I opened up, from then on I used a saw to cut them open LOL

I also do some powder coating. Something I just thought of is I can use a food safe Powder on any bare metals and that will prevent any rusting. Baked on at about 400F a bit of boiling won’t hurt it any.

IMHO a lot of work with no benefit. No reason you couldn’t use it as a HLT once cleaned out and opened up, but why have some contraption instead of a nice clean normal vessel with the same heating circuit? Unless the tank is made from something other than steel that can rust and react, I wouldn’t want to be heating my water for brewing in there.

There are countless folks that already use hot water elements in their HLT, RIMS tubes, and brew kettles with no issues. The wort in a brew kettle does not burn to the element, so no worries. Same for a RIMS tube. Lots of info on the web about electric brewing, and a number of companies that sell really nice controllers for doing what is needed if you want to go techy :slight_smile:

A couple reasons I was thinking about the water tanks.
Nearly free and mostly because I don’t have $300+ for the good big stainless pots/tanks.
I can also do most anything will steel and aluminum, and allot with plastic, but have difficulty with stainless.

Brewing has extra challenges for us scrounging packs rats LOL
Of course I want to do things right and safe making the best beer I can.
I have lots of things I’ve scrounged up over the years, food grade (corn oil) teflon lined steel 55gal barrels, food grade 35gal plastic barrels, hot water tanks, all kinds of electric motors, etc…
Copper and brass fittings and a few stainless also.

Just looking into ways to use mostly what I have already, or can get near free.
I brew my Extract kits on about a $10-$15 electric stove I dragged in from a scrap yard, it has 1 bad burner. I also used the oven to bake small powder coated parts for wind generators when I was making those parts.
I just like to scrounge LOL

I found I have a large length of copper tubing, maybe 30-50’, 3/8" I think, here comes a wort chiller soon as I get cleaned inside and out. :mrgreen:

Found large steel round stock I had and thick plate aluminum also, looks like a grain mill to me once I clean up the lathe and mill and make sure they work. Not used them for years either since I was making the wind generator parts.

I guess I just love to make my own stuff out of basically nothing if I can. :smiley:

More power to you if you have the time and desire to make your own stuff. If you feel safe drinking the beer you make, then you probably did something right.

I would doubt that a steel kettle, or whatever, will make your beer undrinkable. It may be giving your beer flavors.

You can safe powder coating for metal. Powder coating is essential for many materials to improve the durability. You can also get clear idea about metal coating at decoral systems


In theory, yes, your idea will work, I have heard many times that one should not use the hot water coming out of the hot water heater for cooking or drinking. It won’t kill you, but due to what’s going on inside, it’s not best for consumption, just for washing purposes.

But again, YMMV.

[quote=“shizzy”]In theory, yes, your idea will work, I have heard many times that one should not use the hot water coming out of the hot water heater for cooking or drinking. It won’t kill you, but due to what’s going on inside, it’s not best for consumption, just for washing purposes.

But again, YMMV.[/quote]

It’s a spambot :slight_smile: