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How Would You Use This Kettle? Update: Electric Brewing?

I found a large stainless steel kettle in the scrap bin at work. Based on some rough measurements, I think it’s about 11.5 gallons. Its bottom is rounded and has a drain hole with 1" tapered pipe thread. There’s a collar around the bottom that allows it to sit flat. The collar has a couple holes that would allow plumbing to the drain hole.

I know I’m going to use this for brewing, I just haven’t decided how. Right now, I’m using a turkey fryer to make about a half dozen 5 gal. all-grain batches per year.

  1. What would you do with this piece of equipment?

  2. If I used this for my boil, and wanted to use the drain, would I need to install a screen in the bottom, or could my pellet hops flow through 1" piping without clogging?

  3. This kettle previously held one half of a 2-part epoxy. What steps would you take to clean it?

[attachment=1]KettleSketch.jpg[/attachment]

As long as you only use pellets, you can just drain through the valve, no need for a screen. If using whole hops, bag them to keep them out. Not sure how to get rid of epoxy, though.

Is there any obvious residue on it? Since epoxy takes both components to cure, I assume there’s no hard gunk or anything like that.

I would give it a good soak in oxiclean, and scrub up any residue. After that, if it looks and smells clean, it probably is. If it has any lingering chemically aroma, I wouldn’t trust it.

I would also grab that prop and shaft from the bin. I know it will turn into something cool eventually

Thanks for the replies so far.

[quote=“Nate42”]Is there any obvious residue on it? Since epoxy takes both components to cure, I assume there’s no hard gunk or anything like that.

I would give it a good soak in oxiclean, and scrub up any residue. After that, if it looks and smells clean, it probably is. If it has any lingering chemically aroma, I wouldn’t trust it.[/quote]
You’re correct. There is only residue in a few spots and it is uncured. It wipes right off. 99% of the surface looks clean and has no odor. I’ll plan on a long oxiclean soak (will PBW work?), some scrubbing, and I’ll probably fill it with water and boil for a couple hours too.

I hope you’re right. I’ll try an elbow and a straight length to get out from under the kettle, then add a faucet and try using it to drain straight into my fermenter.

[attachment=0]PlumbSketch.jpg[/attachment]

Should the plumbing all be stainless too?

Will the extreme heat from the propone burner cause the plumbing to loosen and leak?

Will all my pellet hops find their way into the drain pipe during the boil and lead to poor utilization?

I was thinking the same thing. I’m not sure what I’ll use it for, but I did grab it.

If you got it at work you may want to ask them what type of epoxy was in there. Some epoxys are not water based and therefore oxyclean may have no effect on it.

PBW is better than oxiclean, only suggested oxi because its cheaper.

Mr CEO has a good point. Since you state it looks clean and doesn’t smell you’re probably fine, but it wouldn’t hurt to give it a quick wipe down with an organic solvent like acetone.

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[quote=“MRCCEO”]If you got it at work you may want to ask them what type of epoxy was in there. Some epoxys are not water based and therefore oxyclean may have no effect on it.[/quote][quote=“Nate42”]PBW is better than oxiclean, only suggested oxi because its cheaper.

Mr CEO has a good point. Since you state it looks clean and doesn’t smell you’re probably fine, but it wouldn’t hurt to give it a quick wipe down with an organic solvent like acetone.[/quote]

I’ve requested more information about the epoxy. Among other things, I was hoping to learn whether water or a solvent would be appropriate for cleaning it. Supposing acetone does work, would the oxi soak and rinsing be effective in cleaning the acetone out of my kettle?

[quote=“Brick1083”]Will the extreme heat from the propone burner cause the plumbing to loosen and leak?[/quote]I didn’t understand the first drawing - you can’t run a pipe full of wort through the burner, it’ll burn and carbonize in the pipe and seal it shut.

Darn. So I guess I’ll have to either plug the drain, or use it only for heating water?

Darn. So I guess I’ll have to either plug the drain, or use it only for heating water?[/quote]

OR, go electric with it.

[quote=“gregscsu”]

OR, go electric with it.[/quote]

+1, you can use a heating element inside of it. If you wanted to use propane, you would scorch the wort in the pipe before the valve, unless you recirculated it all the time. It would make a pretty good RIMS pot.

If you didn’t want it I would surely take it off of your hands!

Now that I’ve had some time to research what you meant by ‘go electric’, I’m very intrigued and have more questions. My current budget for this hobby won’t allow controllers and new home circuits, but I’m interested in installing a 120V 2000W element that I’d leave on at full power. From what I’ve read, that would be adequate for my 5-gallon batches. If I ever move up to larger batches, it would be pretty easy to swap out elements.

Questions:

  1. Should I install the element vertically through the existing hole in the bottom? Or should I use that bottom hole as a drain and add a new hole to install the element horizontally through the side?

  2. I’ve read that 2000W is enough for a good rolling boil of a 5 gallon batch. Has anyone tried this outside in winter?

  3. Does it matter what material my element is made of?

I’d use it as a HLT or grain storage.

Use vinegar to clean any epoxy remnants. I also build boats and it is the preferred method for epoxy clean up on your tools.

Cran, you were correct. This has set in my attic for the past 4 years, but I finally pulled it out and tried the vinegar tonight: it worked wonders.

Now I’m really leaning towards installing a 220 A circuit in my garage and turning this into an electric kettle with plenty of power.

Check theelectricbrewery.com for the parts and procedure to install a water heater element in a kettle. You don’t need the VERY expensive hole punch the electric brewery recommends; measure the size of the heating element then buy a bit of that size. Drill the hole slowly and use lots of cutting oil.

To control the power to the element, use a Silicon-Controlled Rectifier (SCR). It is not really a rectifier; it chops the sine wave to give a similar effect, but does not produce as much heat. You will need to use a small fan to keep the SCR cool. I use this item: Amazon.com

If you are limited to 120V, you may not need the SCR. If you can plug into a dryer or electric range outlet you’ll be able to heat to boiling very quickly and will need the SCR to keep the wort from jumping out of the kettle after you reach boiling.

try this product i do use i t at work to clean scuba dive regulator it works perfect but read the instruction first
i might clean your epoxy as well

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