BIAB New Keggle Build - HOLE SIZE?

Post #1 made 7 years ago
I am an experienced extract brewer about to go AG with BIAB. I recently obtained a keg that I am going to turn into a keggle. I have a friend with a fabrication shop that is going to plasma cut the top for me.

In your experience, what is the optimum keggle top hole size for BIAB? I assume the more flush to the wall, the better, but do some of you BIAB with a keggle with a 12" or 14.5" hole? These seem to be common stainless steel lid sizes. I was leaning towards a 14.5" hole, which would leave about a 1.625" lip.

Suggestions before I make this cut?

Post #2 made 7 years ago
Here is my set up....
Image
As you can see I did not just cut the 'top' of the keg out, I actually cut the whole top off. What this does is open the mouth of the keg up WAAAY further then just cutting the 'lid' off.

I actually fit a 42 qt turkey fryer basket through the top of mine with no issues. My opening is ~15 inches in diameter. My hole in the bottom for the ball valve is 1/2 inch. I need to drill another for a site tube and thermo.
Last edited by bagman on 15 Jun 2011, 23:21, edited 5 times in total.
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Post #3 made 7 years ago
It looks like you should be able to easily fit a 62 quart basket in there if you wanted to. Cutting the whole top off should give you a 17.125" diameter opening, and a 62 quart is 15.25" in diameter. Your 42 quart should be 13.5" in diameter, according to the specs. In theory, both would fit fine even if I wanted to leave the handle section of the keg intact and just cut a hole.

Post #5 made 7 years ago
Every person who biabs with a keggle complains about the constricted opening causing a mess when they pull the bag, unless they've eliminated the lip

The nice thing with a lip is it makes it easy to use a lid

I would go completely open
Fermenting: -
Cubed: -
Stirplate: -
On Tap: NS Summer Ale III (WY1272), Landlord III (WY1469), Fighter's 70/- II (WY1272), Roast Porter (WY1028), Cider, Soda
Next: Munich Helles III

5/7/12

Post #6 made 7 years ago
I bought the keg for $15 and have a guy dying to buy it for $50 because it is in such great shape - no dents and already 90% shined up....would I be better off just getting rid of it and going for a 62 QT Bayou Classic with the perforated basket and add a weldless fitting to that? Sound like that may be a better option for BIAB.

I really like how a shined up keg looks, but if it isn't going to be optimum as far as functionality, I have a good option to get out of it. Sounds like they are more suited to traditional AG in a single or tiered config.

Post #7 made 7 years ago
NO!!! Do not do that The Bayou Classic pot is very thin!!! You will catch hell maintaining a mash temp! On a 90* day I lost 1-2* in a 60 min mash with my keg with a towel over the top of it Like this:
Image
In the winter, I will will need some more insulation, but right now this works like a charm.
Last edited by bagman on 16 Jun 2011, 01:31, edited 5 times in total.
www.excessivehoppyness.blogspot.com

Post #8 made 7 years ago
Cool, thanks. I'm in FL, so heat loss on my keg will be even slower. I'll build it out with the largest hole I can manage and go from there. If I find I'm having problems with my BIAB, I can always hack the entire top off later.

Post #10 made 7 years ago
Keep your keggle man! They are great. See my pics in my sig. Mine has a 12" hole and my bag was cut out based on the formula on this site. See my pic, I give the dimentions of the bag. It clears perfectly. I'm thinking my next bag will have an 11" bottom. I have enough material to make 3 more bags. I'm in Florida too. Good luck...

I have weldless fittings, got them from bargainfittings.com
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Post #11 made 7 years ago
Thank you everyone for your advise. The keg I have really is a thing of beauty even before I have done anything to it. It is a thick walled Coors keg that hasn't been in circulation very long, because it has no dents and is about 90% shined up already.

My buddy is making me a 12" cut by Saturday....I figure I'll brew on it, and if I end up wanting a bigger hole, I'll make the hole bigger. That's alot easier than making the hole smaller, so it seems like the logical place to start! Worse case senerio, I'll keep the 12" hole and sell it as a HLT or Brew Kettle for a three vessel setup. Even with the ball valve, I have all of about $45.00 invested in it, and could easily sell it for $100+.

Anyway, I'll post pics soon! :luck:

Post #12 made 7 years ago
I have a 50l ss keg as well. I have alwaysed used it for extract, and am about to move to BIAB. It does not have a tap or thermometer. I have ordered both complete with weld less fittings. Where is the best place to mount the thermometer? I am thinking that the probe end may catch the bag.

Post #13 made 7 years ago
Best place is to leave it in it's box ;)

That way it won't catch anything.

Seriously though, I use a handheld digital thermometer and that's all you need to check mash temp every now and again. You have to stir to get an accurate reading anyway
Fermenting: -
Cubed: -
Stirplate: -
On Tap: NS Summer Ale III (WY1272), Landlord III (WY1469), Fighter's 70/- II (WY1272), Roast Porter (WY1028), Cider, Soda
Next: Munich Helles III

5/7/12

Post #14 made 7 years ago
As stux said, leave them in the box, you will just complicate your brewing/cleaning schedule.
The probe will catch on the bag and the tap will need to be pulled apart and cleaned every brew.
Much easier to use a hand held thermometer or to hang 1 over the side, as I do. And get yourself an auto siphon or racking cane and siphon the wort, rather than running it through a tap.

One word of advice, don't let pistolpatch see your post :)
"It's beer Jim, but not as we know it."

Post #15 made 7 years ago
Good Day, It Sounds like if we "keep it simple,...." The better the brewing will be!!!
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Post #16 made 7 years ago
hashie wrote:One word of advice, don't let pistolpatch see your post :)
:lol:

Hi there swampy :peace:,

What the guys are saying is that often when we add equipment, our brewing can get harder. For example, ball-valves (taps) can often harbour hidden infections so they should be maintained regularly which means pulling them apart which takes time. Weldless fittings often leak when you put them back on the kettle. For these reasons I have ditched my tap and returned to using a syphon.

Plenty of guys have taps and they can be a lot easier to handle. Just remember that you need to maintain a kettle tap. (Do a search on my posts on 'ball-valves' for more info.)

As for the temp probe, as stux mentioned, you still need to stir the mash to get an accurate temperature reading. Often it is just as easy to dip a thermometer in at the same time as you agitate the mash so a built in thermometer usually provides no advantage. They can also get knocked out of calibration and so need to be checked regularly. Some models require checking before you even brew. If you do install one, it will have to be low on the kettle and you will need to cover the probe in some manner.

If you can get a credit on your order, then I would do that until you have done a few brews. If not, maybe keep them in the box for a while before you decide for or against using them and drilling holes in your kettle. I have bought heaps of things I no longer use so don't be worried if you don't end up using them. There's always eBay :).

Whatever you decide, it all should work out okay as long as you are aware of the above.

Good on you,
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 20 Oct 2011, 07:24, edited 5 times in total.
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Post #18 made 7 years ago
That's one of the best posts I've seen swampy. Seriously. Most people would just plough ahead and install the above. It may be that you end up using them but I'm really pleased to see you holding off before drilling holes etc.

I have two kettles and used a syphon for probably four years. Because no well-built auto-syphon was available for a time (too large a diameter and plastic), I decided to go for taps. Mine were weldless as well. For me, they are a PITA due to the time taken to pull them apart, clean them and re-install them without leaks.

A lot of brewers never or rarely clean their kettle taps believing they get sanitised during the boil. This belief is incorrect. Ball-valves have a dead space in them as they are actually a ball within a cylinder rather than a ball within a sphere. This dead-space in many set-ups rarely reaches sanitisation temperatures. If you pull apart a ball-valve a few weeks after doing a brew and smell it, you will nearly always smell something off. If you pull one apart after 6 months or two years, don't breathe in :P.

A brewer I met on the other side of Australia threw out 1500 litres of beer (30 batches of 50 litres) before discovering it was his ball-valve causing the problem.

Because of this I never get too worried about ranting about ball-valves. If you do want one, make it a welded fitting so as it is easier to remove from the kettle. (To a new brewer, 'weldless' sounds good and easier but many types will form leaks ofte n just as you approach mash temperature :smoke:.)

I'm lucky enough to have had wizard78 make me a stainless steel auto-syphon which clamps to the kettle saving having to hold it but even if this wasn't available, I would still seal up the holes in my kettle and use the plastic auto-syphons. The time spent holding it or getting it in the right place is heaps less than pulling a ball-valve apart or throwing out a brew.

BTW, if you go an auto-syphon, use the 3/8" not the 1/2".

Do you chill or no-chill swampy? Plastic auto-syphons are a no go for no-chill :P. For no-chill you can get a stainless-steel jiggler and silicone hose. I bought one of those and it didn't work but most of the other guys here using them have had no problems so I probably just scored a dodgy one :roll:.

Cheers and good on you swampy,
PP
Last edited by PistolPatch on 20 Oct 2011, 18:03, edited 5 times in total.
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Post #20 made 7 years ago
I found that the 1/2" often stalls/stops. Maybe I had a dodgy one of those as well? LOL!

But, even given the above, a slower syphon always has advantages, especially if you can position it right, of being able to suck clearer, more controlled wort. I would much prefer to see my wort syphoned gently than aggressively as it will suck up less muck.
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Post #21 made 7 years ago
Quick question.... What's the best way to cut the hole in a keg?

A small angle grinder with suitable cutting disc (s) ?

or

A dremel with metal cutting disc?

Unfortunately, I don't have access to a plasma cutter or oxy to cut through it like butter so what do/have you guys used?

Thanks!
Chinaski

Post #22 made 7 years ago
Hi there Chinaski and welcome to BIABrewer :peace:

To drill a hole in your kettle you'll need a holesaw such as the one pictured.
Bi-Metal-Hole-Saw.jpg
Drill a small pilot hole (say 2.5mm) and this will stop the pilot drill of your holesaw slipping. You should drill slowly and use a metal lubricant generously such as CRC or WD40.

Depending on your set-up, it can be a much better idea not to drill any holes in your kettle. When you drill a hole, this means you are adding something like a ball-valve (kettle tap) and these can be very inconvenient to maintain. If you go to the "Advanced Search" here and then search for "ball-valves" and posts made by me, you'll get more of the reasoning why it is good idea to think this through rather than just 'going for it.' This way you'll be making an informed decision which is something I often forget to do :lol:.

Cheers,
PP
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Last edited by PistolPatch on 04 Nov 2011, 18:56, edited 5 times in total.
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Post #23 made 7 years ago
Hi PistolPatch

Thanks for your quick and informative reply.

I should have been more specific, by 'hole' I meant the large lid/top hole in the keg as opposed to a hole for a ball valve.

Thanks again
Chinaski

Post #24 made 7 years ago
Ah, sorry Chinaski. I should have read your post properly :idiot: :P

Here I was thinking how on earth can you expect to cut a round hole using an angle grinder and cutting disc :roll:. This is exactly what you need! :lol:

I think the best way to learn how to do it is search Google for 'Cut hole in keg' and then click on 'Videos'. There are quite a few there. If you find a really good video, please post it up here.

I imagine the hardest decision to make is whether you cut a hole out of the top or simply cut the whole top off. The first might cause difficulties in removing the bag whilst with the second method, you lose your handles. Hopefully some of the other guys here can let you know what they have done.

Apologies and :luck:
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Post #25 made 7 years ago
hi Chinaski, I have cut the top out of 3 kegs and the third was much easier than the first. I used an angle grinder with a metal cutting disc.

My advice is to go slowly and to let the wheel do the work. That is don't try and force the cut in the way you can with mild steel. You need to work gently allowing the cutting wheel to make several shallow cuts until it goes all the way through.

The thing with SS is that the harder you work it, the harder it becomes. Hence the need to be gentle with it.

I hope the above helps.
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