55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

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55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby hotrod77 » Thu May 12, 2011 2:14 pm

Ok, I've been reading up on everything, can't find a specific answer to this question. Are industrial blue 55-gallon plastic drums "officially" ok to use as fermenters? If not, are they appropriate for holding cleared wash waiting to be run? I've seen some oldtimers using blue drums on moonshine youtube videos, but that's not enough endorsement for me.

I ask, obviously, because I have a few and would love to use them for their size, I currently have only an 8-gallon fermenting pail (food grade) and would like to step up my production. I'm on my 6-7th run and I'd like to start experimenting with a little more production. I use a keg boiler, so I only need about 10-13 gallons tops of wash, but, like most of us I like to save my money and the beer store charges $$$ for the large fermenting bucket. If I had my way everything would be copper or SS, but you gotta evaluate your resources. Thanks in advance.

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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby beelah » Thu May 12, 2011 2:22 pm

For fermenting and holding cleared wash they sould be ok, provided they are food grade plastic and that you know what was in the barrels before you got them an it was some food product.

There are some that use only stanless steel but that can get expensive. I just picked up two 50 gallon ones that had 70% glucose solution in them before I got them. I wish I could have gotten some of the glucose to see how that would work in a wash :lol:

My plan is to use one as a recirulation tub for my leibig on my new pot still I just finished and maybe try doing soem bigger washes inthe other.
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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby rubber duck » Thu May 12, 2011 3:02 pm

My sure they're food grade and make sure you know what was in them.

If your doing whiskey a used wine barrel make a hell of a good fermentor, just something to think about if you see a deal on one.
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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby LanMan » Thu May 12, 2011 3:59 pm

If they are food grade plastic there will be a 1 2 or 4 in the little recycle triangle.
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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby MuleKicker » Thu May 12, 2011 6:17 pm

i use a 55 gal blue drum for fermenting. i get them at work, we get soap in them. I just cleaned it out real good. ferment with it on the side. top bung has an air lock, bottom bung has a 1/2 pipe thread for a spigot that is about 3-4 inches off the bottom, great so you dont get the trub at the bottom after clearing.
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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby TexasReflux » Thu May 12, 2011 7:43 pm

I too just picked up a 55 gallon food grade barrel, got my first wash of UJSSM going in it. Sure beats the 5 gallon buckets, but then you have to contend with the volume of wash you will have.

I think if you stay with a good quality wash at a lower ABV you will be ok. But I am sure some others have more opinions.
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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby hotrod77 » Fri May 13, 2011 6:08 am

Thanks everyone, just what I was looking for. I just found out it had Sulfuric Acid in it, so I may not be using this one! Although any leftover acid may just make my wash perfect as my water supply is fairly alkaline! RubberDuck, got any leads on affordable used wine barrels? I'd love to find an old chardonnay barrel and use it as a fermenter.
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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby whiskeytripping » Sun May 13, 2012 4:14 pm

Hotrod, I found one on eBay shipped for 45$. It was an old juice container, blue plastic with a removable lid. It worked great. You will probably find out its just too damn big like I did. I'm now looking for a 25 gallon myself. I just hate it no one builds a thick heavy fermenter in a 20-25 gallon size. But I NEVER use it to put high wines or anything other than my mash/wash in. Hope this might help you out :)
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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby Prairiepiss » Sun May 13, 2012 4:26 pm

The last post in this was a year ago today. :wtf:
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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby Frosteecat » Thu May 31, 2012 8:29 pm

whiskeytripping wrote:Hotrod, I found one on eBay shipped for 45$. It was an old juice container, blue plastic with a removable lid. It worked great. You will probably find out its just too damn big like I did. I'm now looking for a 25 gallon myself. I just hate it no one builds a thick heavy fermenter in a 20-25 gallon size. But I NEVER use it to put high wines or anything other than my mash/wash in. Hope this might help you out :)

I actually got one (24 gallons) at my brewshop. It is semi-clear...white/opaqe. has a good fitting lid with standard garbage can "flip up" metal retainers on the sides to hold the lid tight if you want (I leave them down). Works great for my 15 gallon boiler...I just adjust recipes to be about 12 gallons when they get to the wash stage... I'll try to source it for you if I can and post a link,

Found one...
Image

And here's a link to a place that sells them....not MY place...don't want any revenoooers triangulatin' me! ;)

http://www.homebrewheaven.com/casters-for-conical-fermenators-p1595.htm
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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby whiskeytripping » Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:08 am

Those look pretty damn nice, I did just find me another size that I think will be just perfect

http://www.ebay.com/itm/13-gallon-Barre ... 554wt_1168

Has anyone else used this style? The price is about right, they want 46$ for a 13 gallon brew cube around here (wich seems to be heavy duty as well, you hate buying a product you cannot feel. I originally bought a fermenter at Brewhaus it's like a 8 gallon, and the lid has a white stress crack in it developing and I wasn't real happy about that. So I'm opting for something that will last a LONG time. I know that I tried to find this style before because I was reading on a beer forum that these guys loved them. I tracked it down and they wanted 65$ a piece for these + sgipping :wtf: this link appears to be more reasonable :sarcasm:
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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby Frosteecat » Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:32 am

I paid $35 for mine (24 gallon) and can't be happier. I can see through it enough to see what is going on, it is sturdy enough to drag. the lid setup seems perfect...it's wide mouthed, yadda...yadda...yadda...it's made of the plastic that would "collapse" if you knelt on it hard, but would go back to its original shape...if that makes sense...
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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby RevSpaminator » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:33 pm

I just picked up one of those 24 galon jobs from a 'local' homebrew supply shop. I was looking into the 55 gal drum but saw some good advice in another post on this forum. I can't find the link right now, but the gist of the message was, "Think about how long 10 gallons takes to distill, can you keep up with 55 galons?"

I decided this was good advice and picked up a 24. :)
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Re: 55-gallon blue drums for fermenting/holding cleared mash

Postby sinkinskiff » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:19 am

I took a 55 gal white drum cut it in half to do 15 gallon washes with headspace for the ferment took the cutoff and cut that part down to 4 inches tall and use it for a safety basin for overflow at the worm just in case I go into a coma and don't get a jar swapped out quick enuff. That said if you ever in south louisiana and need a plastic drum pm me ahead of time and I can get ya one pretty easy.
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