How do you use water barrels?

Any hardware used for mashing, fermenting or aging.

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CypSteel
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How do you use water barrels?

Post by CypSteel » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:05 pm

I am using a 15g (56L) keg as a boiler with a 37 gallon cooler as a fermenter. The cooler can really only accommodate around 14/15 gallons (52L) of wash if the recipe includes grains like UJSSM. The problem is the cooler tends to insulate too much and I start to push the upper bands of the yeast comfort temperature. I found 55 gallon (208L) water barrels that have only been used once for Apple Cider Vinegar for $20 each.


Should I make the jump? If so, whats the best way to use these?
  • Cut the top off and use it as an open barrel?
  • Use it on its side with with the top bung acting as a air lock and the bottom bung as a spout? How do you clean these after a nasty ferment?
  • Another varation of the last barrel on their side: Perhaps cut a cleaning hole in the side?
I feel these would be less insulated than the cooler and room temperature would have more of an effect. The second benefit would be I could have potentially more runs per ferment.
Last edited by CypSteel on Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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HomerD
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Re: How do you use water barrels?

Post by HomerD » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:16 pm

I have open barrels, but I like to have the top to be able to cover it and keep stuff out. I sometimes use an empty feed bag taped to the top.

Homer
[align=][/align]Stay strapped or get clapped.
15.5 gallon boiler, 5 gallon thumper, shotgun condenser, 57” spiraled liebig,
mash steam cooker head, 5.5 kW element with SCR controller
All modular

CypSteel
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Re: How do you use water barrels?

Post by CypSteel » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:19 pm

Thanks HomerD. To be clear, you use the empty feed bags as an substitute to the top of the barrel? Or do you mean in addition to the top?

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HomerD
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Re: How do you use water barrels?

Post by HomerD » Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:30 pm

I use the feed bags on barrels that I don’t have the tops for.

Homer
[align=][/align]Stay strapped or get clapped.
15.5 gallon boiler, 5 gallon thumper, shotgun condenser, 57” spiraled liebig,
mash steam cooker head, 5.5 kW element with SCR controller
All modular

Bph
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Re: How do you use water barrels?

Post by Bph » Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:10 am

I have barrles that were used for pickled peppers. They lock and dont have any bungs on them. I drilled a hole in em and added airlocks. To clean it I use one of those smily face scrubbers you get at the big hardware stores and dawn soap. Lay it in its side on saw horses. Scrub the shit out of it then blast it with the hose. Now that I have lots if alcohol on hand I then take some high proof spirits and a papar towel and give it a good wipe before starting the next ferment. Maybe over kill for what we are doing but makes me feel good.

FLOB
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Re: How do you use water barrels?

Post by FLOB » Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:31 am

The lid to a large Brute trash can sits pretty nicely over my blue 55 gall barrel that doesn't have a top. Not air tight or anything. Also nice because it is easy to lift to peak and check on the ferment bubbling.

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NineInchNails
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Re: How do you use water barrels?

Post by NineInchNails » Wed Sep 02, 2020 5:01 am

I built a stand and put a drum on top. The drum has a bulkhead fitting and 1-1/2" ball valve as a spigot. It has a 1/4" float valve connected to a Reverse Osmosis unit.
20200902_085455.jpg
Some of my fermenters are open top drums with lids. I made bases with 4"-5" with 4 swivel casters to make moving the fermenter around really easy. I made the stand for my water reservoir high enough to have clearance for my fermenters to roll under it.
20200902_085711.jpg

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