Plans...

Any steam Cooking /Distilling Device

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Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:31 pm

OK... have an idea and looking for a little help on the specifics.

First All Grain done (well..except the distilling, aging and drinking...) and looking to do more but want to make it a bit easier on myself and like brutal said get some "good return on my time investment". I was planning on making a steam rig for mashing similar to how brutal has done his here: viewtopic.php?f=92&t=52926

I would use my keg boiler and 5500W element for steam creation. Here is the catch: I'm thinking about doing this as BIAB. I originally thought about false bottoms and resting the bag on that but then I thought no need. If I suspend the bag in a drum with the appropriate amount of water then I could do it all in the barrel. It would be a big bag with heavy straps like this one:

bag.jpg
Keggle BIAB




This was the design thought:

Barrel.png
Steam in a barrel in a bag (SIABIAB...?)


The steam wand would be similar to brutals setup and bring the water up to temp with the bag floating in the water.
I would put a drain in the base to drain off the mash when it was ready. Maybe a few inches off the bottom to avoid the yeast trub
Could ferment on or off the grain I suppose.

The second issue is the type of barrel... Craigslist has two great options right now:

hdpe.jpg
Screw Lid HDPE



steel.jpg
SS


Stainless steel drum. These were used to transport methanol and I believe this should be easy to remove any residue since the methanol should be evaoprated.

So...does this sound feasible and if so...would you go HDPE screw top or SS drum. Not sure about the lid situation on the SS drum but I know it isn't a big deal for fermenting.

OH... almost forgot. Cost. The HDPE is $25 and the SS drums are $7.
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Re: Plans...

Postby Snackson » Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:52 pm

Those look to be regular steel and painted. I would verify it beforehand but I would chose the cheaper which is $7 if in fact they are SS.
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Re: Plans...

Postby jedneck » Wed Jun 15, 2016 2:45 pm

7$ for a ss drum is dirt dirt dirt cheap. But they look like plain ol steal to me.
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Re: Plans...

Postby just sayin » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:02 pm

Hey Bro, if you can get SS drums for $7 each, buy them all!!! Make sure they are truely stainless and were not used for radioactive waste storage in their previous life.
Brew in a bag looks like a reasonable option to me. No hands on knowledge. I have thought about it for years. We all stress about getting every last drop... An all grain mash is low cost for the most part, if you can only recover 90% of your wash, live with it. So at the end of ten batches your true yield is nine. I am a cheap old SOB, but loosing a bit to get to a fine all-grain looks like a win/win to me.
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Re: Plans...

Postby rad14701 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:40 pm

The scrap value of a stainless steel barrel would be more than $7, without the lid... A magnet test will tell the tale... If it sticks, it's mild steel... If it won't stick at all, it's stainless steel... Those painted barrels are probably just synthetic lined mild steel...
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Re: Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:45 pm

See...this is why I come here! I contacted the guy tonight.... regular steel. Crap.... you know it never crossed my mind (probably too excited to actually think for a minute).

Now... just to be clear.... the reason for not mashing in them is the coating inside (not sure if they're painted or have some other lining) and I'm guessing rusting.

Guess I'm going with the HDPE.

The rest of the idea seems feasible though?
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Re: Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Mon Jun 20, 2016 11:13 am

A new question... What if I wanted to ferment on the grain...in the bag?

I would lower the bag so the grain sat submerged in the water and pitch when the whole thing came to temp. When finished I would lift the bag out and drain... keeping the mess to a minimum.
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Re: Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:38 am

OK...so i got started on this project... I will do some posting now and some later as all the parts arrive.

I was inspired by a bunch of folks but driven by Brutal's post: viewtopic.php?f=92&t=52926 and I wanted to see about mashing with steam.

I obtained a 55 gal food grade HDPE drum:
Big Bertha 1.jpg
Bertha

Big Bertha 2.jpg
See the gradations on her side


I decided on a design for the steam head. I really liked Brutals wand but i wanted to go cheaper and easier so I made some mods:
Wand parts 1.jpg
Parts of the build


Then I modded my own mod by changing the tee to a regular copper tee and saving like $12. Here it is pieced together
assembled not sweat 2.jpg
Including the wand arm


All the copper is 3/4"

I decided I wanted to keep it somewhat modular in case I had difficulty getting the wand out with a bag of grain in the way so I only sweat some of the wand together. I sweat the frame of the wand together and left the arm of the wand free so I could easily remove it. I also have 3/4 inch copper "legs" about 2' into the SS washer connections and they slide into the frame. With the grain in the bag I didn't need to worry about them clogging.

Filled my barrel up and dropped her in to see how it looked...
wand in place 1.jpg
Looking good


I blew air into the line and it bubbled like crazy in there!
Last edited by rgreen2002 on Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:49 am

So I started to look at the bag. I posted it earlier in the post from The Brew Bag: http://www.brewinabag.com/collections/f ... or-keggles

The thing is huge and seems well built. I will have to check it out before I go throwing grain in it. It is rated for 100lb.

I compared the bag to the barrel:

bag.jpg
Bag for scale...


I reaches quite a way down there... Here is my first foreseeable problem. I was planning on making about 12 gallon batches but if you saw the 10 gallon mark on the barrel... ain't NO WAY. I'm going to have to go bigger....darn! :mrgreen:

I marked it only to 40 gallons because I would never go over 40... :)

I think I can get away with 20 gallons, but 30 was a definite:
bag in place.jpg
Bag in barrel...in 30 gallons water


Plan B will be to drill holes in the barrel just below the opening and run two 1/2' pieces of copper tubing to act as rails to hang the bag on. This will allow the grain to sit at the bottom and on the wand you say..... possibly. I have two solutions for this and the first involves a SS strainer I bought for like $6 that I will modify to cover the wand head and disperse the steam. The second would be to increase the size of the frame to surround the outer part of the barrel. This would require another SS washer connection tubing I believe, but is doable.

I have to wait for my 2' x 3/4' reducer to arrive before I can go any further so... here we are for now.
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Re: Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:22 pm

OK! I'm finished! Let me wrap up the narrative, show some pics and get everyones opinions.

So when we left off I have Bertha filled with 30 gallons of water and the grain bag sitting nicely in the center. All my parts finally arrived and I got the chance today to get her finished up.

System 1.jpg
Here she is...


I insulated the pipe all the way across. The two sit about 5 feet apart. I'm thinking about dropping that distance and saving transfer time from the steam.

I started her up.... 5000W and about 6 gallons of water in the boiler. Bertha holding about 10 gallons

Took about 15 minutes to get to here...

Steam 1.jpg
Bubble, Bubble...




And then I almost ran away... Ya know it never crossed my mind that I was creating an open thumper... the banging and clanging was amazing! Have a listen...



Things started to get warm and really get loud:



So in the end I heated about 10 gallons of water to 190 degrees in about 35 minutes. I have a few minor mods to make and it will be ready for a real run. For starters that 2x3 and brick are temporary and I will have to get it closer to the door to let excess steam vent out.. Figuring out the bag in the equation is going to make it a little difficult but I think I can get it done!

I'm hoping some folks will chime in here. My rig is modular in that not all the copper is sweat together. I washed it all thoroughly and then gave it a citric acid bath. Anything else anyone would do on the cleaning side?

I had one tiny leak that PTFE tape took care of. I have a "pressure release valve" in a cork pushed into a tee below the ball valve on Bertha's side. Originally a little bit of water leaked out but then the cork swelled and it stopped. after nearly an hour of running I had no issues and when I shut down I pulled the cork with a small amount of pressure release. If it becomes an issue I can put a real Safety Relief Valve on that tee but with the cork lightly tucked in there I can't imagine real pressure build up. I could probably put a guage inline if I were really curious/concerned.

PRV.jpg
"Safety Relief Valve"


Any thoughts?
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Plans...

Postby Kegg_jam » Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:38 pm

Looks nice.

One thing I might be worried about is the slip joints.

You really wouldn't want to have any body parts close to one of those joints if it were to accidentally come apart. I had originally used a slip joint or two on my first steam build but then switched out to unions or threaded joints to keep it modular. Thinking about going with triclamps next time.
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Re: Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:55 am

Thanks K-J... I originally was thinking about threaded joints but wanted to see where this would take me. Just because she didn't leak doesn't mean I trust her!
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Re: Plans...

Postby Brutal » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:41 pm

This is looking like a great project man! Get those pipes insulated! All these pictures and I don't see no likker???

Steam head 2.0 for me is gonna be pretty much round like yours but have a rigid copper pipe inside all the way through. It will have holes in the bottom of the pipe evenly spaced. Plan to make it specific to the barrel used to distribute the steam as evenly as possible. The stirring is where the effort is, and I intend to get it out!

Cook the corn and let all the good out. I intend to catch up in a few months after we get moved.

Good work buddy. Keep 'em comin'.
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Re: Plans...

Postby Danespirit » Tue Jul 05, 2016 10:36 pm

+1 Brutal

Insulating the pipes and cutting them to a reasonable length, will improve the efficiency of your setup (that goes for your keg too).
One thing I might be worried about is the slip joints.

I would also vote for an alternative connection method....steam can be a nasty thing..
Great project...please keep the pictures and video coming! :thumbup:
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Re: Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:33 pm

Brutal wrote:This is looking like a great project man! Get those pipes insulated! All these pictures and I don't see no likker???

Steam head 2.0 for me is gonna be pretty much round like yours but have a rigid copper pipe inside all the way through. It will have holes in the bottom of the pipe evenly spaced. Plan to make it specific to the barrel used to distribute the steam as evenly as possible. The stirring is where the effort is, and I intend to get it out!

Cook the corn and let all the good out. I intend to catch up in a few months after we get moved.

Good work buddy. Keep 'em comin'.


Brutal: Thanks Man... I was originally going ot make this head like yours and put 3/4 copper with slits inside the braided copper but since I plan to try the BIAB... I didn't think I would need it. Also...after reading your problem with mineral scale in the Steam Injection Attachment post ( viewtopic.php?p=7293515#p7293515 ) - I made the head small enough to fit in a 5 gallon bucket so...thanks for that idea!

Work is killing me right now so I will have to wait a little for the mashing but I have all the grain ready and waiting. I will be making a few mods as well... a crossbar to hold the copper in place and to hold my mixing drill!!

Danespirit wrote:+1 Brutal

Insulating the pipes and cutting them to a reasonable length, will improve the efficiency of your setup (that goes for your keg too).
One thing I might be worried about is the slip joints.

I would also vote for an alternative connection method....steam can be a nasty thing..
Great project...please keep the pictures and video coming! :thumbup:


Dane- many thanks! The more I have thought about KJ's advice the more I have been leaning toward replacing a few of the joints with unions. The pipe is insulated but I do think I am going to cut it down a little so I will have to re-apply. As for the keg-- her dress is sitting in the basement. I've had her dressed with Reflectix for a long time and took it off to clean her. Just need to get her dressed back up!
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Re: Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Sun Jul 17, 2016 4:30 pm

OK.... so my frantic 2 weeks at work has come to an end. I should be able to get started with this project soon. I have made a few mods to the barrel and I will be getting the rest underway soon! :mrgreen:
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Re: Plans...

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:16 pm

Very nice rig. That will make you a nice scorch-free mash out of anything.
Heed the steam warnings. With Bertha full of hot corn mush there will be pressure in the copper. That cork looks to be just about face level. :shock: You could put an elbow in there and send the steam up and away.
Triclamps are a dream for modular setups like yours. That looks like 3/4" copper pipe. There are some cheap triclamps on ebay that would solder right on to 3/4" copper tubing.
Otherwise, use unions, or even some safety tie wire at a minimum. Steam will scald before you can even move out of the way.

I use a couple corks in my steam stripper, but I have a clamp over each one so that if they do come loose the won't come out.
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Re: Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:17 pm

MichiganCornhusker wrote:Very nice rig. That will make you a nice scorch-free mash out of anything.
Heed the steam warnings. With Bertha full of hot corn mush there will be pressure in the copper. That cork looks to be just about face level. :shock: You could put an elbow in there and send the steam up and away.
Triclamps are a dream for modular setups like yours. That looks like 3/4" copper pipe. There are some cheap triclamps on ebay that would solder right on to 3/4" copper tubing.
Otherwise, use unions, or even some safety tie wire at a minimum. Steam will scald before you can even move out of the way.

I use a couple corks in my steam stripper, but I have a clamp over each one so that if they do come loose the won't come out.


eye out.jpg
LOL...I keep thinking of this!
eye out.jpg (13.29 KiB) Viewed 2258 times


Thanks MCH... all in the works! I am going to fit 3 unions into the build and solder just about everything else (the steam ball valve is a compression so I will leave that be). I liked the idea of an elbow pointing upward as well... nice touch sir! Will get the keg and pipe wrapped up too.

Also... I am intently watching your orbital shaker thread! Reminded me of the thing people use for panning gold.I have had one of those paint strainer buckets for a while and can finally put it to good use... unless this works and I might not need it at all!
:mrgreen:
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Re: Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:18 am

OK... unions are in and I made a few other mods...

Here is the completed rig:

Done.jpg
Ta-Da

I shortened the distance between Bertha and the Keg and I added 3 unions as well as insulated the pipe. I forgot to put the dress on the Keg so ignore the lack of insulation for now.

Brace.jpg

I added a brace for stability of the wand arm.

Safety.jpg

I turned the blow off upward as to redirect the steam just in case.

slot.jpg

In place.jpg

I cut slots into Bertha to allow the straps to pass to the outside and then secured them so they would not fall back into her.

That's the outside.... moving on to the inside...
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Re: Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:33 am

On the inside I added a little. With the bag in place it could easily touch the bottom. I was worried about the bag coming in direct contact with the steam head and scorching it so I decided to add a makeshift diffuser.
Diffuser.jpg
SS colander slit to allow passage of the steam wand


Looking in from the inside with the bag in place:

Bag in place.jpg
Looking good


This was with 25 gallons of water...

How would it look with the steam running through it?


Decided to throw in the corn just to see how it all lays out in there:

45 lb corn.jpg


That's about 45# corn and 25 gallons H2O. I eventually added 5 more gallons of water because I didn't think it would work. That's OK though as I was planning on 30 in the first place. Interestingly the bag all fell to the opposite side of the colander and this is probably restricting the bag volume to a degree. I will play this out for now and see how it goes.



Unfortunately I do not have time today to mash so I am pre-soaking my corn for now. I should be able to get this going tomorrow sometime and will continue it from there.
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Re: Plans...

Postby rgreen2002 » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:08 pm

So for anyone who was following along I decided to move this to a new post so I could get more input...

Here it is: viewtopic.php?f=92&t=62490
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