My first keg boiler has a problem

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pistachio_nut
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My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by pistachio_nut » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:26 am

It had six inches of sludge in the bottom of it when I got it. It's a 15.5 gallon Sanke, shaped like an apple as opposed to the more cylindrical ones with the handles on top. The bottom of it is definitely crusted with sludge, I'm not sure what the sides look like. They're probably dirty as hell.

I called some sandblasting/steamcleaning shops in the area. They're telling me that the nozzles they use are not very flexible, so it might not be something they can clean.

Any suggestions on how to clean it? I have a broom handle and I can reach a lot of the bottom, but there's a part I can't reach at all.

Is there any kind of chemical soup I can pour into it... or is there any way to use electrolysis and a battery charger to get the scum off it? Option B is to spend $150 on a nice Budweiser keg with the deposit, and promptly dump it down the sewer. I just don't drink a whole lot of beer.

Do you guys have any suggestions?
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by olddog » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:36 am

You could use phosforic acid as long as the keg is stainless steel, I used to use that to clean the stainless on my boat, wear rubber gloves and don't breath the fumes.


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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by kiwistiller » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:28 am

I'd try a long soak with citric acid, or vinegar first. then chuck in a few handfulls of sharp gravel, and swirl the keg lots to use the gravel like a scourer. 15 mins of that sorts out a lot of scum.
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by MuleKicker » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:14 am

try throwing it on some heat too. without acid in it ofcourse. just water/vinegar. heat does wonders. what is the sludge? dried up beer?
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by ScottishBoy » Tue Aug 17, 2010 4:50 am

Try a simmer first. Just fill it 1/3 full of water and put it to simmer for a few hours. Make sure its vented and then pour it out. Thats should take care of 85% of whats in there. Take a look at whats comes out and see if its anything that might be taken care of with another soak. If that doesnt work, then put some small rocks and sand in there, fill 1/3 and put in the back of your vehicle for a day or two...maybe a week.

Shiny!
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by rad14701 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:01 am

The problem with heating the keg is that if heated from the bottom there is a possibility of further hardening the sludge before it softens... Perhaps filling the keg partially and then heating it on its side would work better, carefully rotating it a bit at a time once up to temperature... If there is too large of an opening in the keg then it may have to be propped on an angle for this to be feasible... Let the steam and boiling water do the work, not the flame...

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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by ScottishBoy » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:18 am

rad14701 wrote:The problem with heating the keg is that if heated from the bottom there is a possibility of further hardening the sludge before it softens... Perhaps filling the keg partially and then heating it on its side would work better, carefully rotating it a bit at a time once up to temperature... If there is too large of an opening in the keg then it may have to be propped on an angle for this to be feasible... Let the steam and boiling water do the work, not the flame...
Hmmmm. Was going under the assumption that the sludge was organic. Perhaps a bit of a soak before applying heat? With a funnel in hand, you might be able to introduce some nice hot water in there to loosen things up...What exactly do you think the sludge is?
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by pistachio_nut » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:27 am

ScottishBoy wrote:Try a simmer first. Just fill it 1/3 full of water and put it to simmer for a few hours. Make sure its vented and then pour it out. Thats should take care of 85% of whats in there. Take a look at whats comes out and see if its anything that might be taken care of with another soak. If that doesnt work, then put some small rocks and sand in there, fill 1/3 and put in the back of your vehicle for a day or two...maybe a week.

Shiny!
We have a winna! That sounds like a great idea. I can plug the bottom port, dump some clean pea gravel in it, add water, and leave it in my truck for a couple days. That ought to do the job.
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by rednose » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:05 pm

I would through in half meter of SS chain 1/2 " strong and together with lemon juice and water shake the hell out of it, that should do the job.

Than to get the very rest out, cooking water/vinegar in it.

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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by MuleKicker » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:13 pm

make a water/vinegar/salt solution. mix that with the peastone. it would be cool if you could spin that baby like a rock tumbler for a few days. 8)
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by pistachio_nut » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:08 am

MuleKicker wrote:make a water/vinegar/salt solution. mix that with the peastone. it would be cool if you could spin that baby like a rock tumbler for a few days. 8)
It'll be something like that. I'll put it bottom-side-down and drive for a couple hours. Then on one side, then another, repeat a few times and it'll be good to go. I have a couple of road trips lined up in the next few days, so that should do it.

I already boiled it full for an hour which got a lot of the sludge out of it.

I'm just going to use water at first. I don't want to dump a salt water/vinegar mix on my property.
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by guerrila distilla » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:28 am

sounds a bit odd, but i used a combination of small rocks and a steel chain in vinegar solution, strapped it very securely to the top of the cement mixer, angled it a bit, and left it running for half an hour. did the trick just fine, and with no manual labour involved :D
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by ScottishBoy » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:28 am

guerrila distilla wrote: strapped it very securely to the top of the cement mixer, angled it a bit, and left it running for half an hour. did the trick just fine, and with no manual labour involved :D
I dont have a cement mixer handy. Im thinking maybe he doesnt either... :?
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by Kentucky shinner » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:39 am

ScottishBoy wrote:
guerrila distilla wrote: strapped it very securely to the top of the cement mixer, angled it a bit, and left it running for half an hour. did the trick just fine, and with no manual labour involved :D
I dont have a cement mixer handy. Im thinking maybe he doesnt either... :?
If I had a cement mixer id use it as a fermenter...LOL do one per year... :lol: :lol:

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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by ScottishBoy » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:40 am

Kentucky shinner wrote:
ScottishBoy wrote:
guerrila distilla wrote: strapped it very securely to the top of the cement mixer, angled it a bit, and left it running for half an hour. did the trick just fine, and with no manual labour involved :D
I dont have a cement mixer handy. Im thinking maybe he doesnt either... :?
If I had a cement mixer id use it as a fermenter...LOL do one per year... :lol: :lol:
Like a Cement Truck?
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HD Survival in a Nutshell...
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by Kastro » Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:29 am

failing the cleaning, you could always get onto your local beer supplier and ask if they wanna just give/sell you a used keg.
or just get one by any means.

*EDIT - by any means i mean ring around and ask you local pubs if they have an old one lying around..
Last edited by Kastro on Sat Aug 28, 2010 5:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by Tater » Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:50 am

Best cleaner Ive found for ss is product called Foam and Clean Its a cleaner found at achv supply stores for cleaning condenser coils.Info on back jug gives directions for cleaning ss .Its used to clean the ss in commercial kitchens.Be sure to read directions before using it(I didnt and first time I tried it I washed out coils of some window units.while in back of my pickup.And yes it removes paint also.)In all years Ive been doing service work Ive never found a better cleaner.-- http://www.atlanticchemical.com/product.php?pid=1" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
I use a pot still.Sometimes with a thumper

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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by Digger » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:00 pm

oxy-clean &150-160 degree water works quite well. just make sure to rinse well.


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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by radiatorboy » Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:06 am

how about steam cleaning it, that might get it clean
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by RefluxFan » Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:28 pm

I would combine Rednose and Kiwi's ideas: throw in some gravel stones and a length of SS chain then attach a long bit with a small "T" on the end into a battery or electric drill and give it a whirl. I'm sure that will damn near clean anything. Soak and repeat if neccessary.

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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by pistachio_nut » Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:15 pm

OK, this keg is officially useless. The thing has a WOODEN CORK pounded into the side. I put about fifteen pounds of gravel in it and was intending to roll it around to polish the inside. As I rolled it around the SILVER PAINT came off the wood and there it was, leaking in all its pathetic glory.

Who puts a piece of wood in the side of a keg?

This thing is going to be made into something else. Maybe a smoker.

I'm going to buy a keg of Budweiser, and dump it in the dirt to get a clean keg. This is just taking WAY too long. I make enough money that this just isn't worth my time anymore.

Supposedly, Budweiser kegs are made to be particularly sturdy.
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by Kentucky shinner » Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:30 pm

pistachio_nut wrote:OK, this keg is officially useless. The thing has a WOODEN CORK pounded into the side. I put about fifteen pounds of gravel in it and was intending to roll it around to polish the inside. As I rolled it around the SILVER PAINT came off the wood and there it was, leaking in all its pathetic glory.

Who puts a piece of wood in the side of a keg?

This thing is going to be made into something else. Maybe a smoker.

I'm going to buy a keg of Budweiser, and dump it in the dirt to get a clean keg. This is just taking WAY too long. I make enough money that this just isn't worth my time anymore.

Supposedly, Budweiser kegs are made to be particularly sturdy.
Whoa Whoa, Were in hell do you live, I will volunteer to come and drink the damn beer, I alway's want to help a buddy out.. Hey I will pick some of you guys up along the way. I love drinking beer and taking a good snort of lighting with it.. Oh hell
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by ScottishBoy » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:04 am

pistachio_nut wrote:OK, this keg is officially useless. The thing has a WOODEN CORK pounded into the side. I put about fifteen pounds of gravel in it and was intending to roll it around to polish the inside. As I rolled it around the SILVER PAINT came off the wood and there it was, leaking in all its pathetic glory.

Who puts a piece of wood in the side of a keg?

This thing is going to be made into something else. Maybe a smoker.

I'm going to buy a keg of Budweiser, and dump it in the dirt to get a clean keg. This is just taking WAY too long. I make enough money that this just isn't worth my time anymore.

Supposedly, Budweiser kegs are made to be particularly sturdy.
Okay. Wooden plug? Float for a dock.
I hear keg based BBQ grills are all the rage now.
Dump the keg? Keep the keg? First off, thats Alcohol Abuse. Second, No. Dont do that. If you do, you are stealing and we dont do that.
There is a guy on ebay called 'bluefarm". He sells kegs 50L for 50 US plus shipping with the insides already stripped. They are generic kegs so they cant be called back to the distributors by nosey people.

Your local scrapyard is also a great place to get these little babies.
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by guerrila distilla » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:57 am

the wooden cork in the side of the keg means that it's a real ale keg. real ales such as stout, mild and bitter are kept in different barrels to lager because that cork you found on your keg should be a vent plug, which gets knocked through with a shive to vent the beer. this is done because real ales are still slightly fermenting, and the keg still contains the yeast and sediment. also real ales are pumped to the glass via a hand pump rather than gas pressure.

completely useless information, but someone might be interested.

oh, by the way, by cement mixer, i mean a small home mixer, not a truck :econfused:
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by rad14701 » Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:50 am

pistachio_nut, are you seriously telling us that you were trying to clean a wooden keg for use as a boiler...??? :shock: Tell me I read that post wrong... :shock:

A wooden plug in the side... Silver paint came off and the wood started leaking...


If this was actually a stainless steel keg with a bung in it, that's not all that uncommon for older kegs... You can either make use of that hole or weld it shut... You'll still need to get the contents cleaned out, however...

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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by pistachio_nut » Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:25 am

It wound up working out today. I had to go to town to pay a visit to my attorney this morning on a completely unrelated matter when I pulled in to Kelli's Bar... under new management. I walked in the door and saw somebody's chinese mail order bride working the counter. Bingo.

Hey, want to make a couple dollars fast?

Sure, Joe, whatchoo wantee?

Sell me one of those kegs over there for $75.

Unintelligible babble

What?

Distributor garble garble garble trouble?

No, no trouble. They keep your deposit, that's it.

Garble garble garble?

No, they just keep your deposit. I can't get one at a scrapyard, it'll be OK.

Take out back, don't tell husband...

NO problem.

One Anheuser Busch keg to go, TYVM.

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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by Mr.Spooky » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:27 pm

pistachio_nut wrote:It wound up working out today. I had to go to town to pay a visit to my attorney this morning on a completely unrelated matter when I pulled in to Kelli's Bar... under new management. I walked in the door and saw somebody's chinese mail order bride working the counter. Bingo.

Hey, want to make a couple dollars fast?

Sure, Joe, whatchoo wantee?

Sell me one of those kegs over there for $75.

Unintelligible babble

What?

Distributor garble garble garble trouble?

No, no trouble. They keep your deposit, that's it.

Garble garble garble?

No, they just keep your deposit. I can't get one at a scrapyard, it'll be OK.

Take out back, don't tell husband...

NO problem.

One Anheuser Busch keg to go, TYVM.

Sayonara, Tiger Lily.
please remember that this is a forum used by all people from all diferent backgrounds. im sure that you ment no harm, and hell,,, even sometimes i garble, garble, garble and babble, babble, babble.
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by pistachio_nut » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:54 am

There's always one who takes offense at "garble garble" even though it's not recognized as being insulting to anyone or any group of people. Lighten up, buddy. I like to pretend this is still a free country.

I noticed you quoted the entire post just to make sure it's preserved for posterity, though. That's the way to draw the foul, two free throws to you.

And now on to the rest of our regularly scheduled thread. I caught a youtube video that suggests I use a tungsten drill bit to drill dimples in the retaining clip that holds the ball thingy in place. That sounds good to me, so this weekend I'll pick up a bit and see if I can get that clip out. Have any of you guys pried it out from the outside of the ring? I don't want to mess up the Sanke connector, my column has fittings for that lip.

On another note, I'm thinking about the cooling system I'm going to use when I run the still. I'll be running it outside for the next year or so, and it rains a lot here in the winter. I was thinking about using a 20 gallon water reservoir with a 1/6th HP pump to push the water through a car radiator to the condenser. If I run when it rains, I can lay the radiator flat in some kind of bracket so the rain hits it on the broad side. I'm not sure how cold that would get the radiator and the cooling water, but it would probably be colder than if I aimed a fan at the radiator on a dry night.

I can always drop the temp of the 20 gallon reservoir by dropping a hose to the bottom and running cold water in for three minutes every fifteen, that should knock the temp down. How do you guys cool your water? I don't have a creek nearby, it's pretty much hose/radiator/fan time for me.
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by kiwistiller » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:20 am

You might live in a free country, but this isn't just an American board. There's a whole world of people to offend out there - try to avoid it if you can.

To business:
user: Absinthe has some good videos on youtube of how to get them apart - his youtube name is homedistiller.

As for cooling, what you say sounds like it will be just fine. I just have a big reserviour and a small heater core to take the edge off it. the water steams up good, but only when doing back to back runs has it been a problem.
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Re: My first keg boiler has a problem

Post by ScottishBoy » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:57 am

I am an equal opportunity garbler. I strive to offend all races equally...;)

Where I live, there is actually a written set of penalties for failing to bring a keg back to its distributor which works out to 200 dollars in fines. Thats one of the reasons I had so much trouble getting one in the first place. Another reason I was so thrilled to see a keg from a company that recently got consumed by another mega corp. Its kind of an homage..;)
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Read.Search.Listen.Ask for feedback, you WILL get it. Plastic is always "questionable". Dont hurry. Be Careful. Dont Sell,Tell, or Yell. If you wouldnt serve it to your friends, then it isnt worth keeping.

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