Do I really need a larger filling port?

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Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby greybeard » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:04 am

So I have a keg that I will use for my boiler. Obviously it has a 2" opening on top that I will connect my copper column to. Is a 2" opening not sufficient for filling the boiler? I have seen some use a siphon, and I can't see a larger port being useful. I'm certainly not going to try and lift the bucket and poor it into the still with a funnel whether 2" or 4". I plan to install a drain on the lower side or bottom so I wouldn't need a larger port to dump. Am I missing something? Just don't want to go through the time, expense, and hassle of cutting stainless if I don't have to.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby Cu29er » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:08 am

.

If you only boil liquid then you should have no problem. Some like to boil mash and liquid together then you need a way to get solids back out or scrub out scorched solids on the bottom of the boiler.
Can you use a carboy brush to get all the spots in the boiler scrubbed if you need to? Or build an extension arm to bolt the carboy brush to that can fit all the way down? What is the largest diameter drain you can install to remove any debris?
1/8th inch diameter drill holes in the bottom of a lauder tun can filter out a lot of debris so you only ferment and boil 'liquid'.

.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby nuntius01 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:52 am

Cu29er wrote:.

If you only boil liquid then you should have no problem. Some like to boil mash and liquid together then you need a way to get solids back out or scrub out scorched solids on the bottom of the boiler.
Can you use a carboy brush to get all the spots in the boiler scrubbed if you need to? Or build an extension arm to bolt the carboy brush to that can fit all the way down? What is the largest diameter drain you can install to remove any debris?
1/8th inch diameter drill holes in the bottom of a lauder tun can filter out a lot of debris so you only ferment and boil 'liquid'.

.

he hit the nail on the head. you really only need a larger opening for cleaning. i will say, though that you can add a wider opening at any time. get your feet wet first. then when you upgrade, you'll have an idea as to what works for you. check out some of the other stills guys have. if you're planning on going electric, you may want to turn your keg upside down and use the 2" opening for the drain. but, really the best advise is to read everything you can here and ask lots of questions. good luck
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:31 am

Here are a few uses for a fill port:

If doing multiple runs you can refill the boiler without removing the still head. If you're running a simple pot still this may not be a huge benefit, but if you have a reflux setup it might be worth it.

You can use the fill port to "shoot" the boiler, adding fruit or other flavoring to the boiler after you've cleared heads. I'd consider this an advanced technique as you need to keep your wits about ya when performing this trick.

If the fill port is large enough it will allow you to get your arm into the keg to clean it out really well. If you ever scorch something onto the inside of your keg you will appreciate how nice this would be.

All that said, I don't have a fill port, or a drain for that matter, and I've never really felt the need to take the time to add one. Then again it might be one of those things that if I ever add them I'll wonder why I didn't sooner.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby bluefish_dist » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:24 am

If you can do it, put a 6" port for filling and cleaning. I found my arm doesn't fit through a 4" much further than my forearm so it isn't all that great for cleaning.
My keg still has a 2" fill right now and it is great for refilling without disassembling the column, but lacks the ability to do a good scrubbing. Not a huge issue as I only run low wines in it. Fwiw a large funnel allows easy filling.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby NZChris » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:30 am

If you need a fill port but don't want to mess with the boiler, you can put a tee under the still head.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby goose eye » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:00 pm

All dependin on your outfit an what you cookin you can keep it stired til it's ready to cap. Your burner causes hot spot in your kettle.

If it pukes don't matter why it'll leave a callin card in your kettle .




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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby jb-texshine » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:28 pm

NZChris wrote:If you need a fill port but don't want to mess with the boiler, you can put a tee under the still head.

T+90°

Mch,put a drain in that boiler before you blow your back out.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby Saltbush Bill » Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:38 pm

Its more a luxury than a necessity.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby Bushman » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:09 am

A fill port would be nice for double runs without taking down my column. I made the 2" opening on my keg 4" for my larger column which really helps in cleaning. I also love my drain port. Having gone electric it makes emptying it a lot easier.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby johnsparrow » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:13 am

If you are going to cut a hole, cut a 4" and be done with it!
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby greybeard » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:26 pm

Thanks much for the input. I'll have to ponder it. The cost of the right drill bit is between $20-30, then the cost of the ferrule, needing to weld, cap and clamp. I'm new to this so not sure that I will be doing much in the way of double runs. I'll have to investigate recipes a bit more to see if I'll have grains/solids in any mash. My main goal is whisky and maybe some rum. I will put a drain. I can't seen any reasonable way to empty the keg without it.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby MichiganCornhusker » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:28 pm

Tip it over.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby bluefish_dist » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:40 pm

Put the drain and fill port. It's worth the effort. After a run or two of moving a full keg outside to dump it, I built a new still with a drain.
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Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby raketemensch » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:42 pm

The first time that you try to carry a hot keg somewhere to tip it over, you’ll wish you had a drain port.

The first time you use your drain port you will thank the gods for your unburnt ankles.
Last edited by raketemensch on Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby Truckinbutch » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:25 pm

Already having a bad back and delicate hands when I started this hobby I built fill and drain ports on the getgo . Never looked back . They are a 'must have ' for me .
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby johnsparrow » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:19 am

greybeard wrote:Thanks much for the input. I'll have to ponder it. The cost of the right drill bit is between $20-30, then the cost of the ferrule, needing to weld, cap and clamp. I'm new to this so not sure that I will be doing much in the way of double runs. I'll have to investigate recipes a bit more to see if I'll have grains/solids in any mash. My main goal is whisky and maybe some rum. I will put a drain. I can't seen any reasonable way to empty the keg without it.


For a bigger hole you can use an angle grinder and a cut off disk. It can be a little fiddly but it works. If you have not worked with stainless a lot it will be easier than a drill.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby DAD300 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:52 pm

For years I used an unmolested keg. Then when I wanted to do multiple runs I drilled a hole in the top surface that fit a wine cork. I filled and siphoned through that hols for many more years. Wine corks are cheap and can act as a pressure relief. Set a towel over it during distillation if you're afraid it might puke your eye out.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby johnsparrow » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:55 pm

DAD300 wrote:For years I used an unmolested keg. Then when I wanted to do multiple runs I drilled a hole in the top surface that fit a wine cork. I filled and siphoned through that hols for many more years. Wine corks are cheap and can act as a pressure relief. Set a towel over it during distillation if you're afraid it might puke your eye out.


If the boiler was to amass pressure, then the cork blew out, wouldn't that mean you would get a heap of vapour escaping into the atmosphere. The vapour being heavier than air, this could be quite dangerous running gas no?
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby Oldvine Zin » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:50 pm

johnsparrow wrote:If the boiler was to amass pressure, then the cork blew out, wouldn't that mean you would get a heap of vapour escaping into the atmosphere. The vapour being heavier than air, this could be quite dangerous running gas no?


Thinking that if you got to the point of a pressure build up great enough to blow the cork,(were you asleep or left the still untended?) I would rather have a fire around the burner rather than having a stainless steal bomb burst. By the way I use electric so I don't have an open flame around flammable vapors.

Back to on topic, I built my keg boiler with an 8" tri-clamp opening thinking that it would be great for cleaning, it is but way over kill. Next one I do will have a 6" center tri-clamp with a 2" clamp off to the side for a filling port. I cut the 8" hole with a grinder - cheaper and easier than a hole saw that size. You can always add the fill port later - like I've been meaning to do for the past two years :oops:

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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby Saltbush Bill » Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:55 am

johnsparrow wrote:If the boiler was to amass pressure, then the cork blew out,

If that was to happen you have already been doing something very, very wrong. As already mentioned , the cork blowing out at an early stage could be a god send.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby NZChris » Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:52 am

If a cork blows out, the charge boils until it reaches the boiling point for it's abv at atmospheric pressure, so don't bang it in tighter thinking that it will be safer.
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby Old Man Bakke » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:55 pm

I have had a similar question, that Grey Beard posted, brewing in my pre build mind lately. I see everything from 2"-8" center keg Ferrules. I totally get the cleaning aspect and am leaning towards a 6" ferrule to accommodate my arm. But what I am struggling with is...running a larger column, larger than 2" better or serve some purpose down the road when you want to upgrade your keg / abilities? Or...am I still going to just reduce the 6" opening down to a 2" ferrule?
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby Pikey » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:29 pm

I have a tap to drain my pot and the top comes completely off for cleaning.

There is no way any of my stills going forward would have a 2" hole in the top and no access - c'mon !
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Re: Do I really need a larger filling port?

Postby bluefish_dist » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:35 pm

If I was limited in area on the top of the keg and don't have any height concerns a 2" for the column and a 6" for cleaning/filling would work well. Two 6" or a 4" for the column and a 6" for cleaning would be ideal. Adapters don't cause any issues with operations. I ran a 4" column on a 2" keg no problem. Now I run a 4" column on a 6" opening.
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