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Steam Mash Tun

Hey guys, I just scored this 60 gallon stainless mash tank from Craigslist. The bottom is jacketed for steam but since I don't have steam, what would be the best way to heat it? Just put a burner under the empty bottom? Try and keep the space filled with water? I'm thinking that the water would boil out pretty fast but who knows.

Ron

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Comments

  • edited December 2017

    Don't ruin that beautiful kettle with direct fire, would be a shame.

    It's got the tilt and everything.

    RIMS with mineral oil would work just fine, however, realize that you are going to need some serious power with 60 gallons. Ideally, 9-12kw.

    If you have some other way to heat up your initial "strike" water, you can probably get by with half that.

    Scour eBay for a Watlow or Chromalox circulation heater and an appropriate pump. Use a small stainless container as your oil reservoir.

  • Damn, the largest ones I am seeing on Ebay are 3kw.

  • Shoot I'd try and engineer a BM type / self contained steam rig. We've got PRVs. Prolly less than a gallon of water and a 2400 watt element would get you to 250 degree jacket temps in a matter of minutes.

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  • edited December 2017

    Rims Tube, Complete @ StillDragon Australia

    You could put a camco 5500 watt in it depending how long they are.

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  • 100% @punkin

    A pair of steam feeds (nipples) at the top on either side of the jacket and a condensate return (nipple) on the underside to return back to the rims.

    Didn't really want to write this here by the way,,,, but it gave me the chance to say (and spell) nipples.....

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  • @Smaug said: 100% punkin

    A pair of steam feeds (nipples) at the top on either side of the jacket and a condensate return (nipple) on the underside to return back to the rims.

    Didn't really want to write this here by the way,,,, but it gave me the chance to say (and spell) nipples.....

    :))

  • Smaug, do you have the rims tubes?

  • Bet he could get a couple of 3/4 ferules welded on a 500mm 2" TC pipe for you. The rest he has.

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  • we have almost same kettle we bought it out of the fed prison in prince albert ....anyhoo we have our filled with oil heat it with direct fire but soon to be changed to electric . these kettles are excellent for the bottom of a continuous still . we are in the process of welding a extra bottom on ours so elements will fit in the jacket . keep us posted on the mods would love to see your vision .

    tim

  • edited December 2017

    I figger oil can be a real nuisance no? Messy to clean up after pulling element maintenance.A more protracted heat up time. Expensive.

    Gallon of water out of the tap, at 1 bar will get you to 250 degrees in the jacket in just s few minutes. Can change the water on a daily basis if needed. Or more specifically , check element condition after every run with no real preparation/clean up issues.

    Can't really do that with oil recovery in play.

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  • Can do one for you here FC. Don't have any on the shelf ready to go.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • edited December 2017

    Easiest? Find a small 50-100k BTU residential steam boiler on craigslist, lift the kettle, and plumb it with simple condensate drainback - eg plumb it like a steam radiator.

    ... wait ... you guys don't have heat in Florida do you? :)

    You can get these for free, all day long, up here in the Northeast.

  • I love steam, but still feel kind of cautious recommending someone try it. Not that 400f oil is all that much safer, so perhaps it's moot.

    You can find some of those Groen kettles spec'ed for high pressure. I've seen kettles rated as high as 60psi with ASME stamps. Working with an appropriately sized (oversized even) PRV at like 10psi (you don't need more), and a kettle like that, you've got a pretty reasonable safety cushion.

  • I'm not gonna lie, steam scares me because of the pressures, etc. The tag says good to 25psi.

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  • you are right smaug oil is messy but when we tried water it steamed out and needed to be refilled . our kettle is only 30 gallon and it doesnt dump it has a drain ,so not so messy as it would be if it had to be tipped for draining . seeing as it is a steam kettle for us would probably be build a steam generator out of still dragon parts . for right now it ll jus sit till i see what FC does so i can copy his genius .

    FC did your kettle come with a lid tim

  • edited December 2017

    Whatever your heating medium in that kettle - connect with appropriate hoses.

    In steam use, there would have been hoses for the feed and after the trap.

  • You shouldn't have lost any water @hudsonbaydistiller. The system with water is essentially closed up to 15 psi. With out the pressure, you'd never get water hot enough to cook. Melt chocolate nicely but no cooking.

    Your system sounds like it just wasn't set up to run a pressurized jacket is all. Way easier and faster. Also with a jacket set up for water, you can use the jacket as a chiller as long as you have an adequately sized vacuum break and don't try and run chilled coolant thru the jacket.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • that makes sense when we first tested it that sounds exactly the problem . our kettle has 2 ports one on each side of the steam jacket near the top . it has another one on bottom center of jacket . we tried it with bottom plugged one on side plugged and other on side vented with about 2 feet of pipe . it cooked the water out long before it heated the contents of the kettle . so we drained water and replaced it with canola oil the oil didnt steam out so we thought we won . so what your telling me i should have put a prv on top of the vent pipe . and stayed with boiling water .

    FC i apologise im not trying to high jack your thread , i think were both trying to do the same thing .

    tim

  • edited December 2017

    Right @hudsonbaydistiller. That is essentially how the SD Baine Maries are engineered. We had several folks try oil under the recommendation of Rusty. But for our purposes, oil really is not the best way and they couldn't wait to get away from it. Not implying oil can't be used. We still do have customers that are happy with it. It's just that if I knew how to do this stuff,,,,I would prefer using water as the heating medium.

    So a PRV on one port close to the top. Then perhaps a pressure gauge installed on the other side so you can read your pressure/ power input to drive the still accordingly. There is a chart somewhere around here that shows the pressure to temperature conversion/equivalent. Maybe also use a tee when mounting the gauge so that you can use as a water fill port for when you do drain.

    Remember the concept is to only use enough water so that your elements will not dry fire. In this way the element will easily bring that small measure of water very rapidly (this is a good thing) to boil. Then the steam vapor will rise and occupy the head space within the jacket. At some point the vapor will transfer heat through the inner wall of the kettle, condense, and return as liquid to be reboiled in the small reservoir. The more power you throw at the reservoir, the more the pressure will increase. More pressure= more heat. With out the PRV (closed system up to 15 psi) jacket temps will never exceed 212F when using water as a heating medium. Does that make sense?

    And by the way, the reservoir capacity is so small that you can literally drain within minutes after shutting down as water has a long and rich pedigree of shedding heat very well compared to raging hot oil that may not be cool enough to drain the following day...

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  • smaug i appreciate your help it seems obvious now . i ll have to do some thinking as to how i can mount an element . maybe have to weld a 4 inch t clamp ferrule on bottom then hang the element canister off of that .

  • Hudson,

    ANY input into this thread is welcome as this is new territory for me. You have already asked questions that I wouldn't have thought of.

    Smaug, my kettle is set up like HBD's; inlet at top of both sides of the steam part of the kettle. Right at the pivot points. When I get back home I can take better pictures of those parts. The seller disclosed that the gears for dumping are rusted and seized. Who knows what I will find when I dig in. If by chance I can't get the tilt part working at least I can drain the mash through the bottom.

    I bought this knowing that I would have to throw more coin at it to make it functional but I'm only out $100 so far. Of course you already know what a cheap bastard I am and I am mostly a rum guy but this is a chance for me to do AG and I am ready for the challenge.

  • Only one is an inlet, the other is for the pressure relief valve ina typical Groen setup.

    You can use one side for PRV, air vent, and a vacuum breaker if you wish.

  • Btw our PRVs act as pressure relief and vacuum break If I can remember I'll pull one a part and post a video so you get get a good feel for how it works. It's super simple.

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  • edited December 2017

    Ah here is a pic that shows the cute little spring for vacuum break.

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  • Not the big spring to the left. That one is for 15 psi pressure relief.

    But the little one on the under side of the plunger I'm pointing at.

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  • edited December 2017

    In this image, the 4 point socket allows you to adjust so that you can calibrate to trip at less pressure.

    Naturally you'll need a gauge on your kettle to dial in your trip pressure adjustment.

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  • So the condensate return goes back to the RIMS tube? Can't get a visual of how it works.

  • Gonna take some input from the group if you wanna try and use the rims tube.

    With a more sizable reservoir on our BM systems, the vapor path occupies the same liquid return space if you see my meaning? So pressure does not at all affect the ability of liquid return in a narrow return path.

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  • @FloridaCracker said: So the condensate return goes back to the RIMS tube? Can't get a visual of how it works.

    You are confusing two different systems, one is steam and the other is rims with a liquid.

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  • edited December 2017

    You could plumb the whole thing off the condensate drain if you wanted.

    Plumb it like a one-pipe steam system. Replace the radiator in this image with the kettle.

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