Materials Handling

edited May 2019 in Usage

I recently just got a 50L Bells and Whistles Twin Element boiler from @punkin (SD Australia)... many thanks, as it is a beauty! The finish is excellent and the features (8" port, sight glass and all the add-on bits to complete the system) make me feel I have progressed well from my old home-made 2" bokabob. (which I still love)

I now realise that the materials handling has also ratcheted up a few notches. Crikey!!
Previously I could man-handle 25L (~25Kg / 55lbs) for transfers, lifting and emptying.

50L (actually 50Kg+) is getting more than my back can easily work.
OK, As a non-professional distiller, it seems you use:

  • gravity feed of wash/etc transfers
  • siphon feed of wash/etc transfers
  • pumping of wash/etc transfers (like how?..on a non pro scale)

Also containers need doubling, or more, in size to match the 50L B&W boiler.

How do you do transfers when working your system?

I will resort to bucket by bucket, if need be.

Be still my spirit!


  • Welcome to the world of pumps.

    It get expensive quickly. Be prepared!

    Start with a simple small brewery pump. It’ll do a lot of good work for you.

    Then the hoses and connectors and adaptors will be your next big expense.

    I’m. It sure it ever ends.

  • Yep. You gping to have to get a small beer transfer pump. I have one .5hp with triclamp fittings for quick connrctions and flushing / cleaning. Start small. They should cost about 250. You just need one for 50l. I am working at 200l volumes so pumping is the only way.

  • I too have a 50L boiler, (beer keg) I manage my materials handling this way.. I use 2 x 23 L fermenters which are up on a bench, I fill them using a 5L jug and I siphon them out in to the boiler. I take the boiler to the distilling area on a hand trolley. When the run is over I use the same hand trolley to take the boiler over to the driveway where I tip it out on to a gravel driveway. I put a triclamp endcap on the boiler when I am wheeling it around. Basically I never lift a full fermenter or boiler but I do have to tilt the boiler slightly to slide the bed of the hand trolley under it

  • I use 200l fermenters up on a bench higher than the still, then connect a hose so gravity can fill the boiler. I use a march 809 pump to empty the boiler. (the keg king one is good too.)

    You can also use the pump to move hot liquid into the fermenter when you fill it eg hot water to dissolve sugar if you're doing a TPW.

    Like @Fiji_Spirits says, good silicon hose and cam lock fittings will add up, but they make life easier

  • Nothing wrong with good buckets mate. Get your fermenter up on a bench so a bucket will go under it, fill 15l into a strong 20l bucket with a proper fixed handle (or a stainless one) , don't use a 90 cent bucket with boiling hot liquids.
    Do a risk assessment on the bucket and your procedure.

    I did this to fill and empty my 120l boiler and to run my brewery at 84l a batch finished wort. It's not much extra effort or time in the hobby scheme of things, plus it's good for your old back.

    Commercial environment where time is money is different.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • edited May 2019

    Hey thanks all for the swift and various replies!

    I can see a mix of approaches; @kimbodious with a hand trolley (or I will make a base with castor wheels for the boiler) is easily achievable.

    Then it is down the rabbit-hole of good silicon hose and cam lock - thx @crozdog & @Fiji_Spirits!!

    I can also make a bench with height above boiler for 2 x 25L fermenters and make gravity my assistant.

    Ahh StillDragon, -- good equipment and good advice.

    I will raise a glass to all of you..thanks again.


  • Well, hold my drink...

    This isn't beer. Most are fermenting in plastic. Why wouldn't you use a plastic/stainless impeller beer pump and any reasonable potable water hose? There are stainless impeller water pumps out there that will move a pretty stiff mash for $100usd.

    More importantly, remember to flush/clean them after use.

    DAD... not yours.. ah, hell... I don't know...

  • I have to second the requirements for putting things on wheels. I have all my stills and tanks on wheels. Including my 240 l still. Makes a huge difference when moving things around for cleaning. I wont be able to do that with my 1000l boiler but thats another story.

  • There are TTB advantages to tanks on wheels also.

    DAD... not yours.. ah, hell... I don't know...

  • We just put all our fermenters on pallets so we can pallet jack them around.

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