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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * January 9, 2004 * Copper Kettle Design < Previous Next >

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danno (63.224.226.20)
Posted on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 07:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am helping a local manufacturer of alcohol stills design a copper kettle for brewing. I think he could market the kettle based on the prices that we have discussed. There's no room for me as a middle man but I might be able to get a discount for my own purchase. That's what's in it for me.

He can make the kettle with any dimensions for diameter and height. For 10 gallon batches, I've always felt that the converted kegs were just short of the perfect volume, a little too narrow and thus, too tall. I typically collect 13 gallons of wort which only leaves a headspace of 2.5 gal for boil-over protection. Thus, If I use 16 gallons for the optimum size, we can make the kettle from 12 inches in diamter and 33 inches high to 22 in diameter and 10 in high. What do you consider the perfect width and height for a custom made kettle?
 

Paul Hayslett (64.252.38.147)
Posted on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 01:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Narrow enough that I wouldn't bust my knuckles when carrying it through a doorway.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.63.119)
Posted on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 02:06 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kegs are about 15 inches in diameter, which seems nearly ideal for a kettle. The geometry is not critical, however, so you can make it to your own dimensions. I suppose a slightly taller, more narrow design would fit more easily on most turkey fryer burners, for example.
 

Tim W (56.0.84.111)
Posted on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 02:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have a 15 gal apple butter copper kettle that I use. It is 21 inches in dia. tapers slightly and has a bit of a rounded bottom. The 21 inch dia. opening creates a high boil-off rate, about 1.5 gallons per hour . I like the diminsions of the kettle because its easy to clean & stir-in ingredients and the copper is such a great conductor of heat that there is no scorching on the bottom even when boiling-off first runnings.
 

danno (63.224.226.20)
Posted on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 05:32 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tim, I've looked at those apple butter kettles on Ebay. Expensive but sweet looking. You're a lucky guy. I'm on the same page as you. The copper will be a great heat conductor and the brewing kettle design will make racking and cleaning real easy.

I have a three tier stand and I'm a little disappointed with the height of the converted keg. When I've brewed on single burners, that's not as much an issue but it would be nicer to have it slightly wider. Too wide and the boil -off rate jumps.
 

Tim W (56.0.84.111)
Posted on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 06:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes it was expensive. 200 for the kettle 50 for the metal stand and 50 to ship. But I love using it. I buildt my system so that I only need one kettle, it sets in the metal stand the metal stand is bolted to a platform and I adapted a brake winch to raise and lower the platform.
 

Guy C (67.169.98.103)
Posted on Monday, December 22, 2003 - 07:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My turkey fryer stand is 16x16, but 15.5" is the usable area (without mods) because of a slightly raised lip that runs all around the edge of the stand.

On a somewhat related note, I've often wondered if it would be economical/worthwhile to install a copper bottom on a stainless vessel, or if placing a copper sheet between the flame and vessel bottom would help avoid scorching if you did step mashes over a direct flame. I like the idea of providing more even heating.

There's an article in the Mar./April Zymurgy where Randy Mosher mentions cutting out the bottom of a stainless vessel and replacing it with .090" copper sheet. He said it wasn't easy, but it worked with a TIG process using silicon bronze or aluminum bronze rod. There was no mention of what it cost to do this, but when I hear "it wasn't easy" and stainless in the same sentence, I see dollar signs.
 

Tim W (56.0.84.111)
Posted on Tuesday, December 23, 2003 - 03:35 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Guy,
Copper has a low melting point. If not in good contact with the wort it could melt.

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