Author Topic: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style  (Read 6650 times)

Offline Cartierusm

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Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« on: December 27, 2008, 08:33:35 PM »
I decieded to start a new post. Here is my new double boiler and vat. The keg will hold about 17 gallons and still have some room at the top because of the lip. The boiler is a Roughneck Rubbermaid garbage can, brand new unfortunantly. I installed 2 heating elements just in case one wasn't enought to heat up the boiler water and the 15-17 gallons of milk. Easier to do it now than later. I also installed a ball valve to drain the thing. As with brewing I will be using gravity.

I will fill up the keg with milk and then the boiler with hot water to bring it up to temp. When the milk reaches the start temp I will have enough room in the boiler to add cold water to bring it down to the start temp, as heating up the milk requires the boiler water to be about 10 degrees higher. If I can't fit enough cold water to bring the temp down it will be hooked up to a hose and lead outside down my steps to a container and I can drain it a little to get more room.

Then I will ladle out by hand, but maybe by pump later on, small inline fountain pump (non-submersible) hooked up to a food grade hose., the whey. Then I can pick up, hopefully, the keg or ladle out the curds and go from there. Sound all good in theory. Monday after the silicon dries I'll do a leak and heat test. I'll bring it up to 150 degrees rapidly and that should satisfy anything I could throw at it.

I still have some work to do like attach the legs to the keg so it is above the elements in the boiler.

I'm also going to build a new curd cutter specifically for this one and a automatic stirer so I do have to stir all the time and it wil keep the curds from matting. Now I have to search YouTube again to find video of cheese being made to find the ones with the mixer to see what shape and how long the paddles are.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.


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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2008, 08:34:24 PM »
More.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2008, 08:48:07 PM »
This is the genre of what i am also thinking about.


Very Very nice...

Just a couple of questions?

  What is the red sealant?

  Is the ball valve sturdy when turning?  or did you reinforce it some way?
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2008, 09:20:57 PM »
Everything is screwed on. I don't know what hardware stores you have there but Orchard Supply Hardware has NPT (National Pipe Thread) nuts so you can use a nut on galvanized pipe. So for the heating elements I just got 1" pipe thread nuts and cut a hole and used a bunch of (the red sealant) red sealant from the auto store, I had it lying around, but it's the best. It's High Temp Silicone Sealant, works like a charm.

First thing I did was layout where the legs of the keg were going to sit, the keg is about 9" of the bottom, I could have made it closer but the garbage can is so tall why make it tight. Anyway the keg is about 9" above the bottom to clear the heating elements and ball valve. Oh, I'm sure the ball valve would be able to turn without messing anything up but I already had a cheap one that was not too tight, some of the plastic ball valves for PVC or quick disconnect at home depot are hard to turn and I wouldn't use them. For mine I'm still going to grab the housing before turning just to be safe. The best part is not matter if it leaks a little the garbage can, same type I've used to hold water in other projects, won't collapse or blow out. Where was I, oh yes, layout where the risers go then drill opposing holes for the heating elements and the ball valve opposite of those. Then I rough up the hole inside and out with sand paper and wipe it down with a dry paper towel. Then I use a wire brush and acetone, because acetone will evaporate immediately and is the only solvent that won't leave behind a reside, to clean all the grease off the metal parts. Then I use the sealant in gobs. First I smear a little on the inside, outside and rim of the hole, working it in for good contact and then put a bead on the element and work it into the threads. Then push it through the hole. Then I put a bead on the nut and screw it on. I have a special water heater element socket, so that and a large adjustable wrench on the inside and make sure it's pretty tight, not SUPER tight as you're tightening against plastic. Then I put a bead on the inside and outside and make a nice dam. Then I use a flashlight and a mirror on the inside to make sure the underside of the nut, I can't see, has a nice smoothed bead on it.

I then hot glued the cord in place for the water pump.

As for the keg, it's a ton of work. First I had to cut out the center pumpkin of the keg, grind that edge down to where the keg was welded to the top rim. That took 2-3 hours with a grinder. Then I had to MIG and TIG weld the weep holes and weld on pieces of SS to where the handles were. This wasn't necessary but I wanted one solid vessel where no bacteria could live and give me the extra head space I want so I'm not pushing the limits.

The problem is once I welded the vessel there was splatter and I was so much in a hurry I forgot to either spray it will weld release (splatter guard) or cover it. SO the first time I filled it overnight to check for leaks there were little specs everywhere of rust. For those of you who don't know metallurgy Stainless Steel is just steel with extra carbon, so if you over heat the Stainless for too long it becomes steel again, kind of, it will rust is what you should take away. So the weld specs weren't shieldied by gas so they rust. Not a big deal but I had to polish the inside with my roloc discs, back breaking, loud (I always wear hearing protection), and took forever. I also had to fill in some pin holes they weren't leaking but I don't want bacteria in there even though I will sanitize with Star San every time.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2008, 10:46:14 AM »
I am thinking of using one of my Brute primary wine fermenters as a cheese vat.


Well,  actually, i will probably purchase one just for the purpose.  Although technically,  given enough sanitation i should be ok using for both purposes.

Just the thought of some stray oenococcus oeni spores in my cheddar make me hesitant.

Anyway, those Brute barrels are NSF rated.  So,  I'm not sure why one would not use one.

Thoughts?

Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas


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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2008, 01:14:35 PM »
I wouldn't when they are only $30 new. The problem, as you know from wine making, is that plastic is much harder to sanitation than metal. The garbage can I used was just for the boiler, I'm using the keg for the vat.

Are you going to do a double boiler? or just one vessel? Anyway, if you're intent on using a plastic vessel as a vat wine supply stores sell rubbermaid 35 gallon type garbage cans just for fermentation that are food safe. I have I think a 30-50 gallon one and it's square.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2008, 01:19:55 PM »
Plastic is not my first choice, Stainless Steel is my first choice.

It's just tough to justify a SS vat when i am also trying to justify a SS 1300USD grape crusher/destemmer.



Wine is my first love.  Cheese is just my mistress.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2008, 01:23:30 PM »
Wayne, how many gallons do you want to do at at time?
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2008, 01:28:26 PM »
I would like to make a 10kg wheel,  once a month.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2008, 08:06:40 PM »
Well it's finished. Wheeew. It was a lot of work. I built the automatic stirer. It used pins on one side and a top lynch pin on the other side so installation is toolless and goes on in 2 seconds. It has a universal motor mount so I can use different motors. Right now I'm using a cheap drill from OSH that cost $11.50 on clearance with a router speed control. From other cheese making videos it seems as you want anywhere from 45-80 RPM. I'm going to shoot for 60 rpm, that's why the paddles are offset and to help disperse the curds.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.


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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2008, 08:07:25 PM »
More Pics.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2008, 08:26:39 PM »
Wayne another suggestion I forgot to mention was if you want to use the rubbermaid then for the boiler see if anyone on craigslist or around town sell at a discount 55 gallon metal drums. Not good for the milk but great as a double boiler and that way all the parts that you have to add won't crack the plastic, though I've never had that problem but it's always a concern. The 55 gallon drum come in plastic and metal for the plastic (which is food grade, if you wanted to use that as a vat you could but it would be hard to find something that fit in for the boiler, anyway if you did use it for a vat don't get ones that are used to store pickles the smell never comes out) ones they cost $20 and the metal are $30 or so.

Here is an ebay link to a Ranco ETC. THere are different models this model does heating and cooling, not at the same time. They do make dual stage ones where you hook a heater and a cooler up to it and will regulate either way. This one you tell it whether you want it to heat something up or cool it. Very easy to wire. I can tell you know if you get one.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ETC-111000-000-RANCO-microprocessor-temperature-control_W0QQitemZ120331657181QQcmdZViewItemQQptZBI_HVAC?_trksid=p3286.m20.l1116

This one is new, you can find them from regular stores in your area, usually HVAC supply stores carry them, but they're usually more expensive.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Cornelius

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2009, 07:54:34 AM »
Great Vat Carter!

How has it been working for you? And how do you ladle that much curd without taking too long and the first couple of spoons full becoming cold while you're still ladling?

Another quick question is about the mention of using a plastic container for a vat as well as the boiler. Wouldn't plastic conduct heat way too slowly (from water bath to milk)., being more of an insulation. I am obviously tempted considering the price difference, but heating times and temperature change response times must be quite difficult to manage. Any thoughts or comparative experience in this matter?

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2009, 08:27:23 PM »
No when plastic is in direct contact with water that's being heated it really doesn't matter what material, unless it's super insulating or thick.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline huffdaddy

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Re: Vat - Carter's Double Boiler Keg Style
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2009, 09:28:22 AM »
That looks like what I was trying to work out in my mind.  I was inspired by someone's homemade homebrew set up: http://www.homebrewkorea.com/?p=286

They can control the exact temp of their brew in progress using the BrewTroller (http://www.brewtroller.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11&Itemid=11).  Something like that could probably control the temp when making cheese as well.