View Full Version : 400 gallon dairy tank for Boil Kettle, direct fire?

08-26-2012, 09:13 PM
i have recently purchased 5 dairy tanks (more to come)as I look forward to building a 7-10 bbl system on a budget that does not allow for a 50K brewery.

I anticipate the build will take a while to put together. Some components will work great while others I am sure will need to be replaced etc...

Anyway, i am looking for feedback on using a boxed shaped milk tank
(4' x 8' X 4') as a boil kettle for a direct fire setup.
Here are my thoughts...
Flip the tank over, cut off the bottom external jacket off the tank, leave the legs, rip out all of the insulation and copper tubing, weld on a stainless skirt that will run the length of the legs to the floor.
On the long side of the skirt cut 4, 10" holes for entry for air to the burners.
about 3/4 of the way up the sidewall of the tank cut another 4, 10" holes for exhaust exit port where the piping will run the exhaust outside of a building.
This would create an "oven" of sorts that will allow for air to come in from outside the building, allow the heat to have contact on 5 sides, (4 sides and the base of the kettle) and offers an exit to exhaust outside the building.
Looking at 4 , 200,000 btu burners under the setup.
I would not be able to whirlpool in the boxed kettle but could filter with wire screen to extract hops etc...

I know this sounds like a homebrew setup but I am still considering it as an option. Any thoughts on how this would or would not pass an inspection for a licensed brewery?
Thanks, Jim

Capt. Bob
08-27-2012, 07:40 AM
Sounds like my kettle with the exception that it's round.
4X 200K btu burners might be over-kill. I use 1X 400k and takes less than an hour to reach full boil.
You're correct on the outer/inner walls acting like an oven. Works pretty efficiently without heating-up the brewhouse too much.

09-02-2012, 07:30 AM
Hey Jim, I'm trying to do the same thing you are. Do you have a source for dairy tanks that you can share?

09-02-2012, 08:27 PM
I have just been buying them off Craigslist. Over the past couple of months I have driven to the middle of Iowa, Illinois, Kansas and Arkansas picking up 400 gallon tanks for around $500. each excluding the cost of gas on my trailblazer.
I am set now with what will be a Mash tun, HTL, CLT and a boil kettle.
I am considering buying some more for fermenters and have looked the single door dairy coolers.
Regarding the fermenters i was considering using a large freezer set at 30 degrees with water hooked to march pumps and ranco temp controllers hardlined to the copper tubing inside the dairy tanks. I am hoping this will allow me to lager a 10bbl batch using a 400 gallon tank. Will have to see if this will work or not.
I have a contact in northern Ill that is bring a 400 gallon tank to me next week. He has several larger tanks (500 and 600 gallon tanks) but he is asking 1200 for each- these are the single hole in the top tanks. (good for htl or fermenter)
There is a tank in northern Arkansas on CL for sale that is 300 gallons that is very similar to the tank i am using to boil and mash. I I think they are looking for around $400. but most of these guys are not willing to even look at shipping. Several of the people I spoke with let me know they were posting the tanks on CL due to the drought we have had with the anticipation that people would buy them as their well water is drying up to use for storage.

12-20-2012, 04:32 PM
Wondering if you got the rectangular tank setup as a boil kettle. I have a SS 350 gal tote similar to this http://www.hooversolutions.com/350-gallon-ibc.html and I am wondering if it could be used as a boil kettle.