My RIMS Build is coming along. I'm still waiting on a few things so I can start on the plumbing and gas lines. I had to find a way to go from the 3/8" male flare orifice fitting on the burners to my stainless tubing. Here is what I decided to do. I found this "3/8" x 3/8" female flare coupling union". The female flare fitting will fit on the end of the orifice valve and convert to 3/8" MPT. I'll then get a 1/2"x3/8" stainless 90° Elbow to which I'll put my Swagelok 1/2" MPT x 1/2" Tube union and go on with the stainless tubing to the Gas Control Valve. The stainless elbow will save me from having to bend the stainless tubing as it goes into the burner. The whole point of the fitting from CHI Company was to keep from having to flare the stainless tubing which is extremely difficult without a high-dollar flaring tool. The ones for copper won't work on stainless tubing. UPDATE: They sent the wrong part and won't answer any of my emails to return the parts and get the correct ones, so, needless to say, I won't be ordering anything else from them.
While waiting on parts for my RIMS Build, ie. the stainless pump heads and the female flare adapter, I decided to work on my kegs. I learned a big lesson when cutting the top of the keg for the lids. Use a calculator. I made a math error in my head and ended up cutting the holes too small. I had bought 12" glass lids from PotsandPans.com that fit an Anolon pot. The ID of the lids are 11.75" I made a jig for my grinder using a 2" hole saw as the pivot point (it fits perfectly in the center hole on a keg) for the jig which holds (clamped) my grinder vertically. Here is a YouTube video showing you how it's done.
The first cut was pretty rough, but the second, shown here, was much nicer. After cutting the holes for the lids (and making the calculation error), I found out the lids didn't fit. In retrospect I should have tried one lid on the first keg, then I could have corrected the mistake and only had one keg with the cutout too small.
What I decided to do was to send the two lids back and order smaller lids. My calculation error left me with a 10.75" diameter opening instead of the 11.75" I needed. The lids were for a 12" pot, so I figured I'd order an 11" lid and hope it has the 1/4" lip.
The people at PotsandPans.com were super nice and I don't even have to pay shipping back on the new lids. I did have to pay $18.50 Priority Mail shipping to send the 12" lids back. I don't know how they could have sent the two lids in separate boxes Priority Mail and only charged me $5 shipping. What a deal! UPDATE: I got in the new lids. I'll have to do some grinding to get them to fit, but much less than if I'd kept the 12" lids.
I went to the HomeBrewTalk.com forum and found the thread on how to polish a keg. I went to Lowe's and purchased three grits of Gator brand metal finishing discs (fine, medium and coarse) and a backing attachment for my angle grinder. I started with the coarse grit and went over the entire keg. Then moved on to the medium and finally the fine grit pads.
Talk about back breaking and time consuming work. I also bought a set of polishing pads which I will use with a polishing compound to finish the kegs. They should end up looking like chrome. Why have a showpiece brewery and not do the extra work to make the kegs look great?
Here are a few more pics of my RIMS Build I took after I finished working on the kegs for hours and hours. What sticks out like a sore thumb is how small my 12.75 gallon kettle is. I think I'll have to order one of these 26 gallon Stainless Brew Kettles from MoreBeer.com.
Building a RIMS system can be very rewarding, but you have to make good decisions on your vendors to try and cut down costs while keeping the quality high.
Here is a partial list of vendors that I used for my RIMS build:
Here is my solution to the problem of where to mount the ignition modules for the gas control valves and intermittent pilot lights. The electronics in the modules would cause interference if mounted in the control panel, and they also need to be protected from water and spills.
I looked around for stainless boxes and many were just too expensive. The ones on ebay that had gaskets and were made for electrical devices were called "enclosures" and were made by Hoffman. These ran anywhere from $50 on up to $450.
My solution was to get a 50 caliber
ammo box. I plan on mounting it on the bottom brace between the pumps and close to the gas valves. It will be far enough from the heat to be safe, they seal with a waterproof seal, and when painted silver, will match the Brew Stand. Here is a picture of one I just painted. I'll post another picture when I have it mounted.
I installed the HONEYWELL Q345A1313 I.P. Pilot Burners on the brew stand. These need to be close to the burners with the pilot light "shield" aimed at the burner. I will install the LP orifice to run the pilots on Propane when I plumb the gas and spark plug wires.
I've seen people install them on a home made angle bracket in the middle of the burner, but I couldn't find any suitable material for the brackets, so I used the brackets that came with the pilots and installed them up against the outside of the burners. Here are a couple of pics of the installation.
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