HLT

Step 1: Sanitize all equipment needed for brew day and bring water at least 12 degrees above needed temperature (when adding grain and hot water into Mash Tun your water will cool slightly)

I needed a pot that would handle enough water for 10-gallon batches. I didnt want to pay over $400 just in this first step for something I thought I could do myself (I was right) and for a lot less. Remember, my goal for the entire brewery was to come in at less than $600 and still be able to handle any 10-gallon recipe. For the burner and HLT set-up I spent only $220

Components needed to build the HLT:

  • $100 Stainless 60 Qt. Pot with Lid
  • $10 1/2" NPT Ball Valve
  • $10 3" Glass Thermometer 
  • $10 1/2" Weldless Bulkhead Fitting ($5 each, one for the valve and one for thermometer)
  • $5 1/2" Nipple Fitting
  • $5 1/2" Barb Hose Fitting

Tools Needed:

  • Drill
  • 1/2" Hole Drill Bit - I spent $10 on a new Saw Drill Bit. (You only get one chance at drilling on stainless for the first time)
  • Crescent wrench
  • Socket set
  • Teflon Tape
Other items needed during this brewing step: 
  • $40 Propane Burner & Burner Stand (optional, depending on your set-up)

Instructions:

Depending on your gravity stand or setup try to imagine the most convenient place for the valve in relationship to the handles. I went with centered but I have seen some others directly under one of the handles (sideways-looking to me, but maybe that works better). I measured the distance and then also included the thermometer right above it.

Using a punch, make a dimple for the drill bit to follow.

Drill hole, using plenty of Drill Oil or WD-40. I did this over a towel in the lawn to catch the oil and metal shavings. You don't want to step on these later. Start slowly until you are through the steel and then apply more oil. Hold drill firmly and at the correct angle. Push hard and you should have an even hole.

Once you have a clean hole, use a file to get rid of any burrs. These can cut you when you are cleaning later and could also tear up a gasket when you are installing.

Now you are ready for your second hole (if using a temperature gauge). Some want the gauge lined up while others want it on one side or the other for ease of use.

Tip: Be sure not to mount your temperature gauge too high. I mounted mine right at the 5-gallon mark so I could still use it for smaller batches

This is a larger pot so you will want to give the setup some thought. Will you use this for large and small batches? Will you also use this as the boil kettle or change to the BK in the future? Might you eventually plan to convert to electric and need to leave space for the future probe?

Also, how wide is your burner? does flame have a chance at working its way around and up the side of the kettle?

Tip: Be sure not to mount your temperature guage too low. If exposed to direct heat from the burner you can burn up the fittings or even ruin the thermometer.

 

Tip: Use a nail if you don't have a punch tool, just lightly tap it with a hammer until a dimple is made.

You are ready to install the fittings. My first time through was pretty frustrating. I certainly over-tightened  and my rubber washers became pinched, leaving space for water leaks. I also didn't use enough Teflon tape between the fittings. Remember, this is metal on metal and not going to fit perfectly. I initially wanted this to be a very solid fitting but with the tape and gaskets this is going to wiggle a little; the goal is to make it not leak, not to make it feel like a welded fitting. Plan on doing this 5 or 6 times each until it is all sealed. A few drips of water isn't a big deal but I didn't want it dripping on the burner. And I knew I needed the plumbing practice anyway for the Boil kettle; I didn't want to lose any valuable wort a few steps later.


Tip: Plumbing industry standards usually call for 7 loops of Teflon tape. And if you feel "crunching" you have tightened too much and the metal has torn through the tape, resulting in a leak.

Ready to go! Fill it up with 10 gallons of water and let it sit for a few minutes. If you don't see any leaks you may as well set it on the burner and start learning your system. How much water evaporates? How much fuel does it take to get it up to 170 degrees? How fast can you get it to a boil?

Note: Never set your kettle over the flame without liquid in it. The steel can handle it but the valve and thermometer can't