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14 gallon copper double boiler build

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14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:09 pm

Good evening, I recently saw an old copper double boiler on Craigslist and got it for 75 bucks. It's an old boiler, this design fits on both eyes of a stove top and I knew this would be a perfect still for an RV " Mancave- Brew House" out back. I know this isn't the right thread but I am limited to this section.

So I started out planning and sourcing copper, no easy task it seems, I had to trade a half gallon of my best for a piece of two inch copper. The boiler by my measurements is roughly 13.885 us gallons. I am restricted horribly by the low ceiling in an RV but I started out by cutting a 1 3/4 hole in the lid and welding a two inch coupling and broke out my measuring tape.

I wanted a gauge on this rig as I'm using it to steam cook grain, I built a stainless 7.75 gallon keg, and used unions to go from steam cooker to strip, to thumper so I can turn this rig multiple directions, I stuck to my old tried and true cardboard gasket cut with jig saw wrapped in Teflon. The lid has a lip that goes down into the boiler a full inch and barely leakes a drop of steam without the gasket.

The only problem so far is I limited myself to a half inch steam pipe and I'm having to cook a long time to get up to 200 degrees, I will be fixing that directly. The thunmper was made using a copper flange off flea bay, I had to get a donkey dick on an end grinder inside my two inch to get it to fit.

I welded a 1 inch Teflon seat ball valve on front for a boiler drain, I'm stripping corn- wheat malt and oat mash now , so I will hook up thumper tommorrow and take some more pics, sorry for the crappy resolution.
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:12 pm

I literally had to back out the door on the steps to take the first pic but I have a huge 220 watt coleman overhead ac sitting just to the left of the stove. Either way the entire thing smells like mash! Lol! That's one way to run the wife and kids out of your mancave! Someone said it was the moonshine version of the show " breaking bad" , don't know but I can cook all winter long nice and toasty with tv.
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:23 pm

The cost of copper is outrageous, I went way over budget. Everything is copper except for the brass thermowell. Now that I'm done I would definitely redesign to cut out excess fittings and a height error I made that cost me some money! But it works like a champ and will be my new winter indoor still that complements my outdoor still.

On an old boiler like this I would advise anyone who builds with it to do the cleaning run with arm and Hammer " Washing soda". And definitely put gussets to your drain valve and on your column takeoff, I simply cut the handle, and heated the tin supports and bent them over to my two inch coupling and silverbraized it.

The lady i bought this from said it was often borrowed by a local midwife in the 1940s to make plenty of hot water.
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:38 pm

Here's todays corn -wheat malt and oat mash using enzymes. It's sizzling, I did add ten pounds of sugar due to heating issues with the 1/2 copper arm. I finally figured out I wasn't using enough oyster shell, now I add 2 cups of shell to my boiling mash and then a large coffee can full at the end of day 1 ferment.

I mash using artesian spring water so somebody's gonna have to give me a better reason than the water and ph in all grain mashes. Mine literally devourstge oyster shell, ive read others here say entire slabs of marble are eaten.

I've never had this issue before enzymes, when using malt or just a ujsm. Why does all grains pH drop so fast? Is that a million dollar question? Enzymes have been a unusual road for this ol boy. I have never seen pH drops like this using malt or on a sugar wash, before adding gobs of shell I was struggling to keep my ph above three!

With the extra shell I'm holding at 5. Somebody here said I bet it's a bitch to haul off, not really as none is left. My water flows through limestone rock in Dixie
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby punkin » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:41 am

Have access.
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Buddy » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:00 am

Looks like your having too much fun Hilltop. Welcome Aboard :beer:
You also gave me some ideas. I may have to start looking on Craigslist for an old travel trailer.
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:25 pm

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Thanks Punkin, appreciate it Buddy. Here's some more pics today of it setup on a spirit run.
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:30 pm

Started out 160 proof, stuck on 150 now she's coming down. I do notice a substantial increase in the smell of alcohol with the new parrot due to the vent in the 1/2 so I cracked a window and put the ac on high.
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"Virtute et armis" By valor and arms

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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:47 pm

Buddy wrote:Looks like your having too much fun Hilltop. Welcome Aboard :beer:
You also gave me some ideas. I may have to start looking on Craigslist for an old travel trailer.


Buddy, keep in mind my travel trailer is a mancave-deerstand- brewhouse and I certainly don't pull it with a still inside. I'm in know way advocating a portable rv moonshibe Still as I think it's a bad idea. Just a disclaimer! Lol!
"Virtute et armis" By valor and arms

Let's keep our country free as God has given us.

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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Buddy » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:09 pm

Buddy, keep in mind my travel trailer is a mancave-deerstand- brewhouse and I certainly don't pull it with a still inside. I'm in know way advocating a portable rv moonshibe Still as I think it's a bad idea. Just a disclaimer! Lol!


I got that. I was at one time thinking of getting a cargo container for this purpose, but I like the idea of an old travel trailer better as I could make use of existing plumbing for water and propane.
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:36 pm

Exactly and let's not forget the fridge and heater and radio!
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Pikey » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:09 pm

Nice piece of kit Hilltop :8)

Just out of curiosity - does anyone know why I click on these pics and nothing happens ? - when i click on mine and some others, they blow up fine !
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Y1969 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:50 am

Pikey wrote:Nice piece of kit Hilltop :8)

Just out of curiosity - does anyone know why I click on these pics and nothing happens ? - when i click on mine and some others, they blow up fine !

I agree. Photos are not good. Please publish 600x800. I would also take a closer look at the apparatus.
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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:40 pm

It's copper and stainless from point a to b. No need to look at anything. Works like a charm. I shrank the pics to get em to fit. I see em fine, what are you on a phone?
"Virtute et armis" By valor and arms

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Re: 14 gallon copper double boiler build

Postby Hilltop » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:48 pm

update. When I bought this boiler it still had the original handles that were riveted then silver solder was put over the rivets. After a few distilations I saw some rust forming around one rivets silver soldier. I drilled out all rivets tossed the handles and built me two new ones out of 1/2 copper pipe. I added two braces from the 2 inch coupling on top to the lid. and two braces to my 1 inch drain valve.

I ran across one of these 14 gallon boiler yesterday just like mine for 100 bucks.
"Virtute et armis" By valor and arms

Let's keep our country free as God has given us.

"Give me Liberty or Give me Death."
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