After two unsuccessful attempts at trying to drain a kettle of 200+ degree Fahrenheit wort while the hops plugged the 1/2 pipe outlet, I decided to immediately switch to using hop bags. Nothing against people how intentionally use hop bags and are happy with them, but it is my opinion that you do not get the full extraction from a hop bag, especially when using whole hops, which I have almost completely quit using. Not to mention the bags are messy to clean and too expensive to just throw away after each use. Paint strainer bags work well and are far cheaper; however, some people believe they are of a more toxic poisonous nylon than the $5.00 hop bags from the Local HomeBrew store.
The way I see it I have 3 options:
- Plug the pipe hole and put a weldless bulkhead in the side by drilling a hole. I just don't like this option because it seems like a dirty way of doing it, almost cheating.
- Leave it alone and call it my Hot Liquor Tank, and then call my LHBS (Local HomeBrew Store) and ask them to order me a $435.00 20 gallon Blichmann Boilermaker, which is so choice; however, I do not have that kind of money to blow, especially after: http://www.reedbrewing.com/2012/06/fear-and-loathing-in-fermentation.html
- A False Bottom - It is almost impossible to find a false bottom that will reach all the way to the edge of a keg at 15" across. The false bottom would have to reach the edge, because my bottom feeder Keggle pipe is right on the edge of the concave bottom. Fermentap.com advertises a, Hinged False Bottom for Keg, and states, "This 13" diameter, hinged, stainless false bottom will cove the ENTIRE concave bottom of a sanke style keg. Well, I had my LHBS manager, Rich, order one of these for me. It in fact does not cover the entire concave bottom, which I later measured is roughly 15". I did not purchase the screen and left Rich holding the bag...
Out of the three solutions I have still not given up on the false bottom. I have a hard time believeing nobody makes a 15" false bottom, that is until was recently perusing the homebrewtalk.com vendor forum section and was turned on to the Jaybird 15" false bottom, sold exclusively at Norcal Brewing Solutions. Very positive feedback, hinges, handles, stands, dip tubes, etc. I think I am sold on this product!
Eventually, after I get my Blichmann Boilermaker, I could easily make it my mash tun, except then I would also need a 15" diameter lid.