Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Brewery Build #13: Insulation

Stainless steel kegs - especially when buffed and polished - look good and add a very nice bling-factor.  When I was at the hardware shop I actually picked up a flap-disk with thoughts of polishing the stainless and making it look pretty.  However, I returned the disk to the shelf when I realized I wanted my brewery to be more about making good beer than looking good - besides it's not as if anyone, except myself, will be looking at it anyway.

While it is uglier than bare polished steel, insulated kegs are more logical and sensible, and while the energy-cost-savings are likely to be small, they will add up over time.  In addition since the brewery will be electric heated, there is no problems with open flames or melting insulation to worry about.
At the last council-clean-up one of our neighbors was throwing away this camping mat/insulation/stuff, it's about an inch thick and black-rubber-stuff on one side and blue on the other.  The pipe-insulation was on chuck-out special at Bunnings for $1.50, so the biggest cost to fully insulate the brewery was a couple of roles of silver-tape from Aldi.

The insulation was cut into strips 15inches high and 52-53inches long, I used the 32mm hole-saw where holes for fittings were required, and used the roll of tape as a template to cut out around where the elements will fit.
Two rolls of silver-Aldi tape later and all three kegs were wrapped up.  I'll likely need to use some other - more sticky tape - on the top so that water/wort spills don't get under the tap at the top,  make a mess or drip down inside the insulation.

The bottom layer of insulation was a little more difficult to install fit, since it didn't really want to stick down in place..
But copious quantities of tape stuck it in place.
While they look short, dumpy and ugly now, the latex does show off their curves. ;)
The bottom layer of insulation needed to be made more shifter-friendly, so that the valve and fitting could be more easily maintained:
... and with the cut-out tucked in under the valve:

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