Add a Bulkhead to Your Brewing Vessels

Why do I Need a Ball Valve?

Until you have a bulkhead and ball valve in your kettle, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s a simple addition that changed the way I brew.

Installing a weldless bulkhead is not complex. If you already have a drill, everything else is linked below.I drilled 13/16” hole for the bulkhead so everything would fit a little bit tighter.

Be safe!

Don’t operate power tools while under the influence. Make sure you wear eye protection and hearing protection.

The ball valve I selected was what I felt met the needs for a hot liquor tank. There isn’t anywhere to attach devices inside the kettle since there won’t be anything to filter out. Below, there is a link to a bulkhead with a coupler for adding screens, tubes, inside the kettle.


Kettle with bulkhead and ball valvePlan out the placement for the ball valve to meet your needs. Depending on the way your system is laid out, having the valve centered between the handles may be ideal, but when I used the kettle for #LearnToHomebrewDay, I loved having the valve underneath the handle. It made the empty kettle easier to carry, and I didn’t bang it against the doorframe like I do with my other kettle.

A Few Options

The ball valve and bulkhead used in this video is simple, and would not work if you want to attach screens, dip tubes or anything else inside the kettle. However, if you have a flat-bottomed kettle and don’t see the need for anything inside the vessel, this is a great option: (Amazon)

If you do want to be able to add filters, screens, tubes, or anything else to the inside of your kettle, I would recommend a model with a coupler on the inside. (Adventures in Homebrewing)

Additional Equipment:

3-Piece Step Drill Bit Set (Amazon)

Cutting Fluid (Amazon)

12-Volt Cordless Drill: (Amazon) – This is the model I have. It worked great for the lightweight kettle I modified, but if you have a heavy duty kettle, you will want a drill with a stronger motor.

Safety Gear

Hearing Protection: (Amazon)

Eye Protection: (Amazon)

Hop Poles and Iron Brewer 2015

Bringing HopHome-harvest hop poles waiting for twines Home

My mother-in-law has grown hops at her house for me for the last several years. This year, I am establishing a small hop garden in my back yard. I started with two varieties: cascade and centennial.

They’ve been in the ground a bit more than a month at this point, and the cascades are really taking off. The plants are about 14 inches tall, and are growing every day.

When laying out my garden, I separated the two varieties by about 10 yards to prevent confusion at harvest time.

Putting the tree in placePole Dancing

No, I haven’t tried swinging on the poles, since I’m pretty sure I’d knock them over, plus coordination can be a challenge for my 6’8″ frame. But I did have to do some funky moves to harvest the poles and get them into place.

Owning a large patch of trees allowed me to find a tall, skinny maple tree to use for the poles. The tree was probably about 40 feet tall, and I cut a 15-foot pole and a 14-foot pole. The tree was crowded where it was in our woods, so it grew tall and skinny.

I dug holes about 3 feet deep to anchor the poles in place, dropped the tree parts into place and compressed the dirt back into the holes. Hopefully they are secure enough, but I can make adjustments when problems arise.

Bracket from round 2Get Ready for Battle!

Registration for Iron Brewer 2015 is open!