Terry's 55 Gallon Drum Straw Pasteurization Tek

Discussion in 'MYCO-TEKS' started by Terry M, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. Terry M

    Terry M Member Mushroom Doctor

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    First, a disclaimer. There are MUCH cheaper ways to do this. I chose an off-the-shelf approach which would get me up and running very quickly, with no skill or labor required. And there is some expensive waste in the name of convenience. The Johnson temperature controller isn’t controlling anything. It is just being used as a submersible digital thermometer.


    EQUIPMENT

    Bayou Classic KAB6 Cooker (Amazon.com: $102.99 + $29.18 shipping = $132.17)

    SKOLNIK Open-Head 55 Gallon Carbon Steel Drum with Bolt Ring (C&H Distributors: $107 + $29.20 shipping = $136.20)

    Johnson Controls Digital Thermostat Controller A419 (Amazon.com: $68 + $5.99 shipping = $73.99)

    Thermowell (Amazon.com: $24.99 + $4.85 shipping = $29.84)

    Equipment Total: $372.20


    OTHER

    8 14" Wide x 26" Long All-Purpose Burlap Bags (Amazon.com: @$3.25 each, $26.00 + $10.25 shipping = $36.25)

    Jute twine

    A few feet of 12 Gauge, Steel Galvanized Wire (Amazon.com: 100 foot spool $10.67 + $6.91 shipping = $17.58)

    Propane tank

    2 plastic coated wire twist ties

    A wooden broom handle with a paint roller attached to it. Remove the soft roller from the metal holder, and you have a hook on the end of a pole to fish out your burlap bags of straw. You can bend the metal a bit so it’s shaped more like a hook. This is the pole hook.

    Lighter for cooker: A super-long match or bamboo skewer works fine, but I got a Maverick Bl-02 Piezo Electric Igniter from Amazon for $15.89 + $5.58 shipping. What's great about it is that it uses absolutely no fuel. The piezoelectric element converts the energy of your button press into an electrical spark.


    CONSTRUCTION AND USE

    After you’ve assembled the Bayou Classic KAB6 Cooker, hook it up to a propane tank and test as directed in the Bayou Classic instructions. Set the drum on top of the burner and center it.

    [​IMG]


    Put the Thermostat Controller A419 temperature sensor all the way down into the Thermowell, and fasten the wire at the top tightly to the metal lip of the Thermowell using a twist tie.

    [​IMG]


    Place the length of steel wire across the top of the drum, and clamp down and tight at the ends using the bolt ring, which in normal use would fasten the top to the open drum. We’ll use the top later.

    Hang the temperature sensor wire over the middle of the steel wire on the drum top. Use the other twist tie to fasten it tightly. You will still be able to pull the sensor wire to adjust it for the right probe hanging height.

    [​IMG]


    Now, add water to the drum using a garden hose. I fill to the first rib of the drum, and add more water as necessary later.

    The eight burlap bags will hold half of a two-wire bale of straw. Fill them with chopped straw (using your favorite chopping method), and tie off the tops with jute twine. Soak the bags overnight in a large storage bin containing cold water to which a teaspoon or two of Dawn dishwashing liquid has been added. Take the bags out of the bin.

    [​IMG]


    Put the burlap bags into the drum, and add more water as necessary to cover the bags. Lower the temperature probe into the water so that most of it is below the surface. The bag pole hook is also shown in this picture.

    [​IMG]


    Plug in the Johnson controller. Fire up the burner, and keep a strong flame under the drum. When the temperature hits 140 degrees F, start a kitchen timer. Keep a good flame under the drum until the temperature reaches about 150 degrees F.

    [​IMG]


    Turn the gas regulator down as low as possible without extinguishing the flame. Cover the drum loosely with the drum cover to hold in some of the heat.

    [​IMG]


    Maintain pasteurization temperature between 140 degrees and 160 degrees F for 60 to 90 minutes.

    Remove each bag from the drum by snaring it near the top using the pole hook. Hold each for a few seconds over the drum to allow most of the water to drain. Set them on a clean surface to drain and cool for about an hour.

    Get your spawn and make some straw logs!


    The eight bags of straw will make either:

    Two big 21" long x 10.2" diameter straw logs (16" wide tubing)
    Or
    Four smaller 17" long x 7.6" diameter straw logs (12" wide tubing)

    Here I’ve made one big straw log and two small ones:

    [​IMG]



    ISSUES AND IMPROVEMENTS

    The carbon steel drum will start to rust inside pretty much immediately. A stainless steel drum won’t, but it costs several times as much. It’s possible that the carbon steel could be spray enameled inside. I don’t know much of anything about 55 gallon drums. Any help here would be appreciated.

    I plan to have a faucet drain welded on the side of the drum, at the bottom, to facilitate draining the water. I found the following parts to do this:

    Basco 650M Brass faucet, @$35.35. This particular model has a spout threaded for a garden hose, so you can direct the water wherever you want, or just water the grass.

    ¾” NPT Steel Weld Flange, SouthTowns Specialties part number ST-0750-F, @$1.42.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 20, 2012
  2. Toni

    Toni Moderator

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    Amazing man, like a pro!
    :clap:
  3. Professor PinHead

    Professor PinHead Lost in the Tek.... Mushroom Doctor

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    Holy shit Terry! So that's what you've up to!

    This is hands down the tek of the year!

    I'm going to rate this sucker right now, move it to the archive, and promote it to the home page!

    Like Toni said Terry "like a true pro"!:clap:
  4. eLShaMukO

    eLShaMukO Moderator Mushroom Doctor

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    outstanding work
  5. Ozzy

    Ozzy Moderator Mushroom Doctor

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    Cool beans Terry, looks great, and I am sure it is a breeze to operate. Good luck on the rest of your modifications.
  6. Terry M

    Terry M Member Mushroom Doctor

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    Thanks for the compliments, guys!

    I discovered that I need a 55 gallon steel drum with an epoxy phenolic coated interior. It's just a few dollars more than the unlined drum I bought. If anyone wants a slightly used, rusted 55 gallon drum in the Rhode Island area, I have one.
    :doh:
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
  7. Professor PinHead

    Professor PinHead Lost in the Tek.... Mushroom Doctor

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    Oh, that is no good Terry. We sure are a trial and error species.

    I would have done the same thing though......

    Good thing it was 100 bucks and not a 1000, :shrug2:
  8. Trout

    Trout Closet Mycologist, Literaly! Mushroom Doctor

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    What will it hurt till it rusts out, I am sure you will get plenty of use out of it. I would just keep it dry when not in use and hope for the best.

    Trout
  9. Javadog

    Javadog Moderator Mushroom Doctor

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    Great stuff Terry. I always appreciate your attention to detail.

    (and the fact that you have the funds to do things right, to boot!)

    I also have a steel drum, and really appreciate your commenting
    on the model I also should have gotten....but isn't there a paint, as
    you suggest, that we could use to line our drums ourselves?

    Well, thank you again for taking the time.

    JD
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
  10. Javadog

    Javadog Moderator Mushroom Doctor

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    (thread-jack deleted. Sorry)
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012
  11. mycborg

    mycborg Member Supporter

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    This is not the place you'r looking for
    It will take a while for it to rust useless as trout pointed out, but however you want to keep air out of the ecvation as much as possible because its oxygen that mainly makes metal to rust(oxidize).
    So I would suggest that you store it filled with water to prolong its life.
  12. Terry M

    Terry M Member Mushroom Doctor

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    Thanks for the rust suggestions, but I already ordered a coated replacement barrel.

    Today I'm pasteurizing more straw, this time for the tropical Indian Milky Mushroom, Calocybe indica. Got one of my outdoor mini-greenhouses cranked up to 90 degree F and 90% humidity for this one!

    I just thought of a refinement as I was dumping the water from the soaking bin today. This is to soak the straw bags right in the pasteurization barrel. All I really need is to cut a piece of garden wire mesh into a circle that fits inside the barrel. I simply place this over the bags, and use the same 8 bricks I now use to weight down the bags so they are submerged underwater for the soak.

    I want to fool around with adjusting the amounts of hydrated lime (didn't mention this in the soaking step) and liquid detergent. The hydrated lime counteracts the low pH of the straw. The amount that RR recommends, about 1 cup per 10 gallons water, leaves the straw soaked water very alkaline, up around pH 11 according to my trusty litmus paper. I'll try using less, so that the soaking water that will now be used for pasteurization will be more pH neutral.
  13. Terry M

    Terry M Member Mushroom Doctor

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    More improvements:

    I now soak the bags of straw right in drum, with no detergent or anything else added. For convenience, I chop and do an overnight soak of the straw in the drum one day, and do pasteurization and log making the next day.

    I leave the wire mesh circle on during pasteurization. I just insert the thermometer probe through the mesh, and it generally gets held by the underlying bags. But if necessary, I twist tie the probe to the wire mesh. Much easier than the old method of stretching a wire over the top of the drum. And without that wire in the center, it's easier to fish out the bags after pasteurization. And I'm finding that if you heat the straw bags and water to 160° F, then turn off the burner and put the top on the drum, the water will remain over 140° for over an hour. That means you don't have to babysit the temperature, or have the burner on low and risk a blow-out.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
  14. Javadog

    Javadog Moderator Mushroom Doctor

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    Good stuff Terry.

    I bought a steel drum and made a cylindrical hardware cloth basket,
    and bought the banjo type burner, but have yet to move to this scale.

    I am afraid that I am losing ground badly in war with my "better half" (sic)
    I will probably not expand the space I use until I am on my own.

    Take care,

    JD

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