For a while I have been looking for a cheese vat for the the creamery I am building. I have contacted several makers of cheese making equipment and received as many quotes. As I am planning to make raw milk cheese, I don't need a vat pasteurizer. This lowers the initial investment but a new 150 to 200 gallon round cheese vat costs anywhere in the range of 15-to 20,000 dollar, a major investment. These cheese vats are triple walled and have an insulated outer wall. Hot or cold water circulate in the jacket of the vat. This is done by means of a spray pipe for indirectly cooling or heating the product. These vats last forever and have a high resale value. However, I would rather spend less an buy a used vat. But they are hard to come by, hence the high resale value.
I have located a used cheese vat in the Netherlands. The construction is slightly different. Instead of an insulated stainless steel wall, the outer wall is made of wood. The wood used is Teak which was traditionally used in Holland to built cheese vats. Wood has been banned as a material to make cheese in a long time ago but it is perfectly adequate as a insulating material for the outer wall for a modern cheese vat. In fact, because of the wood these vats hold the temperature better than triple wall stainless steel vats. The wood is treated with a two part food safe lacquer and thus made impervious, a concern my local dairy inspector had. Including shipping to the United States it will only be about a third of the price of a new vat, a major savings. But the vat is a larger than I would have liked. It has capacity of 240 gallon and the minimum filling is one third. This means the smallest batch I can make in this vat is 80 gallon. As I am planning to collect the milk in cans from farmers, it will be a lot of hauling. A 100 pounds a a full can will be back breaking work to fill up the entire vat. But I really like the look of this vat as well as the price.