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Brewing Topics => Brewing Discussion => Topic started by: kw642 on September 11, 2019, 07:10:47 AM

Title: Building a mash tun
Post by: kw642 on September 11, 2019, 07:10:47 AM
Looking to modify a cooler into a mash tun, any tips on materials?  I have a bunch of 1/2" pipe left over from a plumbing job - I assume that should be fine.  I've watched a few videos and a lot of people use plastic and/or brass fittings.  Is this ok or pay more and get stainless.  Also, some people cut slots into the pipe some people drill holes, is one better than the other?

Thanks
Title: Re: Building a mash tun
Post by: dtapke on September 11, 2019, 08:07:27 AM
Honestly, if you've got a 10g round cooler, I'd suggest just buying a kit such as this:
https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/coolermashfb10.htm

brewhardware.com also has a ready to use 10g cooler mash tun.

the domed full false bottom and everything is set up and ready for you.

I'll Also suggest picking up the book "how to brew" by John Palmer. Or perhaps "homebrewing with beersmith" although I'm unsure if it goes over mash tun design (I don't have it)

John Palmer does go over lautering and mashing in his book pretty well I think, including some discussion as to how and why wort often channels.

P.S. I had responded to your other post on getting a bigger setup. Something of note, I use 32G SSbrewtech kettles converted to mash tuns with a false bottom and manometer, I have found that you CANNOT use a rig of this size to brew small batches of beer. You really need an appropriate grain bed depth scaled for the size of brew you plan on doing. This article covers some interesting information on Lautering and I found it to be helpful in understanding some of the issues I was having lautering deep beds and shallow bed. http://brewlikeapro.net/lautering.html


Cheers, and good luck!
Title: Re: Building a mash tun
Post by: Kevin58 on September 11, 2019, 08:30:06 AM
Denny Conn published his picnic cooler mash tun nearly 20 years ago but honestly I believe it is still the best and cheapest option out there. I never had the stainless braid clog or fail on me. The braid works just as well in a round cooler as the rectangular one shown in the photos. Scroll down the page on this link for build instructions... http://www.dennybrew.com/
Title: Re: Building a mash tun
Post by: dtapke on September 11, 2019, 08:41:03 AM
Denny Conn published his picnic cooler mash tun nearly 20 years ago but honestly I believe it is still the best and cheapest option out there. I never had the stainless braid clog or fail on me. The braid works just as well in a round cooler as the rectangular one shown in the photos. Scroll down the page on this link for build instructions... http://www.dennybrew.com/

Can confirm, this is how I made my first cooler mash tun and was able to consistently get 80% efficiency out of it. For the $70 that the brewhardware costs, I feel its a pretty solid deal. comes with a bulkhead, valve etc. I probably had $30-40 in my first one using brass components sourced from a hardware store, and would gladly fork over the extra cash for the false bottom kit with all SS components.

I think it comes down to if you're nickel and diming your rig, or if you prefer to have a "prettier" rig... or if you plan on using it in a 3 vessel system or something that you'll be pumping wort through. My ss mesh rig did not handle pumping through a HERMS coil well and would almost always stick.
Title: Re: Building a mash tun
Post by: Kevin58 on September 11, 2019, 08:47:34 AM
Denny Conn published his picnic cooler mash tun nearly 20 years ago but honestly I believe it is still the best and cheapest option out there. I never had the stainless braid clog or fail on me. The braid works just as well in a round cooler as the rectangular one shown in the photos. Scroll down the page on this link for build instructions... http://www.dennybrew.com/

My ss mesh rig did not handle pumping through a HERMS coil well and would almost always stick.

I can see how pumps might be the Achilles heel. I always gravity fed used batch sparging with that system.