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Old 07-10-2012, 01:10 AM   #1
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Default Critique one more MLT manifold design

Hi all,
Not too long ago, I built a manifold for a 60qt Ice Cube Cooler (see here) but before my first AG brew, I scored a 10 gallong Rubbermaid round cooler and pieced together a manifild for this one as well. Does the manifold design seem appropriate? Is it too near or too far from the edges? Any input is, as always, appreciated!



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Old 08-03-2012, 12:14 PM   #2
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I thought I'd post the results in case someone stumbles across it sometime later with similar ideas. I didn't get any replies on this so I just went with it as-is on my first-ever all-grain batch yesterday. I ended up with 86% efficiency which was higher than I had expected and my beer came out a little bigger than planned, fortunately it's an oktoberfest so it will take the boosted gravity in stride. I've only got one all-grain under my belt so time will tell if the efficiency percent will be constant. There was no indication of a stuck sparge and after pulling off the desired wort, I just drained the rest of the remaining sparge from the grainbed at a significantly quicker rate and it even did well during that.

Those are the "pro's", the only "con" I discovered was that the pieces didn't fit quite as snugly once it got hot, specifically the first elbow from the valve connection and the two 90 degree elbows leading to the center "legs" in the manifold. I want to be able to take it apart for cleaning but I think I'm going to strategically glue a few of the pieces to prevent accidental disassembly while in use.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the results and I probably won't tweak it much unless a later need arises.

Cheers!

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Old 08-03-2012, 12:22 PM   #3
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Very interesting design.

I have a 5 gallon tun that I made up, but due to the limited space I could only make a small square manifold. With it, I can achieve almost 80% efficiency.

I have been thinking of upgrading to a 10 gallon tun and I believe I'll try to adopt a similar design for my manifold.

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Old 08-03-2012, 03:32 PM   #4
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Thanks! I think the design has some potential, I didn't want to pull all the wort from the center of the grainbed but didn't want to completely ignore the center either so this was my answer. After thinking about it just a little bit more, I've decided I'm going to glue some of the pieces but not so many that I can't take it apart and be able to run a brush through it if needed for cleaning. I'm then going to use small stainless steel screws through the top of the remaining fittings to secure the remaining pieces. I think, more times than not, an oxi-clean or pbw soak with the rest of the day's clean-up will be enough to clean it without disassembly but I'll still have the option to break it down if needed.

Let me know if you go this route, I'd love to know other's experiences!

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Old 11-16-2012, 01:51 PM   #5
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Just wanted to put an update on this in case someone stumbles across it. I've now done a 9 beers with OGs between 1.044 and 1.070 with this manifold. With one exception, efficiencies have been mid 80's and the exception was a BMC-ish beer with flaked corn and instant rice adjuncts (please don't flame me, it was a request) that got into the low 90s'. I did end up gluing some of the joints and using small stainless steel screws on other joints to allow for disassembly because the fit became more and more loose prior to doing so. Overall, I'm satisfied with the end result.

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Old 11-16-2012, 04:34 PM   #6
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I had something similar in my cooler, and experienced the same problem with the manifold coming apart. I slid some silicone hose over the stubborn parts and clamped them. That worked well until I changed my MLT.

-G

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Old 11-16-2012, 05:49 PM   #7
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nice design, except as noted the center pieces probably came apart quite easily. I don't worry much about cleaning lauter medium. You can flush out as much as possible by soaking the tun with oxy-water then running-off and then backflush it if you want to clear the holes (or reverse that). A few pieces of dried grain won't usually spoil and everything in a mash tun is pre-boil, so there's little risk of any infection passing on to your beer.

I'm debating switching from braid to manifold after some slow runoffs, even with a 18" looped braid. I may consider water-heater braid first...I still get 80% efficiency every time, so perhaps I shouldn't mess with it.

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Old 11-21-2012, 02:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
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nice design, except as noted the center pieces probably came apart quite easily
They definitely got loose until I glued some of the connections and screwed some of the others. I tried to only glue connections that would still allow me to clean it by running a brush through it if it became necessary. Below is a pic of it finished, if it isn't screwed at the joint it's glued (excluding the caps on the inner arms, which are just friction-fit.

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