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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kettles, Mash Tuns, & Hot Liquor Tanks > All Grain Mash Tun (need ideas for my 30gal blue barrel)
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:42 AM   #1
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I am mostly into the 8-10 percent alcohol imperial stouts and quickly realized, as I was designing my e-brewing system, that I couldn't fit enough grains into a keggle, to make 10 gal of beer in the style I want.

This leads me to the MLT. I have a 114L/30gal food grade barrel. I have a lid for it, however, the barrel is not insulated. The plastic is 2.2mm thick and it is really sturdy and was never previously used for anything. (The dribble in the pic is from putting my IC in there after my last batch--no big deal.)

I'm building a single-tier e-system following Kal's design. The other two vessels are keggles, one for a BK and one for a HLT with a HERMS coil. You get the idea....

So...Here are the main questions:

1) With a HERMS coil regulating my temps, do I need to insulate it?
1a) If so, what should I use to insulate it? (what doesn't get gross when exposed to liquid?)

2) What type of false bottom should I use? The diameter of the barrel is 17" but as you can see, the bottom is not flat.

3) Should I use a dip tube through the false bottom and go up and out the side?
3a) Should I mount the dump valve underneath one of the sides (lowest point inside) so the barrel kinda' hangs off my brewing stand and I can just let gravity do its thing down to my pumps?
3b) Do I need any other holes in the barrel if pump in through the lid or open top (ie: no other holes in the sides)?

4) Should I make one of those copper manifolds with drilled holes, attached to the underside of the lid, to more evenly disperse the recirculated water?

Whatever, I'm even confusing myself. Here are some pictures. I'd really appreciate any suggestions ya'll have to get this brewing party started. Thanks!




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Old 09-06-2012, 04:59 PM   #2
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How much grain are you using for a 10gal batch of 8-10% ABV beer? I recently mashed 34lbs grain with a single infusion of 10.5 gal H2O in a keggle. Still had head space for proper HERMS recirculation. The Grain/H2O ratio's a bit lower than I'd like, but with efficiency close to 80%, I was able to pull off 11 gal of wort at 1.084. I admit things are tight, but I could probably squeeze in at least another 3lbs.

A cheaper solution might be to just do a mini-mash on the side (e.g. in a cooler), and then add back the converted grains during sparge. I can't imagine you'd be talking more than a few lbs.

Another option would be to add sugar during the boil to boost gravity. Not my favorite option, but certainly cheaper than plumbing a new system.

Good luck,
PLOVE

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Old 09-06-2012, 05:31 PM   #3
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I have a 30 gallon SS mash tun which is roughly the same dimensions as yours. I wrapped it in water heater insulation and I use a stainless braid on the bottom.

The insulation is a bit worn from 9 years of use but it still works great.


This is the SS braid I use, my MT is 17" in diameter also.


I have a copper manifold on top with elbows for openings to make cleaning easy.

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Old 09-20-2012, 03:18 AM   #4
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I've read your post 3-4 times but just realized I never thanked you for responding. I'm now in the market for a stainless braid. It looks like people buy a hose like the ones for connecting water lines to sink faucets, cut the ends off, and then gently push the braid off of the hose. Can you add anything to that process or even a specific hose model/brand/style that I could use? From my completely un-scientific measuring technique, it looks like I would need about a 4' hose to make a circle with a 17" diameter....(minus some because it only really has to be about 15-16" diameter, not all the way against the walls of the barrel, and minus another 2-3" of length for the part with the copper pipe. Do people reinforce the inside of the braid so the weight of the grain doesn't flatten it? (I think I might have read something somewhere about someone using a SS spring but I'm not sure how that would affect flow while in-use and cleaning afterwards).

I really want to punch a hole in the bottom so instead of the pipe opening going up and out with a dip tube, it would go down through the bottom of the barrel. I'm just not sure how I would clamp something to the inside/outside of the hole to make it water-tight AND attach a ball valve. Man, I wish I had gotten a job as an assistant plumber one summer in HS...

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Old 09-20-2012, 04:19 AM   #5
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I scavenged my braid from washing machine supply line plenty long enough for what your looking to do. I actually cut mine in a few pieces.( backup is never a bad thing)

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Old 09-20-2012, 04:21 AM   #6
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"bargainfittings" has a bulkhead that will work for that barrel to install a valve. A dishwasher braided supply line should be long enough to make a loop as you desire.

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Old 09-30-2012, 01:54 PM   #7
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Ok, I've been a bit preoccupied with the electrical aspects of the project.... Finally getting back to the MLT and hit a snag. I bought the dishwasher hose and chopped off the ends, so I could get the SS sleeve off of the tube.... but I can't. It's wicked-tight.

What's the trick?

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Old 09-30-2012, 02:03 PM   #8
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Chinese fingercuffs. As you compress both ends of the braid inward towards each other, the diameter of the braid increases. It's a little tricky and can take some time, especially with a longer one. If I knew back then how slippery oxiclean is, I might have bought some and mixed up a small amount for lubrication. Don't rush it though. If you want yours to look as flawless as Monster Mash's, you need to take your time with it.

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Old 09-30-2012, 02:14 PM   #9
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yeah... fast response. I watched a video I found in another post and got annoyed that they just skipped over the part I was having trouble with... then realized how easy it actually is. I remembered being told to "push it off" but didn't think I would be pushing from the opposite end. worked like a champ thanks!

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