Hey I'm thinking of going all grain and want to build my first mash tun out of a cooler. From what I've read 10gallon is the way to go to do 5 gallon batches of beer. How do you seal where to pipe comes through the cooler to connect to the valve? Does it have to be food service grade or can you skimp on this since it's pre-boil?
I'm looking for a manifold type design. I think I got if fingered out. I'm not sure how the manifold connects to the pipe and valve. That doesn't necessarily need to be a sealed connection though does it? As long as it doesn't come appart and the vaccuum from the liquid should hold it together shouldn't it?
I don't have a manifold, but my understanding is that you want to be able to take it out of the MLT for cleaning purposes (i.e., it should not be permanently soldered to the pipe and valve). I think Palmer's book or website had a discussion on mash tun manifolds. I also seem to think that he or someone else suggested soldering some of the copper parts used to make the manifold together (to lessen the chance of separation during the mash), but to keep other parts unsoldered, again, for ease of cleaning/storage.
While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats. - Mark Twain
If you look at the parts list in the "Cheap & Easy 10 Gallon Rubbermaid MLT Conversion" thread linked a few posts up, you'll see that the part that's the connector on the inside of the MLT in FlyGuy's design is a 3/8” male barb adapter (Watts A-294). Pic below (borrowed from FlyGuy's thread):
The plastic fitting you see on the inside wall of my MLT...
...is a CPVC female 3/8" threaded to 1/2" CPVC female socket end fitting. It screws on to the brass ball valve fitting and the horizontal CPVC coming off the manifold just pushes into it. It replaces the 3/8" male barb adapter in FlyGuy's design. Other than that, I followed FlyGuy's design as posted.
So to build a manifold like the one I did, you need:
(8) 1/2" CPVC 45 degree elbows
(3) 1/2" CPVC tees
(1) 3/8" CPVC FIP ADAPTER (female 3/8" threaded to female 1/2" socket end)
(1) 1/2" CPVC 90 degree elbow
(1) 1/2" CPVC 90 degree "street elbow" (same as the other 90 elbow but one end fits *inside* the center tee)
(1) 5-foot length of 1/2" CPVC pipe (a 10-footer costs about 70 cents more...worth it in case you need practice)