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mmonacel 05-08-2012 04:52 AM

Cooler MLT recirculation / vorlauf port through lid - need advice
 
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I'm looking to create a recirculation port through the lid of my cooler MLT so I can vorlauf for the last 15 min. of my mash without opening up the lid of the cooler. I use a pump and now need to open up the lid letting heat escape to stick the hose in there. The general idea is to have a quick connection on top of the lid and a barb under the lid that I attach some tubing to so I can lay it on top of the mash in a semi coil to gently return the wort. I'm looking for some advice on the parts to make this happen, specifically, the parts needed to go through the lid and secure it well as well as any overall advice / insight. Here's what I'm thinking:

Overall needs:

  • Weldless (of course) way to get through the lid
  • Doesn't need to be watertight, but should be tight so as to minimize heat loss
  • Ideally be able to spin / swivel it a bit so the intake faces the direction I want after I screw the lid on
  • Valve would be a nice to have to throttle speed at the MLT rather than bending down to the pump, but not necessary
  • Return to mash should be relatively gentle so as not to disturb the mash bed being set on the false bottom
  • Would be nice to be able to open lid with pump running to see clarity of return - nice but not needed - see spin comment above
  • Way to "seal" off the hole to minimize heat escaping during the mash

Parts I think I need:

Intake
  • 1/2" NPT Male quick disconnect plug
  • 1/2" x 1/2" NPT 90* elbow
Middle portion through lid
  • 1/2" NPT x 1/2" NPT nipple
  • (2) 1/2" NPT washers
  • (2) O-rings - optional I'm guessing since I don't need it water tight, but might be good to help insulate
Return
  • 1/2" NPT 45* or 90* elbow??? - might be good to have to help direct the flow and hose to better coil and lay on the mash
  • 1/2" NPT male x 1/2" barb - silicone hose attaches to this
  • hose clamp - like the ones used for racking canes to stop flow so heat doesn't escape up and out the tubing during the mash.

Questions:
  1. How do I properly figure out the length of nipple I need? I'm not sure how these are sold (ie. by overall length or by the length of the "unthreaded dead space" between the threads)
  2. Do you think the 45* or 90* return would be better?
  3. Any other insight / ideas to improve upon this?

** sorry for the turned picture, wasn't sure how to spin that right side up

Thanks!


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