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Old 09-11-2012, 12:22 AM   #1
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Default 2 Gallon Mash Tun?

Hi,

I brew 1 1/4 gallon batches (I use a used vinegar bottle as my fermenter) and I'm three batches in (A Boston Lager facsimile in the swamp cooler as we speak), and the last two have been AG.

I've been doing ghetto stove top mashing, heating the water to about 170, dough in, and keep the flame very low so the temp stays around 150, stirring constantly (old candy thermometer). I strain the grain in a colander, dump the grain in a bowl, and batch sparge, and put it through the colander again.

The problem is I've been averaging 50-55% efficiency, and that gets expensive quickly. Since I plan on staying around 1 gallon batches, besides maybe special occasions (another thread). I was thinking of buying like a 10 quart cooler for like $10-15 and making a mash tun. Problem is I can't tell if those coleman square 10 qts have a side valve.

How would I go about making one, I've seen a few threads for small partial mashing tuns. Anyone got experience? Got neither the funds nor the space nor the interest in a five gallon mash tun, so please don't try to convince me.

Thanks

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Old 09-11-2012, 12:44 AM   #2
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I use one like this. http://www.waresdirect.com/products/...ackURL=froogle

I replace the factory valve with a ball valve set up.

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Old 09-11-2012, 05:32 AM   #3
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To keep the budget down, just use a paint strainer bag in the cooler as your grain filter. Much cheaper than buying hardware to add to the cooler.

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Old 09-11-2012, 10:28 AM   #4
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Your system sounds pretty close to mine and I get 70% so something is up. I run the wort through a colander three times...then return the grains to the mash pot, add sparge water and stir. Ten minutes later I run it through again...three times. Make sure your scraping out the grains in your pot into the colander. If your leaving 5% of the grains in the pot, then you'll never get that back in efficiency. Finally, make sure your draining all the liquid through the grains. It takes about ten minutes for me to get it all, every minute I tilt the colander in a different direction to make sure its draining though all areas of the grain bed.

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Old 09-11-2012, 10:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OClairBrew View Post
To keep the budget down, just use a paint strainer bag in the cooler as your grain filter. Much cheaper than buying hardware to add to the cooler.
I do what I call "mash in a bag". I also put my paint strainer bag in the cooler. I changed the valve out because the one that comes with the cooler is the kind that you have to press in and hold to get the liquid to flow out. I installed a valve that I could leave open and then do other things while it drains.
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:08 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, I'll see if I can find a small cooler with a valve thingy so I dont have to drill a hole. Where should I find a paint strainer bag? Hardware store?

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Old 09-11-2012, 01:52 PM   #7
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How bigs your pot?
I do stove top 1 or 2 gallon (imperial) Brew In A Bag brews. Similar to you, but using a paint strainer style bag to mash in, then at the end of the mash you pull the bag out and let any wort drip back in before starting the boil. The key is to mash with the full amount of water, so no seperate sparge which would dilute the wort - the Aussies came up with this BIAB technique and call it "passively sparging". I get efficiency in the low 80s doing this.
If your pot is big enough to hold all the grain plus the total volume of water then give this a go, all you'll need to buy is the bag to mash in.

Oh and obviously you save the time it would have taken to sparge/lauter etc. Double win.

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Old 09-11-2012, 02:29 PM   #8
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You should be able to find paint strainer bags at a hardware store, Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. I think the last time I bought some, there were two, 5 gallons bags to a package for around $5.

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Old 09-11-2012, 07:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StanJohnson View Post
You should be able to find paint strainer bags at a hardware store, Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. I think the last time I bought some, there were two, 5 gallons bags to a package for around $5.
+1 and they are reusable!
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:45 PM   #10
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Alright thanks. I gotta convince myself to make another ingredient order... :/

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