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Old 01-01-2013, 01:34 PM   #1
Jeepinctbrewer
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Default building a 10 gallon cooler mash tun

I have been doing a lot of research on building one of these, and i can't decide if i should go with a false bottom or the hose braid. just bought a cooler last night. can someone tell me what the difference is on the too, and if the efficiency changes between the two types. looking to use all stainless hardware. thanks



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Old 01-01-2013, 03:06 PM   #2
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I have a 5 and 10 gal cooler, I did a lot of research and finally went with a copper manifold. I sweated the pipes, a lot of people don't for the ease of cleaning but I haven't ran into any issues. Very flag I went this route I batch sparge and get 76-80% eff. Good enough for the girls I date



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Old 01-01-2013, 03:18 PM   #3
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Thanks !!

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Old 01-01-2013, 03:22 PM   #4
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I use the braid in mine, so I can't compare false bottoms. However with the braid and batch sparging I consistently get 80% efficiency. I've had 1 stuck sparge, and that was from a pumpkin mash. The braid is also pretty dam cheap, no idea what false bottoms cost.

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Old 01-01-2013, 05:29 PM   #5
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I have a ten-gallon beverage cooler for my MLT. I first used a 12" diameter false bottom but always got grain under the false bottom. It was really hard to clear the wort and set the grain bed during vourlof. I then switched to a braid.
Then last year I fitted my cooler with an 11 gallon kettle in the cooler. I tried the false bottom again (I thought that the floor of the cooler warped allowing grain under the false bottom. I also thought that the SS kettle bottom would work better with the false bottom). I tried the new configuration a couple of times, but discovered that I had grain under the false bottom just like before. I went back to using the braid.

Others have had great experiences with false bottoms, but my experiences were not so good. Mark

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Old 01-01-2013, 06:15 PM   #6
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+1 for the braid.

I used the false bottom for a year and it worked ok for the most part. You will get grain under the false bottom. Last June I had a mash get stuck from all the grain trapped underneath. I had to transfer (dump) the mash into another vessel to clear the grain under the false bottom. That was it for me. I decided to go with the braid and I'm not looking back. If you go with the braid, one suggestion I would make is to add a SS spring inside the braid so it doesn't collapse.

My. .02

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Old 01-01-2013, 06:35 PM   #7
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FWIW, I prefer my copper manifold. I strategically sweated certain spots so that it was solid when put together, but could easily be taken apart for cleaning. I have never had a stuck sparge, and have done several wheat beers without issue so far (rice hulls added always for good measure, however).

I also remember researching this topic, and came across an argument saying that with a braid (or improperly built manifolds), you can have uneven draining/rinsing of grains during sparging, which can decrease your efficiency. I don't know if this is a substantial factor in the home brewing setting, but something to consider with the braid. I remember that the argument swayed me enough to measure my manifold so that it was square, sat in the center of my tun, and has cuts placed for (relatively) even draining throughout the tun. I have had great success with my manifold, and routinely hit 86% +/- 1% efficiency.

I cannot say one way is better than another, but so far I have been very impressed with my copper manifold.

I think I may still have the drawn plans for what I did if you are interested.

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Old 01-01-2013, 06:42 PM   #8
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^^^ Nearly all of the arguments against simple braids and maybe-not-so-well-designed manifolds only bear any weight when fly sparging. When batch sparging there's no similar "rinsing" as with fly sparging, there's just "draining", and if you can accomplish that with a simple braid or manifold, there's no disadvantage...

Cheers!

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Old 01-01-2013, 09:42 PM   #9
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thanks for all the great info, here is what i am thinking about ordering.http://weldlessfittings.com/coolerfittings.html
the first cooler fitting, and the 14" stainless braid. or should i only go with the 9"?

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Old 01-01-2013, 10:48 PM   #10
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I have a false bottom and no experience to compare to anything else. The false bottom was 25 bucks but I still have to strain my grains before they go in the keggle. I basically just use a little hand strainer from the tube out of my tun and it works well. I like the idea of not really having to worry about the stuck sparge but i guess it's a possibility. I might get a braid to compare.



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