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Old 08-25-2012, 03:03 PM   #1
Gopher40
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Default Mash tun question....

My son and I (my brew partner) have decided it may be time to make the jump to all grain brewing. Obviously we will need a mash tun. From threads here I have decided a 10G igloo or rubber maid is the way to go. My question concerns the bottom of the unit. I see some that just have the mesh tube on the bottom, where some have a stainless false bottom. Is one of these better than the other, or will both work nicely. Also am debating making one myself vs. purchasing complete. Advice??



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Old 08-25-2012, 03:10 PM   #2
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I went with a 10 gallon round water cooler from home depot. Built it with a bazooka screen and koolerkit stainless valve. Works well and a simple build. The last few times though I added a paint strainer around the bazooka screen to make vorlauf a little less time consuming. I will be upgrading it to a rectangular 50Qt down the road so I can fit more grain in. The mash can get a little thick in the 10 gallon area. Hope this helps.

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Old 08-25-2012, 03:10 PM   #3
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I am certainly no expert but I have read that the false bottom is better for fly sparging and the braid is adequate for batch sparging.

I do batch sparging and use a water heater supply line braid. I think it is 3/4". It is big enough to fit over the inside of the cooler valve assembly with no extra fittings, just a hose clamp to hold it on. I think it is more robust than the smaller sink supply lines. I have never had any worries of it collapsing.

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Old 08-26-2012, 07:45 PM   #4
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I also went the Rubbermaid road and I use a copper manifold. It's easy to remove and take apart for cleaning and it works perfectly. Never had a stuck sparge and I can open up the valve and let er rip. I also have a square cooler with a cpvc manifold. They both work great.

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Old 08-26-2012, 07:47 PM   #5
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I had the false bottom and didn't care for it much. Built a CPVC manifold. Super easy and cheap. Works like a champ.

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Old 08-26-2012, 08:08 PM   #6
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A false bottom is the most expensive solution, and it is not the only solution. However, it is the best solution. How long will you be brewing? How many batches a year? Divide the extra cost by how many times you will use it. You will find the extra cost is very small in the long run.

At least that's how I justified it...

Just a quick thought. With 2 brewers, will 5 gallon batches be sufficient?

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Old 08-26-2012, 10:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gopher40 View Post
My son and I (my brew partner) have decided it may be time to make the jump to all grain brewing. Obviously we will need a mash tun. From threads here I have decided a 10G igloo or rubber maid is the way to go. My question concerns the bottom of the unit. I see some that just have the mesh tube on the bottom, where some have a stainless false bottom. Is one of these better than the other, or will both work nicely. Also am debating making one myself vs. purchasing complete. Advice??
Obviously you haven't read enough. I've been brewing all grain for two years now with no mash tun at all. Search for the term BIAB. You don't have to use that method but you should be aware of what it entails.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM-MN View Post
Obviously you haven't read enough. I've been brewing all grain for two years now with no mash tun at all. Search for the term BIAB. You don't have to use that method but you should be aware of what it entails.
With all due respect, you still have a mash tun. This is nothing more than a container that you mash in. The mash tun could be combined with a lauter tun, in which case it is usually described as a mash lauter tun, it could be a completely separate vessel, or it could be the brew kettle.
BIAB eliminates the need for a false bottom, manifold, or braid, but you still need a mash tun to contain the bag, even if it is your kettle.

In response to the OP, a false bottom or a properly designed manifold is probably best if you fly sparge.
If you batch sparge, there should be very little (if any) difference between manifold, braid, or false bottom.
If you brew in a bag, the bag replaces the manifold, braid, or false bottom, but you could have conversion problems if your water is excessively alkaline.

-a.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:09 AM   #9
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I use a round copper manifold covered with an SS braid in a 10 gal. igloo with a gas fired HERMs setup. It has worked fine for me either fly or batch sparging.

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Old 08-27-2012, 05:07 AM   #10
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First off, how much money are you willing to spend?

My current mash tun is an igloo 50ish quart with a SS screentube. Its the easiest one to make because you unscrew the drainage and add the 1/2 inch weldless setup to it. I got the parts from a sponser here (bargin fittings). HE even will email you back saying what to order if you need help.

As of now, I have a stout 20 gallon mashtun on special order. Overkill because I do not have a herms system, but I like that everything I ever wanted is on it without me doing anything to it. It has a false bottom, a bottom outlet and a sparge arm.

Note about the ice chest / water coolers: Don't get the sparge above 170 or you will start to warp the plastic. Over time it will wear down and warp, but its only a 25 dollar container.



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