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Old 08-27-2012, 12:33 PM   #11
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I recently moved to AG from extract brewing and went with the 10g igloo cooler, like most here. I decided to go the SS false bottom and I can honestly say I am less than impressed. No matter how careful I am or how well I vorlauf I can never seem to keep the grain out of my wort. Granted, it is a small amount but it really frustrates me. I am serioulsy considering going with a bazoka screen or the kettle mesh screen from brewhardware.com. Leaning toward the one from brewhardware since I also want the sight kit and a valve for my kettle and they have everything I need.

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Old 08-27-2012, 03:24 PM   #12
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My advice is that you should get the 10 gal round cooler and a drain kit from a supplier ( I spent a ton of extra cash and made many trips to the hardware stores to get the right combination of parts, save yourself the hassle) plus a cheap stainless braid from a toilet supply line, from the hardware store.

All that you need to buy is a toilet supply and a few small hose clamps (stainless, as they all are).

I once thought that fly sparging was the best way to go (anachronist) but trust me, try batch sparging first. When you've got a few brews down, check out pricing false bottoms/ other more costly upgrades.

Beside the cooler and drain valve, which you'll need in any case, the braid and clamps will cost less than $10. A minimalistic but highly functional set up.

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Old 08-27-2012, 06:22 PM   #13
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I use a 10 gallon cylindrical cooler with a stainless false bottom. Never had a stuck sparge and I get 85% efficiencies. To ramp up to mashout temps, I have about 1 gallon of water in my kettle, just under boiling. I recirc into the kettle with heat on, the water is basically there to get the pump primed and give it a head start on heating. I recirc stirring gently until the mash temp is 165, then I allow the kettle (which has been maintaining about a gallon - heated, but not boiling) to return to the mash tun. Several times I open the mash tun drain full open to flush grain out of the mash tun lower drain plumbing. I typically hit 168-170 doing this. It is a little tricky maintaining two valves, but if I lose my prime I just shut off the pump and open the mash return valve at the top of the mash tun. The volume in the hose returns to the pump and pushes air out of the pickup of the kettle. Since I use a recirc technique to get my mashout temp, I don't recirc after mashout. I get great wort clarity.

Here are some photos: The straight tube is the sparge sprinkler (I fly sparge), the bent one is for strike water in and recirculation. The tube connecting the false bottom to the is a short section of 1/2 OD PTFE tubing from Lowe's. The bulkhead fittings are Swagelok SS-810-11-8, stainless tubing is from a company that makes hydraulic plumbing. Stainlessbrewing.com has the fittings and tubing. Quick disconnects are camlocks from stainlessbrewing.com. I'd buy from them again.

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Old 08-27-2012, 06:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kh54s10 View Post
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.
Not necessarily true. It's the configuration that matters.

For instructions on how to build a Cheap'n'Easy mash tun, see www.dennybrew.com

I prefer rectangular coolers because the larger opening makes it easier to stir in them. In addition, they're cheaper than round so you get more volume for your money. I've used the cooler in the pics on my webpage for 426 batches over the last 14 years. If it didn't work great, I would have switched a long time ago!
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:05 PM   #15
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I have a 10 gallon round rubbermaid beverage cooler I built a copper manifold using 1/2 inch copper pipe with hacksaw cuts half way through. Pulled out the valve and used 1/2 inch close nipple and some high temp nylon bushings and 3/4 inch stainless steel washers and a lead free gate valve all of this I acquired at Lowes for about $60.00 total including the cooler... the close nipple is screwed to the female fitting soldered to the valve goes through wall of the cooler and then two of the bushings, a small stainless washer and a large stainless washer ant the female fitting is tightened on. The rest of it just fits together. Works very well been using this one for almost a year without any issues.

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Old 08-27-2012, 07:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arturo7 View Post
A false bottom is the most expensive solution, and it is not the only solution. However, it is the best solution.
I think "best" is pretty subjective in this case.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I think "best" is pretty subjective in this case.
Yep...certainly not "best" for me.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:16 PM   #18
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What is "best" is what works "best" for each individual brewer .. start out with low cost and move up as you go. I went the way I did because it was what I could afford to do. It has worked well, so I do not change just for the sake of change and I believe if ain't broke, don't fix it.

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