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Old 12-10-2012, 06:59 PM   #1
Tron87
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Default Why stainless or metal vs nylon, pvc.

Hello,

I am looking into building a mash tun our of a cooler as is popular and see that the cost of the project mainly comes from expensive metal valves and fittings.

I am familiar with using all sorts of plastic material for plumbing my fish tanks and I simply don't see the reasoning for going with stainless steel and such over nylon and pvc fittings.

Plenty of people use pvc for their straining heads inside the tun, why not just use plastic materials all the way out to the hose barb and into your brew kettle?

Thanks

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Old 12-10-2012, 07:04 PM   #2
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If you can thread a barb or something to hook up a hose to it I say go for it. Just make sure the gaskets in the valve can handle the heat from draining the mash. I've got a brass ball valve on my cooler mash tun and it works great. Not very expensive either ($12-15 for brass), so maybe that's why they're used over plastic.

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Old 12-10-2012, 07:06 PM   #3
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I think some do use cpvc as the manifold, probably valves as well. I personally made mine out of copper tubing, brass ball valve. As a welder and auto body man, I have a love for metal. Good luck, I think you would be fine with cpvc.

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Old 12-10-2012, 07:13 PM   #4
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I forgot to mention, I think the reason I chose copper over anything else is that if the fittings ever get loose on my manifold, I can squeeze it slightly with pliers and tighten it up. I don't want it falling apart with grain and water on top of it. I have peace of mind knowing if I brush up against the manifold while stirring, it probably won't separate.

I'm not sure how tightly cpvc holds together with just friction. You could glue them together I suppose, but that makes it impossible to take it apart to clean.

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Old 12-10-2012, 09:03 PM   #5
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A friend gave me my first mash tun. It's a 5 gallon cooler with a plastic false bottom. A piece of vinyl connects to an elbow on the false bottom, runs through the tight fitting hole in the cooler then ends with this pvc spigot. It worked great but I did change it out to a ball valve later on.

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Old 12-10-2012, 09:57 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback.

I think the most valid fear regards temperature. I don't know how hot things can go with pvc but if its used in the manifold then why not other places.

Other blocks due to sturdiness simply have no merit. Of course the metals look more bad ass and will have a much longer life.

Since it appears to be a preferential block and not a practical one, I think I have my answer.

Thanks again.

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Old 12-10-2012, 10:08 PM   #7
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Plastic leaches nasty chemicals and bad flavors. Run really hot water through a vinyl hose and drink it after it cools.... you'll understand why it should be avoided.

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Old 12-10-2012, 10:47 PM   #8
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Theoretically, you buy stainless parts once; they'll last forever.
Of course, we always seem to be tinkering, upgrading, re-optimizing, etc. so stainless is good there too because resale value is pretty good.
If you're not sure you'll brew long term, there's nothing wrong with using coolers, etc. You can make great beer with darn near anything.
If it looks like this is a lifelong obsession, stainless steel is the way to go.

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Old 12-10-2012, 10:58 PM   #9
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When I first started all grain, I used one of these kits, worked great. http://www.homebrewstuff.com/5-gallo...parts-kit.html

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Old 12-10-2012, 11:56 PM   #10
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If you want to be really cheap, get yourself a bottling bucket spigot.
You can then remove the original valve from the MLT, carefully enlarge the hole a bit with a half round rasp, and install the spigot.
Buy a pierced bung that fits in the back of the spigot, and insert a short length of copper tubing into the bung hole. Then connect the other length of the tube to the braid/manifold/false bottom as appropriate. Total cost for plumbing is about $2.00

Be very careful when stirring the mash however. It is easy to stir the bung out of the back side of the spigot, and this is guaranteed to give you a stuck sparge. I only did that twice in about 250 brews.

-a.

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