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Old 03-15-2011, 06:25 PM   #1
EricR
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Default How does a cooler mash tun work?

Perhaps I am just confused by information overload, but I can't seem to figure out how exactly a coleman cooler mash tun works?

I am confused by what the copper tubing at the bottom does? Is it for filtering out the wort? or for adding water in to the mash? I searched and googled and can't seem to figure it out. I have done all grain batches before, but always used a grain-bag and food grade container. I am looking at building my first mash tun and wort chiller this weekend, so any help in understanding how the tun works would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 03-15-2011, 06:27 PM   #2
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This link can shed some light on the subject. Cheers!!! Denny Brew

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Old 03-15-2011, 06:34 PM   #3
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The additional hardware inside the cooler (after the ball valve) is to filter the wort out of the grain. Some people use copper pipe, others PVC, some others pull apart braided stainless lines, and some use pre-fabricated screen assemblies... In round coolers, you might be able to fit a false bottom too.

I use a bazooka screen in my Coleman Xtreme cooler MT... It's basically a long tubular mesh screen that holds back the grain so that I can drain the wort out of the MT...

What you use on the inside of the cooler is as much personal preference as anything else. People will rave about what they are currently using all over the place. IMO, as long as it does a decent job of holding back the grain, and doesn't get plugged up, it's all good.

Here's a picture of what the inside of my MT looks like... I've adjusted it a little since the picture was taken, so that the screen is going straight down the middle of the cooler...


A close up of inside the cooler, where the fittings come inside. What you can't see is the white gasket that was on the original fitting, which is on the other side of the washer.


This is outside the cooler, a 1/2" ball valve... Makes it very easy to drain the MT at a good rate. I have the 1/2" ball valves on my two kettles too. Makes quick work of draining the cooled wort into the primary too.


Older shot of the kettles... Front one is 32qt, back is 60qt... I've since removed the reflective insulation from the 32qt kettle (it was getting burned on the propane burner last week)...


Inside of the 32qt aluminum kettle... Nicely conditioned after a few batches (conditioned it before using it for the first time, and just maintain the conditioning on it now)... Cleanup is a snap...

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Old 03-15-2011, 06:59 PM   #4
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Thank you both for the replies, that pretty much clears it up for me!

Gold - your pictures did not show up in your post?

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Old 03-15-2011, 07:05 PM   #5
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Oh snap... It's because you're not a supporter...

Try these (in the same order as before)...

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

I plan on taking more pictures on the next brew day, with things in use...

Bonus pic's...
Kettle on the burner, boiling away...


First boil shot on the new burner...

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Old 03-15-2011, 07:08 PM   #6
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You can save some cost by using this technique for the valve.

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Old 03-15-2011, 07:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltont View Post
You can save some cost by using this technique for the valve.
Sure, if you want to go on the cheap... Personally, I'd rather do it right the first time and not need to worry about it, at all...

My cooler will never be anything BUT a mash tun for the rest of it's life... So doing the full conversion is fine with me. Plus, there's something very satisfying, and reassuring, about turning a ball valve handle. You KNOW it's either open, or closed. Not sure if I would trust the cheap-o method for too many batches...

Besides, regular tubing isn't rated for sparge water temps. Not sure if it's rated for above 150F even...

BTW, I would tend to think there's a valid reason why people use either SS or brass ball valves in their rigs, not the cheap method...
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltont View Post
You can save some cost by using this technique for the valve. ....
Thanks for the cool idea! I'm going to try that on a square cooler I've got.
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
Sure, if you want to go on the cheap... Personally, I'd rather do it right the first time and not need to worry about it, at all...

My cooler will never be anything BUT a mash tun for the rest of it's life... So doing the full conversion is fine with me. Plus, there's something very satisfying, and reassuring, about turning a ball valve handle. You KNOW it's either open, or closed. Not sure if I would trust the cheap-o method for too many batches...

Besides, regular tubing isn't rated for sparge water temps. Not sure if it's rated for above 150F even...

BTW, I would tend to think there's a valid reason why people use either SS or brass ball valves in their rigs, not the cheap method...
Well, I've brewed about 400 gallons on this rig so far. Not one problem, especially the leaking problem I read about with the folks that are trying to use a ball valve. I wouldn't call it cheap, just practical. I like to spend my money where it makes a difference. As far as the tubing goes, if you have scientific data that supports your statement that it requires a stainless or brass ball valve then I'm all eyes. Cheers!!!
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltont View Post
This link can shed some light on the subject. Cheers!!! Denny Brew
Thanks ... was looking for something like this!
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