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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Making my own mash tun
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:57 AM   #1
smbuckley
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Default Making my own mash tun

I am interested in making my own mash tun, but I have seen so many different ones that I do not know which one would be best. Could you guys give me some links for the ones you think are best? Also I've read about some materials not being safe to use in making mash tuns, so what materials would you recommend?

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Old 06-10-2012, 01:02 AM   #2
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It really depends on which way you want to go.

You Want to go the cheap way that works perfectly fine?

Do it the don Osborn way.

Donosborn.com

That's what I did and it works great

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Old 06-10-2012, 01:04 AM   #3
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Most people go with the round igloo cooler style mash tun. Very easy conversion, the parts are relatively cheap, and it works perfectly for the application we use it for.

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Old 06-10-2012, 01:06 AM   #4
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There is no "Best" in brewing, just what works best for different people. There's going to be different designs but they're all going to be "BEST," for the people who use them.

The most "popular" one on here, and you can tell that by the sheer volume of posts is this one....

But it works no "better" or "worse" than any other design.

get out of the idea of "best" in this hobby, there rarely is one way of doing everything. We have a saying in homebrewing, "ask 10 different brewers a questions, and you'll get 12 different answers, and they'll all be correct."

If you look on here for info, be it a recipe, or a diy plan or an idea and there's a lot of discussion about it, then more than likely it's one of the more popular ways of doing things.

If something is WRONG, be assured that folks would have picked up on issues and pointed them out, or just plain out said something is bad, or dangerous or not a good idea, you'd see it. We tend to police bad info pretty heavily.

If something is on here and people are doing it or talking about it, then it's a valid way....

You just have to decide which way seems best to you.

The design I linked lives up to it's name, it truly is a cheap and easy mash tun design...The "best?" It's the best for me....but it might not be the best for someone who went another route.

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Old 06-10-2012, 01:11 AM   #5
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Ya I've seen that one a lot Revvy and it looks pretty simple so I might give it a shot. Also what are your guys opinion on a false bottom vs. manifold vs ss braided hose in the mash tun. I know it is up to preference but what have your experiences been?

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Old 06-10-2012, 01:19 AM   #6
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Revvy's right, there isn't really a 'best', many different designs will get you to the same place. Look at the options and see what makes sense to you and your pocket book

I have used a few different ones that have been given away, disgarded, lost, etc. along the way. This is my current:





I went with this design because a) Already had the cooler b) Lowe's had an open box of copper tube I could use. I think I spent around $20-$25 (remember I already had the cooler). Took me about 30-45 minutes to put together including bending the tube and notching it with a Dremel. I am getting consistent 80% efficiencies, I am satisfied with that.

EDIT: What you can't clearly see is a short piece of PVC tubing that is pushed through the hole in the cooler, the vinyl tubing is clamped to it on either side.

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Old 06-10-2012, 01:40 AM   #7
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I agree that there isn't just one 'best' mash tun design out there for homebrewing. It's more a matter of what's best for you.

I've gone through two cooler mash tuns, as well as BIAB before I built my keg mash tun. Right now, the keg mash tun is what's best for me.

Every mash tun type has it's own advantages, and disadvantages. I suggest looking them over and then decide what's best for you. I would also be sure to size it so that it covers the vast majority of your batches today (without adding any extract) and for the next year (or so).

One of the reasons I didn't stay with cooler mash tuns has to do with getting the grain bed up to sparge temperature with hot water additions. It varied far too much for me to be happy with it. With the keg mash tun, on a propane burner, I simply heat it up (recirculating/stirring as I go) to get to the sparge temp. I then mash-out and run the sparge water in at the same time (Blichmann AutoSparge most of the time). I also don't have to listen to a cooler mash tun popping and making other noises as it heats up.

Something else to keep in mind. A good many of us change hardware configurations often. Sometimes that's very frequent. Others, not so much. If there's a HBC in your area, see if they're having a brew day sometime soon. Or see if you can connect with some other home brewers in your area to see what they use. IMO, seeing the different options that are out there, and how people use them, will help you to make a better decision the first time.

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Old 06-10-2012, 03:38 AM   #8
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For me I have found problems with a false bottom in a 5gal when making wheat, using oats, or with higher gravity in 5-6 gal batches. I moved to a 10 gal cooler.

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Old 06-10-2012, 07:33 AM   #9
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Agreed. There is no best option. Several different ways to get to the same end result. I would encourage you to think of more than today. Case in point I started with a 5 gal igloo with a SS braid false bottom. Switched that out for a very nice false bottom only to discover that I couldn't mash out or really use more than 12 lbs of grain with the proper water to grain ratio. I now have a 10 gallon igloo with a very nice false bottom. The point here is I wasted about $85 along the way. Remember cheap today is not necessarily cheap tomorrow. Happy brewing

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Old 06-10-2012, 01:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmcogar View Post
It really depends on which way you want to go.

You Want to go the cheap way that works perfectly fine?

Do it the don Osborn way.

Donosborn.com

That's what I did and it works great
I went with the Denny Conn style batch sparge rig as seen in the link above. I've never fly sparged, and given how easy batch sparging is, I probably never will. It's such a simple and great way to brew all grain.
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