Cheap & Easy 10 Gallon Rubbermaid MLT Conversion
You can buy Kewler Kit conversions that supply you with a pre-build bulkhead and faucet for converting a 10 gallon Rubbermaid beverage cooler into a mash & lauter tun. But off-the-shelf components from your local hardware store work just as well, and cost far less. I got all my parts at my local Home Depot for a fraction of the cost of a Kewler conversion kit, or other commercial products.
Here are the parts you will need for the conversion (see picture, left to right):
- Rubbermaid 10 gallon round beverage cooler
- all stainless steel ¼” hose clamps x 2
- brass square head plug (Watts A-737)
- ½” x 12” (or larger) braided stainless steel supply hose
- 3/8” female barb adapter (Watts A-298)
- 5/8” stainless steel fender washer (sometimes hard to find, but try Fastenal or read this thread if you are stuck)
- 3/8” MIP x 1-1/2” brass nipple (Watts A-786)
- seal from plastic spigot of cooler (shown below)
- Teflon tape (note: everything to the left of the tape in the picture above goes inside the cooler, and everything to the right goes outside)
- 5/8” O-ring (preferably heat resistant, if you can find one)
- 3 x 5/8” fender washers
- 3/8” threaded ball valve
- 3/8” male barb adapter (Watts A-294)
Step 1 - Remove the spigot from the cooler:
- using a wrench to firmly hold the nut inside the cooler, remove the plastic spigot from the Rubbermaid cooler
- retain the seal from the inside of the cooler for use in Step 2 below
Step 2 - Inside parts:
Stainless steel braid
- cut the ends off the stainless steel braided supply hose using a hacksaw or rotary tool (my Dremel tool cut through the braid like nothing -- took about 60 seconds)
- using a set of needle nose pliers, grab the flexible hose inside the braid, and PUSH the braid off the hose (don't pull!)
- insert the brass square head plug into one end of the braid and secure with a hose clamp (or you can just crimp down the end, but then the braid may float up in your mash)
- apply a few wraps of teflon tape to threads on the brass nipple
- slide stainless steel washer onto brass nipple
- securely attach female barb adapter to brass nipple
insert seal from plastic spigot on inside of cooler and insert brass nipple inside
Step 3 - Outside Parts:
- pull brass nipple all the way through the hole in the cooler, and insert O-ring
- apply teflon tape to threads on nipple
- add fender washers as spacers to ensure a tight fit of the components once the ball valve is attached (mine needed 3 washers)
- attach the ball valve
- apply teflon tape to the male barb connector, and attach it to the bal valve
Step 4 - Attach Stainless Steel Braid
- slip a SS hose clamp over the open end of the SS braid
- slide the braid onto the barb connector inside the cooler, and tighten the hose clamp
EDIT: The hose clamps didn't work. See my update here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/253344-post62.html
The Finished Product
That's it. You now have a cheap MLT that was easy to put together. To be sure mine didn't leak, I filled it to the 10 gallon capacity with water, and let it sit for 45 minutes. Didn't leak a drop!
For additional details and some higher res photos, go to:
What was the total bill?
- Rubbermaid 10 gallon round beverage cooler - $34.99
- all stainless steel ¼” hose clamps x 2 - $0.66/ea
- brass square head plug (Watts A-737) - $1.09
- ½” x 12” (or larger) braided stainless steel supply hose - $4.99
- 3/8” female barb adapter (Watts A-298) - $1.72
- 5/8” stainless steel fender washer - $0.39
- 3/8” MIP x 1-1/2” brass nipple (Watts A-786) - $1.49
- 5/8” O-ring (preferably heat resistant, if you can find one) - $0.59
- 3 x 5/8” fender washers - $.29/ea
- 3/8” threaded ball valve - $6.89
- 3/8” male barb adapter (Watts A-294) - $1.89
Total cost: $56.23 CDN, which is about $8 USD.
No seriously, it would be about $46 US.
If you buy something similar from places like morebeer.com, it would be over $100. It took all of about 5 minutes to assemble everything (although I did do a few trips to Home Depot to find the parts to make it all work).
Can I use this for the Wiki or do you want to add it?
If you add it to your signature it'll help others.
Great posting FlyGuy!!! And good job on the mash tun!
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