The Great Bottle Opener Giveaway

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > How to: Build The BEST Mash Tun from a Beverage Cooler

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-26-2012, 11:17 PM   #1
crazyworld
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Rocky Point, NY
Posts: 127
Liked 5 Times on 4 Posts
Likes Given: 20

Default How to: Build The BEST Mash Tun from a Beverage Cooler

Hey guys. Got another one for you. Check out my latest project.

Not only did I build a KILLER mash tun, my friend and I shot a video on how to make one yourself.

Video:


Description:
In this video I show you how to build your own beverage cooler mash/lauter tun for homebrewing your own beer. You can use any type of cooler for this project, but your hardware will vary.

I chose to do a 5 gallon mash tun because I had one lying around but this is really as small as you would want to go for a 5 gallon batch of beer. Most people choose something in the 20qt (5 gal) to 50qt (12.5 gal) range. The larger end will accommodate larger gravity beers and most 10 gallon batches.

My rig, besides the mash tun itself, uses all stainless steel components as well as all silicone gaskets and tubing. DO NOT use conduit locknuts, parts labeled only as "steel," or anything galvanized. These items are plated in zinc which will readily dissolve in the (slightly) acidic wort and can cause toxicity. Brass is generally regarded as fine for the laybrewer although the biggest concern here is the lead content. Look for "lead-free" brass which will have no more than 0.25% lead. Otherwise, soak all brass parts in two parts of white vinegar and one part of hydrogen peroxide for no more than 5 minutes to remove surface lead. If you're still concerned, just go stainless. Yes, stainless steel parts are expensive, but they will last a lifetime!

My fittings are 1/2" NPT while 3/8" are probably more common as they are cheaper and can be found locally more easily. Understand that the hardware requirements will vary and your options for assembly are endless. I highly suggest you plan your build before you go shopping and plan on making a run to the hardware store when things don't work out. When I went to order my parts, they were out of FNPT hose barbs so I was forced to buy a coupler and use a MNPT hose barb instead. It's common with a 2 piece ball valve to need to shim it away from the cooler with another locknut or washers if your handle cannot fully close. These can be made of whatever material you wish as they will not touch the liquid.

Be sure to use an NPS (straight threaded) locknut as I did if you wish to thread it all the way onto the pipe nipple (heads up, very few places will have them). Also, you can save here by not using a barb on the inside and putting the braid directly over the inside of the nipple. However, I chose to use the barb to remove the braid for easy removal for cleaning and drying (no need to remove the hose clamp). The barb was only $4 (although I did have to spend another $3.50 for the coupler in my scenario) so I'm not losing sleep over it.

Be sure to test for leaks when I recommend you do as you'll only waste time later if you run into one. If you do encounter a leak, make sure you've wrapped the half of the pipe nipple that threads into the ball valve. I also wrapped the center of the nipple to ensure a smooth, tight surface for the gasket to hug up against. If you don't have a flat surface for the gasket to sit, pack your threads with Teflon tape until you do. Lastly, make sure you're putting enough compression on the gasket. I found it's unnecessary to bend the washer to conform it to the side of the cooler so long as your gasket is thick enough and you have good compression on it.

I used an awl to help get the silicone tubing on the elbow. This stuff is thick so don't worry too much about gouging it. Once it's on there, I don't plan on taking mine off.


And because I know you guys would go nuts if I didn't post it...

Supplies and prices:

All metal parts are 316 stainless steel and ½” NPT unless specified otherwise. All prices include NYS tax where applicable. All quantities are (1) unless otherwise specified.

14.95 Ball valve – 3 piece
3.50 Coupler
4.00 5/8” outlet hose barb
4.75 90 degree street elbow
3.92 “F” camlock adapter
5.62 “B” camlock coupler
7.17 3ft – ½” ID x ¾” OD silicone tubing
2.49 1 ½” pipe nipple (304 SS)
1.99 ¾” ID x 1 ½” OD silicone gasket
3.75 NPS locknut (304 SS)
1.99 15/16” ID x 1 ½” OD washer (304 SS)
9.65 ¾” female NPT x 18” SS water heater connector
1.95 9/16” x 1 ¼” SS hose clamp
10.00 5 gallon Rubbermaid beverage cooler (used)
xx.xx Teflon tape & spray paint
$74.73 TOTAL

The way I look at it, I have an AWESOME mash tun that I can upgrade whenever I want and take the parts with me. Plus, those parts will last me a LIFETIME of brewing.

Thoughts? Comments?

Nick
mash-tun-small-.jpg  
crazyworld is offline
2
People Like This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-26-2012, 11:42 PM   #2
phoenixs4r
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Hayward, California
Posts: 1,506
Liked 54 Times on 49 Posts
Likes Given: 38

Default

Uhhhh.

phoenixs4r is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-26-2012, 11:50 PM   #3
E-Mursed
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Westland, MI
Posts: 893
Liked 108 Times on 65 Posts
Likes Given: 10

Default

The "BEST" mash tun from a beverage cooler would be 10 gallons and have a HBT sticker on it....





See what I mean.....???

__________________
Schöne Blondine Brauerei
Closed-System Pressurized Fermentation - the future of homebrewing today...!!!

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo da Vinci
"A set back is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently" - Henry Ford
E-Mursed is offline
2
People Like This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-26-2012, 11:53 PM   #4
kh54s10
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Tiverton, Rhode Island
Posts: 6,396
Liked 552 Times on 468 Posts
Likes Given: 150

Default

Save a few $ you don't need the pipe nipple on the inside or the elbow on the outside.

Go with the 10 gallon cooler if you can. You would be very hard pressed to fill it for a 5 gallon brew. You will make beers that will totally fill the 5 gallon cooler.

Other than that it looks like my 10 gallon except I went brass and have no disconnects.

__________________
kh54s10 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-27-2012, 01:30 AM   #5
Bobby_M
Vendor and Brewer
HBT_SPONSOR.png
Vendor Ads 
Feedback Score: 2 reviews
 
Bobby_M's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Whitehouse Station, NJ
Posts: 21,822
Liked 899 Times on 600 Posts
Likes Given: 26

Default

The instructions and video may be very good but as a rule I don't consume things deemed to be THE BEST by the creator of said thing. More flies with honey and stuff.

__________________
BrewHardware.com
Sightglass, Refractometer, Ball Valve, Weldless bulkhead, Thermometer, Decals, Stainless Steel Fittings, Compression Fittings, Camlock Quick Disconnects, Scale, RIMS tube, Plate Chiller, Chugger Pump, Super Clear Silicone Tubing, and more!

New Stuff?
Bobby_M is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-27-2012, 02:15 AM   #6
neckbeardbeer
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Herndon, Virginia
Posts: 27
Likes Given: 1

Default

I wouldn't use a used cooler. I am sure it's fine but would weird me out. $48 for a 10 gallon Amazon seems well worth it (just bought a second today for an HLT). Love the MASH on there. Going to do that for my tun and HLT.

__________________

Primary - RR R2H56 Clone, Berliner Weisse (Classic Amurican Styles recipe)
Secondary - More Beer RR Consecration

On tap - Kern River Citra Clone, Golden Touch (Midas Touch Clone), Pebble Snatch'n Pilsner (Jamil's CAP)

neckbeardbeer is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-27-2012, 02:26 AM   #7
Ravenshead
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Ravenshead's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: League City, Tx
Posts: 1,168
Liked 34 Times on 29 Posts
Likes Given: 4

Default

Well produced but...

If you wave your braid at me in person, I'll tie a knot in it and step on it.

__________________

[QUOTE]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polorl69 View Post
I had no problems whatsoever getting my pee to ferment.
Ravenshead is offline
crazyworld Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-27-2012, 02:37 AM   #8
kh54s10
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Tiverton, Rhode Island
Posts: 6,396
Liked 552 Times on 468 Posts
Likes Given: 150

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
The instructions and video may be very good but as a rule I don't consume things deemed to be THE BEST by the creator of said thing. More flies with honey and stuff.

Bobby, As far as I am concerned, if you were to put "THE BEST" on your products it would be no lie!

sorry for the hijack!
__________________
kh54s10 is offline
MannyZ Likes This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-27-2012, 03:32 AM   #9
crazyworld
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Rocky Point, NY
Posts: 127
Liked 5 Times on 4 Posts
Likes Given: 20

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by E-Mursed View Post
The "BEST" mash tun from a beverage cooler would be 10 gallons and have a HBT sticker on it....
Yeah it would. If I only had a HBT sticker for the kegerator ...

And guys I know 5 gallons is small; I thought I made that clear in the video/description, no? It's what I had. I'll be doing some thick mashes and perhaps double sparging but eventually I plan on upgrading so no big deal.

Yes, I'm totally tooting my own horn here Bobby but I really just meant best on youtube. I'll be the one consuming what comes out of this thank you very much

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenshead
If you wave your braid at me in person, I'll tie a knot in it and step on it.
Hahaha, I wouldn't blame you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kh54s10
Save a few $ you don't need the pipe nipple on the inside or the elbow on the outside.
Not sure what you're talking about here as I obviously must have the pipe nipple on the inside. If you meant hose barb, then yes, I really could have just taken the barb and therefore the coupling off and put the screen right over the nipple (don't know why more people don't do this). Like I said, the options are endless, this is just what I decided to show but I appreciate you pointing out where you can save. As for the elbow, I just wanted it (plus I'll probably end up needing one in the future if I decide to build something single tier or something that uses pumps).
__________________
Video: How to Build The Best Mash Tun from a Beverage Cooler
Video: How to wire a Ranco ETC 111000 Digital Temperature Controller
crazyworld is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-27-2012, 04:13 AM   #10
jordanchampine
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Posts: 3
Likes Given: 1

Default

Video was really well done. Neat inserts without losing information and it was cut well.

__________________
jordanchampine is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Using a 5 or 10 Gal. Beverage Cooler as Fermenter Dr1nkBeer DIY Projects 16 09-13-2012 08:38 PM
Cooler Mash Tun, how do I know it's not leaking into the cooler? JMan551 DIY Projects 12 05-08-2012 04:55 AM
Ice Cream Cooler Conversion....to build or not to build. natebomb DIY Projects 7 10-16-2011 06:54 PM
Converting Viking Beverage cooler to kegerator jconway DIY Projects 0 05-07-2011 04:06 AM
Does any one use a Beverage Cooler for a Fermentation Cooler zman DIY Projects 23 02-17-2011 05:19 AM