60qt. Ice Cube Mash Tun Build - $cheap and simple - Home Brew Forums

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Old 10-31-2009, 08:00 PM   #1
Jan 2009
lubbock, tx
Posts: 32
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

I've been planning the transition to all-grain for quite some time and I finally was able to put together everything. My goal was to keep this mash tun as simple and cheap as possible while being big enough to handle 10 gallon batches. The cooler I decided on was the 60 quart Igloo Ice Cube cooler with 'ultratherm insulation'. This cooler is plenty big enough to handle large 10 gallon batches and easy on the budget at $25. Hopefully the 'ultratherm' insulation will keep the temps in range for the full mash time. Here is a picture of the cooler:

I discovered from a few other posts that the stock bulkhead could be removed and the hole was the perfect size for a 1/2 MPT coupling. This keeps me from having to drill a hole in the cooler, and I kept the stock bulkhead around in case I decide to use this for a cooler in the future. Another plus about this cooler is that there is no insulation where the bulkhead is. This allowed me to keep my bulkhead fittings very simple (and cheap). Hopefully, this lack of insualation in this area won't result in heat loss.

For the bulkhead fitting, I reused the stock igloo bulkheads soft rubber gasket, and plastic gasket ring. If this worked for the stock bulkhead, I figured it would work for my purposes. Since I am going to use a CPVC manifold. I used a 1/2 CPVC MPT adapter as the male portion of the bulkhead. I also used rubber hose gasket on the outside portion of the bulkhead, and screwed the valve on the end. I tested this out, and it doesn't leak! I am happy with this set up because it was super cheap:
Valve $6
Hose Gasket $1.50 / 10 pack
CPVC 1/2 MPT $.50
3/8 Hose Barb $2.50

On this inside I fitted a pretty basic CPVC manifold. I had to put a 90* fitting in because the bulkhead comes in at a funky 45* angle. I tested this out as is and it drains all the water out except for an inch or so at the bottom.

The bottom line for everything was $40. I can't complain with the price tag, lets just hope this thing will make some beer! My next job is to the drink the beer on tap so that I can make room in my fermentation chamber for my first all-grain batch. Let me know if anyone has any recommendations or comments.


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Old 10-31-2009, 08:28 PM   #2
android's Avatar
Jan 2009
Ames, Iowa
Posts: 3,062
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that should work just fine. nice job.
primary: APA

ebay temp controller | thermostat temp controller

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Old 10-31-2009, 08:33 PM   #3
Crazytwoknobs's Avatar
Aug 2007
Posts: 585
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That is very nice!
Marbles baby, marbles.

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Old 10-31-2009, 08:34 PM   #4
dontman's Avatar
Oct 2008
Philly, PA
Posts: 2,402
Liked 27 Times on 22 Posts

Looks good. Maybe some scoring on the side tubing.
On Tap: 1. Kelly R. IPA, 2. Roter Hund Hefeweizen, 3. Bud Killer Blonde, 4. Red Dog Pale, 5. Roter Hund Oktoberfest, 6. Pumpkin Ale, 7. McRed's Stout (with new nitro system and stout tap,) Cream Soda, 8. ESB # 3, & 9. Ordinary Bitter.

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Old 11-01-2009, 12:55 AM   #5
GoldMiner's Avatar
Aug 2009
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Posts: 584
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Same cooler I use but with a ss braid.

Toughest part was getting the pickup tube to the floor of the cooler.

You should be very happy.

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Old 11-01-2009, 01:40 AM   #6
May 2007
Posts: 95
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Nice! I have the exact same cooler, and have been thinking about doing this exact same thing with it. What are the dimensions of the PVC apparatus, or would a braid be equally as effective, and you could kind of tip the cooler to drain it all the way? Thoughts?
Thanks for the great instructional post! Off to get the parts tomorrow!

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Old 11-01-2009, 07:36 AM   #7
May 2008
Posts: 2,274
Liked 9 Times on 9 Posts

Very nice, I also use that cooler. I just set up an elbow joint and attached it to my SS braid. Works very well for me.
Thanks for the post.
In Primary: Belgium Chimay clones.
In Secondary: Braggot, pale ale, end of the world white.
Conditioning: Mead, Cider, braggot, Belgium Wheat.
On Tap: Clones, Chimay Blue, Red, Porter, malted cider.
Bottles: Far, far, too many to list.

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Old 11-01-2009, 01:06 PM   #8
DBbrewing's Avatar
Mar 2009
Streator, Illinois
Posts: 278
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Great job I use the same set up but I do fly sparge so I made a manifold and mounted to the lid.


primarys: Black Jesus IPA
Secondaries: Apple cider

Bottled; Mead

Kegged; Barrel aged Porter, Irish Red,
Dead Guy Clone
Munich Helles, Oatmeal Stout, !2% Russian Imperial Stout, Milk Chocolate Stout, Barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout, 12% Barley Wine(aging)

Up Next; Black IPA

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Old 11-01-2009, 01:22 PM   #9
bullinachinashop's Avatar
Oct 2009
NE Ohio
Posts: 1,046
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Did you check to see how much wort your going to lose? I built a similar manifold for my 48 qt cooler and found that I lose almost 1/2 gal.

I'm thinking of making a copper false bottom and a custom fitting filter bag that I'll be able to remove after sparging.

Maybe I'm crazy


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Old 11-01-2009, 01:27 PM   #10
Jun 2006
Yardley, PA
Posts: 36
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Nicely done! I recently went A/G with the same cooler + another one as an HLT. I also do fly sparging with a manifold mounted underneath the lid.

One issue I had during my first batches, was the difficulty of hitting the right strike temperature (and thus I mashed too low and got somewhat "thin" beer). I'm getting ready for my next batch, and this time I have BeerSmith set up with a Specific Heat of 0.450 for the cooler, and I hope I'll be hitting my mark better this time.

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