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Old 04-16-2012, 11:02 PM   #1
Feb 2012
Posts: 162
Liked 17 Times on 12 Posts

I am ready to get into all grain and I want to build my own MLT. I am going to use a rectangular igloo cooler. I am planning on batch sparing. Should I go with SS braid or a manifold, and why?

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Old 04-16-2012, 11:17 PM   #2
MyNameIsPaul's Avatar
Jul 2010
Tomball, TX
Posts: 1,093
Liked 161 Times on 132 Posts

I started with a SS braid. It worked, but I think it was too long (4-5"). It never seemed to get clean. It would flake out grain after being dried. I just recently made a manifold, and I like it a lot better. I don't have to worry about it floating up, and it sucks my cooler dry, virtually zero loss/deadspace.

If you have the tools (or desire to buy some for DIY) I'd go manifold. I learned how to sweat copper pipes. It was fun!

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Old 04-16-2012, 11:21 PM   #3
Jul 2011
Glenview, IL
Posts: 6,368
Liked 508 Times on 470 Posts

I too started with an as braid but it kept getting crushed and clogged and replaced so this weekend I made a manifold. All the pieces fit very tight together so I did not sweat any joints, it is completely free to be taken apart and thoroughly cleaned. I drilled the holes instead of slotting with a saw. Used it this weekend on a batch and worked like a dream! Sorry I didn't start with one in the first place!
Nothing Left to do but smile and drink beer.....

The Commune Brewing Company-Perfecting the "art" of beer since 2010

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Old 04-17-2012, 02:04 PM   #4
Cpt_Kirks's Avatar
Sep 2008
Lakeland TN
Posts: 3,723
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I've been using a SS braid for years. Never had any issues, but I'm always afraid I might crush it when stirring in.

Part of my upgrade to a SS liner for my MLT will be a SS false bottom.

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Old 05-01-2012, 03:45 PM   #5
Jul 2009
Bangor, Maine
Posts: 7

I started with a SS braid and has the same issues with it floating up (or even coming off completely) and many stuck sparges. I switched to a Bazooka Screen ($11.50 on amazon) and never had any issues since. It stays low, won't get crushed, won't come off, the wort clears after about 2qt vorlaf and I haven't had a stuck sparge yet (even on a 50% rye beer). That said, I'm limited to batch sparging but my efficiency ranges from 72-80%. With the SS braid it was 60-65%.

So if you really want to fly sparge then manifold is the answer, otherwise I'd recommend the bazooka screen.

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Old 05-01-2012, 04:08 PM   #6
Tinga's Avatar
May 2010
Posts: 1,122
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a cpvc manifold can be made for a couple bucks and is easy to make cover the entire area of a rectangular cooler. I havent used a ss braid in a mash tun so I can't speak to its effectiveness. it does look simple though.

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Old 05-01-2012, 05:22 PM   #7
Dec 2009
Posts: 1,956
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Originally Posted by chrs7446 View Post
That said, I'm limited to batch sparging but my efficiency ranges from 72-80%. With the SS braid it was 60-65%.
I am new to AG but am having a hard time understanding that drastic of a change in efficiency between a braid and bazooka screen. What do you attribute this to? Were you not getting as much wort out of your mash?

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Old 05-01-2012, 05:38 PM   #8
malkore's Avatar
Jun 2007
Posts: 6,922
Liked 37 Times on 35 Posts

SS braid for almost 5 years now, same braid too.

What I have learned from other brewers is that not all braids are created equal. Some of them seem very thin and kink/get crushed. Some are too coarse or too finely woven.
Others, like mine, are great. No issues, ever.
you can put a brass 3/8" plug in the one end which adds weight so it won't float. I think the floaters all just crimped their ends.

Longer isn't better either. I put a really long braid in my 10gal MLT and its a pain. It really only needs to reach to the opposite end of your drain on the MLT.

A manifold definitely benefits from spreading out more over the bottom (i.e. like a false bottom) since it operates in a different way, with fewer 'pores' to let wort run through.
Primary: English Mild
On tap: Pale Ale, Lancelot's Wheat, English Brown Ale, Steam Beer, HoovNuts IPA
Bottled: MOAM, Braggot, Raspberry Melomel, Merlot, Apfelwein, Pyment, Sweet mead, Cabernet
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:52 PM   #9
Jun 2011
Poway, CA
Posts: 344
Liked 41 Times on 32 Posts

To repeat some of the other posts, I started with a braid and then eventually made a manifold. I like the manifold a lot better for a several reasons: flow rate is improved, it drains just as clear wort, it doesn't float up or get kinked, less dead space on the bottom of the tun, and it comes apart easy. I made mine with a threaded coupler so it screws into the bulkhead and I didn't sweat the side pieces so it can come apart when it's removed but not in the tun.
A braid is a good way to start because they're easy and cheap to build--I liked the T-fitting off the bulkhead and a braided loop around the tun--but the manifold can be built in a night or two if you have a torch to sweat fittings and a dremel to cut the slits. I found the dremel with a cutting disc to be way easier than a jigsaw--and there's no way I'd consider doing the slits with a hacksaw.

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