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Advice on making my own false bottom

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mcleanmj

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I am about to build a 10 gallon cooler mash tun. I have not bought any of the parts yet, including the cooler.

It just so happens my buddy works at a metal shop and after sending him a picture of a false bottom he says he can easily make one for me.

I have given him the dimension that I took from a supply website: 12" diameter, 3/32" holes on 5/32" centers, with a center hole that is 3/4"...I also said the thickness is irrelevant as long as it is stainless steel and not flimsy...

However, this false bottom would not be domed, perfectly flat cut from a scrap sheet of stainless...

Would these dimensions work? And is a flat false bottom just fine as opposed to domed?

Thanks Much!!
 

Sir Humpsalot

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Well, you need a little bit of space under there for the wort to collect and be siphoned off. There's several ways around that though.

You could run silicone tubing around the edge to give it some height. You could also bend it in half at a small angle and put a long skinny triangle along the sides to close it off. You could also lay the center on something and bend it by hand to the correct approximate shape- maybe a mallet and a sandbag would get you pretty close.

If I had such a buddy, I would definitely go for it.
 
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mcleanmj

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Thanks for the reply

I was under the impression (based on reading not handling a cooler, as I am currently at sea) that the coolers became a bit thinner at the bottom, although that seemed odd to me...I could always have him tack on a few little feet to stand it up a couple inches, that work?
 

Sir Humpsalot

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The coolers are straight-sided, same dimensions all the way down, if that's what you mean.

Feet alone generally won't work because the grain will sneak around the sides and underneath. But, if you wanted to make that work, you'd want the feet to be really small, so the vertical gap between the bottom of the cooler and the false bottom was less than a quarter of an inch, so the grains will compact and form a semi-solid filtering bed along the sides. The problem there, however, is that the weight of the grains may press down on the false bottom, pressing it against the bottom of the cooler, eliminating the space needed to get good clear runnings.

So you're generally back to somehow blocking or partially blocking the edges off. Maybe you could take a thin strip of stainless, maybe a half an inch or an inch, and go around the perimeter of the false bottom with that... make it sort of like a really thin hat box, rather than a dome.... just make sure the system can get past the ball valve fitting to rest on the bottom without having to disassemble the ball valve assembly every time you want to install the FB. A ring of 3/8" OD copper tubing around the perimeter would probably also work and that'd be easy to fabricate. Just seal off the ends so that wort doesn't get in there and turn the insides rancid. Or the really big thick plastic tubing could be used, with a 2-way barbed fitting to close the ends and form the circle. Rest the FB on top of that and, sure the grains will compress it a bit, but there will still be enough material there to hold it up a bit. That'd probably be the cheap and easy solution.
 
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