Building a Mash Tun

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Indyking

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Dear AG enthusiasts,

First and foremost, I did search here before opening this thread. While I found some info about building a mash tun, there are still many questions I have.

1-I know the advantages and disadvantages of each collection system (false bottom, manifold, etc) and cooler sizes, which Palmer explain well in his book, but is there a gold standard homemade mash tun most people use for the traditional 5-gallon batches?
2-All I could find here was one detailed step by step directions to build a mash tun, are there others I'm missing? Recommendations?
3-Palmer's does not really talk about the use of a hot liquor tun (HLT) for spangling to be used with the mash tun to boost efficiency (at least I haven't got to that part in his book yet), so is it absolutely important to have the HLT?

Any comments will be highly appreciated! Thanks!
 

motobrewer

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i don't know about a gold standard, it generally comes down to how much cash you have.

My only advice would be to get a 10 gallon mash tun. I have a 5 gallon rubbermaid, and I can only go up to about 1.060, I can't mash out, I can't do multiple infusions.

I've never used a HLT, I batch sparge, but it would come in handy. If you're looking for a plastic mash tun i'd recommend this:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/all-grain-system-mash-tun-10-gallons.html

I have the 5 gallon version. it works great, but small.
 
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Indyking

Indyking

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i don't know about a gold standard, it generally comes down to how much cash you have.

My only advice would be to get a 10 gallon mash tun. I have a 5 gallon rubbermaid, and I can only go up to about 1.060, I can't mash out, I can't do multiple infusions.

I've never used a HLT, I batch sparge, but it would come in handy. If you're looking for a plastic mash tun i'd recommend this:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/all-grain-system-mash-tun-10-gallons.html

I have the 5 gallon version. it works great, but small.
Yeah, definitively 10 gal cooler. Have you measured your efficiency with that mash tun?
 

motobrewer

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it varies, 68-72 total fermentor efficiency. I am pretty new to AG, and my process, well, sucks.

I'm on a well, and the water is terrible for brewing. So i've been using bottled Spring Water for mashing. I think the pH is getting out of wack. Also, either BMW's crush or the Northern Brewer false bottom (or the combo) gives me a terribly grain-filled lauter. I think mashing out will help my efficiency a bit, as will managing the water better.

I think the biggest hit to my (total) eff. is that I can only run off like 6 gallons total because my boil kettle is tiny.
 

OHIOSTEVE

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IMO to start with batch sparging a stainless mesh and a cooler is fine. I just switched to a copper manifold and see no difference in efficiency, I like that it is more sturdy though.
 

mojotele

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1-I know the advantages and disadvantages of each collection system (false bottom, manifold, etc) and cooler sizes, which Palmer explain well in his book, but is there a gold standard homemade mash tun most people use for the traditional 5-gallon batches?
Definitely go with a 10+ gallon cooler. My Coleman Xtreme does very well at maintaining temperature. A good and cheap place to start is a simple stainless steel braid. Go to a hardware store, get yourself a hot water heater hose and pull out the inside hose. You'll be left with a nice, strong braid that will not collapse under the weight of the grain. You can do batch sparging very well with a braid.

2-All I could find here was one detailed step by step directions to build a mash tun, are there others I'm missing? Recommendations?
The easiest way is to find the cooler of your choice, go to http://www.bargainfittings.com/ and get yourself an appropriate kit, then get your stainless steel braid as I said above. After that, it's just a matter of connecting the braid to the fitting. That's easy to do with a couple hose clamps and a brass pipe terminator to put on the opposite end of the braid and weigh it down.

3-Palmer's does not really talk about the use of a hot liquor tun (HLT) for spangling to be used with the mash tun to boost efficiency (at least I haven't got to that part in his book yet), so is it absolutely important to have the HLT?
Absolutely not. I don't have one. I just heat my strike water on the stove, do my mash, and heat my sparge water in two separate pots on my stove (one pot for each batch sparge). Works great!

Hope that helps!
 

OHIOSTEVE

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Definitely go with a 10+ gallon cooler. My Coleman Xtreme does very well at maintaining temperature. A good and cheap place to start is a simple stainless steel braid. Go to a hardware store, get yourself a hot water heater hose and pull out the inside hose. You'll be left with a nice, strong braid that will not collapse under the weight of the grain. You can do batch sparging very well with a braid.



The easiest way is to find the cooler of your choice, go to http://www.bargainfittings.com/ and get yourself an appropriate kit, then get your stainless steel braid as I said above. After that, it's just a matter of connecting the braid to the fitting. That's easy to do with a couple hose clamps and a brass pipe terminator to put on the opposite end of the braid and weigh it down.



Absolutely not. I don't have one. I just heat my strike water on the stove, do my mash, and heat my sparge water in two separate pots on my stove (one pot for each batch sparge). Works great!

Hope that helps!
that is exactly my setup and scenario when brewing inside. i JUST switched to the coppr manifold however.
 

motobrewer

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what do you guys mean by copper manifold?

you talking false bottom vs braid?
 

mojotele

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what do you guys mean by copper manifold?

you talking false bottom vs braid?
See info on manifolds here. They're really only necessary if you want to do fly sparging. Completely unnecessary for batch sparging, though some people just prefer them.
 

Kriznac

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I have a 5gal coleman MLT (the kind that comes with a spout), and a coleman Xtreme, like 56qts or there abouts. Both have copper manifolds. I didn't realize the manifold was more for fly sparging than batch at the time but now I have the option to fly sparge in the future at least. Anyway, for what its worth I seem to get better eff. on my small MLT than the bigger one. I do like having two different sizes though, it's nice to be able to not haul out the big MLT for a session brew like a Pale Ale.
 

jafo28

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i don't know about a gold standard, it generally comes down to how much cash you have.

My only advice would be to get a 10 gallon mash tun. I have a 5 gallon rubbermaid, and I can only go up to about 1.060, I can't mash out, I can't do multiple infusions.

I've never used a HLT, I batch sparge, but it would come in handy. If you're looking for a plastic mash tun i'd recommend this:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/all-grain-system-mash-tun-10-gallons.html

I have the 5 gallon version. it works great, but small.
Get the ten gallon if you can find it. When I built mine for some reason I could only find the five gallon. A week later I saw the ten at home depot, but didn't have any more spare cash. Come spring I will be getting the ten. I also just used my smaller 22 qt brew kettle for HLT, because now I have a ten gallon brew kettle. FWIW I use a steel braid and am getting around 80-85% efficiency.
 

Petho

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I scammed an old cooler from the garage and took it to Home Depot and mustered all of the pieces to make one. I used the stainless braid design with some hose clamps. Total Price was under 15 bucks. It leaked a bit during mash but it held temperature and worked fine.

I'm not cheap, just cash poor... nah, who am I kidding, I'm cheap.
 
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