Building my first Mash/Lauter Tun

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mcjake

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So, I'm getting ready to make my first all grain batch soon. I plan on using a 5 gallon cooler for our Mash/Lauter Tun. The books I've read all say that it is best to make a manifold for the cooler.

My question is, do we have to have the manifold in the cooler? Or is it OK to just use a grain bag in the cooler for our first few batches?

Thanks.
 

dutch101st

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I have yet to do my first all grain, but I am READY to go in terms of equipment...just need the room to do it (I am in an apartment right now).

I was going to go with a manifold, but being as I am a lazy sod, I went with a false bottom deal. I got a 10 and a 5 gallon orange cooler and added the ball valves for em and to it all set up. I may go with a manifold one of these days, just to see how they work, but am going to go with this system first.

I have been doing grain steeping for 30-40 minutes in 155 degree water then adding to more water and extract, so it is sort of the same concept, however if you are going to be putting 9-15 lbs of grain in you MLT, you will have to have SOMETHING other than a steeping bag...and a very large one at that.
 

thisjrp4

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I made mine from a 5 gal water cooler, 3/8" brass pipe, and SS braided hose. I found that a rubber bung from a mini keg fit perfectly in the hole in the cooler once I took the plastic valve out of the cooler. A piece of 3/8" pipe fits through the bung and I never had a leak. Outside the cooler I put a 3/8" valve and inside some SS braid. It's a great set up...drains fast and complete and no leaks.
 
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mcjake

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I made mine from a 5 gal water cooler, 3/8" brass pipe, and SS braided hose. I found that a rubber bung from a mini keg fit perfectly in the hole in the cooler once I took the plastic valve out of the cooler. A piece of 3/8" pipe fits through the bung and I never had a leak. Outside the cooler I put a 3/8" valve and inside some SS braid. It's a great set up...drains fast and complete and no leaks.
Yeah, I had read a how-to on these forums on how to do something like that. I was just hoping for something a little simpler for our first time.
 

GoBrewers

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I know plenty of people use copper maniolds, especially fly spargers. I made one and used it in my first AG over the weekend and it failed miserably. I ended up having to dump out the mash in a bucket and use a washing machine lint trap. A SS braid would have been better but I didn't have one laying around. It worked ok but I still want to fly sparge.

Long story short, I'm off to my LHBS for a false bottom.
 
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mcjake

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GoBrewers, how did it fail miserably?
 

GoBrewers

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It was my fault. The holes I drilled in it were just too small. The grain husks must have covered it up and nothing couldflow through. Too bad I didn't figure that out until it was full of mash.
 
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