cooler MLT questions.

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Hercules Rockefeller

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I'm working on making a cooler MLT (LHBS wants $120 for exactly the type described in the wiki for about $20), and I've got a couple of questions to throw out there.

1: I purchased all of the parts listed in the wiki article "making a partial mash mash tun", and it's all 3/8" parts. The trouble is, the hole in the cooler (5 gallon rubbermade) is 3/4" wide, and the indentaion around where the spigot would go is too narrow to accomodate the handle of the ball valve in the closed position. So I'm going to need a longer nipple and some nuts to hold it in place so the ball valve can be attached further out from the cooler. the question is, should I return all the stuff I got that's 3/8" and get a longer, 3/4" nipple, 3/4" ball valve, 3/4" MIP to 3/8 barb adapters, etc? or should I stick with the 3/8" stuff, buy a longer nipple just use some big washers to bridge the gap between the nipple and the hole in the cooler.

2: I wanted to get a 3 gal cooler as 2 gal is just barely big enough to mash 4 lbs, but I couldn't find one and picked up a 5 gal cooler instead. Will my grain bed be too shallow If I'm mashing 4-5 lbs of grain? or should I be ok with the 5 gal cooler. I kinda like the idea of having a 5 gal mash tun as It should give me the flexibility of doing some small AG batches in the future, but I plan on doing mostly partial mash for the foreseeable future, so if it's going to mess up my small mashes I'll keep looking for 3 gal.

thanks!
 

McKBrew

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I'd go for the bigger valver route personally. While building your own mashtun is cool, sometimes it's about as cheap in the long run to get at least a pre-made cooler kit/bazooka screen from somewhere like Northern Brewer.

Another option is to use the smaller valve/pieces and some food grade silicon to seal everything up and keep it in place.
 

Bobby_M

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Keep in mind that 3/8" pipe is actually 5/8" OD. 1/2" is closer to 3/4" OD.

You could get away with the 3/8" parts but only if your inside washer covers the hole and you use a gasket that does the same. You'll have to cut one out or use the one originally on the spigot.
 
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Hercules Rockefeller

Hercules Rockefeller

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Thanks for the advice guys! I think I have it figured out, I just can't find any stainless steel washers big enough. I've got a friend who works for a hardware supplied, and he can get me just about anything so I should be good to go once I get those washers!
 

malkore

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As long as you batch sparge, your grainbed depth will be fine. fly spargers are the ones that need to consider bed depth a little more carefully.

I am really surprised the exact parts listed in the DIY article didn't fit the round 5 gallon Rubbermaid 'Victory' water cooler. Remember that you keep the white rubber piece that the old spigot runs through.
 
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Hercules Rockefeller

Hercules Rockefeller

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Hercules Rockefeller

Hercules Rockefeller

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As long as you batch sparge, your grainbed depth will be fine. fly spargers are the ones that need to consider bed depth a little more carefully.

I am really surprised the exact parts listed in the DIY article didn't fit the round 5 gallon Rubbermaid 'Victory' water cooler. Remember that you keep the white rubber piece that the old spigot runs through.
it depends on the cooler, I ended up buying two. the parts in the DIY article fit the orange home depot cooler, although the rubber peice that comes with the cooler is the only thing holding it in place, which concerns me a bit. first I had bought a blue rubbermaid cooler from Wal-Mart, and the area around the spigot is more deeply indented into the side of the cooler, which is why the ball valve hit the side when it was closed. I ended up having my freind pick up a 1 1/2 long nipple and a few SS washers, I'm going to leave the rubber peice in, but use neoprene and SS washers on each side of the cooler to ensure that the whole thing is clamped to the wall of the cooler itself pretty snugly, to take the strain off of the stock rubber gasket, which I'll leave in. I think that should work well.
 

FlyGuy

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While building your own mashtun is cool, sometimes it's about as cheap in the long run to get at least a pre-made cooler kit/bazooka screen from somewhere like Northern Brewer.
Actually, my experience is the opposite -- my DIY cooler MLT was a small fraction of the cost of buying something off the shelf. And it was dead easy to do, as well. Where are you finding these cheap pre-made cooler kits? (Just curious.)

it depends on the cooler, I ended up buying two. the parts in the DIY article fit the orange home depot cooler, although the rubber peice that comes with the cooler is the only thing holding it in place, which concerns me a bit. first I had bought a blue rubbermaid cooler from Wal-Mart, and the area around the spigot is more deeply indented into the side of the cooler, which is why the ball valve hit the side when it was closed. I ended up having my freind pick up a 1 1/2 long nipple and a few SS washers, I'm going to leave the rubber peice in, but use neoprene and SS washers on each side of the cooler to ensure that the whole thing is clamped to the wall of the cooler itself pretty snugly, to take the strain off of the stock rubber gasket, which I'll leave in. I think that should work well.
Herc -- check out the DIY mlt build in my signature. It is for the 10 gal Rubbermaid cooler, but it fits the 5 gal ones just as well.
 
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Hercules Rockefeller

Hercules Rockefeller

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Fly Guy, that's almoste exactly what I have now that I'm getting a longer 3/8" valve nipple and some ss washers. I'm confident that this will work well, and if it does, I'll edit the wiki accordingly. the part # for the nipple in the wiki is too short (only 1" long) to put washers on both sides.

Thanks for the input!
 

McKBrew

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Actually, my experience is the opposite -- my DIY cooler MLT was a small fraction of the cost of buying something off the shelf. And it was dead easy to do, as well. Where are you finding these cheap pre-made cooler kits? (Just curious.)
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By the time I bought all of the parts for the cooler, and extra pieces parts to try to stop the leaks, I probably had $30 in parts, maybe closer to $40. It may have worked fine, but I never even tried version 1, because I decided I wanted all of the ball valves to be the same size on my kettle and cooler. I purchased this ball valve from my LHBS for $30, and affixed a $18 bazooka screen. Grand total for everything was about $50.

Maybe if everything would have went right the first time, I could have had the parts for a bit less, but there wasn't that much of a cost savings for me to have everything look uniform, and installing a ball valve with a bazooka screen is extremely simple as well.
 

FlyGuy

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Yes, I can see how your cost got up there. But if you just use basic fittings, which work great BTW, one can easily construct an entire mash tun complete with ball valve and SS braid filter for under $50 (or much less if you use an inexpensive rectangular cooler). That is half of what the LHBS wants for an item that will do the same thing.
 

schristian619

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I just converted 2 10 gal this weekend, for fly sparging. I used the items in the WIKI and everything came out perfect. Onlty cost me ~$30 for the parts combined plus 2 coolers. I think the kits cost more than $30 for each one, so I know I came out ahead and it was so easy! In fact, after ordering a sparge arm, false bottom, and tubing, I saved nearly $100 over buying the same thing as a kit!
 
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