Making my own Mash Tun what to choose?

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o0_Enigma_0o

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Good Morning Guys.
Just wondering if you could help choosing what to build a mash tun from.
I have a couple of options but not sure what the best route would be and I would prefer not to buy any more containers if possible.

Using an old but small cool box (Maybe 20L - Its so far in my garage I cannot reach it)
Using a 5 gallon steel kettle (huge sauce pan)
Using a beer Keg I have acquired from my local pub

I have lots of pipe fixing, stainless steel filters(bazooka screens), stainless taps etc

What do you guys think the best container would be to convert into a mash tun?
would I get benefits by using a smaller container and then using a Sparging system?

My current thoughts are to use foil insulation (looks like foil bubble wrap) to insulate the 5 gallon steel kettle. But not sure if it will hold temperature long enough.

Many thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
 

ProblemChild

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well - as a few questions before it gets started,

What size batch do you plan on making?
What is your heat source?
How do you plan on heating strike water?
What process do you have in mind?

Frankly, all are rather viable options and a lot matters on what you want to do.

For brew in a bag, I have seen the 5-gallon and foil insulation (secured by Velcro to make it removable during heating) used very well as as stove-top method. You will work with slightly smaller batches based on your kettle size, but a single vessel system works quite nicely

If you want to use a mash tun and fly sparge, I would be inclined to use the cooler (cool box) and the bazooka screen. At that size, I would prefer to get a mesh bag like is used in BAIB instead of or in addition to the bazooka. Clean up is easier and you can mill a bit finer, increasing efficiency. This also allows you to lift out the grains and get the last bits of precious wort by suspending it and letting the remaining wort run out. That configuration all but ensures never having a stuck sparge.

You have quite a few options truthfully.
 
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o0_Enigma_0o

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Hi, Thank you for your reply.

In answer to your questions.

What size batch do you plan on making?

I am looking at 5 Gallon brews. I have an All grain kit at the moment from "The Home Brew Company" its just one big bag of grain, 3 small bags of hops, yeast and a tablet.

What is your heat source?
I was hoping to heat using a 8Kw gas camping stove, as my last attempt on the electric hob took forever.

How do you plan on heating strike water?
Was hoping to use a kettle on the 8Kw stove and then use a tap and hose to get it to the mash tun

What process do you have in mind?

Not sure what you mean by this sorry.

Also.
I was going to convert the beer keg from the pub into a kettle for boiling the wort and heating the strike, (as this seems to have enough room for any foam and shouldn't boil over) also I would like to be mashing in a separate container (not sure why though).

I like the idea of the Velcro to remove the insulation :)

Cheers
 

Dland

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I made my mash tun out of a half keg. By cutting the bottom off and tapping into the top where sanke tube goes in, I have zero mash tun dead space. A 1.5 tri clamp end cap works well to plug the hole. 8 in 1/2 NPT nipple goes though the side of the keg skirt, and a valve screws right on. Half keg is good for 10 gallon batches, a quarter keg would work if your batches are always 5 gallons.

Same set up works for the other kettles as well.

IMG_1260.JPG
 

Soulshine2

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Good Morning Guys.
Just wondering if you could help choosing what to build a mash tun from.
I have a couple of options but not sure what the best route would be and I would prefer not to buy any more containers if possible.

Using an old but small cool box (Maybe 20L - Its so far in my garage I cannot reach it)
Using a 5 gallon steel kettle (huge sauce pan)
Using a beer Keg I have acquired from my local pub

I have lots of pipe fixing, stainless steel filters(bazooka screens), stainless taps etc

What do you guys think the best container would be to convert into a mash tun?
would I get benefits by using a smaller container and then using a Sparging system?

My current thoughts are to use foil insulation (looks like foil bubble wrap) to insulate the 5 gallon steel kettle. But not sure if it will hold temperature long enough.

Many thanks in advance for any help you can provide.
what are you calling a cool box?
Do you have anything available like this?
 

RM-MN

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Was hoping to use a kettle on the 8Kw stove and then use a tap and hose to get it to the mash tun
Some people report off flavors from the hose. You may want to make note of this and if it causes the off flavor change to a different hose or carry the water to the mash tun in a bucket.
 
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o0_Enigma_0o

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Some people report off flavors from the hose. You may want to make note of this and if it causes the off flavor change to a different hose or carry the water to the mash tun in a bucket.
Would this still be the case with the clear food safe silicon tubing?
 
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o0_Enigma_0o

o0_Enigma_0o

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I made my mash tun out of a half keg. By cutting the bottom off and tapping into the top where sanke tube goes in, I have zero mash tun dead space. A 1.5 tri clamp end cap works well to plug the hole. 8 in 1/2 NPT nipple goes though the side of the keg skirt, and a valve screws right on. Half keg is good for 10 gallon batches, a quarter keg would work if your batches are always 5 gallons.

Same set up works for the other kettles as well.

View attachment 605952
I like what you have done bud, have you got any more pictures so I could maybe copy your design ;)
 

Dland

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I like what you have done bud, have you got any more pictures so I could maybe copy your design ;)
Below is tread for a similar build. The sight glass on the output valve did not work out so well, does not read true when valve open, so moved to thermometer opening, also you would want top vessel opening larger for MT; https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/just-made-keg-based-hlt-with-electric-option.652823/

Below are pictures of MT and other keg vessels. The MT was done a while ago, these days I'd save the skirt and handles, the original one I just cut off with sawzall.
 

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CascadesBrewer

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I used to mash in my boil bot in an insulated box, and my later tun was a 6.5 gal bucket with a false bottom and wrapped with insulation. It worked okay and could support a batch up to around 15 lbs of grain (so maybe a 1.070 OG for a 5 gal batch). I just scooped sparge water over the top. I then tried out batch sparging and got about the same efficiency numbers with less time. I could have mashed in the bucket, but I like being able to heat my pot for a mash out step...but many skip the mash out.

I recently moved to BIAB and have really been enjoying the simplified process and reduced brew day time. I don't have any issues with 2 or 3 vessel systems (they are probably a better option for batches of 10 gal or above), but for somebody starting off that does not already have a system, I would strongly suggest looking into BIAB.

Here is a thread where I posted about my first BIAB and added pictures of today's brew day:
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/yet-another-biab-first-timer.660301/
 

Soulshine2

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Nothing like that its a rectangle box with a lid lol
Not even sure its food safe plastic :|
This more like it?

This is basically what I use without the roller or handle and mine is 43 qts. If it wasn't food safe it wouldn't be used as a cooler. However , remember the temps we're putting into this is only mashing temps (160*F 'ish) being the highest.
 

eric19312

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In your situation here is what I would probably do.

Convert that keg into a keggle and buy a grain bag and do BIAB. Probably keep it simple and start out with insulating the keg with a sleeping bag during the mash, then taking it off during the boil. I am not sure if that burner will be sufficient but I think it will be looking at similar on Amazon UK site. Key question is if the keggle will fit on it and be stable.

Here is a decent article on building a keggle
https://byo.com/project/build-a-keggle-projects/

You need a way to cut a big hole in the top and to add a drain valve at the bottom (on the side near the bottom). Weldless fitting is easy unless you know a good welder and you will need a dip tube. A false bottom in the keggle is nice option to keep the grain bag from touching the bottom which could melt it.

Unless you have a pump you will need to boil at counter height so you can gravity drain from the keggle into your fermentor.

With the 15 gallon volume of the fermentor you will be in good shape to do full volume BIAB and if you wanted to add in a dunk sparge step (maybe in that soup pot you have) you could double batch from time to time and get 10 gallon batches.
 
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CascadesBrewer

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Convert that keg into a keggle and buy a grain bag and do BIAB.
I would second this. One draw back of BIAB is that it does require a little more investment into your kettle than other methods (especially for a full volume mash), but in this case you have something to make a good sized kettle out of...which can be used to support your mash and boil (and skip a lauter tun).

In a 3-vessel type system, a 5 gallon vessel really only works for a hot liquor tank (and even then you often need real close to 5 gals of sparge water). A 5 gal/20L mash/lauter tun will limit you to maybe 12 lbs of grain in a fly sparge setup...less for a batch sparge.
 
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eric19312

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Hi, Thanks for everyone's replies and apologies for the late reply myself.

eric19312, Could you help me with what is a dip tube, and also what is Dunk Sparge ?

Many thanks
Sorry for late reply Enigma -- I was away for a bit

A dip tube is how you get wort from under your false bottom and out the side of your kettle. If you are going to heat your kettle with that propane burner you do not want to mess with a bottom drain. Bottom drais (I believe not ever having used one) are generally used with electrically heated kettles and mash tuns - with a heating element in the wort (through a bulkhead or other kettle side port) or in a RIMS tube. Direct fire kettles you don't want a valve on the bottom, the port and valve should be on the wall of the kettle. You can place the port very low but this is tricky to drill in a kettle and won't work in a round bottom keg. Better to place a couple inches off the bottom and use a dip tube to get to the bottom of the kettle. Here is a good example of what I'd probably use, I've always been very happy with kettle/keg parts from brewhardware.com but maybe you can find something similar in UK that won't be as expensive to ship.
https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/diptubewl58.htm

I'd also probably buy his false bottom since it seems to be designed to work in conjunction with the dip tube:
https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/fb15hh.htm

On the outside of the dip tube bulkhead you will mount a ball valve and something that lets you attach a piece of silicone tubing to the ball valve - easiest is a 1/2" NPT barb. You do want the silicone tubing rated for boiling liquids not the cheap clear vinyl stuff. You need the tubing to make the dip tube work. Without the tubing the dip tube will not drain the keg from any lower than the bottom of the hole you drilled in the side of the keg. With the tubing you will drain all the way to the level of the bottom of the dip tube so long as the silicone tubing (the end not attached to the barb) extends below the bottom of the ket. Sorry if that was obvious to you, it took me a while to figure it out when I first started.



Dunk sparge would be a way to use that 5 gallon pot you have. First hold back a couple gallons of water from your primary mash. Warm that water on the stove in your 5 gallon pot or don't bother heating it, I doubt it matters much. After lifting the grain bag out of the main kettle and letting it drain, you then lower it into the 5 gallon pot (this is the dunk step), stir it a bit in the bag, and then lift it out and let it drain it again (into the 5 gallon pot). You would add the liquid collected in the 5 gallon kettle to the main kettle for your full pre-boil volume.
 

Schlenkerla

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This more like it?

This is basically what I use without the roller or handle and mine is 43 qts. If it wasn't food safe it wouldn't be used as a cooler. However , remember the temps we're putting into this is only mashing temps (160*F 'ish) being the highest.
That is what I have...
 

Schlenkerla

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I'm using this as a gravity RIMS.

1) A kettle with a bulkhead thermometer and ball valve as a hot liquor tank and boil kettle.

2) A 5 gallon cooler as 2nd hot liquor tank. It's a back up to hold step mash water warm. It's essentially a reservoir. Fills and empties from the bottom. (Not pictured below)

3) A 12 gallon Igloo cooler as a mash tun. I have two holes in it; one is to add initial strike water or to extract wort and the other up top is to recirculate wort.

This operates with two lifting the kettle on and off the burner and I split the discharge. To force top filling or underletting either direction. I use polypropylene hollow balls for heat retention in the HLT and MLT. I lauter with raising the MLT and lowering the HLT/BK.

This set up allows for easy infusion mashing, step mashing, or decoction mashing. It heats, adds water, removes wort, and recirculates. Then becomes a boil kettle.

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Soulshine2

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I just preheat with boiling water and close the lid once my grist goes into mash and properly stirred.
 
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