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Possible Mash Tun Dead Space Solution

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IchLiebeBier

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I recently built a new 1/2" copper pipe manifold for my round 10 gallon mash tun. But through tweaking, I got it down to leaving about 2.5 cups of wort in the tun.

I know most people would say that's good, don't worry about it, but I felt like doing it better so I could get my efficiency as high as possible. So here's what I came up with. It worked perfectly with water, getting every drop out of the bottom of the tun. I plan on brewing next Friday, so I'll get to test it with grain.

I took an old racking cane without the bottom cap and cut an angle in the bottom using a hot knife, like a short inverted U. I then covered the end with a piece from an old mesh grain bag and secured it with a SS band to filter the grain.

Once you sparge out as much as you can, tilt the cooler to one side, push the cane to the bottom edge, and siphon off the wort into the kettle.

Like I said, I've only tried it with water so far, so I don't know yet how it will perform with grain against it, but we'll see next week.

Any thoughts or suggested improvements?
 

WissaBrewGuy

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If your screen is fine enough you shouldn't get any grain in the cane but I would be hesitant to slosh the grain bed around too much when you tilt your MT. I'm not sure I would've gone through that for 2.5 cups but I am an efficiency nut myself so I get the motivation. Depending on batch size I'm not even sure that 2.5C will make a difference but if you are doing 2.5gal like I did for some time that 2.5C could increase your EFF a couple of points. Let us know when you do your efficiency calcs so we can see how it improved!
 

grathan

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This must be batch sparging? Better off incorporating it into the normal drain. I recently did something similar where I built a diptube that reached the bottom of the mash tun at the front so a slight tip would get all the liquid. I bent a bazooka tube to fit over the tube. Manifolds are for fly sparging.
 
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IchLiebeBier

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Grathan,
I do batch sparging, but I decided to build a manifold to keep the "filtering device" on the floor of the cooler.

I started off with a braid, but when I stirred the grain the hose would pull up and stretch out. I felt I would lose efficiency if the hose weren't on the bottom and I didn't want to screw anything into the floor to keep it down.

Plus, a copper manifold looks cool.

I know 2.5 cups is nothing to sweat, but I see all sorts of folks talking about a lot more dead space, so I thought I'd post it. Maybe help someone out.
 

WissaBrewGuy

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Just a quick tip: I used a complicated braid-based manifold for my round cooler but I kept the braided hose sturdy by wrapping 316SS 12gage wire around a 1/2" pipe then inserting this into my braid. This is a really great way to keep the braided manifold sturdy and prevent it from getting crushed under the weight of grain. Obviously you don't need this advice anymore but just in case someone reads this I thought it would be somewhat relevant.
 
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IchLiebeBier

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Tried it out on the brew on Friday. Concept was good, but my manifold seemed to perform well enough that I didn't have much dead space in the MLT.

I didn't get any out of the device, but after dumping the grain, there wasn't much wort left in the cooler, either.

I think it still may be useful for others, though.
 
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