Question for manifold build for MLT Cooler

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rockytoptim

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So I bought a 70 qt igloo max cooler today so I can start AG. The cooler has a step in the back. I don't have the exact measurement of the step but I think its about 3 inches front to back and maybe 4 -5 inches top to bottom. I plan on making manifold out of copper tubing. My question is do I need to make the manifold go up over the step? See my quick sketch below.

ScreenShot001.jpg
 

wilserbrewer

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Ye, what you have shown i what most do. The down tube will act like a syphon and drain the bottom of the tun. If you have the ability, you could also drilll the opposite side of the cooler close to the bottom, and therefore not have to worry about the down tube.

How bout a braid? Or are you set on a manifold? For me I think one of those big water heater supply lines would work well in a big cooler.
 
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rockytoptim

rockytoptim

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Im not set on the manifold but since I am just getting in to AG I don't have any experience to rely on. I thought that the manifold would have better efficiency than the braid. Please correct me if I am wrong on which has better efficiency. I also plan on drilling a hole and have the valve on the right side of my sketch (away from the step)
 

wilserbrewer

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If batch sparging, a braid or manifold should produce the same efficiency. A manifold lends itself to fly sparging as the entire tun bottom is covered for collection. IMHO, a nice large rectangular cooler is more well suited to batching, and IME a nice sturdy braid like a water heater supply would work very well, be easy to install, and is only 10 -12 bucks. If you want something off the shelf, a bazooka screen would function just about the same, but are 2-3 times more $$.

Also, just cause you have a large cooler, don't think you need the braid to run the entire length. A short 12 - 18" sturdy braid is all you need. This thread here shows how to make a Tee. I would just run the braid straight for a rectangular cooler. I cut the braids w/ tree pruning lopping shears, and then trim w/ scissors. Also, I like to fold the far end of the braid in on itself and then crush it closed, fold in half and crush again to pinch it closed, same results, but neater w/out a frayed end.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/diy-bazooka-t-42475/

edit...if your cooler is square??? you could loop the braid w/ a tee to form a circle on the bottom. Or just run a 8 -12 inch piece of the heavy 1" braid straight out from the bulkhead.

Oh, and if you are lazy like me, but also like things to work well, here is the lazy man's ten minute mash tun conversion.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/ten-minute-cooler-mash-tun-conversion-125108/

and here is more information on installing bulkheads and braids
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/cheap-easy-10-gallon-rubbermaid-mlt-conversion-23008/

All the above being said...some love copper manifolds and swear by them, and get excellent results i'm sure...just not my thing I guess.

Mike
 
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rockytoptim

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Thanks for the info. I will be batch sparging and I think I will try copper manifold to start. I have some left over copper from DIY plumbing I did a couple of weeks ago. Once i get comfortable with AG I may switch to SS braid just to see which one I like better and check efficiencies. The cooler I got is a square cooler so I will take your suggestion and make a circle braid when I get to testing that out.
 

wilserbrewer

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Hey, that's cool Rock...if I was sitting on a pile of coppper tubing, I'd probably be using and touting a manifold system...that's another thing I like about this hobby. Use what you have, adapt and overcome.
 

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