So I need some help deciding on a new mash tun.

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seatazzz

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We're getting some money here in a month or so, and I've been told I can buy something new for the brewery in the $300 range. I want a new mash tun. The one I currently use is a 16g extract barrel, wrapped in reflectix, with a sparge arm attached to the bottom of the lid; it works great, but doesn't hold heat the way I need it to. I could, if I wanted to, set up a heat exchanger with my old IC, but it's a PITA and I'd rather have a tun that can hold heat without external help (don't have a burner for it either). So, my question is, what do you all use (preferably stainless) that doesn't cost an arm and a few legs? I know I'll probably still have to make or buy a heat jacket for it, that's not an issue. I'd like something that can mash 18lbs of grain at 2qt/lb which is my usual ratio. I have a good grain mill that I can adjust to whatever I need, and use a bag in the tun for easy cleanup.

I've done some research on what's available out there, and still can't decide. Anyone?
 

RufusBrewer

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I do not have a recommendation of what to buy. However I know of somebody that bought the SS Brew tech mashtun and he was disappointed with it. IIRC, he felt the wort coming out of the mashtun was not as clear his old mashtun.
 

Golddiggie

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If you have a HLT, invest in a HERMS coil. Or get a RIMS setup and simply use that. Those should keep you in your budget level.

I recently upgraded all my kettles from keggles to Spike electric kettles (elements in the BK and HLT). I ended up spending more than 10x what you're talking about for a budget range. But these are all TC fitted kettles that are amazing. Just the kettle alone, without everything else is almost $300 (plus the TC fittings).

I had considered the SS Brew Tech infusion MT, but they lost me when they went with different size TC fittings in it. Plus the recirc fitting is NPT inside.

Personally, I don't regret spending what I have to date on the setup. The kettles kick ass (15 gallon for the HLT and MT, 20 gallon for the BK). Once I have the new panel from eBrewSupply, my brew day should be a good amount easier. No more watching dial gauges and such.

@seatazzz Whatever you end up with, especially if it has a false bottom, make sure you find out what crush size your grain should be milled at. I had to change the gap on my malt mill with the new MT (increased gap to .035". They document both .035" and .036" depending on where you look under the FAQ's.
 

ITV

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A 10 gallon cooler (I use the Home Depot cooler) would fit your budget but it won't meet your SS requirement. You can even buy a bag for it. According to my calculations, you will need a 9 gallon minumum size vessel.

My 10 gallon HD cooler can maintain temps within 2 Deg F over a 60 min mash. I recently added a RIMS so that I can easily do step mashes.
 

day_trippr

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Seems like there's a fundamental question extant: is there anything superior to a cooler (of sufficient volume) when it comes to maintaining a mash temperature sans any thermal input? I would be surprised if anything made from metal would out-perform a pre-heated high quality cooler in that regard, as the thermal conduction of metal cannot be denied...

Cheers!
 
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seatazzz

seatazzz

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Thanks for the input, everyone. I'm leaning towards the 10g igloo cooler, either pre-done with the fittings or building one myself (I'm handy that way). It doesn't HAVE to be SS, I just like shiny stuff. I'm already set up for quick disconnects so don't want to go the TC route. The only thing I'm concerned about is having a way to recirculate both the mash and the sparge; but I think I can rig something up with a CIP and a hole drilled near the top of the tun, or in the lid itself. If I can keep the price below $200, hey there's more money for something else! Like more grain, or a hop spider, or...dammit now I have to go do more research.
 

Dog House Brew

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I love stainless too, but I brew outside and stainless is a no go. I use a stainless manifold. I really can’t tell a difference from when I used copper. I also line it with a Wilser bag for easy cleanup. I bet in a 10g cooler you could use a bag and a simple bulkhead fitting. I just drilled the lid and used a section of Locline. Adjustable to keep below the surface mash liquor. I guess I’m goofy, I use a HERMS and the cooler.
 
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