How to build a cool box mash tun

Discussion in 'Beer Brewing "How-To" Guides' started by HisDudeness, Nov 15, 2015.

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  1. Feb 29, 2016 #81

    mike-os

    mike-os

    mike-os

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    batch sparging we drain all the wort from the mash, and as it has stood for some time (mash time or 10-15 to allow some settlement after adding sparge water and giving it a stir, so all the liquid will be at a similar concentration having been disturbed and then left to rest, we then drain it all and add another batch, repeat... so as far as I can see it makes no difference how we strain....to lauter the wort we just need the settle the bed enough to filter... as we are removing all the wort and as much sugars as it has been able to dissolve from the grain.... so as long as we can filter efficiently and without blocking up we should be good.

    Fly sparging it is important that there are no channels through the mash for the water to get a "fast pass" through the grain bed, and that the whole grain bed is equally watered and drained..... in this case i see a false bottom or distributed collection pipe a necessity as the grain "away" from the drains may not get washed adequately from a single drain off.

    i am guessing most of us batch sparge?

    IME bazookas work fine for both mash and boil filters, but dont like pellet hops as they do seem to block readily with them, so use a hop bag or trap :thumb:
     
  2. Feb 29, 2016 #82

    pgl150

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    Hey Dutto

    So I used my mash tun for the first time at the weekend (with the drilled manifold like we discussed). #EpicFail :doh:

    I'll explain in a minute...

    So this is my set up. It's a 32L Thermos that I picked up for about ���£25 delivered. So I unwrapped it and pulled it to pieces (not as drastic as it sounds). The first thing that struck me was how little insulation is actually in them!

    So first I lined all of the inside with silver loft insulation...

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    After that it seemed that the biggest weakness was the top of the coolbox so I set to work on that as well...

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    So then it was on to the manifold and I drilled rather than cut with a 2.5mm drill bit as suggested with about 3 rows of holes on the bottom half of the tube. The photo obviously shows it the wrong way up for the purposes of the picture...

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

    All the other bits and pieces are as per the Dudes instructions; so the tank connector, tap etc. So I filled it half full with water and turned on the tap and it worked a treat! It didn't at the weekend...:hmm:

    I mashed for an hour, turned on the tap and nothing came out whatsoever!:doh: I ended up pouring grain and liquid through a sieve using a pyrex jug so not ideal!

    I tried blowing back up the tap through a tube and it still didn't work so I'm not quite sure what happened. I've since emptied all the grain and the tubes didn't look blocked up. I then took the manifold off and even with just water in the cooler and a pipe and a tap nothing came out. I took the tap off and ran some water through it, reconnected it and this time it flows fine so I'm wondering whether I had like an airlock, or whether the tap itself got blocked. If you look inside the tap spout there is a star shaped bit of plastic inside it which I'm now thinking of cutting out.

    So I'm wondering if anyone else has had any similar issues and how they solved them. For now I still think I could do with another couple of rows of holes looking at Dutto's pics.

    Cheers
     
  3. Feb 29, 2016 #83

    Dutto

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    Ha!!!

    Happened to me first time as well!

    That was before I removed the tiny filter within the hose-pipe connection on the tap!!

    It was a tiny "X" shaped bit of plastic and I nearly crapped myself as it blocked within a few seconds and well before the tubing had time to build up a filter cake.

    Check that first and then get back to me for Plan "B"! :thumb: :thumb:
     
  4. Feb 29, 2016 #84

    Notlaw

    Notlaw

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    Found myself a nice 25l cool box in a lovely shade of turquoise and orange... Mmmm. Reckoning I could get around 20l of wort from that once converted, does that sound about right? Had some 15mm copper pipe knocking around for ages, so just need some elbows and a ball valve. Maybe get that done in time for my next brew in 3 weeks.
     
  5. Feb 29, 2016 #85

    pgl150

    pgl150

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    Ha!

    It would have been a really good tip if you'd told me BEFORE I started. :lol:

    How did you manage on the day?

    I take you mean if you unscrew the hose connection and then look up the spout there is a spider web shaped plastic insert that's the culprit? Tried to upload a picture but photobucket is playing up! :doh:
     
  6. Feb 29, 2016 #86

    Dutto

    Dutto

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    I did mention it, but I think it was on the Thread about the first time I used the Mash Tun. Sorry! Mea Culpa!!

    It was the little "X" shaped bit of plastic in the hosepipe connection and it took seconds to push out with a screwdriver.

    It may have taken seconds, but the swear words just about peeled the paint off the garage walls when I realised where the problem was.

    All that time drilling small holes and then some clown decides to install something even smaller in a fecking HOSE-PIPE connection! You couldn't make it up! :doh: :doh: :doh:

    PS

    Can't send photograph 'cos can't find offending bit of plastic which is still cowering somewhere in the garage!

    PPS

    Here's the link where I explain the problem ...

    http://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=59864
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  7. Feb 29, 2016 #87

    Dutto

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    Great!

    Only proviso is don't try and pick it up by the handle when it is full of grain and water as the handles on most coolboxes seem to break! :thumb:

    Also, make sure you get "slip-on" connectors that are NOT pre-soldered like Yorkshire fittings. It just makes things cheaper and easier ('cos it's better if you remove the solder).
     
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  8. Mar 1, 2016 #88

    pgl150

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    +1 to Duttos advice. My elbows and tee piece were standard non soldered connections. One generous tap with a hammer and a screw rather than a punch on each side of the joint did the trick.

    Make sure you can still split it up into sections for cleaning though i.e. don't join them all. :thumb:
     
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  9. Mar 1, 2016 #89

    pgl150

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    Nice one. Didn't see that post unfortunately.

    Is this the offending article?

    [​IMG][/URL][/IMG]
     
  10. Mar 1, 2016 #90

    Dutto

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    That's the little swine!! :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

    BTW always:

    o Make sure that the valve is wide open when you lauter as there is no way you want a restriction at the tap!

    o Use two jugs so that the lautering is a continuous process as you build up the filter cake to get the wort to run clear.
     
  11. Mar 2, 2016 #91

    Notlaw

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    Anyone know if you could make a false bottom from 6mm clear polycarbonate sheet? It doesn't start to soften until about 140 degrees, but would it leech anything that could taint the wort?
     
  12. Mar 2, 2016 #92

    cheapbrew

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    Probably no worse than a plastic mash tun.
     
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  13. Mar 2, 2016 #93

    Notlaw

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    Good point.
     
  14. Mar 2, 2016 #94

    JapanBrew

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    The problem is making them costs the same as just ordering one. I've made a bunch of them and even matching the hole sizes, they never work as well as the stainless steel ones. At least for me. Just wasted the money and tons of hours of labor.
     
  15. Mar 2, 2016 #95

    Dutto

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    Where did you find a 32 litre stainless steel Mash Tun for less than £35? :?:
     
  16. Mar 3, 2016 #96

    JapanBrew

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    They don't sell anything remotely useable in Japan. So I order them from China. 33 liter pot is about 5,000 yen, that's about 30 pounds. False bottom with fittings are about 15 pounds.
    I'm just saying, go buy the 2.5 mm bit, new buckets, stainless bolts, pipe fittings... Then mucking around getting the right amount.
    Easiest just buy one of those 10 gallon igloo coolers and the false bottom that fits and they work perfect.
     

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