quick and rough (but practical?) all-grain method

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quick and rough (but practical?) all-grain method

Postby Benjamin1c » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:44 pm

okay, this is really just a brain storm, but I thought I might give it a try.

Somewhere, maybe here or another forum, I know I've come across the idea of using a fermentation bucket as mash tun, your generic food-grade plastic ale pale. I have one with tap pre drilled.

I think I've heard suggestions for converting these, like with installing copper tubing or a false bottom, similarly to doing so with a cylindrical cooler.

But my thought is, is there a big problem with simply tossing in several grain bags with my mash grains, maybe 8 or 9 with a pound each of grain, then pouring in my mash water, then pouring straight out the tap to the pot? Perhaps I could also toss in a large collander, just to allow full draining into the bottom of the bucket.

Sorry if this idea has ever come up in an earlier post.

I was also thinking I could use this at least for partial mash, with a few pounds of grain and only a couple gallons of water.
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simple mash

Postby slothrob » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:55 am

It would work but there may be some improvements you could easily make.

I'd skip the multiple grain bags and just use a single large paint-strainer bag (about $2 for two at the hardware store). Do some research on the mash in a bag technique. Some people just do this right in their kettle.

You'll may need to modify the spigot on the inside of the bucket so that the bucket drains completely.

Is there a reason you don't want to use a cooler mash tun? Do you already own a cooler? If so, you could probably modify that as a basic tun for about $10.
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Postby bobcat_brewer » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:18 am

Don't forget to insulate your bucket if you go this rout. You're going to lose a lot of temperature otherwise.
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Postby Benjamin1c » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:34 am

thanks fellas,

I just looked it up and saw you can buy a bunch of paint bags at a time for like 5 bucks, good idea so long as its made out of appropriate material (it needs to take the heat after all).

I do own a large cooler, unfortunately doesn't have a spigot. I'll probably pick one up at some point from walmart, for around 30 to 50$.

I figure this would all work better if the bag was somehow lifted above the bottom of the bucket/cooler, to allow for draining.

Other methods seem to call for installing perforated copper tubing to the bottom; its not like thats too expensive, but its some work to make sure its set up right, and must be a pain to clean out afterwards. Its also a permanent alteration.

I was hoping the plastic might be sufficient insulation for temperature, but I don't know unless I experiment.
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cheap tun

Postby slothrob » Wed Aug 18, 2010 1:42 pm

The paint strainer bags I have used are made of nylon, so they take the heat fine. I use them as hop bags in the boil and they and distort where they hang outside the kettle and catch the heat running up the side.

You can drill a hole trough a cooler without a spigot. Then you can add a 1 holed stopper (~$1), run a copper tube through the hole in the stopper (free if you have some surplus in the cellar), and add the stainless steel braid from a water supply line (~$4). For the first one I made I just ran plastic hose through the hole in the stopper. That worked fine, but the copper allows you to make sure that it drains from the floor of the tun, which increases efficiency. If you want to use the cooler for it's intended purpose, just replace the stopper with one without a hole.

I built my current one in about 1 hour, including time at the hardware store, and it's entirely reversible. It did already have a hole for a spigot, though, so I didn't have to take the time to drill. If you do buy one with a spigot, remove and keep the spigot to make it a cooler again. A 1 holed stopper works in the hole of those, too.

I wouldn't bother making a copper manifold for my first go at all-grain, though. That just seems like too much work for something you might want to reverse.

This is a great time of year to buy coolers on clearance, now that the Summer is ending. I saw a lot of coolers for ~$20, last weekend.
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