Pre-Made Lauter Tun

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Postby Addrienne » Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:55 am

Do you have a sketch on how this goes together?

This would probably be more my speed for making one
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sketch

Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:58 am

While you're at the brew shop, check to see if they have a book called "Brew Ware." It's a great source of how-to instructions for building most of the things you could possible want as a homebrewer. They also give sources of where to buy these if you don't want to build it.

I bought the book for 10 bucks on half.com, and I love it. They give instructions on how to build this mash tun too.

This site (http://brewing.lustreking.com/gear/mashtun.html) shows a pretty good example of using a picnic cooler. Using one of those construction coolers would be the same thing, only a smaller length of braided line on the inside. the nice part about the braided line is you don't need to mess with a false bottom.
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Postby Addrienne » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:14 pm

Thanks guys - you've given me alot to think over!

I'll make a decision after the holidays (when my wallet has had a chance to recover a little) :)
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Re: RE: Pre Made Lauter Tun

Postby billvelek » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:36 pm

wottaguy wrote:snip ... You can see pics of it in use on my blog under "Updated Brewery Pics". ...

Very nice blog, 'wottaguy'. I just signed up for your newsletter, too.

EDIT: wottaguy, I received a confirmation email for your newsletter, but the link doesn't work. I've tried it with both Netscape and Internet Explorer, and I'm getting the same message from OpenDNS -- "We did not find any results for: wottashomebrewblog".

As for Addrienne and the rest of this thread, my wife would force me to quit brewing if she ever caught me spending money like that. :wink: Seriously, and I don't want to start any big argument here about which method is best, but most folks have a regular rectangular (or cubical) ice chest/cooler that can very easily be converted temporarily into a mashtun/lautertun for probably less than fifteen bucks, but you will only be able to do 'batch sparging' with it. But let's consider that for a moment; while these are just opinions, they are shared by many highly experienced brewers:
1. Batch sparging is easier than fly sparging;
2. Batch sparging is faster than fly sparging;
3. Fly sparging allegedly has potentially greater efficiency than batch sparging, assuming that a brewer properly uses each method;
4. So long as other brewing techniques are properly followed, including mash out and vorlauf, there should be absolutely no difference in the quality of beer produced using one sparge method or the other.

I always achieve at least 80% efficiency with my batch sparging -- sometimes as high as 83 or 84% -- so I'm not sure how much higher I would achieve using fly sparging, but I really doubt that it would be more than 5%, and certainly would not exceed 10%. But, for the sake of argument, I'll use 10% and figure that my grain bill will be that much higher because I'd just add more grain to make up for the lower efficiency. When you folks are talking about spending close to three hundred bucks more than me for a lauter tun, it is going to take a lot of grain before I'll catch up to you in cost, especially if your time and effort are given any value at all. So I have to agree with the later posts, such as the one by Suthrncomfrt1884, but I do want to say that my system doesn't use any valve at all (I merely elevate my hose and hook it under the ice chest handle, and there is never any need to adjust the flow rate during vorlauf or draining -- everything runs 'wide-open' like a hose which is what makes it so fast). I also don't use any clamps; that makes assembly and dis-assembly easier, but you do need to be a bit careful with your stirring. But in probably a hundred mashes, I've only pulled the mesh hose off of the plastic tube once, and it actually turned out to be easier to fix than I had feared. Now that I've started to do my dough-in in a separate bucket which I then dump into my tun, the only stirring I need to do in the tun is for each 'batch' sparge. I highly recommend to any newbie all grainers that they try out batch sparging first, before they invest so much money.

Just my two cents.

Cheers.

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Postby jawbox » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:36 pm

For the one I described go here. Using a false bottom allows you to fly or batch sparge. I'd recommend stainless hose clamps inside the cooler, you don't want this hose coming off during the sparge (trust me).
http://www.forrestwhitesides.com/node/20


Making it cheaper. More labor intensive, removing the ss braid is the only tricky part. Otherwise it's almost the same procedure as the one above. This is how I make my mash tuns for Batch Sparging. This style is not ideally suited to fly sparging.

http://members.shaw.ca/Fly_Guy/mlt.htm

You can use this in a 5gal cooler too.
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Postby jawbox » Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:43 pm

bill the only problem with running full bore straight away is that you may compacted the grain bed and get a stuck sparge. Sounds your technique works for you but it might not for others.

I usually set my bed on a medium pace during vorlauf, then I let it rip.

I do agree that batch sparging is the way to go. It's the way I first did all grain and don't see any reason to change. I'd rather spend the extra $1 on grain than waste 30-60mins of my day.
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My batch sparge setup and procedures

Postby billvelek » Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:32 pm

The reason I can probably get away with running wide open without compacting the grain bed is that I use a 'monster' ten-foot long mesh hose, which I just coil up in the bottom of my cooler. When I purchased it years ago, the price for the ten footer was the same a a six foot different brand, and since they were both stainless steel mesh and looked to be about the same braid, I bought the ten footer for about ten bucks, IIRC. The reason I don't use a clamp is because I like to pull the hose and tube free before dumping my spend grains; I just yank the tube which is held to the tun by only a few turns of teflon tape and a pressure connection to the mesh hose. I yank the tube, dump the grain, and retrieve my mesh hose.

By the way, I removed the hinges which connected the lid to the cooler, so the lid won't get in the way when I'm doing things with the tun; it still seals tightly.

Without a valve (which saved some money and effort), I don't need to remove the plastic drain from my ice chest. I just slip the plastic tube through the hole and press it into the mesh tube on the other side. Then I wrap some teflon tape around the plastic tube where it enters the drain. Never any leaks.

Over the years I've changed my procedures a bit to make things a little easier without hurting my beer. I used to spend time with a small pot during vorlauf -- fill it, stop the runnings, _slowly_ pour the wort into the mash to avoid disturbing the grain and to avoid risk of hot side aeration. I then started to float a plastic plate on top of my mash and just poured the wort on top of the plate to break the fall and not disturb the grain, but that does cause spashing which some would fear would cause hot side aeration. But I can never detect _any_ signs of HSA (supposed to be a cardboard flavor), so then I quite using the pot and worrying about how fast I pour it back in, and instead I just drain the entire tun into a bucket and then dump the entire bucket onto the plate. This means that I don't need to spend any time with the vorlauf; I just put a bucket in place, lower the hose, and come back in five minutes, raise the hose, dump the bucket onto the plate, and then start draining my wort into my kettle. Nothing could be simpler. Been doing that for about a year -- probably two dozen batches or more -- and still no signs of HSA. So the fact that I need an extra vorlauf for each 'batch sparge' is no problem at all.

During my last brew session, I decided to do my dough-in in a separate bucket and then dumped it into the tun. Without a hose to worry about on the bottom of the bucket, dough-in was very fast and easy. I haven't tasted the beer yet, which I am just getting ready to bottle, but if I didn't have any HSA issues with my vorlauf procedure, then I can't imagine that dumping my mash into the tun is going to create any either ... but we shall see.

My equipment and methods are just about as KISS'ed as you can get, and I make very good beer. I often use my ice chest for a tun one day and turn around and use it the next day to chill beer and soda for parties. It is a 48 quart ice chest, and I actually mashed 28 pounds of grain in it during one session when I did a triple partigyle. Worked fine, but it was difficult to stir that much because the mash was nearly to the top; I usually just do double batch parti-gyles, and it works great for that. I think the 48 quart are probably very common, but if I were to go out shopping for one for a tun, I think I'd look for a 56 quart or something like that -- just to have the extra room if I ever decide to start doing 10 gallon batches in a larger kettle, and that way I'd still be able to do a double parti-gyle. Holy cow, 20 gallons in one day; what am I thinking?? :shock:

Cheers.

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how to make a mash tun with almost no tools

Postby slothrob » Fri Dec 19, 2008 6:04 pm

Another mash tun recipe:

Buy cooler at Target for $20.
Remove drain.
Buy 1 hole stopper that fits in drain hole at homebrew shop for $3.
Buy 3-5 feet of tubing that fits tightly in stopper hole for $3.
Push tubing about 1 or 2 inches through stopper (a little oil will help this).
Buy 6" or so stainless steel mesh covered water supply line at hardware store for $5.
Buy the smallest size hose clamp at hardware store for $2.
Cut ends off water supply line, push hose out of center, and fold over one end.
Slide open end of braid over end of tubing inside tun, using a hose clamp to hold it on.
Insert stopper in drain hole.
Total=$33.

Proceed with mash, lifting hose up to stop flow.

That's how I did my first mash.
For my second, I added a inline nylon valve ($5) from the homebrew store.
To decrease my dead volume, I eventually replaced the length of tubing that goes through the stopper with a copper pipe. The copper pipe is bent down to the bottom of the cooler to drain all but a pint or less from the sparge.

For a few more dollars (maybe about $50), you can buy a bazooka screen and a Kewler Kitz bulkhead and valve. Then you just need to remove the drain, screw together the bulkhead and valve, screw the bazooka screen to the inside, add some tubing to the outside nipple and it's done (maybe a tube clamp wouldn't be a bad addition). No tools except maybe an adjustable wrench required.
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RE: how to make a mash tun with almost no tools...

Postby wottaguy » Fri Dec 19, 2008 6:28 pm

+1 on your directions.
I have to admit that the cooler mash tuns are extremely economical and they work great too. I have been using my 5 gallon one for the last 4 years, and its done very well for me. I have just started to batch sparge about 4 months ago..and now I prefer doing that over fly sparging for all the reason's that Bill has cited. We did a 20 gallon batch of which we batch sparged and it worked perfectly, and the beer came out great too. I still need to go to HD and purchase the 10 gallon cooler soon....maybe tomorrow, as I have to go there and pick up some cherry stain anyways...

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I was being facetious

Postby brewmeisterintng » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:20 pm

Addrienne,
It's your money and your beer. Do what you think is best. As you have read in the other posts, a mash/ lauter tun is not a big construction project. Too many times people will take a simple process and make it complex.
I am all about simple so I batch sparge with a cooler and double braid SS. I am usually in the high 80's in efficiency. My post may have been a little off the charts but I get pissed when I see new brewers throwing away money. I, myself, am a proud owner of a Mr Beer and a Party Pig. Both are dust covered in the shed. I am not saying that tun you posted isn't any good... it aught to be for that price; I'm just saying that you could buy so much more.
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Batching -- 1 vs. 2 sparges

Postby billvelek » Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:50 pm

I was recently involved in a discussion about the merits of doing just a single sparge (2 runnings) when batch sparging rather than my customary double sparge (3 runnings). It looks promising enough that I'm going to try it during my next batch. If my understanding of the science and math were correct during that discussion, dropping the extra sparge shouldn't cost me more than about 3% in total efficiency ... and maybe less. I know that most of us more or less strive for maximum efficiency, but even with a twenty dollar grain bill for a partigyle, 3% is only sixty cents, and dropping the final sparge will save me an extra vorlauf and maybe 10-15 minutes of my time.

The other change I'm going to make during my next batch which includes flour or corn meal, is that I'm going to add some method of filtering during my vorlauf to reduce or eliminate the obertieg that forms on my grain bed during sparging. With my monster 10' bazooka, it is the obertieg that slows the drainage down, rather than anything clogging my bazooka. I'm thinking of tying a new tube sock on the end of the drainage line to give plenty of surface area for filtering. If it clogs up and slows things down too much, I'll just slide it off and continue draining.

Cheers.

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Another Idea

Postby brewmeisterintng » Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:17 pm

Bill,
I don't think the obertieg is mainly coming from the vorlauf. My belief is that is a result of stirring the grains and during the rest is settles on top of the grain bed. I use a raking tool that penetrates the bed 1 to 2 inches that eliminates pooling and channeling with great success. The grain bed is thick enough to continue filtering. Just another idea.
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Dealing with obertieg -- removal or just cutting it

Postby billvelek » Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:54 pm

You are probably correct, James, but at least some of it might be from the vorlauf. Adding a sock on the drainage hose is a very cheap and simple step to try; if it helps, I'll keep doing it, and if it doesn't help, I'll wash the sock and start wearing it. :mrgreen: What do you use to cut it with?

I'm wondering if some sort of a finely meshed screen or cloth could be set on top of the grain bed immediately after stirring, which could be lifted or rolled out of the way to remove the obertieg.

By the way, here's a photo of my 5-month old grandson, 'Sawyer', who is being held by Jermain Taylor, former Middleweight Boxing Champion of the World: http://home.alltel.net/billvelek/sawyer ... rmaine.jpg

Cheers.

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Cutting

Postby brewmeisterintng » Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:57 pm

Cool Picture.
Regarding cutting... usually I just drag the edge of my mash spoon across the bed penetrating about an inch. I try to keep brewing simple.
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picture

Postby bfabre » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:06 pm

That is a good picture Bill. You have every right to be proud. Family is a gift. Is 'Sawyer' your first?
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