There are many reasons to start brewing your own beer at home… saving money is not one of them…

at least not for me as I found after my first few batches that I wanted more equipment… and have since been slowly building up my ‘at home brewery’…

I haven’t completed my kegerator, but before I add more kegs and taps, I decided to make my brew days a bit easier and faster….

So I just added a new mash tun to my brewing arsenal…

… and tested the mash tun with the cream ale I talked about in my last newsletter: Brewing a Bacon Beer

That beer is fermenting now, though I will wait to post the video so I can show how I’ll add the vanilla and bacon extracts…

So instead, I put together a video to share how I built this new mash tun… http://youtu.be/zioe_zygyfY

I looked around quite a bit and found many ways to go about it…

I must say, this is not necessarily the cheapest, but short of buying one already made, it is the easiest and fastest mash tun build I came across…

A mash tun like this is sold elsewhere upwards of $110…

Here’s the parts list:

10 Gallon Rubbermaid Round Cooler

Brewer’s Edge Kettle valve

Brewer’s Edge Kettle Valve Screen 3/8″

Hose Barb Adapter 1/2″ barb x 1/2″ MIP

Total cost: $88.93

Note that the kettle valve from brewer’s edge has a 3/8″ thread for the kettle valve screen… there are other screens, but most have 1/2″ threads…

I could’ve saved a bit of money building a pipe type false bottom or getting a stainless steel braided hose, but I didn’t have the time to build and I didn’t know if cleaning the braided hose would become a pain in the long run…

Most important, it took less than 5 minutes to put this together… Here’s the video:

I also looked at getting the pre-made false bottoms for round coolers, but they were way to expensive around $70… so this remained the best option…

Since I just brewed on Wednesday using this mash tun… here’s what I found…

Temperature wise, the mash was constant and had only 2 °F drop over the 60 minute mash!

I lautered the wort and did not get any kind of stuck sparge or anything like that…

The only thing I noticed was that the kettle screen did not hold back the finer particles of flaked corn, but that’s not really a big concern…

When you lauter, the grains act as a filter… as long as the mash is not too thin (too much water like 2 quarts per pound) then the grains should be able to settle and compact creating a filter…

One thing I’ve done when the mash is too thin, is to drain wort in a big jar or two until it becomes thick again and then recirculate… this allows the grain bed to compact and act as a filter…

Another option, which is what I ended up doing was to take my hop spider and recirculate the wort through that filter… once I got clear wort, I drained the wort and everything went well after that…

Cheers!


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