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How to make a cheap mash tun

Posted in Beer on July 1st, 2011 by Chris

Alright, so I made a mash tun … I did a lot of searching on the internet for the simplest design to make and maintain. Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with any of the designs out there so I took a stab at making my own.

There were two basic designs for “simple” mash tuns I found in my search.

1. Using a CPVC manifold and brass ball valve. This one seemed sturdy enough. I was hesitant though as it seems like it would be difficult to clean under the rigid CPVC manifold. Also, the brass valve cost more than the entirety of my design.

2. Using a stainless water supply line and an in-line valve. I like the idea of stainless since it’s inert but making it seemed more complicated (removing the inner tube from the drain line and replacing with a coiled wire for support). And, again …. I’m leery about how easy it is to clean. Yeah, I’m lazy and want to make everything easy ….

So, after a lot of thinking …. I thought I had it all figured out. Then I went to the hardware store and stood in the isle looking at all the fittings and had an epiphany. The result, I think you will find, is the cheapest and simplest mash tun design so far.

Parts

An old cooler (free is preferable)

5 ft of polyethelyne tubing

1 nylon barbed T fitting

Tools

A sharp knife

 

The process …. watch and see for yourself.

 

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Simple Mash Tun

Posted in Beer on June 18th, 2011 by Chris

Today I put together a cheap, simple mash tun. I spent under $5 for the entire thing. I’ll do a how-to write up in the near future after I use it a few times to make sure I like the final product. Once I do that I’ll add a link on this post, so if there is no link … there is no how-to yet!

The parts consist of only an old cooler, some tubing, and a tee fitting.

I got the cooler from a friend for free. It looked pretty nasty inside with rust stains and spot. A few minutes scrubbing with an acid wash cleaner and it all but disappeared. You can see the before and after pictures below.

The tubing I used was polyethylene e so it is food grade and I’ve used it before for other things (like maple sap).

Next up, all grain brewing!

Enjoy some pictures.

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Brewing Updates

Posted in Beer, Wine on April 20th, 2011 by Chris

It’s been a while since I posted. Life has been busy but good. Here are a few updates into my brewing activities.

First, the most exciting for me, is that the grapes I propagated while I was pruning seem to be doing good. There are two that I am experimenting with different techniques. The first, I had laying on the ground for a year so that it could put roots down. I cut it loose from the main plant. Second, I pushed a small piece of cut vine into the ground and a few buds in the dirt and a few above ground. Fortunately, both seem to have worked because the buds are swelling and should burst open with some leaves. I snapped a quick pictures while I was checking up on them.

Next, the maple wine is past due for another racking but it’s looking good. The color is staying and it’s starting to clear. I’ll probably rack it Saturday and give it a quick taste. It should be nearly completely fermented at this point and aging for flavor. Last year the flavor was harsh this early and so it had to age nearly a year. This batch seemed to be doing better for some reason or another so I’m hoping it’s keeping along those lines when I go to rack it again. Best case, I’ll only have to age it a few months. Worst case, it’ll age a year same as the 2010 wine.

Lastly, Ii was camping with some friends last weekend. We shared home-brews, stories, and new ideas. I picked up a free cooler I plan to make into a mash tun for trying my hand at all grain brewing.I’ll be sure to document the process for you guys as I make that transition. Also came home with enough ideas to keep my brain busy for quite a while.


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