Monday, April 9, 2012

Epic Mash Tun Success

The mash tun has been completed. Not going to lie, it was a pain. Mostly because of my busy week and tight schedule to brew. Stayed up late cutting and grinding both Tuesday and Thursday night in desperation to get this thing done before my brewing session this weekend. Only to find out I didn't have practice on Friday so I had then entire afternoon free.

Yes, it had to be this weekend. This is my competition beer, which is at the end of May, and my next few weekends are booked. I didn't want to cut it any closer.

So! Do you want to make your own amazing mash tun like mine? You need a few key ingredients...

1 keg. You can either purchase it at a place like here... or grab one that fell off the truck. But this way you're on your own. If you're going to find one that fell off the truck, make sure it's a major manufacturer. I think their kegs are easier to cut.

1 false bottom. I'm not talking some surgical implant on your hottest pin-up model. I'm talking about a screen at the bottom of your keg to come running interception when the grain tries to rush out of your keg. Pick your poison. I used the 12" bottom and replaced the elbow with a 1/2" plug, since I already owned the screen. Also, make sure you cut your top big enough that you can fit the screen down in.

1 spout. If you're using it as a mash tun, you're going to have to get the mash out, right? I ordered from Northern Brewer. If you've been looking for a chance to spout off, it's time. But don't let it happen again.

1 autosparge. Yes, it's a Blichmann product, but it won't kill your bank account like most of them. Many brewers are dead set in their method of sparging, and I don't blame them. Sparging is a finicky process. And brewers hold on tighter to their means and methods than a gullible coke addict with a bag of Pillsbury bread flour (bleached). I've done work in fluid engineering, which doesn't qualify me at all to judge sparging process, but it seems to make sense to me that this is the best way to do it. That being said, I've never done it any other way.

1 sight glass. Shout out to Bobby_M at Homebrewtalk. Bobby owns where i got my sight glass kit. This makes checking for problems super easy. Maybe your pump lost prime and is no longer feeding your mash. You'll see the level dropping without getting off your chair. Stuck sparge? You'll see the level rising before you blow the top off. Depending how you control your temperature you might want a combo with the thermometer in it. If you don't then you also need...

1 compression fitting. I got mine from Brewer's Hardware. My thermocouple did not match the size of the compression perfectly, but there were very happy to spec me some o-ring sizes to order. So if you have an Auber thermocouple like this one. You need some o-rings this size.

A lid is nice too.

Then you're pretty much ready to rock! Get yourself a few drill bits or a nice, and I emphasize nice, step bit. I only say that cause I ordered one for 12 bucks on Amazon and destroyed it on my stainless steel. Your largest hole will be 3/4" inch for your spout mentioned above. Also, cutting off the top is hairy (like gorilla level hairy) depending on the tools available. Plasma cutter? No problem, also, I envy you. Cutting wheel, fine, but you might need to purchase some more wheels. Recip saw? Get more blades. Hacksaw? See you in 2020 (unless the world ends).

The rest is up to you! There's many ideas and theories on mash tuns out there, tweak it as you will. Any suggestions? Please post!

1 comment:

  1. Christopher VaughtApril 20, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    I'm actually looking at building something similar.