Advice on Mash Tun

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Chuffy

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Hi All

looking for some advice. i've been extract brewing for the last 5yrs and want to take the next step. This will start with adding a hop profile to my existing extracts but quickly move on to all grain shenanigans. I've been secretly (well secret from my wife) acquiring gear..... I have a keggle and LPG burner bought from keg king and a 50l stockpot. I originally bought the keggle as a mash tun (with the false bottom) but have since decided to use this as my prime wort boiler. So i basically will be operating a 3 vessel gravity feed system, with batch sparging. I havent bought my mash tun yet. Money isn't a huge consideration in this purchase, I just want something that will do the job, but do the job consistently and with repeatable outcomes...

Ive had my eye on this:

http://kegking.com.au/brewery-equipment/brewing/56-litre-insulated-mash-tun-with-stainless-steel-ball-valve-and-stainless-false-bottom.html

Firstly, what are your thoughts on this bit of kit.

Secondly, i was contemplating just converting an old square esky using the false bottom i already have from the keggle (its the exact same 1 as in the above mash tun) to save $200. I have seen some stuff online how people have been impressed with going from the bush rigged square esky to the purpose built round esky setup, but they are using tap hoses etc as their "false bottom".

As i said i don't "need" to save $200 particularly (although im not adverse to saving money where possible) but are there any problems that i'm not forseeing either way?
 

MastersBrewery

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I don't know the quality of the linked unit myself, but it does look to be good value and a good size too. You won't need to upgrade when you decide to upscale to double batches.
 

Ducatiboy stu

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It doesnt matter if it is round or square .

What you want is surface area.

False bottom mesh has 3/32"~or 2.4mm holes . Hard to get in small sections Slotted sheet is also good if you can get it

Beer Belly had some rally nice square esky units, not sure if they are still available.

A good manifold also works in round and square esky's

Make it to suit 50 ltr brews and use a cut sheet of Styrofoam on top of the mash when doing 20ltr brews, helps keep the heat in the mash :)

Above all, the thing that will bring you to tears is a leaking outlet. so do it properly the first time. Use silicon washers cut from SWMBO's finest silicon baking trays.

You WILL HAVE PROBLEMS with the tap & outlet. Hot mash liquor drips out if you dont get it sealed properly

At the end of the day that piece of kit is worth the money when you take into account all the dicking around trying to make your own
 

Chuffy

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i have a couple of really good eskys that i use for camping from techni ice.....the king of all eskys 60l signiture series which i dont want to use because it will be hard to keep sanitised due to all the groves in it for compartments, but i also have a chilly chest that i was considering 50l....all straight sides, my only concern is that when i use it conventionally i'll want to remove the ball valves etc and this over time will compromise the thread and make it leak...i'm kinda stuck between spending the money on a bespoke unit just for homebrew....or faffing with my camping setup, save $200 but then will be cursing evertime im getting ready for a trip.

i have a 30cm dia false bottom from the keggle to use....it will create probably 2" of dead space that wont drain in the bottom of the esky
 

Ducatiboy stu

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So you still want to use your esky for the family picnic

To easy

False bottom sheet and you just leave it there. ( comes in handy to stop your food swiming in slurry )

Make your outlet from some flange nuts and 1/2" -or 15mm threaded section about 50mm long with silicon washers. That way you can change taps or screw a cap or bung on and still be able to use it as an esky
 

Chuffy

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good suggestions Ducati....i'll have a look at some plumbing fittings in bunnings. is there any issue using the round false bottom? i have this:

http://kegking.com.au/brewery-equipment/brewing/domed-stainless-steel-false-bottoms-30cm.html

it fit perfectly in the round esky...in my 50l chilly chest i would have a bit more dead space vs the round esky....it kinda annoys me that the 50l or 10 gallon gatorade coolers dont seem to be available here yet are cheap as chips in the us for under $50
 

Ducatiboy stu

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Bunninks may not have the flange nuts

You will need Reece or Tradelink or someone like that
 

kevinj

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With a mash tun that big you are going to need a bigger kettle.

BREWING VESSEL SIZE RATIO

below are some numbers i put together for a quick reference chart. (with the help of the above link)

BREWING VESSEL SIZE RATIO
GRIST HLT MLT BK WORT
2.5 kg 7.5 L 10 L 15 L 11.5 L
5 kg 15 L 20 L 30 L 23 L
10 kg 30 L 40 L 60 L 46 L

I don't like the idea of heating plastic, and yes i have seen the youtubes of plastic boilers. (you have got to be kidding)
I was thinking, a stainless steal pot on a Electric Portable Hot Plate Cooker.
or HERM coil in jug, but that needs a pump and controller.
 

Ducatiboy stu

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kjg said:
I don't like the idea of heating plastic, and yes i have seen the youtubes of plastic boilers.
Bucket Of Death.....FTW :super:
 

Chuffy

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kjg said:
With a mash tun that big you are going to need a bigger kettle.
im not sure i follow. i dont plan to use the mash tun to its capacity. The size is either what i can buy or what i have avaialble at home. My upper limit on the wort will be the kettle volume e.g 50l kettle. i havent done much research into exactly what ill be doing as yet but it will be along the lines of half capacity mash (25l) then 25l sparge for a total of 50l wort
 

Ducatiboy stu

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Chuffy said:
f capacity mash (25l) then 25l sparge for a total of 50l wort
Mmm....... Doesnt work like that

A lot more maths involved
 

kevinj

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I meant as in "we're going to need a bigger boat" jaws. :)
With a mash tun that size, you could do a 70L wort,
but you would need a 100L + kettle.
 

boybrewer

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kjg said:
I meant as in "we're going to need a bigger boat" jaws.
Nah that's the Jeep ad

FWIW why don't you just use an old 50lt decommissioned keg . I started with a 35lt Willow esky with a copper manifold and would max it out with 9kg of grain . It's still in use today as I teach all my newbies on it and it always hits the numbers .
 

Crusty

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Chuffy said:
im not sure i follow. i dont plan to use the mash tun to its capacity. The size is either what i can buy or what i have avaialble at home. My upper limit on the wort will be the kettle volume e.g 50l kettle. i havent done much research into exactly what ill be doing as yet but it will be along the lines of half capacity mash (25l) then 25l sparge for a total of 50l wort
Why would you sparge with 25Lt of water. Are you chasing a 1.5% abv.
 

Chuffy

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Ducatiboy stu said:
Mmm....... Doesnt work like that

A lot more maths involved
What do u mean, lol...how much more maths?.....ive been following John Palmer methods and its basically just that, but i simplified it somewhat. he uses half mash water and half batch sparge 5-6 gallons each, for a 10ish gallon batch. Sure theres some dead space to consider etc. my first attempts will be smaller. I'm not going to worry too much about final wort volume, although i will be keen to have a handle on the OG. I am expecting my beer to taste fantastic from the get go but not necessarily the correct ABV etc for the recipe. its all a learning curve right and i've never had a beer in my life that i didn't like, so im already in front, lol
 

Chuffy

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Crusty said:
Why would you sparge with 25Lt of water. Are you chasing a 1.5% abv.
good question, which i don't know the answer to. I was was just following a John Palmer guide for a particular brew he was making where he did just that. From memory he did a 5 gallon mash which delivered an OG of 1.070, he then sparged with the same volume in a batch, combined the 2 in the kettle for about 10 gallons with an OG in the 1.050's. i havent found a recipe that im going to do yet...i'll choose 1 from off here and follow whatever method is indicated, but im looking in the 40 to 50l size. im looking for simplicity...and i'll prob do the same recipe over and over to refine my techniques, methods etc before i become more adventurous. I am completely inexperience in AG....i have only done about 50 extract brews so far
 

dicko

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Chuffy said:
What do u mean, lol...how much more maths?.....ive been following John Palmer methods and its basically just that, but i simplified it somewhat. he uses half mash water and half batch sparge 5-6 gallons each, for a 10ish gallon batch. Sure theres some dead space to consider etc. my first attempts will be smaller. I'm not going to worry too much about final wort volume, although i will be keen to have a handle on the OG. I am expecting my beer to taste fantastic from the get go but not necessarily the correct ABV etc for the recipe. its all a learning curve right and i've never had a beer in my life that i didn't like, so im already in front, lol
There is a lot more maths involved:

Grain absorption is the amount of water absorbed by the grain
Sparge volumes can affect astringency if the mash is over sparged.
Amount of boil off....will affect final volume and gravity.
Mash efficiency will affect final gravity.
Grain crush may result in more water and grain being required for grain absorption to equal expected starting gravity.

just on mashing and sparging volumes...if you calculate the grain absorption and add that amount to half of the total water needed (including boil off and all other losses in YOUR system) then use that as the mash amount and then sparge with the balance of the total water you will usually be fairly safe as to the extraction of tannins as in most cases the sparge volume will be OK.
I am only generalising and it will depend a lot on YOUR equipment and recipe requirements.
Buy some reputable Brewers Software...it will do the maths for you.

As for your original enquiry:

You can throw many dollars at this hobby if you are not careful.
Consider all options re equipment and methods and your personal requirements and then buy quality and buy once.
As an example I would imagine that there are thousands of now unused esky type mash tuns as they have become warped and discoloured over time and have been replaced with stainless options.
Many brewers, myself included have spent many dollars on 3v systems and then realise that for personal requirements complete brewing systems such as Grainfather / Braumeister etc are more suitable to personal needs.

Think carefully...buy once.
 

Danscraftbeer

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For reference sake. This is my esky mash tun. The esky is 75lt. I make brews either 20 to 40lt. The black hose connect is the correct thread. The ball valve fits in perfect with plummers tape over the thread. A bazooka screen with the thread removed fits inside nice. Bent shaped so its flat on the floor.
Single infusion batch sparging is the technique. Place in your mash water hotter than mash temp to pre heat the esky. When its strike temp slowly mix in the grain. Lock it shut and leave it. Nothing to think about. Go shopping or whatever. Doesn't really matter if it sits longer than necessary. I multiple sparge with enough water to just cover the grain. Sometimes 4 times. You get good efficiency that way. Some may worry about over sparging but I think its fine if the run off doesn't get below gravity 1.010. and the ph of the sparge water isn't too high.

 

sp0rk

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Danscraftbeer said:
For reference sake. This is my esky mash tun. The esky is 75lt. I make brews either 20 to 40lt. The black hose connect is the correct thread. The ball valve fits in perfect with plummers tape over the thread. A bazooka screen with the thread removed fits inside nice. Bent shaped so its flat on the floor.
Single infusion batch sparging is the technique. Place in your mash water hotter than mash temp to pre heat the esky. When its strike temp slowly mix in the grain. Lock it shut and leave it. Nothing to think about. Go shopping or whatever. Doesn't really matter if it sits longer than necessary. I multiple sparge with enough water to just cover the grain. Sometimes 4 times. You get good efficiency that way. Some may worry about over sparging but I think its fine if the run off doesn't get below gravity 1.010. and the ph of the sparge water isn't too high.

Ahah!
this is what I've been looking for
My Outermark esky wasn't a match for the normal 1/2 threaded pipe so I was about to give up and use a smaller esky I have laying around
Will probably need to dick around with some other fittings to get my Beerbelly Falsie to work just right, but this should get me close
Thanks!
 

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