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Mash tun/brew kettle advice

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Higgie

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Hi all,

I have been brewing extract on and off for a couple of years now and have caught the brewing bug again, this time around I am looking to move up to all grain (also, first post, woo!).

At the moment I am assembling gear and have come up with a few questions which hopefully someone who has 'been there and done that' can answer.

Firstly, I have both 1/2 and 3/4 inch copper tube available for my mash tun manifold. I will be using a fairly narrow 25l Willow esky so I am leaning towards a simple rectangular manifold out of the 3/4. Would it be worth pursuing slightly higher surface/collection area by using a more complicated configuration of 1/2 inch (i.e. adding a third piece of copper through the middle) and would the extra stuffing around be worth any gains in wort collection? I will definitely be batch sparging to start with but I guess it couldn't hurt to have the capability of doing continuous in future.

In a similar vein, I have a choice of either installing a hose barb and siphoning directly off of the manifold or putting a hole saw through the side of my esky and setting it up with a ball valve, are there any obvious advantages/disadvantages either way that I should be taking into consideration? Also, is soldering it together a no no due to potential leaching from solder etc?

Secondly, I am making up a brew kettle out of a keg from the scrapyard. Because i'm a fastidious bastard I like the idea of a mirror finish. Wet sanding with 800 grit paper has got the majority of minor scratches out and removed all the surface gunk but unfortunately there are still a few deep scratches to get rid of (yes, I know I should have got the deep scratches out first, oh well). Any suggestions as to tools or techniques on this front? I am considering a worn out flap wheel but am worried thats just going to make it worse. Furthermore, should I be worrying about building a hop filter at this stage?

Finally, am I going to have problems if I don't invest in another kettle for sparge water? The current plan is just to heat enough water for both mashing and sparging, keeping the sparge water in a seperate esky untill I need it.

Sorry for the brain dump and apologies if I have used the wrong terminology/ I havn't been clear.

Cheers,

Higgie
 

glenwal

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I'd go with the 1/2 inch and the extra piece down the middle (though is there a reason you can't do that with the 3/4"?). Palmer has a pretty good chapter on designing a manifold, i'd recommend you have a read.

Definitely go with the ball valve - it'll make you life 1000% easier. Does your esky have a tap that you can remove instead of having to drill it?

Plenty of people do the 2V thing, so no problem there.
 

shmang

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Higgie said:
Secondly, I am making up a brew kettle out of a keg from the scrapyard. Because i'm a fastidious bastard I like the idea of a mirror finish. Wet sanding with 800 grit paper has got the majority of minor scratches out and removed all the surface gunk but unfortunately there are still a few deep scratches to get rid of (yes, I know I should have got the deep scratches out first, oh well). Any suggestions as to tools or techniques on this front? I am considering a worn out flap wheel but am worried thats just going to make it worse. Furthermore, should I be worrying about building a hop filter at this stage?
I recently made a keggle and found that a flap disk and a grinder mounted wire brush did a really good job, then you can bust out the 800 grit to really polish it if your so inclined.
 

Higgie

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Thanks for the input!

The only reason I wouldn't go down that path with the 3/4 is because it would be a tight fit trying to get the extra fittings in and still leaving space between the manifold and the edges of the esky (Though this wouldn't be a problem for batch sparging anyway, I think). I should probably just bite the bullet and mock it up so I can see how it all fits.

Sadly my esky doesn't have a tap I can pull out so its either drilling or siphoning i'm afraid. I have all the gear there to drill it out, I just worry that it will cause issues with leaking etc. down the track, even though a ball valve would be a lot neater.
 

Higgie

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shmang said:
I recently made a keggle and found that a flap disk and a grinder mounted wire brush did a really good job, then you can bust out the 800 grit to really polish it if your so inclined.
Excellent, I didn't think of a grinder mounted wire brush, I ended up cleaning up the fiddly bits with a little air grinder/brillo pad attachment.

800 grit is only the begining, I have a rag wheel and an arsenal of polishes to go yet! (y)
 

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