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Tindel

Mash Lauter Tun Mash Lauter Tun Mash Lauter Tun!!!

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So I finally made my MLT... thought I'd share a few photos...

Total cost less than $30.

IMAG0385_small.JPG

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IMAG0389.jpg

Look familiar?

Depending on how Mr. beer prices the ball valve then it may be a little more... i figured this one was FREE for me :D

Bill of Materials:
1 ea - 5 gal water cooler. $20.00
3 ea - 1/2" ends $0.50/ea.
2 ft - 1/2" pvc pipe $1/ft
1 ea - 1/2" to 3/8" female coupler $1.50
1 ea - Mr. Beer ball valve FREE!
1 ea - gasket supplied w/ water cooler FREE!

My price $25. WOW! That was cheep!

Also, it will be great for Mr. Beer sized batches and low gravity 5 gallon batches. I'll probably make a second 10 gallon version for high gravity 5 gallon batches.

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Looks great ... My weekend project is to get my 10 gal tun set up.

Didn't think about using the PVC for draining. Only concern is how much its going to let thru during the drain?

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You do know that PVC isn't rated for temperatures that high, right? You should use CPVC for that manifold. You can use slots like you did, but get a material that's rated for the 150-170 degree temperatures that you're going to be throwing at it.

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KJI wrote:

Looks great ... My weekend project is to get my 10 gal tun set up.

Didn't think about using the PVC for draining. Only concern is how much its going to let thru during the drain?

My slotted CPVC manifold works great. The grain is what acts as a small particle filter.

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Also, it will be great for Mr. Beer sized batches and low gravity 5 gallon batches. I'll probably make a second 10 gallon version for high gravity 5 gallon batches


If you don't mind mashing in a kettle, you can use a five gallon cooler for lautering as much as 14 pounds of grain. It's not ideal, I plan on building a larger tun soon myself, but it can be done.

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Doh! Thanks for the heads up... time for trip #3 to ace. :(

What would happen if I DID use it? leach chemicals into the beer? melt? I bet it can be used... they have a safety factor on it, im sure.

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Tindel wrote:

Doh! Thanks for the heads up... time for trip #3 to ace. :(

What would happen if I DID use it? leach chemicals into the beer? melt? I bet it can be used... they have a safety factor on it, im sure.


At least one of the author's in my beer library identifies PVC as a source of off flavors. I'm thinking it's in the print version of Palmer's book, but I'm not certain. From my recollection, I don't think there is a distinction made between PVC and CVPC, but that is the main reason I made my manifold from copper.

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Tindel wrote:

Doh! Thanks for the heads up... time for trip #3 to ace. :(

What would happen if I DID use it? leach chemicals into the beer? melt? I bet it can be used... they have a safety factor on it, im sure.

90% of the argument that people post about this is based on speculation.

With that being said, CPVC is cheap, so why wouldn't you use it?

PVC is only rated for 140 degrees according to most google'd sources. You'll be soaking it in 155 degree water for an hour and then rinsing it with 170 degree water. I'd rather just spend $4 to replace it then worry about what the negative effects might be.

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oly wrote:

Tindel wrote:

Doh! Thanks for the heads up... time for trip #3 to ace. :(

What would happen if I DID use it? leach chemicals into the beer? melt? I bet it can be used... they have a safety factor on it, im sure.


At least one of the author's in my beer library identifies PVC as a source of off flavors. I'm thinking it's in the print version of Palmer's book, but I'm not certain. From my recollection, I don't think there is a distinction made between PVC and CVPC, but that is the main reason I made my manifold from copper.
oly I only trust copper or stainless steel for high temperatures as they're tried and true.

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Yep. It was Palmer, it's in the online version as well in the off flavors descriptions:

Solvent-like
This group of flavors is very similar to the alcohol and ester flavors, but are harsher to the tongue. These flavors often result from a combination of high fermentation temperatures and oxidation. They can also be leached from cheap plastic brewing equipment or if PVC tubing is used as a lautering manifold material. The solvents in some plastics like PVC can be leached by high temperatures.

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Colby wrote:
With that being said, CPVC is cheap, so why wouldn't you use it?

PVC is only rated for 140 degrees according to most google'd sources. You'll be soaking it in 155 degree water for an hour and then rinsing it with 170 degree water. I'd rather just spend $4 to replace it then worry about what the negative effects might be.

Because it would mean a 3rd trip to ACE! HAHAHA!

I'll let my palate decide if I sense off-flavors. All of the plastic in the Rubbermaid MLT will likely produce off-flavors too... If I was really all that worried I'd have a copper pot and a copper manifold inside something to regulate temperature.

This is homebrew... not rocket science... the CPVC was a good suggestion, and I'll probably do that.

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Tindel wrote:

Doh! Thanks for the heads up... time for trip #3 to ace. :(

What would happen if I DID use it? leach chemicals into the beer? melt? I bet it can be used... they have a safety factor on it, im sure.

Probably get off flavors like others said, but the pipe will shrink and the manifold won't stay together. I learned that when I made a sparge arm out pvc.

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Changed to CPVC this morning... time to start my all-grain brewing in the AM. :D

Thanks for all of the info everyone! That's why I posted...

I forgot to buy a CPVC cross fitting, so I just went with the straight shot across the 5 gallon tun.

I can't wait for the AM!

ps... the price was even cheeper than the straight up pvc! :D

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That looks pretty cool. I am totally thinking about doing that with my cooler that I got at a thrift store for $2. How did your brew day Go?

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Man, I've been to the thrift store 7283495213 times hoping to find a cooler. I'm a bit jealous, except that my brand new cooler was free because of a gift certificate I received from my aunt last Christmas.

Anyway, my first brew day didn't go so well. I'm hoping that it goes a little better the second time around. I ended up with 50% efficiency, and I obviously need to get that number up by 25% or so!

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Tindel wrote:

Man, I've been to the thrift store 7283495213 times hoping to find a cooler. I'm a bit jealous, except that my brand new cooler was free because of a gift certificate I received from my aunt last Christmas.

Anyway, my first brew day didn't go so well. I'm hoping that it goes a little better the second time around. I ended up with 50% efficiency, and I obviously need to get that number up by 25% or so!

If you are doing batch sparges - stir stir stir stir stir stir stir stir....

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These are some of the things I could have done better, my 'lessons learned' based on this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/first-all-grain-what-did-i-do-wrong-234148/

1. preheat my MLT - I bet this is where I lost a LOT of my heat from... hadn't even thought of that.
2. stir the grains better. I was getting very variable readings when I added 1/4 gallon of room temp water with 163 degree readings.
3. check my grain crush. AHS crushed my grain. I just checked another bag they sent me with the same purchase order. There is some whole barley grains, and a little bit of dust in the bag... Might be worth hitting them with the rolling pin a bit before my next batch. Will this give me a 25% increase in efficiency? I doubt it.

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Tindel wrote:

These are some of the things I could have done better, my 'lessons learned' based on this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/first-all-grain-what-did-i-do-wrong-234148/

1. preheat my MLT - I bet this is where I lost a LOT of my heat from... hadn't even thought of that.
2. stir the grains better. I was getting very variable readings when I added 1/4 gallon of room temp water with 163 degree readings.
3. check my grain crush. AHS crushed my grain. I just checked another bag they sent me with the same purchase order. There is some whole barley grains, and a little bit of dust in the bag... Might be worth hitting them with the rolling pin a bit before my next batch. Will this give me a 25% increase in efficiency? I doubt it.

Temp readings will vary a lot even after stirring. It's a good idea to let it sit for at least 5 minutes before you take a reading. 5 minutes is a long time to allow the wrong temperature to be present, but you can't really trust a reading immediately after adding water.

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If I may make a couple of suggestions. I am still new to this process but have read a lot and taken a series of classes offered in my area.
1) turn your slots so they are facing the bottom of your tun. This should help prevent stuck sparges.
2) use a base of water so that your tubes fill with water before adding your grains. This is so you don't create suction when you dump your grains and cause them to jam the slots.
3) the tun we used in class had a cover on it but the cover was uninsulated. The instructor has drilled 4 holes and sprayed in that expanding foam insulation. He said this really made a huge difference in holding his temps.

Don't know if any of this will help but it is what I learned in a short time.

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FDB...

1) I did figure that out... despite the pictures.
2) Can you explain this one a little bit more? I don't quite understand.
3) Great idea... I noticed mine wasn't insulated either. I may just do that! Thanks for the tip! :D

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This idea is exactly what I'm looking for! I have the spigot and the cooler, and will buy the materials on the way home. This looks a lot easier than some of the other plans I've seen.

I know Tindel hasn't been here in a while, so I'm hoping someone else will pick this up this question.

Is the Mr. Beer spigot heat rated? I don't want it leeching like the PVC.

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BugLaden wrote:

This idea is exactly what I'm looking for! I have the spigot and the cooler, and will buy the materials on the way home. This looks a lot easier than some of the other plans I've seen.

I know Tindel hasn't been here in a while, so I'm hoping someone else will pick this up this question.

Is the Mr. Beer spigot heat rated? I don't want it leeching like the PVC.

Do you have an LHBS nearby? That is where I found the valve I use. They are also available online. I average 83% efficiency with this setup. spigot_001.jpgmanifold-20110823.jpg

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Oly, I'm interested in your false bottom / screen. Did you cut grooves in your copper or slots? Is it sodered together or loose fitting so you can break down and clean? Thanks

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Ryno344 wrote:

Oly, I'm interested in your false bottom / screen. Did you cut grooves in your copper or slots? Is it sodered together or loose fitting so you can break down and clean? Thanks

I actually used a 1/16 inch drill bit through the sides. Don't really know why, I have a Dremel tool with plenty of cutting wheels, which would have been easier and probably more practical. Since I didn't kerf the copper (would keep the slots down in that case) I just arrange the pipe so that the holes are on the side. It is not soldered, which is just as well since there are plenty of drill swirls (?) on the insides to catch any grain that gets into it. The dimensions I based upon the guidelines that John Palmer provides in How To Brew, to minimize channeling down the sides. I imagine copper tubing (the flexible stuff) worked into a ring would work very well too, but if you don't have any handy, buying twenty feet of it might be impractical.

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