Why Not?

January 26, 2008 at 8:11 am 2 comments


Igloo Drink CoolerI got a little ambitious at Hops and Berries the other day when I went to get keg conversion materials. I got about 4 lbs. of grain for my IPA because I was so excited to have a brew kettle. However, the brew kettle won’t work until I find some money for a burner. I now have an emergency, I need to make myself a mash tun. As it happens, I was at my local Habitat for Humanity Thrift Shop yesterday and found a lovely little cooler that looked quite lonely sitting there, so I went ahead and bought it. I mean, for a measly $5, you would too, right? It was in descent shape, so I cleaned it out and soaked it with PBW overnight.

Now I just needed some sort of false bottom. I went down to Lowes and picked up all the fittings including the drain cock, a length of 1/2″ pipe, and some elbows and threaded ends. I decided to go with CPVC instead of copper because it was much cheaper and did not require me to solder. It is good up to 180°, and so I saw no downside, as that is hotter than I would ever be mashing.

I got home and immediately realized that I had gotten all the wrong size. MEASURE TWICE, buy once. So, it was back in the car and down to Lowes again, returned everything I had bought and got it all in 3/4″ CPVC that fit perfectly in the spigot hole already in the cooler. I had also picked up a metal pie plate at the thrift store for the purpose of making it into a false bottom, but after a lot of tinkering, I couldn’t get it to work (insert 3 wasted man-hours here). The pie plate was too high and interfered with the hose input, so I could not connect a hose under the plate. After bashing at it wih a hammer in n attempt to make it all fit, I realized that resistance was futile and it was back to Lowes (for the third time today).

Drainage ManifoldSo it was on to plan B. This time, I bought (4) 3/4″ elbow pieces and a ‘T’ piece to make a drainage manifold. I had lots of left over pipe at home to put it all together. It was fairly simple to do once I got all the pieces. I just glued all the elbows to make a square with the ‘T’ on one side. The ‘T’ in turn connects to the spigot via a clear food-grade plastic tube. I chose the flexible tube because it allowed the manifold to sit on the bottom of the cooler nicely and allowed an easy disconnect point. I then drilled a million little holes on the bottom side of the manifold to make it drain the sweet elixir of grains to my brewpot.

All that was left was to put it all together. Now I just need to sit down with Papazian (The Complete Joy of Homebrewing) and figure out how to use it, and then try it out and see if it all works! Oh, by the way, I still have to make one more trip to Lowes to get some gaskets…

For only ~$35, I’ve got a sweet mash tun!

Mash Tun

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Entry filed under: Brewing Gadgets. Tags: , , , .

Pictures! RoMo IPA – Batch 005

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Daniel Walker  |  January 27, 2008 at 6:37 am

    I bet hardware stores have more same-day repeat visits than any other type of business in the world.

    Reply
  • 2. brewbeer  |  January 27, 2008 at 6:52 am

    You’re probably right 🙂

    Reply

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