Today I'm going to show you how to easily build a false bottom Mash tun for all grain brewing for less than $60 bucks. I'm also including all the part numbers that I used. There are lots of how to forums to construct a mash tun. I'm not inventing how to do this, people have been doing this for quite a while, I'm simply taking out all the guess work and showing you how to do it in less than 20 min.
I've been brewing my own beer for about 7 months and I have to say "I Love It". If your a true beer lover you have to experiment and try brewing yourself. My father has been brewing for over 20 yrs.. I remember when I was young he started brewing and experimenting with different flavors/concoctions. Now days it's really easy to get started brewing your own beer. They have kits that will get you started for less than $100 bucks. Also when you get into brewing your own beer your cost goes down substantially. I can brew a 5 gallon batch for $20. That breaks down to $0.37 a beer!
5 gallons of beer = 640 fl oz. / 12 oz. = approx. 54 beers $20 /54 beers = $0.37 a Beer!!!!
Step 1: Lets Get Started (Parts List)
1- 5 gallon igloo cooler $5.00 ( Yard Sale)
1-1/2" ball valve (Lowes part # 367489) $7.18
2-Rubber Washers (Lowes Part # 215697) $2.40
2-Metal Washer ( Lowes Part # 63310) $0.60
1-brass fitting (Lowes Part # 80967) $3.04
1-False Bottom 9' (Morebeer.com part # AG403) $34.99
1 ft silicone tubing (Morebeer.com part # H983) $2.29
Step 2: Previous Versions of Design
In John J. Palmers book "How to Brew: Everything you need to know to brew beer right the first time". On page 291 he has done a breakdown of a design for the bulkhead fitting. It's a good design however this design requires a lot of parts and assembly. Purchasing all these parts at your local home improvement store could easily set you back $40. The big box improvement stores pricing on brass fittings are outrageous. I set out to find a part that had most of what you need in one small affordable package. I found just what I need with a AMERICAN VALVE 1/2-in Male Brass Washing Machine Valve (Item #: 367489) @ Lowes. This simple part replaces a lot of the random fittings you find in John's design. When doing constructing John Palmers valve assembly it is advised to de-lead the brass, with my version just a good cleaning and sanitizing and your good to go.
One thing I really love about this design is that you can disassemble the mash tun easily for cleaning purposes. Also, you can convert it back to a cooler just a easily.
Step 3: Assembly of Mash Tun
1. First you want to disassemble the cooler spout.
2. widen the washer's using a 3/4" Uni-bit to allow the shank to fit through
3.Then slide the zinc washer/rubber washer on the shank. then sandwich the bulkhead with rubber washer/zinc washer.
4. tighten the fitting down against the bulkhead
5. add the 1/2" brass fitting/barb fitting
6. add the 4" silicone hose
7. attach hose to false bottom barb
There you have it. An awesome False bottom mash tun in under 20 min and under $60 bucks. Don't forget to drink a Home brew during this process!