After brewing outside the capacity of our current mash tun, Nick and I have been looking for a way to build out. After surfing around for a 100+qt cooler, I was looking Craig’s List and saw a five gallon water jug for $10. I couldn’t resist.
I picked up this hoss with the intention of having it be the reservoir for our sparge, but last weekend, Nick mentioned that with a little work, we could make this guy duel porpoise – mash tun and sparge reserve.
First off, we had to remove the water spout that was on it already. For this model (and most others to my knowledge) it’s just a matter of unscrewing the plastic nut on the back and it’s off. Easy stuff.
After getting that off, I had widen the hole a little bit to fit the 3/4″ ball valve (with threads)through. Don’t go too big though, as you want to have as tight a fit as possible. With two gaskets and some silicone, I was able to seal things up (this is a process, but it’s worth continuing to do until you get it right). I have a gasket on the outside and one on the inside. On the inside is a plastic nut from my bottling bucket – works great!
This false bottom was Nick’s idea. It’s a 1/2″ piece of copper tube that has slits sawed into it with a small piece of stainless steal (feed grade from a cheap strainer) on the end. The copper tube is connected to a 1/2″ spur via a piece of rubber tube (it was a lot of work to get it over that). All parts are held in place by screw clamps.
This false bottom (1/2″ spur and nut) connects to the ball valve (3/4″) through a brass 3/4″ to 1/2″ connection.
So in the end, we have a false bottom for a mash tun using odds and ends pieces I have lying all over. Having a keg system helps me to have a lot of odds and end parts so we were able to make something pretty basic for about $15.
To everyone out there worried about the expenses involved in going all-grain (Adam I am looking in your direction!), here is a way that is cheap – so much so that it will pay for itself in the first batch you do.