Saturday, January 06, 2007

My new mashtun

The new Coleman Extreme 52 qt cooler has been retrofitted into a mashtun. It is now ready to replace my old mashtun. I bought it off eBay for USD 19.99 plus shipping. The cooler is a new-return, so it has a few scratches and a little dirt on it, but that does not really matter. The price was certainly right. This cooler is supposed to be extremely well insulated and will keep the mash temperature consistent throughout the mash.

The cooler came with a plastic spigot, but that one isn't very useful for any brewing purposes. So, I ended up getting hold of a weldless cooler conversion kit from Homebrew Heaven. The conversion kit is called Weld-B-Gone Deluxe Kettle Conversion Kit. Unfortunately the wall in this particluar cooler is about 2 cm thick, so I had to extend the nipple in the bulkhead with a longer one from Morebeer. Even this one was a tight fit.


Here you see the new converted cooler with the lid closed. The spigot can be seen on the left side. The cooler holds 52 quarts or 49.2 liters. This will allow me to do mashes of up to 15 kilos, which should be more than enough for my 25 liter batches. You'll see some big beers coming soon.


On my first attempt at installing the conversion kit I had quite a bit of problems getting everything watertight. No matter how hard I secured the spigot and the o-rings there was always some water escaping down onto the floor. Not good. The solution was to use silicone sealant. Silicone worked nicely, and on my second attempt everything was watertight. I've also used teflon tape on all threads. If you look closely at the photo above you can see the mashtun full of water. It didn't spill a drop of water. Let's hope that it continues that way when I do my first real mash.


The spigot includes a security lock that prevents it from being opened inadvertently. Click on the images to see more details.


On the inside I've connected a Bazooka Screen to the bulkhead fitting. This one works as the strainer, so that the wort can be separated from the grains. The screen is made from stainless steel and feels quite sturdy, so I think it should be able to hold a full mashtun without collapsing.


Here the Bazooka screen can be seen in more detail. There are 1/2" threads on it, so it can be screwed onto the bulkhead without problems. One of the nicer things about this cooler is that there is a lowered area at the bottom that drains the liquid down towards the spigot. This is great as the screen fits right into it. When I drained the water only 1.5 dl was left(!). That is incredibly little remaining liquid, so I can look forward to extracting pretty much all the wort in the mash tun (except the liquid absorbed by the grains, of course).

Homebrew Heaven:

1xWeld-B-Gone™ Deluxe Kettle Conversion Kit$36.95
1xThe Bazooka Screen™$16.95

Morebeer:

1xH612 : Stainless Nipple - 1/2" x 1.5'' Threaded$3.90

Total cost: USD 57.80 (plus shipping and VAT)

7 comments:

Travis said...

Getting it to seal without leaking is a project, no question. It's a little late for the advice, but I would recommend staying away from the rubber gaskets and going right to the silicone. I was trying to wait on putting something like that on my tun, but I am going to have to break down and do it.

Good looking tun, good luck!

Travis said...

How do you like that Bazooka Screen? I am not too fired up about the one that I have, and if the Bazooka screws onto a 1/2in thread, it would work on the setup I have now.

grove said...

Without silicone sealant it was impossible to get a proper seal. Now that I do have a tube of the stuff, I'll be prepared the next time. Not sure if the silicone contains any substances that I shouldn't have put in a mashtun, so I'll just have to live with it. :)

There are 1/2" stainless MPT threads on the Bazooka Screen. I haven't tried to use it yet, so I don't really know much about it. Will report back once I have an opinion. With my old setup I only get 68% mash efficiency, so there is a good possibility that it'll be better this time... (or not).

What is it that you don't like about it?

Travis said...

Actually I was thinking about getting a Bazooka Screen, I have a modified water intake mesh that is not giving me very good results.

After reading about your Bazooka screen and doing some measurements (and the fact that a 1/2" thread would twist right on to my current set up), I was thinking about giving one of those a try.

Please do make a post once you use it, I am interested to hear how it works.

Anonymous said...

The pic links appear to be broken...I'm doing a similar thing and would love to see the images too!

grove said...

anonymous,

Yes, the network provider decided to change the IP address of the server at work without telling us, so the DNS records were out of sync. Things have been fixed now, but it can take up to 24 hours before the changes have been propagated to all name servers out there. So, the images will be back soon -- if they're not already. Cheers.

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