When making the jump from extract-brewing to all-grain home brewing you are going to need a mash tun. One of the least expensive homemade mash tun designs is made out of a cooler. You can use a square cooler, like the ones you would use to hold cold drinks, or a round cooler, like you would use to hold water at a soccer game. Using a cheap rectangle cooler, hoses, and plastic spigot you could build one for about $20, depending on the cost of the cooler. Many people will also convert stainless steel kettles or old kegs into mash tuns, however they don’t hold the heat like a cooler will. A homemade mash tun is not only easy and fun to build but will allow you to brew some amazing home brew.
I decided to use an orange round water cooler from Home Depot for my homebrew mash tun, partially because I had a convenient spot to store it and I also liked how it looked. I purchased everything from Home Depot, except a stainless steel washer that is needed on the inside of the mash tun. The total cost for the do it yourself mash tun was $81.65 with tax. Here is a checklist of the tools and supplies you will need:
Tools to Build Mash Tun
- Needle-nose pliers (or regular)
- crescent wrench or pliers
- Teflon tape
Parts for Homebrew Mash Tun
- 10 Gallon water cooler
- ⅜” female to female ball valve (plumbing)
- ¼” male brass pipe plug (plumbing)
- ⅜” x ⅜” female pipe to barb adapter (plumbing)
- ⅜” x ⅜” male pipe to barb adapter (plumbing)
- ⅜” x ⅜” male to male 1 ½” long extension (plumbing)
- ⅜” oring (over by the faucets)
- 2 - ¼” x ⅝” stainless steel hose clamp (plumbing)
- ½” x 12” stainless steel braided faucet supply line (over by the faucets)
- 3 - ⅝” fender washers (hardware)
- 1 - ⅝” stainless steel fender washers (not sure where to get these)
Steps to Build Home Made Mash Tun
- Use a wrench and remove the spigot on the cooler mash tun, keep the rubber insert.
- Use the hacksaw and cut the ends off of the faucet supply line.
- Use the needle-nose pliers and remove the hose found in the supply line.
- Add the hose clamp and the ¼” male brass pipe plug to one end of the braided mash tun filter, tighten the hose clamp.
- Add the hose clamp and the ⅜” x ⅜” female pipe to barb adapter to the other end of the braided mash tun filter, and tighten.
- Add Teflon tape to both sides of the ⅜” x ⅜” male to male 1 ½” long extension.
- Insert the ⅜” x ⅜” male to male 1 ½” long extension into the hole in the cooler mash tun, it is easiest to do this from the inside of the mash tun making sure the rubber insert stays in place.
- Screw on the newly created mash tun filter.
- Screw on the ball valve.
- Add Teflon tape to the ⅜” x ⅜” male pipe to barb adapter.
- Screw the ⅜” x ⅜” male pipe to barb adapter into the ball valve.
- Tighten everything up with a crescent wrench.
- Test by filling with water to make sure there are not any leaks in your new mash tun.
- Brew a batch of all-grain homebrew.
Those are the tools, parts, and directions for building a homebrew home made cooler mash tun. I would like to add a site glass and thermometer to mine so stay tuned for more.
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