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Creating “Wedding Ale” Step 2: Building a Mash Tun

2011 January 31
by Chris

Picking up steam from building the wort chiller last week, I’m onto the next project in preparation for crafting our “Wedding Ale.”  The most essential piece of equipment when moving to all-grain brewing is the mash tun.  This is the vessel that holds all of the grain (barley, wheat, etc.) while it steeps in hot water, causing the starches to turn into sugar.  This process creates the sweet wort that, once boiled with the hops and fermented with yeast, becomes the beer.

brewery mash tun

I could have bought a mash tun online or at my local homebrew shop that was already assembled.  I could get anything from a super nice one to one that someone else home-made online.  But, being on a budget, I opted for the less expensive and more rewarding route of creating one on my own!

Constructing A Mash Tun

Luckily, a good friend (and one of my groomsmen) came to the rescue and donated an old cooler that he had acquired for the cause.  The cooler is the biggest and most expensive piece of the puzzle.  With this, I was then able to find some great instructions and videos online that detailed exactly what I need to build it.

All it took was using a braided stainless steel supply hose (look at the water hose that goes into your sink or toilet to see what I’m talking about) as a filter.  Then I removed the built-in drain valve from the cooler and replaced it with a brass ball-valve and spigot.

Mash Tun SpigotStainless Steel Supply Hose

Filter to spigot connection

And really, that’s it!  All it takes is a filter that won’t get clogged with the crushed grain, some brass parts to connect it to the spigot and go through the cooler, then a few washers, hose clamps, and some teflon tape to make sure it won’t leak.

The best part was that I was able to build the whole thing for FAR less than the cost of purchasing one.  Granted, the free cooler saved me about $30 (what would have been the most expensive part), but even if I had bought a new cooler, it would have been an inexpensive project!

Now I’m getting really excited.  The last piece of equipment I need is a big kettle to brew in, and I think I may have found a good deal on craigslist….stay tuned!

**UPDATE: Check out the kettle I put together!

Related posts:

Homebrewing on a Budget
Creating "Wedding Ale" Step 1: Building A Wort Chiller
First Look at the Wedding Ale
2 Responses
  1. Trav permalink
    January 31, 2011

    Now get some small pieces of PVC and drill small holes in it, then connect to your hot water source to aid in sparging. A whole lot easier than sparging by hand! And still cheap!

  2. Chris permalink*
    January 31, 2011

    Yeah, I’m definitely considering that option as well. May or may not happen before the first all-grain batch though. Thanks for the advice!

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