I recently made the decision to take my homebrewing to the next level and become an all-grain brewer. You only need a few things in order to do this and a mash tun is one of primary items. A mash tun is a large container where you soak your grain in hot water for a period of time, allowing the grain to release fermentable sugars and flavors. Like everyone else in the homebrewing community, I chose a beverage cooler to serve as the main vessel. I will be making 5-gallon batches, so a 10-gallon cooler is more than adequate for my needs.
I picked up my cooler at the Home Depot for $50.00. Lowe’s has a similar cooler, but the top isn’t threaded on their model. I also purchased a 1/2 in. PVC hose valve, a hose fitting, a few feet of 5/8 in. vinyl tubing, and a stainless steel toilet supply line to act as a filter.
It’s not rocket science here. The first thing you need to do is unscrew the cooler’s existing spigot and replace it with the PVC hose valve. Then, chop off both ends of the toilet supply line and separate the stainless steel braided section from the interior plastic hose. This gets attached to the hose valve inside of the mash tun with a simple stainless hose clamp (fold over the other end). That’s pretty much it. The hose fitting screws on to the hose valve and a vinyl tube is a nice add-on so you can manage the liquid coming out when it’s time to mash out.
The main point of the hose valve is that is give you control over how fast the liquid leaves the mash tun. Once you get it flowing, you can walk away for a few minutes and let gravity do its thing. The whole project costed me about $70 and worked great on its debut yesterday.