Moving to all grain brewing isn’t as hard as people think. Anyone who searches the web for info on the subject will probably have their head spinning from all the different variations on how to do it. Teirs, circulators, pumps, wow! This is all good stuff, but for the beginner, a little intimidating. For myself, I like to use the KISS method (keep it simple stupid!) There are really only two additional pieces of equipment that you will need to begin your journey into all grain brewing: a bigger brew pot and a mash tun. The following are step by step instructions to converting a beverage cooler to a mash/lauter tun ( there are many ways to build one, so this one option). It is extremely easy to do. It only cost $18.00 in fittings purchased at Carters, $13.50 for a kettle screen (purchased here at the store), plus the cost of the cooler purchased at Kmart. A 5 or 10 gallon cooler can be used depending on how large a batch of beer you want to make.
The following are pictures and part names you will need to get:
1/2 x3/8 reducer coupler brass
7/8ID 14ga machine washer (2)
1/2″ Brass Ball Valve
1/2″ x 2″ Brass threaded nipple
1/2″barb x 1/2″ MPT fitting
5 gallon cooler
How to Create Your Mash Lauter Tun
Step 1 – unthread nut from inside of cooler
Step 2 – remove valve
Step 3 – use plumbers tape on all threaded ends
File 1/2end of reducer coupling to ensure a good seal against rubber gasket
thread kettle screen into reducer coupling
turn locknut on with barbs toward center of nipple
insert 2 washers on left side of nipple followed by locknut (barbs toward center), then thread on valve
insert nipple and valve through rubber gasket and into the cooler
view of nipple fitting from inside
hold reducer coupling with pliers and thread nipple in by turning the valve from outside (tighten snuggly). Notice we had to bend the kettle screen to fit inside cooler. For Larger coolers, this won’t be a problem.
thread barbed fitting into valve, tighten with wrench
Snug outer locknut up against cooler with wrench or screwdriver
The finished product. A 3 ft. length of hose can be attached to the barbed fitting for draining into your brewpot.