Building a Mash Tun with a cooler

After some spectacular results using Scott’s cooler/mash tun, I’ve decided to build a mash/lauter tun from a 10 gallon Rubbermaid drink cooler and go all-grain. Joe and I brewed three great beers, and he’s done another couple that have turned out quite well. The quality of each of the beers seems to be as good or better than the best 10% of my extract and partial mash brews. Time to step up.

To start the process, I’ve been scouring the internet and print material on converting a cooler. I’ve been watching craigslist for some time hoping a 10 gallon drink cooler would pop up at the right price, but the only finds have been far enough out of the city that the savings over a new cooler are easily used up in travel and lost time. Luckily, Home Depot sells an orange HDPE lined cooler for $40. I opted for the cylindrical because John Palmer recommended them for 5 gallon batches, which is probably most of what I’ll be doing. There are lots of instructions out there on converting both a cylindrical and a rectangular cooler, which I’ve linked to at the bottom for reference.

I’ll be photo-documenting the process as well, but here are a number of conversions for comparison.

How-To Links

There are many more I’m sure, but this provides quite a variety to consider. I also checked a number of forums for opinions on false bottoms and manifolds. I’ll be going with a manifold design.

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