Author Topic: Devising a Mash Tun for One Gallon Batches  (Read 1944 times)

Offline aveteto01

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Devising a Mash Tun for One Gallon Batches
« on: August 27, 2013, 05:06:09 PM »
Standard Disclaimer:
I apologize if this topic has been covered before. I gave the forums a quick search, but didn't find much.

Back story:
I recently "went all-grain" with my 5 gal setup at my parents' house (makes for a good excuse to get home and see everyone (I live ~4 hours away)). Problem is, as a newly-wed I am getting fewer and fewer chances to make it back 'home' to brew... Moreover, I have very little space to brew in the one bedroom apartment my wife and I live in. Due to space issues, we've decided to try brewing one gallon batches.

The Point:
Having gone AG on the 'home' system, I'd really like to keep it up with this one. Obviously, BIAB is an option, but I can't say that I'm thrilled about dealing with the bag. I'd rather just use a typical, but small, mash tun. I found this guy: http://www.coleman.com/product/2-gallon-party-stackertrade-jug-blue/3000000736?contextCategory=8500#.Uh00EBbQ4qY on Coleman's website. I converted a 70-gal Xtreme (blue) cooler for the 'home' setup. Would this be a similar operation? Would I run into problems with the small size? Am I an idiot for thinking this would work? Would a SS braid, or a false bottom be superior? I don't have any experience with false bottoms, but I'm open to new things. Also, I'd like to keep this on the cheap (less than $65) if possible.

Thanks and let your creative juices flow!  :D

Offline bernman

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Re: Devising a Mash Tun for One Gallon Batches
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2013, 05:39:23 PM »
About 4 years ago a made a mash tun from a 3 gallon Coleman beverage cooler (blue). I made it to do 5 gallon partial mash batches and it has a ss braid. It is probably big enough to do 1 or 2 gallon AG batches, although I have never tried. It works great for partial mash, holds temps if it is pre heated and I never had any issues with the ss braid. I think I got mine from Target or Amazon, don't remember what I paid for it. I did have to buy the longer pipe nipple and an extra silicone washer to attach the ball valve.

I couldn't figure out how to post a picture so here is a link to the one that I have. Mine is the one on the left with the bigger handle, must be the old style. I will try to post a picture of mine if I can figure it out.

http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-Beverage-Cooler-3-Gallon-Blue/dp/B00168PI52

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Devising a Mash Tun for One Gallon Batches
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2013, 07:00:10 AM »
There was an article on small batch mashing maybe a year or so ago in Zymurgy.

If you have access to eZymurgy it should be relatively easy to find the article.

My recollection is the author used a similar small cooler to mash in their tiny NY apartment, so there should be some good info there for you.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Devising a Mash Tun for One Gallon Batches
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2013, 07:29:57 AM »
Seems like you could do any size. But the problem is mass. 1,000 gallons  holds its temp longer than 100... 100 >10... etc. I think all you need is a way to maintain temp

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Devising a Mash Tun for One Gallon Batches
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2013, 08:54:12 AM »
That will probably work but I gotta ask, what's there to deal with with BIAB. you've got to clean out your mash tun as well right?

If I were you I would go BIAB get a nice heavy duty colander that will rest on top of your boil kettle nicely and you can just lift the bag out and put it in the colander to drain while you start the boil. ideal for you situation I would think.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Devising a Mash Tun for One Gallon Batches
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2013, 02:22:06 PM »
I do a hybrid BIAB using a 5 gallon cooler as a separate mash tun. I do this instead of mashing in my kettle to help hold mash temp better. I line my cooler with a mesh bag instead of using a braid or false bottom. When the mash is done I lift the bag off the bottom of the cooler and drain it, then I squeeze the bag against the side of the cooler to get as much wort out as I can.

If I were doing 1 gallon all grain, I I'd use the cooler you found and line it with a bag for the mash. At the end of the mash I'd pull the bag and place it in a colander over another pot or bucket. Then I'd dump the cooler into my kettle. I I'd squeeze out the bag and dump the bag drippins into the kettle as well.
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Offline djsanta

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Re: Devising a Mash Tun for One Gallon Batches
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2013, 04:08:07 PM »
+1 for BIAB.  On the small scale nothing could be easier - just lift a small grain bag out of a pot on your stove.  Where BIAB gets more complicated is when you move into larger volumes (10+gals) because of the weight of the wet grain.  Plus it's super cheap...a few bucks for a grain bag and you're ready to go!
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Offline scottNU

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Re: Devising a Mash Tun for One Gallon Batches
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2013, 06:59:08 PM »
+1 for BIAB as well. BIAB was my step to AG and I still from time to time go back to the bag. It's a very flexible, and I think powerful, technique. I can experiment with yeasts, mash required grains and hops without a full AG commitment.

Don't worry about bag handling because I think you will find your brewing skills will translate well. Handling, sanitation and durability are all straightforward with the bag.

Just my $0.02.

Offline beersk

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Re: Devising a Mash Tun for One Gallon Batches
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2013, 07:21:09 AM »
Definitely go BIAB, it's a no-brainer for small batch brewing.
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Offline aveteto01

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Re: Devising a Mash Tun for One Gallon Batches
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2013, 10:42:56 AM »
You guys are most convincing! I've got to admit, my initial hesitation with BIAB was mostly due to lack of knowledge. After doing some reading, however, it really seems like it would work perfectly for my situation. I'm going to start with just straight BIAB, but I might go ahead and do the hybrid deal with the little 2 gal mash tun cooler.

You guys are great! Thanks for the help/encouragement.

Offline beersk

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Re: Devising a Mash Tun for One Gallon Batches
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2013, 05:40:20 AM »
The only advice I can give for BIAB is try not to direct heat the mash if you can help it. It creates hot spots (even with stirring!) that will denature enzymes and leave you with beers that won't finish lower than 1.020 or so. Unless you have a kettle with a thermometer on the bottom. I made this mistake on several beers. I tried pitching more yeast, aerating longer and better, mashing lower, etc. Nothing worked. Until the last one I did, I didn't touch the mash at all for 60 minutes, and the beer finished at 1.009. I thought I was stirring really well to eliminate those hot spots, but apparently not. From now on, whenever I do a brew in a bag, I won't direct heat, maybe only for mashout.
Good luck!
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