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DIY mash tun / hop strainer

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DIY mash tun / hop strainer

Postby colin84 » Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:25 pm

Right, I'm new to this brewing malarky but have decided to throw myself in at the deep end by going AG...

As I'm the only ale drinker in the my flat (until I convert my other half) I have decided to stick to 2 gallon brews as I'm not convinced I'd get through 40 pints a week!
I have most of my equipment sitting here, but I'm having trouble with the mash tun and hop strainer.

I did initially plan to create DaaBs false bottom for the mash tun (2 gallon FV covered in blankets etc) and was going to also use this for the hop strainer in my boiler (3 gallon FV with kettle element) however I figured that there are 2 potential problems with this:
- The plate may soften/melt
- The plate may be lifted off the bottom during the boil (due to the currents)

In light of this, what is the easiest kind of hop strainer to make and could it also double up as the manifold in my mash tun? I have seen the copper pipes with holes drilled all over them, but I've read reports of people using mesh which sounds a lot simpler but I can't picture how it would fit. The hops I have are vacuum packed (so presumably whole not pellet).
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Re: DIY mash tun / hop strainer

Postby vacant » Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:05 pm

colin84 wrote: I've read reports of people using mesh which sounds a lot simpler but I can't picture how it would fit.

Standard hoselock (or cheapo knock-off) holds the mesh and screws into the back of a "waddington & duval" water butt tap in my H&G 10 gallon plastic boiler.
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Re: DIY mash tun / hop strainer

Postby colin84 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:47 pm

vacant wrote:
colin84 wrote: I've read reports of people using mesh which sounds a lot simpler but I can't picture how it would fit.

Standard hoselock (or cheapo knock-off) holds the mesh and screws into the back of a "waddington & duval" water butt tap in my H&G 10 gallon plastic boiler.
hmm, having googled those parts you mentioned, it looks as if you're simply sticking the mesh striaght on the back of the tap without any pipes/other equipment - is it really just as simple as that? Do you have any pictures?

Would this setup also work for the mash tun? The only downfall I can see is that there will be a lot of wasted wort (due to no syphon effect) or is there something I'm missing?
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Re: DIY mash tun / hop strainer

Postby vacant » Fri Apr 24, 2009 2:05 pm

The mesh is wrapped and one end "screwed" into the hozelock where the hose is normally inserted. The plastic locking nut is tightened. The other end of the adapter has a thread which I found fits the water butt tap. I guess you could wrap the mesh tighter and insert it directly into the back of the tap but there might be gaps.

I'm using it as a hop strainer. After a couple of grams of protafloc, the break material and hops mean there is very little dead space wort lost. The immersion chiller comes out at around 27C, I then get a good whirlpool stir going then leave for 20 mins for the material to settle.

As a mash tun solution I agree you'd lose more to dead space. I'm doing no-sparge BIAB so that doesn't affect me.

edit: added an image showing the hozelock bits disassembled so you can see the thread that fits the water butt tap and the way the mesh is "screwed" in
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Re: DIY mash tun / hop strainer

Postby yogester » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:01 pm

I have built a hop strainer that I also am planning to use as a mash tun manifold.

I have an elbow that is soldered onto a pipe that goes through the side of the tun and the same set up on the boiler. The street end goes is then welded into an elbow with compression at one end a street at the other. The street is welded into the elbow creating an "S" so the tap can be higher up the boiler or mashtun but the screen still be at the bottom. Connected to the compression is a fitting I have made out of three Tee's that have one of its ends being a street end so that 22mm mesh tubes (http://tinyurl.com/c4azmh) that are then connected with jubilees can go off in four directions - two going around the circumference (one each way) and two that run parallel to each other across the tun or boiler which meet up at the other side in a similarish configuration (but without the middle tee since there is no valve at that end). The mesh is stuffed with 15mm copper pieces about 20-30mm long but not too much so as to make it inflexible. The idea is that the manifold has some "give to it" so that if the tun and the boiler are clos-ish in size to each other they can be used for both purposes.

Similar set up to this one done by brewzone (http://tinyurl.com/cal6ld) but with two extra mesh tubes running across the tun or boiler parallel to the valve so it has a more "traditional" manifold shape. Sorry don't have a camera at the moment so you will have to do with you imagination and this photo of brewzone's much superior handiwork to mine.


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Re: DIY mash tun / hop strainer

Postby colin84 » Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:39 pm

Thanks for the pics guys, it really helps. That solution looks ideal... can't really get much simpler than a tubular mesh filled with copper tubing to give it some strength - plus as it stays at the bottom of the vessel it should produce a pretty good syphon effect!

I'll be making a trip to screw fix shortly to get the bits I feel!

BTW, off topic, but how long does crushed barley last and how should I store it? It's currently just in clear plastic bags (that H&G sent it in) then placed in a FV to keep it out of the light. It's kept at room temp (around 20 degrees) - having a studio flat means I don't really benefit from a nice cool garage to keep stuff in!

Also, I have an idiots question about hops... my hops (vacuum packed) are stored in the freezer... I'm guessing that there is no need to defrost them before I use them?
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Re: DIY mash tun / hop strainer

Postby Parva » Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:47 pm

I'm using a sack of grain that I've had for 8 months stored in the kitchen (19c) with no problems. And regarding the hops, no, no need to defrost them as you will find when you come to use them. There's no water in them so they don't freeze into a block.
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Re: DIY mash tun / hop strainer

Postby colin84 » Sat May 02, 2009 8:36 pm

Ok, after a trip to screw fix & b&q I decided to go down the copper pipe with holes route for the hop strainer (the bits were just easier to get hold of!)

I've started drilling 2mm holes over the pipe. Do I continue to do this all over or do I just do half of it (horizontally)? If I only do half the pipe then I'm going to benefit more from the sypthon effect, if I do it all over it'll drain quicker... I have a couple of elbows so I can rest it flat against the bottom of the boiler.
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Re: DIY mash tun / hop strainer

Postby pdtnc » Sun May 03, 2009 10:41 am

Check my post regarding the Syphon effect, I made a hop strainer with just holes in the lower third of the tube, reduced the outflow pipe diameter after about a 400-500mm drop viewtopic.php?f=6&t=22752#p254660 ;)
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