i ended up going with a cooler/ball valve/brass nipple/SS braid set up. worked beautifully! denny, if you are the genius that came up with the braided line idea, well, then you're a genius.
the drain was a bit slow, but i had no stuck sparge, and am guessing i got a decent efficiency.
to be honest, the hardest part of the whole all grain affair was the math part. :cheers: