DIY vs AG Kit

As I get closer to making the flying leap into all-grain I’ve been waffling back and forth between building my own mash/lauter tun, as opposed to buying a pre-made kit.

The how-to’s look pretty easy, and I’m just curious how many seasoned all-grainers built their own vs. buying an already-made equipment kit?

If I build, is it advisable to go with a false bottom? I’ve seen other how-to’s that for go that, but to me it seems pretty efficient.

I’m by no means seasoned, but if you go DIY, I strongly recommend the mash tun build outlined in Denny’s Cheap ‘n’ Easy Batch Sparge Brewing guide
. I considered making a copper-pipe manifold for my cooler, but the SS braid is, well, super cheap ‘n’ easy :wink: .

It works well enough that I don’t see myself “upgrading” to a fancy, pre-fabbed mash rig for a long time, if ever. I say save your money for a good kettle, a good burner, and quality ingredients.

One thing the vets can definitely clarify, though, is whether or not a Denny-style tun is conducive to fly sparging, if that’s how you want to go.

I make small batches and went this DIY route for my Tun.


I went DIY for a few reasons. One, I like to build stuff. Two, I am cheap. Three, I work in a machine shop so I have a ton of tools to work with. There are so many how-tos out there that if you have any mechanical ability you should be able to do it yourself. And if you can’t DIY the stuff at your LHBS is most likely good equipment.

DIY here, I’ve made three now. I think they work better than a storebought MLT with false bottom. I think false bottoms are NOT the way to go.

I have made several MT’s and can tell you they are a fun and easy project. I have made both manifold designs and SS screen designs, but so far my preference has been towards a “tube in tube” SS screen.

if mash/lauter tun equipment decision is holding you back from doing your first ag do what stormybrew showed with the cooler and starining bag, and follow denny’s batch sparge method. my first ag was with an old bottling bucket, strain bag and blankets to insulate. it was a dry stout and turned out great. while that was in the primary i had time to work on a ss braid for a cooler.
keep it simple and just get started! the rest will come as you brew more batches and you’ll have a better idea of your equipment needs.

pay no attention to the shiny things :lol:

that is just my opinion, do whatever the hell you want but just get brewing :wink:

Will you be batch sparging, fly sparging, or both? That may influence your choice of tun design. Either way, I’d build it myself.

I absolutely hate building equipment. I have no patience for details and I’d rather be spending my time brewing. That’s why I love the Cheap’n’Easy mash tun. Inexpensive, dead easy to build (even for a klutz like me!), and it works great.

Good advice!

I started with the false bottom set-up from our host and eventually found cheap-n-easy better. Why? No stuck sparges, can fit any size grain bill into my bigger rectangular cooler, and my efficiency became amazingly consistent. Now I can crank any gravity wort I want without guessing efficiency and whether or not I’ll have a stuck sparge. I make great beer and have earned a few competition ribbons along the way.

I think it was Denny whom I heard on the Brewing Network saying how this is homebrewing, not commercial brewing, so our equipment doesn’t need to mimic the commercial equipment. This idea shouldn’t be forgotten…

Build it, not hard and works great.

If you have the skills, build it. If you don’t, buy it. Just get brewing!


+1000! That’s why I’ve stuck with BIAB using 2 pots and a grain sack. I don’t have room for more equipment, coolers, etc. My brew pot doubles as my mash tun. And my second pot is for batch sparging.

I built my own alla Denny’s design, although I went with a bazooka screen. The “build” took all of 30 minutes and I’ve had nothing but consistent, satisfying results with batch sparging.

I did a Denny build, and found it wasn’t a build. It was a slap it together!
I love mine, thanks Denny!

A “slap together”…I LIKE it!

I just built this MT yesterday in about two hours which include two trips to Lowe’s and a lot of time standing in the aisle looking at valves. My first batch was last night and it held the temp very well.

Dude, cut that braid down! It will work just as well and you’ll eliminate potential issues.