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 http://hbd.org/cascade/dennybrew/
. I considered making a copper-pipe manifold for my cooler, but the SS braid is, well, super cheap ‘n’ easy .
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 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.
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
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.
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…
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.