making a mash tun

i recently bought the parts to convert a 48 qt. cooler into a mash tun . my question is the ball valve is bronze and the 1/2’ nipple for going thru the cooler wall is brass, everything else is copper, the brass and bronze contain lead will this be an issue with heavy metal poisoning? wanted to check before i build it. all components came from lowes and they didn’t have any other materials for the ball valve or nipple. any help is appreciated!!

That is fine. I see no problems with what you have.

thanx for the quick reply, also i was going to just push all the copper tubing together and not solder , am i better off to solder the joints together or just push it together? just being lazy i guess, lol

You’d better solder them together or they will fall apart during the mash. You can buy lead free solder.

Yea kinda figured that, ugh, more work. thanx again for the help. don’t suppose you have any good starter recipes to try? iv’e been doing extract brewing for the last 2 years, and wanted to step it up to all grain now.

Have you looked at these sites for mash tun build ideas?

As far as starter recipes, you can pull any recipe off of NB’s kit list.

thanx for the info!!

I agree that if you are going to go the copper route, make sure that you solder the joints.
But, I highly recommend going with a SS braid setup with a tube in tube design.

I respectfully disagree. I have not soldered my manifold. I use pliers to make ends slightly oblong so they fit tightly into connection pieces. I can still take the manifold apart to clean that way. I have had no issues with my manifold coming apart for over 150 batches. I get just below 80% efficiency consistently.

The cleaning part is why i thought mybe no solder, braided was my other thought, some people said it can collapse so i figured copper was a safer bet. All great info! Research, research,research all For a good batch of beer!!! :slight_smile: )

Check my website under all grain for a low cost very effective manifold from SS mesh for both batch and fly sparging.

Given the cost, I chose CPVC. Compared to the same manifold from copper, a CPVC manifold is 1/3 of the cost. I dry-fit all my pieces for cleaning.

+1 for cpvc manifolds


My manifold is CPVC. I used a very tiny drill bit to make hundreds of holes in it. I can take it all apart for cleaning. Time consuming to make, but it works great and was cheaper. If I was to replace it or make another one, I would explore the stainless braid.

here’s a pic of my rig. modified from a design i found online to work with my cooler.

with needing to go upward to my drain will i need to tip the cooler when draining the mash?

Can’t tell from the picture, it depends on whether air can get in up high. If the part that leads to the outside of the cooler is sealed and you have a hose on the outside dropping down low, then it will work as a siphon and drain the entire cooler without tilting it. Just put some water in and test it.

Should drain until you break the siphon.
Are you going to solder the joints?

The siphon will be broken as soon as you get below where the pipe connects to the manifold. It would work better if you connected closer to the original drain. Also, without soldering or somehow sealing the joints, it will most likely draw air through a joint and break the siphon.


I looked at your web site and ended up with the same question I keep running into. I see a kettle with a “wort Pickup tube”. Noone ever seems to mention this part or its use (the tube). Soooo - what is it for? Is this a convenience or something I really need is the further question I suppose.


BTW I tried to PM you but technology did what it usually does to me - it fought!