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Mashtun design - braid or false bottom?

I’m creating my own mashtun and I was planning to go with the braided hose, but the guy at the LHBS told me that the false bottom would be so much better for the efficiency… And $45.

It feels exorbitant to me, but if it’s totally worth it, so it is.

Your advice? Braided metal hose or false bottom? Is it worth the cash?

Any other mashtun design advice?

I plan to put it into a 7 gal round Rubbermaid.

I really doubt that a false bottom would increase you efficiency over a braid. I go with a square cooler they are cheaper.

Depends on if your batch or fly spargeing. Braid will be better for batch. False bottom works better with fly because you need to set the grain bed.

IMO….the guy on the local place should be fired. How is it possible a false bottom has anything to do with efficiency? Maybe I’m wrong and I will admit it if anyone can tell me how this has anything to do with it.

IMO…if you are using pellet hops braided vs false bottom will not matter. Save $45 and go braided.

I don’t believe a false bottom offers any benefit over a braid–even if you’re fly sparging.

What size batches are you planning to brew? A 7 gal. cooler is small if you’re planning to do 5 gal. batches. If you are keen to use a round cooler, you can get a 10 gal. Rubbermaid at Home Depot for very reasonable money.

This is exactly right. When batch sparging, you just empty the entire tun all at once, so geometry has little impact on efficiency. With fly sparging, it is important to rinse the grains evenly so you have to have a design that pulls wort through the grain bed evenly. A braid will result in concentrated flow in the area around the braid and especially around the port. A false bottom or well-designed manifold is needed to ensure even flow.

I suggest the OP consider batch sparging with a braid. Not only is it cheaper, but it is easier and much faster too. With a well-tuned system, fly sparging can yield slightly higher efficiencies, but the difference is not something any homebrewer should be worried about.

[quote=“masquelle”]I’m creating my own mashtun and I was planning to go with the braided hose, but the guy at the LHBS told me that the false bottom would be so much better for the efficiency… And $45.

It feels exorbitant to me, but if it’s totally worth it, so it is.

Your advice? Braided metal hose or false bottom? Is it worth the cash?

Any other mashtun design advice?

I plan to put it into a 7 gal round Rubbermaid.[/quote]

He’s wrong. I have the braided hose for 16 years and 449 batches and I get efficiencies in the mid 80s. There are a lot of variables in efficiency, but braid vs. FB isn’t one of them.

Although you can batch sparge with a FB.

This is exactly right. When batch sparging, you just empty the entire tun all at once, so geometry has little impact on efficiency. With fly sparging, it is important to rinse the grains evenly so you have to have a design that pulls wort through the grain bed evenly. A braid will result in concentrated flow in the area around the braid and especially around the port. A false bottom or well-designed manifold is needed to ensure even flow.

I suggest the OP consider batch sparging with a braid. Not only is it cheaper, but it is easier and much faster too. With a well-tuned system, fly sparging can yield slightly higher efficiencies, but the difference is not something any homebrewer should be worried about.[/quote]

Keep in mind, though, that a braid can be configured for fly sparging. Not that I’d ever do that!

Please allow me to give my opinion for a second:

So many times, homebrewers try to match pro brewing systems, on a small scale, as if homebrew systems should just be microcommercial systems. I don’t see the logic in this – homebrewers and their small systems shouldnt necessarily be anything like commercial systems. We don’t have to watch prices for ingredients, among other things (We can add an extra lb of grain to the grist for about a dollar, or an extra oz of hops for a dollar of two).

That’s fine, as long as you have the inclination and time to tinker. And while I do enjoy brewing, I also have a family / other hobbies. I don’t wanna add time to my brewday that aint necessary.

A good example of what i am referring to, is fly sparging. It takes so much longer than batch sparging, and is only incrementally more efficient (if any). I can’t understand why people fly sparge at all, quiet frankly.

I have a round 10 gallon Igloo with a false bottom. I batch sparge with it using Denny’s method. Works great. Go with what you like and what the wallet will afford you. I would not hesitate to use a braid system either, I just bought this setup before seeing all the options, but I like it and would do it again.
I wouldn’t say it has anything to do with efficiency. Your water temperatures, grain crush, yes. Shape of mash tun, no, not as long as your water finds its way to the boil kettle.
What I would stay away from, based on my experience, is a false bottom in a boil kettle that is using a propane burner to heat (even the super nice Blichmann). That is a giant pain in the rear that I would not recommend to anyone.
Again, just my experience, but I would only recommend a cooler. Have fun getting your setup!
:cheers:

I’ve often wondered about any downside to a false bottom in the boil kettle. If you have experience could you share?

I’ve often wondered about any downside to a false bottom in the boil kettle. If you have experience could you share?[/quote]
It is almost impossible to heat the mash to target and keep it there. Hot bubbles form in the bottom, and then suddenly burst upwards and the temp (according to the kettle thermometer) can jump by 20F in a few seconds. Then once you finally get the thing to your target, for some reason the uninsulated metal kettle allows the mash to cool very quickly…

The only way I found I could get decent results was to heat VERY slowly and stir constantly. For the full hour plus initial heating time. Decided there are better ways to spend my time during brew day…

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”]
It is almost impossible to heat the mash to target and keep it there. Hot bubbles form in the bottom, and then suddenly burst upwards and the temp (according to the kettle thermometer) can jump by 20F in a few seconds. Then once you finally get the thing to your target, for some reason the uninsulated metal kettle allows the mash to cool very quickly…

The only way I found I could get decent results was to heat VERY slowly and stir constantly. For the full hour plus initial heating time. Decided there are better ways to spend my time during brew day…[/quote]

I assume this is a non-issue for RIMS, of course?

[quote=“Silentknyght”][quote=“rebuiltcellars”]
It is almost impossible to heat the mash to target and keep it there. Hot bubbles form in the bottom, and then suddenly burst upwards and the temp (according to the kettle thermometer) can jump by 20F in a few seconds. Then once you finally get the thing to your target, for some reason the uninsulated metal kettle allows the mash to cool very quickly…

The only way I found I could get decent results was to heat VERY slowly and stir constantly. For the full hour plus initial heating time. Decided there are better ways to spend my time during brew day…[/quote]

I assume this is a non-issue for RIMS, of course?[/quote]
I suspect you are right, but I’ve never used a RIMS system so I wouldn’t be the one to ask.

I’ve often wondered about any downside to a false bottom in the boil kettle. If you have experience could you share?[/quote]
I have tried 2 different methods with the false bottom in the boil kettle. 1) use the Blichmann propane burner to keep mash temp at a set point - Rebuiltcellars described exactly my results. Mash temp was very uneven and would shoot suddenly from 150 to 165 even while stirring. 2) cover the kettle for an hour during the mash - I used closed cell foam, cut to fit every side of the kettle plus a thick comforter blanket wrapped and tied around the kettle. I still lost over 6 degrees.
It only took two brew sessions with these results to go back to the Igloo 10 gallon with false bottom: “dump, stir and leave it” method. I thought the Blichmann false bottom would make the brew day easier (less to clean) but it was not a good experience for me.

OP here.

I went with the $44 10 gal / 40qt igloo cooler from Home Depot. I wanted the rectangular one, but I couldn’t find one with a valve hole and didn’t want to drill.

I bought the braided tubing for $9, a fancier than necessary brass ball valve for $20 and connected it all with o-rings, a zip tie and 1/2" MIP to 3/8" nipple plastic coupling. Used Denny’s web page as a guide! Thanks again, Denny!

Ran some water through it last night to test for leaking. Nope! All good. And filtered well!

All told: ~$80!

More money for grain!!!

Thanks for the input. Time to get a bigger pot and a propane burner!

That was my feeling, that the warmer water would somehow be “trapped” under a false bottom

That was my feeling, that the warmer water would somehow be “trapped” under a false bottom[/quote]

I’m not saying it can’t happen, but that temperature change is highly unlikely to permeate the entire mash. Once I got a Thermopen, I found that the thermometer mounted on the kettle was simply reading wrong when heat was being applied. Yes, I add heat very lightly to prevent overshooting, when I need to do it, but I have little problems with a Sanke converted mash tun with a double wrap of Reflectix bubble wrap holding temp - for 10 gallon batches. I use my smaller rectangular cooler with braid for 5 gallon batches…and I batch sparge, FWIW.

That was my feeling, that the warmer water would somehow be “trapped” under a false bottom[/quote]

I’m not saying it can’t happen, but that temperature change is highly unlikely to permeate the entire mash. Once I got a Thermopen, I found that the thermometer mounted on the kettle was simply reading wrong when heat was being applied. Yes, I add heat very lightly to prevent overshooting, when I need to do it, but I have little problems with a Sanke converted mash tun with a double wrap of Reflectix bubble wrap holding temp - for 10 gallon batches. I use my smaller rectangular cooler with braid for 5 gallon batches…and I batch sparge, FWIW.[/quote]
You may be right, but the braid-in-cooler is so easy to use, I don’t see any reason to go back and check.

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