All-grain brewing is essentially brewing a beer from scratch and not using any malt extract.  It describes the process by which the sugars from the grains are extracted and become the beer.  The two steps that make up all grain brewing are mashing and lautering.  Mashing was described in the article All Grain Brewing — Mashing , this is a follow up to it and will be describing how to get the wort out of the mash. 

What is Lautering?

The term lautering is used to describe the process by which the mash is separated into wort and grains.  This process has three basic steps mash out, draining off the wort and sparging.   The end results of lautering is a brew kettle filled with wort to the desired pre-boil volume.

The whole process goes something like this:

  • Malt is crushed and added to mash tun (mashing)
  • Malt is soaked with 160-165 water at a water-to-grain ratio of 1.25-1.5 quarts per pound to achieve a mash temperature of 150-155 degrees. (mashing)
  • Mash is usually held at that temperature for an hour, then drained into the brew pot. (mashing)
  • Additional water at around 160-165 F is then added to the mash. (lautering)
  • Mash is stirred and settles for about 30 minutes then drained off again to the brew pot. (lautering)

Equipment Needed for Lautering

Sparge water pot–  A large pot that will be used to heat up your sparge water.  If you are planning on brewing 5 gallons of beer you are going to want about a 5 gallon pot to use as your sparge water pot. 

Wort boiling pot–  A large pot that will be used as the brew pot, keep in mind it needs to be at least a 8 gallon pot for a 5 gallon brew recipe.  The mashing/lautering process will extract about 6-7 gallons of wort which will be used during the boil.  Purchasing a turkey fryer(7 gallon pot with burner) for this is highly recommended and works well.

Steps to Lautering

1. Mash Out
2. Draining the Wort
3. Sparging

Mash Out

This step is usually only necessary for thick mashes, less than a grist-to-water ratio of 1.25. The process of mashing out involves raising the mash temperature to 170 degrees for a few minutes before draining off the wort.  If using a cooler mash tun, this can be done by adding small amounts of boiling water to the mash.

Draining the Wort

Finally after an hour has pasted the time has come to drain off the wort into the boil pot.  Open or take off the top of the mash tun.  You first need to recirculate 2 quarts of wort.  To do this open the valve slowly and collect the wort into a bowl/pot, then gently pour it back into the grain bed.  Repeat the recirculating until the wort appears clear and free of any debris.

draining off first 2 quarts

draining off first 2 quarts

Next drain the wort carefully into the boil pot.  I usually drain through a hop bag just to collect any grain husks that may of made it through.  Watch out not to turn the valve too quickly, it may suck fine particles into your filter(SS braiding or false bottom) and clog the flow.  Fill the pot slowly; make sure the wort is not splashing into it.  Splashing at this point can cause long term oxidation damage to the flavor of the beer.  After all of the wort has passed through it is time to add the sparge water and begin sparging.

draining initial wort into boil kettle

draining initial wort into boil kettle

Sparging

The most common type of sparging for home brewers is batch sparging. Batch sparging involves large volumes of water being added to the grain bed at once rather than continously. Sometimes two or even three sparges are necessary to collect all of the wort.

To begin this process use the equation below to calculate how much sparge water is neeeded for your recipe.  Heat up the water to 165-175 degrees based on your recipe.  You can start this before your mash is ready.  The water will be added to the grains after the initial wort is drained off. 

Amount of Water to Batch Sparge with = (Final Boil Volume) + (Shrinkage/Evaporation) + (Equipment Losses) + (Spent Grains) – (Amount of Water for Mash)

where
Final Boil Volume = 5.5 Gallons (accounts for trub loss)
Shrinkage/Evaporation (~.5 gallons)
Equipment Losses (~1 gallon)
Water Lost in Spent Grains (link describes how to calculate)
Amount of Water for Mash (1.25-1.5 x pounds of grains used)

adding filtered sparge water to heat

adding filtered sparge water to heat

Once you have drained the initial wort off you need to close the valve to the mash tun. Next slowly pour in your sparge water. Let the new mash sit for 15 minutes, then recirculate it and drain it off into your brew pot. Repeat as necessary until you achieve the desired pre-boil wort volume.  Bring your kettle to a boil and finish out brewing the rest of the beer.

Thats it for lautering, if you want any more information check out our All Grain section for more articles regarding all grain brewing.  Feel free to post questions/comments below.

All-grain brewing is essentially brewing a beer from scratch and not using any malt extract.  It describes the process by which the sugars from the grains are extracted and become the beer.  The two steps that make up all grain brewing are mashing and lautering.  Hopefully by now you have brewed a few extract based beers and are ready to move onto personalizing your beer even more.   If that is not the case, I recommend you checking out the Basic Brewing articles and getting familiar with the brewing process before attempting an all grain brew.

What is Mashing?

The term mashing is used to describe the process by which malted grains are soaked in a hot water bath for about an hour.  This process gelatinizes the malts starches, releases some natural enzymes, and converts their starches into fermentable sugars. 

The whole process goes something like this:

  • Malt is crushed and added to mash tun (mashing)
  • Malt is soaked with 160-165 water at a water-to-grain ratio of 1.25-1.5 quarts per pound to achieve a mash temperature of 150-155. (mashing)
  • Mash is usually held at that temperature for an hour, then drained into the brew pot. (mashing)
  • Additional water at around 165-175  is then added to the mash. (lautering)
  • Mash is stirred and settles for about 30 minutes then drained off again. (lautering)

Equipment Needed for Mashing

Mash tun —  The easiest type of mash tun to build is a cooler mash tun.  The mash tun will be used to conduct the mash inside, home brewers usually use a cooler mash tun, the other alternative is an expensive pot mash tun with a false bottom. 

Sparge water pot–  A large pot that will be used to heat up your mash water and sparge water.  If you are planning on brewing 5 gallons of beer you are going to want about a 5 gallon pot to use as your mash/sparge water pot. 

Wort boiling pot–  A large pot that will be used as the boil pot, keep in mind this needs to be at least a 8 gallon pot for a 5 gallon brew recipe.  The mashing/lautering process will extract about 6-7 gallons of wort that will be used during the boil.  Purchasing a turkey fryer(7 gallon pot with burner) for this is highly recommended and works well.

Steps to Mashing

1. Heating the Mash Water
2. Preheat the Mash Tun
3. Mashing
4. Heat Sparge Water

Heating the Mash Water

I recommend using filtered water for your mashing and lautering, check out building a water filter for brewing.  To get started, use the calculation below to get the amount of water needed for the mash.

(Pounds of Grains) x (Grist-to-Water Ratio)  /  4  = Mash Water Volume in Gallons

I usually start out with a grist-to-water ratio of 1.25-1.5 quarts per pound depending on the recipe.  Having a grist-to-water ratio higher then 2 is considered a thin mash and can lead to slower starch conversion.  Having a grist-to-water ratio lower than 1.25 is considered a thick mash and can lead to a sweeter maltier beer.  As a general guideline always heat up more water than you will use, go ahead and fill up 2 quarts of water per pound of grain.

heating up mash/sparge water

heating up mash/sparge water

Determine what temperature you should heat the mash water by finding out what your strike temperature should be.  For a grist-to-water ration of 1.25-1.5 the strike temperature is usually 10 degrees warmer then the desired mash temperature.  All of the all grain homebrew recipes I have included on BrewMoreBeer have their mash and strike temperatures described.

As a general guideline beers with more than 20% flaked barley, oats, rye or wheat can really benefit from what is called a protein rest between 95-113 degrees.  This topic will be written on more in depth in the coming months.

Preheat the Mash Tun

This step helps with initial heat loss to the mash.  To do this pour about a gallon or two of boiling water into the mash tun and swirl it around for a minute then pour it into your sparge water pot for recycling.

preheating mash tun

preheating mash tun

Mashing

Mashing usually takes about an hour, refer to the mash schedule on your beers specific recipe for exact details.  As a general rule when mashing, you want to add the water to the grains and not the grains to the water.  Start off by pouring your milled grains into your mash tun, you can get your grains milled at your local brew store, by using a rolling pin, or buy purchasing a maltmill.  I use the Barley Crusher (15 lbs hopper) with a drill to mill my malt, the Barley Crusher does a great job.  Milled grains usually last about a week or two if kept in a cool dark place(airtight as possible). 

adding grains to mash tun

adding grains to mash tun

Add your mash strike water(can get temperature from recipe section) with a bowl or small pot and pour it over your grain bed.  Continue until you have achieved your desired grist-to-water ratio.  Stir the mash thoroughly and shut the lid. 

adding strike temp water to mash

adding strike temp water to mash

Wait about 15 minutes and check the mash to make sure it is at the desired mash temperature.  If too hot, leave the top open for a few minutes and stir, if too cold then you may want to add some boiling water to bring the temperature back up.  If the temperature of the mash is above 158 or below 140 it can cause bad starch conversion and will decrease the fermentablity of the wort.

Hopefully you still have a few cold brews left over from the last batch.  Now is the time  if you do to go and grab one, crack it open and relax for a few minutes.  After 30 minutes have passed you want to go and stir up the mash a bit.  At this time also make sure the temperature is still at or really close(within 2-3 degrees) to that of the desired mash temperature.  If not then adjust as mentioned above. 

stirring the mash

stirring the mash

When about 15 minutes remain in the mash began on the next step, Heating up the Sparge Water.

Heating up the Sparge Water

Heat up the necessary sparge water in the smaller of your two boil pots.  Here you will want to heat up about 3.5 to 4 gallons of water to about 165-175 degrees based on the specific 5 gallon recipe.  The sparge water amount is usually equal to about 1.5x the amount of water used for the mash.  The water will be added to the grains after the initial wort is drained off. 

After the mash is complete continue to the next article All Grain Brewing — Lautering to find out more on the process of getting the wort out of the mash.  Feel free to post questions/comments below.

secondary_fermenter

Racking Beer to a secondary fermenter is the process of transferring beer from one fermenter to another after the primary fermentation process is complete.  The primary purpose for racking beer is to improve clarity, age the beer for better flavor and in some cases protect it from off flavors produced by dying yeast.  Additional benefits behind racking include the ability to dry hop, check out How to Dry Hop? and bourbon barrel aging your beer.  The most important part of this process is to make sure the primary fermentation step is complete before racking.

How to tell when primary fermentation is complete?

On average primary fermentation takes about 4-6 days for ales and 4-10 days for lagers to complete.  You can confirm that primary fermentation is complete by noticing the activity on the airlock has slowed down to less than 2 bubbles a minute. With some beers both primary and secondary fermentation happen in the same vessel, check out our fermenting the beer article for more.  Our recipe page will tell you what fermentation process is recommend for each specific style and recipe of beer.

primary fermentation phase finished

primary fermentation phase finished

What type of fermenter to rack into?

The best vessel to use during secondary fermentation is with out a doubt a carboy.  Carboy’s tend to have less head space than a bucket for example, less head space is important to help prevent oxidation to the beer. Both glass and plastic(food grade) carboys work great, however the plastic carboys are safer and tend to have a larger opening making them easier to clean.

How to rack and for how long?

Racking into a secondary fermenter should be done using a auto-siphon if you are not draining out a bucket with a spigot.  Before starting anything make sure the carboy has been cleaned, sanitized and had enough time to dry.  Regardless of method make sure the beer is flowing smoothly and not guzzling or splashing at any point.  As a rule of thumb the higher the original gravity of the beer, the long the beer needs to stay in the secondary to reach peak flavor.  From what I have experienced for lighter pale ales about 2 weeks is usually optimal, and about a month for a dry irish stout or any stronger/darker beers.

stout being drained to secondary

stout being drained to secondary

Why should you not rack into a secondary fermenter?

Well after I convinced you it was a good idea for your beer and easy to do, here are a few problems with racking.  The process of racking into a secondary fermenter greatly increases your chances of oxidizing your beer or introducing contaminates.  Introducing oxygen or contaminates to the beer at this point could cause staling reactions that will be noticed in the flavor of the beer within a couple of weeks after bottling the beer / kegging. With all of that being said, its well worth the risk and completely necessary to rack beer if you are planning on dry hopping or barrel aging your beer.

Weiss Beer -- Hefeweizen

Weiss Beer -- Hefeweizen

You might be asking yourself what are the differences between weissbier, witbeir, hefeweizen, wheat, white beers?  Here is an article that I hope will solve all of the confusion.

Wheat Beer

Their are two major styles of wheat beers, weissbier (German) and witbier (Belgian).  Wheat beers are usually top fermented ales, that consistent mostly of wheat followed by a pale malted barley.  Since wheat contains much more protein than barley it produces a thicker head along with a hazy appearance.  Most wheat beers are light both in body and flavor making them a great summer beer.

German Weissbier

The most common type of weissbeir, as it is called in German, is the Hefeweizen.  Directly translated in German “Hefe” means yeast and “Weizen” means wheat. Hefeweizen is a unfiltered, top fermented, bottle conditioned German wheat beer with noticeable yeast sediment and a hazy appearance. Weissbier that has been filtered, which removes suspended yeast and wheat protein, are usually called Kristallweizen (crystal wheat), or Kristall Weissbier (crystal white beer). Dark weiss styles are also available and are known as dunkelweizen (dark wheat), or Weizenbock (strong wheat beer), these usually have higher alcohol content.

Belgian Witbier

White beer, witbier, as it is called in Belgium is a unfiltered, top fermented, bottle conditioned wheat beer. It gets its name from the suspended yeast and wheat proteins, which make the beer look white when cold. This style originated without the use of any hops, instead fruits and spices were used. Today the style tends to use orange peel and coriander along with a light bit of hops for aroma and flavoring.  Check out our Belgian Witbier Recipe it is an amazing brew, loved by many of my friends.  The article brewing with coriander goes into more details on how to use coriander when brewing.

Weissbier Witbier
Aroma Moderate to strong phenols (usually clove) and fruity esters (usually banana). Moderate sweetness with light, grainy, spicy wheat aromatics, often with a bit of tartness.
Appearance Cloudy, Pale straw to very dark gold in color. Cloudy, Pale straw to very light gold in color.
Flavor Low to moderately strong banana and clove flavor. Pleasant sweetness and a zesty, orange-citrusy fruitiness.
OG 1.044 – 1.052 1.044 – 1.052
FG 1.010 – 1.014 1.008 – 1.012
IBU (Bitterness) 8-15 10-20
SRM (Color) 2-8 2-4
ABV (%) 4.3-5.6% 4.5-5.5%
Commercial Examples Paulaner, Franziskaner Hoegaarden, Lost Coast Brewery Great White, Blue Moon Belgian White

Feel free to comment on any thoughts regarding wheat beers below.

 

hop_bag

Dry hopping is the process of introducing dry hops to the wort anytime after the boil.  Dry hopping significantly enhances the hop character in aroma and flavor of the beer. It does so without really affecting the beers overall bitterness or IBU rating.  The most common style of beer to dry hop is an IPA, whose demands for hop aroma and flavor can sometimes seem endless.  Check out our American IPA recipe for detailed dry hop amounts.  All hop forms including plug, pellet, or whole leaf can be used when dry hopping.

When to Dry Hop?

The best time to dry hop is after the primary fermentation stage is finished.  This is usually 3-7 days after adding yeast to the wort.  When dry hopping I recommend racking the beer into a secondary fermenter (preferably a carboy) and then adding the hops.  If you do not have an extra carboy, you can remove the top to your fermenter and drop the hop bag right on in.

How to Dry Hop?

By far the cleanest and most efficient way to dry hop is by using a hop bag.  A hop bag is usually a nylon mash bag(pictured above) that has draw strings to help contain the hops. You can purchase a hop bag at your local home brew store or on plenty of online home brew sites and usually cost about $3.  Using a hop bag will help to contain all of the hops and prevent any clogging issues with bottling later.  Another plus behind using a hop bag is that you can drop a few sanitized marbles inside it to submerge the hops completely in the beer.  Be sure to sanitize the bag by boiling it for about 3-5 minutes before use.

How Long to Dry Hop?

The hops should remain submerged in the beer anywhere from 1.5 to 3 weeks before bottling the beer or kegging.  The optimal time from what I and other brewers I have talked with is about two weeks.

Summary/Things to Take Away

  • Dry hopping is an easy way to enhance the hop character in your beer.
  • Dry hop in your secondary fermenter if possible.
  • Use a hop bag when dry hopping.
  • Wait about two weeks for dry hopping to be finished.
Pint of Dry Hopped American IPA

Pint of Dry Hopped American IPA

Photo Courtesy of Flickr, Brew Day MEH

After doing some research on the topic of brewing sugars, I have put together a quick article that sums up all of the things I have learned.  Grains are soaked in approx. 150 degree water to extract these sugars, this is called mashing.   Next the fermentation process uses yeast to convert these sugars in the wort into alcohol and CO2.  The common sugars associated with brewing, there prevalence in wort, and how yeast breaks them down are described below.

Building Blocks

Here are the very basic things to know about the sugars extracted from grains during brewing.

  • Sugar is basically a ringed structure made up of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen
  • A sugar ring is named by how many carbon atoms are attached to it.
  • Common brewing sugars, such as glucose and fructose are made up of a single hexose (6 carbon atoms, chemical formula C6H12O6)
  • A single hexose is called a monosaccharide.
brewing sugar -- glucose

brewing sugar -- glucose

Common monosaccharides that existing in brewing sugars are glucose, fructose, and galactose.  When two monosaccharides join they form another sugar structure called a disaccharide.  Common disaccharides that exist in brewing sugars are sucrose and maltose.  Sucrose is made up of a glucose molecule and fructose molecule, while maltose is made up of two glucose molecules.  When three monosaccharides join they form another sugar structure called a trisaccharide.  The most common trisaccharide that exists in brewing sugars is maltotriose, which is made up of three glucose molecules.  When monosaccharides join in structures of 4 or more the resulting structures are called dextrin, which is not fermentable by beer yeast.  Pure dextrin is actually added to some beers during the boil to increase body in the final product, our Northern English Brown ale is a good example.

brewing sugar -- glucose + fructose = sucrose

brewing sugar -- glucose + fructose = sucrose

Common Brewing Sugars Breakdown

  • Monosaccharides — glucose, fructose, and galactose
  • Disaccharides —  sucrose and maltose
  • Trisaccharides — maltotriose

Prevalance in Wort

Here are the typical percentages of the 5 common brewing sugars in wort.

  • 45%   Maltose
  • 14%   Maltotriose
  • 8%     Glucose
  • 6%     Sucrose
  • 2%     Fructose
  • 25%   Unfermentable dextrins

As a side note according to sweetness the order follows this – Fructose(sweetest), sucrose, glucose, maltose, maltotriose(least sweet). 

 

How does beer yeast break down these sugars?

Beer yeast break down brewing sugars by first working on the sucrose structure.  The yeast will break down the sucrose into its glucose and fructose components.  It will then consume the glucose, followed by fructose then maltose and finally maltotriose in that order. 

The yeast usually use two different enzymes to break down the different sugars.  To break down sucrose the yeast use an enzyme called invertase, which breaks them down outside the yeast cell.  To break down maltose and maltotriose the yeast use an enzyme called maltase, which breaks them down inside the yeast cell.  The take away here is that the sugars are broken down into monosaccharides before being completely utilized by the yeast.  The science behind what the yeast is actually doing is a huge topic on its own.

yeast eating sugars in fermentation vessel

yeast eating sugars in fermentation vessel

Hopefully this article was useful in understanding more about some of the basic chemistry in brewing, if you want to know more just comment below.

coriander seeds

Coriander is an annual herb that actually grows into what we know as Cilantro, yeah the soapy tasting leaf in a bunch of South Asian dishes and Mexican salsa.  Usually if a recipe says to use coriander it refers to the seed of the plant rather than its leaves. The seeds have a citrus flavor when crushed, almost lemon like. Coriander seeds are sometimes used in brewing certain styles of beer, particularly some Belgian witbier and German Hefeweizens. When brewing wheat beers they are typically used with orange peel to add a citrus character to the beer.

Where can I get some?
You can pick up coriander at your local grocery store, just check out the exotic spice section. I usually grab some just before I am about to brew at the local home brew store here in Raleigh.  You should expect to pay anywhere from $1 to $1.75 per ounce.

How to brew with Coriander?
The average 5 gallon beer recipe requires 1 ounce of Coriander seeds which is about a hand full.  Grind them up with a coffee grinder or crush them with a mortal and pestle ( hammer and napkin) just before use.  They should be placed in a hop bag and added to the boil when 15 minutes or less remain, check out Brewing the Beer for more info on when to add.  I would not recommend adding coriander into the fermenter, I have heard stories of it completely destroying beer by giving it an overwhelming amount of coriander flavor.

building a cooler mash tun

 This article will break down the six basic steps to building your own cooler mash tun.  Everything can be purchased at your local hardware store.

1. Purchase the Equipment
2. Remove the Stainless Steel Braiding
3. Connect the Fittings to the Braiding
4. Connect the Valve and Hose
5. Assembling the Mash Tun
6. Cleaning After Use

All-grain brewing requires the use of a mash tun.  The mash tun is used to steep the various grains selected for brewing beer.  The grains are mixed with water and sit for about an hour, then the mixture is filtered and drained off to the boil pot.  More water is added to rinse the residual sugars from the grains.  To find out more on these specific sugars check out our brewing sugars article.  In the home brew setting you can either have a cooler or pot as a mash tun.  The cheaper option by far is the cooler version which will total somewhere around $70.  Check out our gravity fed all grain brew tower that uses this cooler mash tun.  As a comparison the pot version could cost anywhere from $180 -$400.  The cooler version usually uses a braided stainless steel hose as its filter, where a pot version would use a custom false bottom.  I have tried using a 5 gallon round cooler with a false bottom but I did not get the results that I wanted out of it.  I then moved on to build this and so far it has been working great for me.

Purchase Equipment (30 minutes)

1. 52 qrt well insulated Cooler (Coleman Xtreme is what I used.)

Brass Option (Cheaper)
2. 4 ft of Plastic Hose (Food Grade Quality)
3. 1/2″ MIP to 1/2″ barb (brass) (Watts A-385)
4. 1/2″ Ball Valve (brass)
5. 2 Food Grade Rubber O-Ring (No. 15, 1/8 thick)
6. 1 1/2″ Pipe Nipple (MIP) (brass) (Watts A-836)
– or –
Complete Stainless Steel Cooler Kit

7. 1/2″ FIP to 1/2″ Barb (brass) (Watts A-390)
8.  2-4ft of SS Washing Machine Connector (Eastman 98503)
9. 1/2″ Barb to 1/2″ MIP (brass) (Watts A-385)
10. 1/2″ FIP Pipe Cap (Watts A-819)
11. 3 1/4″ to 5/8″ SS Hose Clamps
12. Pipe Thread Tape (white)

Gather all of the equipment mentioned in the list above.  These parts are the easiest to come by and work with.  Everything above can be purchased at your local hardware store, I have included the specific part numbers for exact matches in Lowes/Home Depot.  I have also included a kit that is offered by Midwest Brewing Supplies, its has stainless steel components. As far as the cooler goes, I think the best deal going right now is at K-mart, I picked up this 52 quart well insulated Coleman cooler for about $35.

Remove the Stainless Steel Braiding (15 minutes)

In this step you will be removing the end connectors of the SS braiding that you purchased and removing the internal hose.  You will saw off the end connectors with a fine blade hacksaw.  To do this first tape up the edges near the connectors, this prevents the braiding from coming unraveled.  Then take a fine bladed hacksaw and saw through the stainless steel braiding and the rubber hose completely.  Repeat for the other side of the hose.

removing original fittings on SS braiding

removing original fittings on SS braiding

Next remove the internal rubber hose from the braiding.  This is easily accomplished with the help of someone else, its a constant pull and push activity.  Remember not to pull too hard, you may break the braiding. It works like a Chinese finger trap you will need to inch it slowly by pushing it then pulling it.

removing rubber hose inside SS braiding

removing rubber hose inside SS braiding

Connect the Fittings to the Braiding (5 minutes)

In this step you will be connecting the new fittings on the SS braiding.  Gather the new SS braiding along with parts 7,9,10 and two hose clamps.

equipment for connecting fittings to braiding

equipment for connecting fittings to braiding

You will need to attach the barbs on each end of the SS braiding.  To do this you will need to slide the hose clamp onto the braiding then push the barb into place.  Next slide the hose clamp into position and tighten.  Do the same for each end.

both ends attached to SS hose

both ends attached to SS hose

Connect the Valve and Hose (5 minutes)

In this step you will be assembling the ball valve to the plastic hose.  Gather part numbers 2,3,4,5 and one hose clamp. Screw together the 1/2″ MIP to 1/2″ barb to the ball valve and remember to use the pipe thread tape. Next you will need to slide the hose clamp down the plastic hose then push the barb into place.  Then slide the hose clamp into position and tighten. The picture below should be able to help you out.

ball valve and hose connection

ball valve and hose connection

Assembling the Mash Tun (5 minutes)

The next step will be assembling the mash tun.  Before this can be performed you will need to remove the existing valve on the cooler or create a 1/2″ hole for the new fixtures to fit into.  If using the coleman extreme cooler as picture below make sure to just remove the plastic spigot and not the plastic that surrounds it.  To assemble the mash tun push the 1.5 inch pipe nipple though the hole in the cooler and place O-rings on each side of the cooler.

pipe nipple pushed through cooler with O-ring

pipe nipple pushed through cooler with O-ring

Next screw on the connector attached to the SS braiding, then from the other side screw on the ball valve/hose portion.   Watch out for over tightening of the screws as it may prevent the O-ring from functioning correctly which can led to leakage.

SS braiding with fitting connected to pipe nipple

SS braiding with fitting connected to pipe nipple

I would recommend testing the mash tun by filling it with water and draining it a few times before actual use, if it appears to be leaking make sure your O-rings are not over compressed.  If it still seems to leak, look into purchasing some rubber washers, if the leak is a drop a minute then its nothing to worry about.

everything hooked up in a big cooler

everything hooked up in a big cooler

everything hooked up in a round cooler

everything hooked up in a round cooler

Cleaning After Use (10 minutes)

Make sure to clean the mash tun after each use, almost immediately afterwards is easiest.  Clean the mash tun with a small amount of mild soap and rinse thoroughly with water.  Disconnect the internal braiding and clean it from any grains that may be stuck in it.  Also wash off the ball valve and rubber hose, remember to hang this in a dry place for at least a day to dry(be careful of leaving in mold prone places).  That should do it, remember the next time you want to use the mash tun just rinse it out really good with warm water.

If anyone has any questions about the process described above, write a comment below and I will respond to it.  Enjoy and go brew more beer!