Mash Tuns is a vital piece of equipment in any all-grain brewing system. Mash tuns are available in a wide range of materials, shapes and sizes, and the best vessel for homebrewers will vary depending on their present procedures and future plans.
A smash tun is basically a vessel for performing the mashing process to help convert the various starches to sugars for the fermentation process. The process is known as mashing and the porridge-like mixture is known as the mash.
Mash tuns are mainly insulated to keep the temperature more or less constant and most feature a spigot and false bottom to ensure the sparging process can continue in the same container. The mash is kept at a preset temperature and time until all the starches are converted into sugars and the wort (malt extract) rinsed into a kettle or vessel where hops will be added.
What is a mash tun used for?
This vessel features a stainless steel filter to ensure the flow of the liquid to the brew kettle while leaving sediments and grains behind. The filter is set to ensure there is a cylindrical-shaped stainless steel panel to remove most of the insoluble solids from the liquid.
There are different kinds of mash tun designs, so weigh up your options before you choose one.
Mash Tun DIY
You can also use a rectangular cooler for the infusion mashing process. However, creating a false bottom can be more difficult since you need your false bottom to be as big as the cooler. Moreover, the flat design causes a smaller grain bed, which might lead to reduced brewhouse efficiency.
Some homebrewers have effectively created false bottoms by adding copper tubing to create a lattice at the base of the cooler with slits cut in it every half inch. This allows the sweet liquid to flow into the copper tubing while blocking large grain particles from entering it.
Another popular type of mash tun is the converted keg. Usually, the top is removed from a large keg, creating a sizeable mash tun with a capacity of 15 gallons or even more.
The vessel is also insulated with foam and then fitted with a spigot and false bottom. From there, a burner can be used to keep the temperature steady or the tun is insulated and then sealed to produce a sizeable cooler. Due to the sheer volume, converted kegs are more commonly used by advanced brewers.
Heated Mash Tuns and Brew Pots
With a regulated heat source, one can also create a mash tun from a large pot. Here, you can increase the heat on your brew pot while stirring until you attain the required temperature. From there, you can reduce the heat to keep that temperature steady. The problem is that it is not always easy to maintain a constant temperature for an extended period of time with your pot on the heater. Nonetheless, professional brewers with advanced temperature control features can effectively use brew pots or heated mash tuns.
In conventional breweries, the mashing process, wort runoff and drainage take around six hours. In contemporary breweries, however, two vessels are normally used, thereby reducing the time to around three hours. Since this usually requires less space and fewer vessels, most modern breweries prefer to utilize the mash tun.
And there you have it! As a solution, buying your own mash tun can be a great way to conduct the mashing process without any issues. Mash tuns come with all the necessary supplies and accessories, including mini valves, thermometers and others to ensure you can mash the grains using the right temperature. What’s more, it is important to get all the accessories you need to protect the bottom from burning.