>> Best mash tuns for sparge & lautering

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Not tons.

Nor tonnes.

But tuns.

Mash Tuns.

Though it's pronounced ton.

What the heck is a mash tun and why do I need one for brewing beer?

The mash tun is the vessel in which the mashing of the grain is conducted. The 'grain bill' is heated with hot water.

This process of mashing causes the enzymes in the malt to break down the grain's starch. The starch is reduced into the sugars which form the malty liquid we all know as 'wort'.

So how is important in preparing a good wort is a mash tun?

If you want the efficient extraction of the wort from your grains, you need to be able to sparge efficiently, and a well set up mash tun will do just that.

Many brewers like to make their own mash tun from manufactured coolers and simply add a false bottom to assist with the lautering process (removing the wort from the mash) but if you just want to get on with, here's a few mash tuns that we recommend:

Northern Brewer's tun

plastic northen brewer mash tun
  • Argiuably the most affordable mash/lauter tun in all-grain brewing
  • Loaded with brewing power for superior sparging and exceptional efficiency
  • Featuring Fermenter’s Favorites™ Cooler with an expanded full capacity of 11.7 gallons
  • Includes the new Titan Stainless Steel 11.5" False Bottom
  • Includes Bronze Ball Valve Cooler Kit with Barbed Hose Fittings, plus tubing

Reviews of the Northern Brewer tun:

"This is a nice product for the money. I've moved from extract brewing to all grain and didn't want to break the bank when it came to purchasing a mash tun. This one fit the bill! The size is decent and it's easy to put together and tear down. This makes cleaning a snap. It's light and easy to more around, and it holds its temperature quite well. I've brewed four batches of beer with it and look forward to using it for the next batch."

"Just finished my first brew. Everything was straightforward to assemble and easy to use so long as you know what you're doing. Excited to brew more with these."

"Got to use this for the first time last weekend while brewing my first all grain batch with my brew club. I have never produced a better beer than what I have with this. I would highly recommend this for anyone looking to take the next step in their brewing adventure."

If you think these reviews from real brewers have merit, check out more on Amazon.

Igloo Mash Tun

igloo yellow mash tun
An almost iconic mash tun, due to the Igloo's almost universal recognition amongst brewers and Powerade drinkers alike and maybe the fact it kind of looks like a Baywatch lifeguard?

The Igloo comes as the following specs:
  • 10 gallon mash ton
  • Perfect for 5 to 10 gallon batches
  • All metal is stainless steel
  • 12" false bottom
  • Upgraded leak free design
While it's no Pamela Anderson, Igloo boast you "will notice barely any temperature loss throughout your 1hr+ mash" which seems the whole point of having a quality mash tun and this reviewer confirmed it "It works perfectly. I've used it twice with no temperature loss in a 60 minute mash at 152 degrees."

Brewer's Edge' Mash and Boil

Listen up fellas, Big Jim just rode into town so pay attention.

The Brewer’s Edge Mash and Boil transforms brewing day, making all grain brewing easy and affordable. If you want to compare this to

No need for an outdoor gas burner, a complicated brewing stand, or a 220 volt special circuit - the unit plugs into any 110 volt GFI household outlet.

Constructed with a double wall stainless construction, it is designed to conserve heat to achieve a rolling boil with only 110 volts and 1600 watts.

The precise thermostat and internal sparging basket let you mash and boil in the same vessel saving you a fair whack of time in your brew day. The thermostat may be switched from Fahrenheit to Celsius and features an adjustable run time preset at 3-1/2 hours to allow for safety in case you get distracted by the Big Game!

A handy function is the delayed start timer, which allows you to program the Mash and Boil to turn on up to 24 hours after setting. For example, load it with strike water, and have it set to be hot when you come home from work to save even more time!

Here's some reviews from actual brewers who have used the Mash and Boil:

"Son and I wanted to step up to all-grain home brewing and this looked like a perfect way to do it: It is. So much easier from start to finish. Wort chiller fits in kettle and temperature display shows when ready: We’ve done 3 batches and love it!

"The time it takes to get to brewing temperatures is rather good. I use the low wattage setting to get to mash temperatures and the time it took was to my liking. To get to the boil temperature was rather slow but I am accustomed to a propane burner."

What are you waiting for, permission from your partner? Check out the price and delivery arrangments on Amazon.

Why do mash tuns need to use false bottoms?

If you simply extracted the wort from the tun using the exit valve the spent grain would quite likely collect at the exit point and block the extraction.

A false bottom is effective acts a filter or sieve to prevent the crushed grains from causing a blockage. The wort drains through the mash, past the sieve and into your draining vessel.

What are some good mash tun tricks?


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